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Orphan Funds

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what steps he is taking to arrange discussions with the assurance sector concerning their orphan funds; [64474]

Ruth Kelly: Treasury Ministers have contacts with insurance companies and their representatives form time to time to discuss a wide range of issues.

Historic Buildings (VAT)

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to extend the reduction of VAT on the renovation and repair of historic buildings. [63546]

John Healey: Reduced rate items are limited by agreements with our European partners. EC law allows a reduced rate of VAT for works to housing, but does not permit a reduced rate for works to other types of building. However, in response to representations made by the Government, the European Commission has indicated that it will consider a reduced rate of VAT for listed places of worship in their general review of the reduced rates, which is due to take place in 2003.

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Prescriptions

Mr. Heyes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will review the prescription pre-payment certificate scheme with reference to the evidence cited in paragraph 6.74 in the Wanless report. [60402]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 10 June 2002]: I have been asked to reply.

The Wanless report noted that 85 per cent. of prescriptions are dispensed free of charge and that the level of charges for those who have to pay is capped by the pre-payment certificate arrangements. We are taking steps to make pre-payment certificates more accessible. From 1 October, the prescription pricing authority (PPA) will take responsibility for issuing these certificates. The application form will be redesigned and carry the PPA's address, all patient material will be revised and pharmacists will be encouraged to publicise the availability of prescription pre-payment certificates. Once the new arrangements are in place, we can examine the opportunities for further improvements to access.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

King Edward VIII

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to her answers of 10 and 11 June 2002, refs. 57217 and 57416, on the abdication of King Edward VIII, if she will list the categories of official papers relating to the abdication of King Edward VIII that will be reviewed by Departments. [62434]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to him on 11 June 2002, Official Report, column 118W. It is hoped that the results of the review, including the categories of official papers held by Departments, will be known and put into effect by the end of the year.

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to her answers of 10 and 11 June, refs. 57217 and 57416, on the abdication of King Edward VIII, if she will list which official papers relating to the abdication of King Edward VIII have not yet been released. [62433]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to him on 11 June 2002, Official Report, column 118W.

It is hoped that the results of the review, including a list of official papers held by Departments will be known and put into effect by the end of the year.

Computers

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what measures are (a) in place and (b) under discussion in her Department in order to ensure compliance with the WEE directive. [60751]

Yvette Cooper: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by the Minister of State for the Department of Trade and Industry on 12 June 2002.

Land Registry

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans she has to implement the recommendation contained in the Land Registry's Quinquennial Review to compel the owners of property to declare the true and beneficial owners of property in the Land Registry; and if she will make a statement. [63093]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Land Registry and the Lord Chancellor's Department will jointly consider and consult other Government Departments on the recommendation by autumn 2003. Depending on the outcome of that consultation and ministerial agreement they will consult stakeholders and the public on the principles and details by spring 2004 and announce the results of the consultation by autumn 2004.

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when the inter-departmental steering group to take forward the proposals contained in the Land Registry Quinquennial Review has met since June 2001. [63091]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The inter-departmental steering group has met on seven occasions: 23 July, 17 September, 25 October, 20 November 2001 and 9 January, 19 March and 27 May 2002.

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans are being formulated by the Land Registry to make public a list of

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previous owners for each property registered by the Land Registry; and if she will make a statement. [63092]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Section 69 of the Land Registration Act 2002, which is likely to be brought into force in the autumn of next year, provides that the chief land registrar may, on application, provide information about the history of a registered title. Rules making provision about applications for the exercise of this power are currently being drafted and will be the subject of public consultation, as part of a wider consultation exercise, later in the summer.

Judiciary

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will make a statement as to the change in arrangements concerning the advertising of vacant posts in the judiciary. [61844]

Ms Rosie Winterton: My noble and learned Friend, the Lord Chancellor, is committed to a system of judicial appointments that is fair to applicants and ensures that vacancies are filled promptly by candidates who best meet the published criteria. To this end, he published a consultation paper in April of this year on ways in which the selection procedures for the Circuit Bench and Recordership might be restructured or streamlined. Competitions for these appointments in 2002–03 have identified more suitable candidates than there are vacancies. The competitions for these appointments that would normally have begun in April 2002 have therefore been suspended for between six and 18 months. Any new vacancies that arise during this period will be made from reserve lists.

Similarly, in respect of the High Court Bench, there are many suitable candidates remaining from the 2000 selection round. Very few vacancies are expected over the next year. In the circumstances it would be both inappropriate and impracticable to mount a full scale recruitment exercise. The Lord Chancellor has, however, decided that people with appropriate judicial experience should not be denied the opportunity to be considered for these vacancies. Some 2000 holders of judicial office have therefore been invited to express interest in these appointments.

Bob Spink: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what proportion of (a) judges, (b) recorders and (c) assistant recorders are (i) women and (ii) non-white Caucasian. [61859]

Ms Rosie Winterton: As at 1 May 2002 all 107 High Court judges were of white origin, six of whom were women. The following table provides information on the Circuit Bench, District Bench and Recorders as at 1 May 2002. It shows the total number, the number and proportion of women judges and those judges who have stated on an ethnic monitoring questionnaire that they are of white origin. Applicants and part-time judges whose appointments have been renewed are asked to complete a questionnaire about their ethnic origin, but they are not obliged to do so. Many of those who have been appointed for some years will not have been asked to complete

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an ethnic origin questionnaire. The post of Assistant Recorder was abolished in April 2000 and all Assistant Recorders became Recorders.

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Judicial appointments statistics, including women and ethnic minorities appointments, are published regularly on the LCD website (www.lcd.gov.uk).

TotalWomenHave stated they are of white originHave not completed an ethnic origin questionnaire
Circuit judges61057350253
Percentage9.357.4
Recorders1,3241621,185100
Percentage12.289.5
District judges43580240183
Percentage18.455.2
Deputy District judges774155579183
Percentage2074.8
District judges magistrates courts103208911
Percentage19.486.4
Deputy District judges magistrates courts152301385
Percentage19.790.8


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