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4 Dec 2003 : Column 150Wcontinued
Mr. Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much it cost to present the United Kingdom's case when the right of widowers' benefits was considered in all courts above the level of appeal tribunal in each year since 1997. 
Maria Eagle: The costs to the Department of presenting the Government's and United Kingdom's case in litigation cases is not routinely collected and the information requested could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs when he expects to publish his Department's responses to its consultations on (a) the conditional fee agreement regime, (b) proposed changes to publicly-funded immigration and asylum work and (c) delivering value for money in the Criminal Defence Service. 
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(b) The Government made an announcement on 27 November unveiling new measures aimed at cutting out abuses of the public-funded immigration and asylum system. The changes include an accreditation scheme for lawyers, a unique file number for asylum cases and a reduction in the amount of legally-aided advice offered to applicants.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment he has made of the availability of legal advice through contracts with the Legal Services Commission for (a) family matters and (b) asylum application appeals; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Leslie: There are currently 3,592 solicitors' offices contracted by the Legal Services Commission to provide publicly-funded advice and representation in the family category of law in England and Wales. In addition,the Commission contracts with three Not for Profit agencies for the provision of advice in family matters.
Preliminary analysis by the Legal Services Commission suggests that the number of solicitor suppliers for the next contract bid round from April 2004 will be maintained across England and Wales in all categories, including family and immigration and asylum.
Mr. Leslie: Recruitment of magistrates is co-ordinated locally by the Lord Chancellors' Advisory Committees on Justices of the Peace. My local Advisory Committee has not reported to me any particular problems recruiting magistrates in the Nottingham area. The Advisory Committee has, however, used a number of new initiatives to attract candidates from different backgrounds including news sheets in local magazines and information on their website. BBC Nottingham also broadcast a television item on the magistracy. During next year's recruitment round we will be adding to those initiatives with a local bus advertising campaign backed up by supporting material in local media sources.
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Mr. Leslie: In recent years The National Archives (TNA) has made considerable progress in improving online and onsite access for amateur historians. The online catalogue (PROCAT), with references to over nine million records, is available over the internet. Users can identify the original documents relevant to their research and place an order for them in advance of a visit to TNA at Kew. In addition, digital images of the entire series of wills from 1384 to 1858, which are of considerable interest to family historians, can be downloaded from the TNA website. TNA also provides digital copies of other records on demand over the internet. Many of TNA's online services are free of charge, including the award winning Learning Curve gallery, which provides online content for school teachers and pupils working on Key Stages 2 to 4 of the History National Curriculum, and the Pathways to the Past section of the website, which includes a wide variety of online material aimed at lifelong learners. The Moving Here project, led by TNA, comprises online exhibitions focusing on the historical experience of immigration to the UK in the last 150 years, and has opened archives up to entirely new audiences.
Since 1997, the public reading rooms have been open six days a week, with late opening until 7pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. New users are given an induction tour on their first visit to Kew and can ask trained staff on duty in the reading rooms for further expert advice. All users are encouraged to make suggestions for further service improvements. The Public Record Office (PRO) first gained the Charter Mark Award in 1998 and achieved re-accreditation in 2001. Surveys of users onsite regularly achieve satisfaction levels of 90 per cent. and above.
The completion of the merger between the PRO and the Historical Manuscripts Commission in December 2003, resulting in a shared physical location and website, will provide increased access to records, benefiting historians still further.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs if he will make it his policy to ensure that veterans of the International Brigades are invited to future Remembrance Day parades; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Leslie: My Department is responsible for co-ordinating the organisation of the ceremony at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. The parade, or march past the Cenotaph, which follows the official ceremony is organised by the Royal British Legion, to whom applications to participate should be made. The march past includes ex-Servicemen and women who have served under the direct command of British or Commonwealth Forces, the widows and widowers of ex-Servicemen and women, members of Transport for Londoncommemorating bus drivers who drove ambulances and troop transport in France in the First World Warand, since 1998, the Bevin Boys. From the
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Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Anti-Social Behaviour Orders have been (a) applied for and (b) granted in each council area within Merseyside since their introduction. 
Ms Blears: The number of notifications received by the Home Office of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) applied for, and issued, in Merseyside from 1 April 1999 (introduction) up to 30 June 2003 (latest available) is given in the table.
|Area||Total applied for||Total issued|
|From 1 April 1999 to 31 May 2000 by pfa(24)||12||8|
|From 1 June 2000 to 30 June 2003 by:|
|Local authority area||45||44|
|St. Helens MBC||4||4|
(24) Between 1 April 199931 May 2000 data available by police force area (pfa) only
No notifications have been reported of ASBOs issued on conviction (application not required) within Merseyside from 2 December 2002 to 30 June 2003
Ms Blears: The number of notifications received by the Home Office of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) issued in London from 1 April 1999 up to 30 June 2003 (latest available) is given in the table.
|From 1 April 1999 to 31 May 2000 by pfa(25)||9|
|From 1 June 2000 to 30 June 2003 by local authority area||75|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||2|
|Richmond upon Thames||2|
(25) Between 1 April 1999 to 31 May 2000 data available by police force area (pfa) only
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