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12 Sept 2005 : Column 2255W—continued

Remote Electronic Voting

Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 18 July 2005, Official Report, column 1306W, on remote electronic voting, what criteria the Government will use to decide whether or not to hold electronic voting pilots in the 2006 elections. [15115]

Ms Harman: The Government have decided not to invite applications from local authorities to conduct electronic voting pilots in the May 2006 local elections. We consider this position appropriate at the current time as we are concentrating on changes to enhance security for existing postal voting provisions and make changes to improve accessibility within the traditional voting system.

However, the hon. Member will be aware that we cannot stop applications for pilots being made as there is a legislative duty to consider any such application originated by a local authority.

Select Committee Report (Cemeteries)

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs, what progress has been made in implementing the recommendations of the Environment, Transport and Regional Government Select Committee Report on Cemeteries which the Government accepted. [15102]

Ms Harman: Progress on many of the Select Committee's recommendations has been dependent on the work that has been undertaken to assess the capacity of existing burial grounds and to consult on possible changes to burial law and practice. I expect the results of the former to be available later this year. The results of the latter are being assessed, and I will announce in due
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course how we intend to proceed in the light of the helpful and wide-ranging views which have been received.

In the meantime, the advisory group which the Government said it would establish has met regularly over the last four years and has made a significant contribution to the work programme. One example is the draft guidance on burial ground management which we expect to publish later this year. Work on guidance regarding memorial safety is in hand.

Tax Returns

Mr. Wills: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs, which organisation collates information on the percentage of appeals against penalties imposed for late submission of tax returns upheld by the General Commissioners in (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002, (d) 2003 and (e) 2004 [16237]

Ms Harman: No organisation collates information centrally on the percentage of appeals against penalties imposed for late submission of tax returns upheld by the General Commissioners. The Department for Constitutional Affairs (which is the sponsoring Department for the General Commissioners) does collate information on the overall number of appeals across all categories upheld by the General Commissioners but it is not possible to extract from this figures on appeals against penalties imposed for late submission of tax returns.


Sarah Teather: To ask the Minister of State Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will list websites that come under her Department's responsibility; and what the (a) cost and (b) number of visits was for each in the last year for which figures are available. [15770]

Bridget Prentice: The information requested is listed in the following table.

OrganisationSite addressCosts(4) (£)Visits
Asylum and Immigration,707458,138
Civil Justice,670
Commission for Judicial,228
Community Legal,000901,930
Council on,314
Criminal Courts,529
Department for Constitutional,186,965
Family Justice
Finance and Tax,962189,135
Gender Recognition,93030,052
General Commissioners of Income,930n/a
Immigration Services,96224,544
Judicial Studies,566
Legal Services Commissionwww. uk33,000896,081
Legal Services Research
Legal Services
Magistrates Court Service,481
National Archives other sites: family records, learning curve, a2a,
Moving Here, Census
Northern Ireland Court,835544,800
Office of Legal Services Ombudsmanwww.olso.org2,316103,172
Office of the Legal Services Complaints,840
Official Solicitor and Public
Pensions Appeal,96240,645
Public Guardianship
Social Security and Child Support,632288,426

(4) Staff costs are not included (unless otherwise stated), and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
(5) The sites hosted by Cable and Wireless under contract. The hosting element of this is £555,096 per annum.
(6) Complex arrangements with various partners. National Archives contribution assessable only at disproportionate cost.

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Maternity Leave

Lynda Waltho: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality if the Government will take steps to simplify the administration of maternity leave for employers. [14324]

Meg Munn: The DTI consultation, Work and Families Choice and Flexibility, looked at ways of helping employers plan ahead more effectively, such as increasing the notice periods for changing return dates an employee gives whilst on maternity leave and improving communication between women and employers before and during maternity leave. It also sought stakeholders' help in finding ways of simplifying the system of maternity and adoption leave and pay.

The consultation closed at the end of May and we are currently considering the responses.


Association of Trade Advisers

Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether international trade advisers employed by the regional development authorities are consulting the Association of Trade Advisers on export development opportunities; and if he will make a statement. [10447]

Ian Pearson: UK Trade and Investment has no knowledge of an Association of Trade Advisers and we are not aware of any contacts between UK Trade and Investment International Trade Advisers and such an organisation.

Company Legislation

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will estimate the additional administrative cost, per confidentiality order, of making the effects of section 723B of the Companies Act retrospective. [14789]

Barry Gardiner: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has considered the issue of making the effects of section 723B retrospective and has concluded that it is not feasible to do so. This decision was not reached on the basis of the additional administrative cost of doing so. The main reason was that once information has been entered on the public record at Companies House it is disseminated widely, not only to individual members of the public but also
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through large commercial business information providers. Therefore, even if it were possible for Companies House to expunge the historical information successfully, it would still be in the public domain and available from a wide range of sources.

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