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3 Mar 2008 : Column 2192W—continued

Taxation: Pensions

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of (a) the number of people affected by his decision to levy tax on pension funds above £1.8 million rather than of £1.4 million and (b) the effect on revenue to the Exchequer of (i) his decision to levy tax on pension funds above £1.8 million instead of £1.4 million, (ii) his decision to levy tax on pension funds above £1.4 million at 55 per cent. rather than 60 per cent. and (iii) his decision to delay the introduction of the 55 per cent. tax on pension funds above £1.4 million until 2010; and if he will make a statement. [190849]

Angela Eagle: I refer the hon. Member the answer given to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Lynne Jones) on 10 July 2006, Official Report, column 1643W.

The exit charge on funds crystallized in excess of the life time allowance (LTA) is designed to place a maximum on tax relieved pension saving. We do not expect the exit charge to raise significant revenue and there is negligible Exchequer cost of reducing the rate to 55 per cent..


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The exit charge on funds in excess was introduced on 6 April 2006. No decision was taken to delay its introduction until 2010.

VAT: Bingo

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from bingo clubs in Hendon constituency on the impact of liability of bingo clubs to both value-added tax and gross profits tax. [190556]

Angela Eagle: Treasury Ministers and officials receive representations from a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private
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sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such representations.

Welfare Tax Credits

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many man hours officials in his Department spent on average on each tax credits claimant in each year for which figures are available. [190018]

Jane Kennedy: This information is not available in the format requested.

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 3 March 2008

Justice

Departmental Home Working

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people in his Department have been able to work from home in the last 12 months. [189778]

Maria Eagle: My Department offers flexible working arrangements to the majority of our employees. Under these arrangements the ability to work from home is one option that is available to most grades on both a formal and an ad hoc basis. As there is no requirement to maintain records of arrangements centrally, this information could be collated only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Translation Services

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what proportion of his Department’s translation and
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interpreting work is outsourced under framework agreements with commercial providers; and if he will make a statement. [189147]

Maria Eagle: My Department meets the requirements for translation work through a combination of in-house provision and outsourcing through framework agreements with commercial providers.

For the majority of face-to-face interpreting work the Department engages individuals registered with the National Register of Public Service Interpreters on the basis of the fees set out in accordance with the Costs in Criminal Cases (General) Regulations 1986.

Records that would allow for the proportion of translation and interpreting services to be calculated are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Written Questions

Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of parliamentary questions for answer on a named day to his Department and its predecessor received an (a) holding and (b) substantive answer on the named day in each year since 2001. [190288]

Maria Eagle: The information requested is in the following table.

Named day PQs that received a substantive answer on the day named Holding replies
Session Number Percentage Number Percentage Total named day questions

2005-06

246

65

132

35

378

2006-07

355

79.25

93

20.75

448

5 November 2007 to 29 February 2008

262

74

92

26

354


Records have only been available electronically since May 2005. Therefore, information for the former Department for Constitutional Affairs and the Lord Chancellor’s Department prior to May 2005 is not held centrally and could be provided only by manually checking paper records at a disproportionate cost.

Deportation: Appeals

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many of the 359 appeals against a notice of intent to deport between 1 August and 31 October 2006 were successful; and what the grounds were for those appeals which were successful. [190912]

Mr. Straw: Of the 359 oral appeal hearings against a notice of intent to deport held at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal between 1 August and 31 October 2006, 70 were successful.

The grounds on which those appeals were successful could not be determined without examination of the individual files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

Electoral Register

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he plans to publish the report of his consultation on Fees for the Marked Register of Electors. [189989]

Bridget Prentice: We have been analysing the responses received on the consultation paper on ‘Fees for the Marked Register of Electors produced at the UK Elections’. A response paper is currently being prepared and will be published imminently.

Electoral Register: Forms

Mr. Shepherd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what assessment he has made of whether electoral registration form RP 12 reflects the legal residency qualifications required of Commonwealth citizens to register; [190067]

(2) what assessment he has made of whether section 5 of the electoral registration form RP 12 identifies those individuals entitled to register as electors in Great Britain. [190068]


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Bridget Prentice: There is no prescribed electoral registration form known as an RP 12, and therefore I have made no assessment.

Under the Representation of the People Act 1983 those entitled to vote at UK Parliamentary, European Parliamentary and local government elections are those who have attained the age of 18 and who are British citizens, citizens of Commonwealth countries who are resident on a permanent basis or have leave to remain, and resident citizens of the Republic of Ireland.

The annual canvass form and the provisions for rolling registration effectively capture a person’s nationality. The Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) will use this information to determine a person's eligibility to register. When there is doubt about eligibility the ERO may investigate and request further information from the elector.

Electoral Register: Publicity

Mr. Shepherd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance his Department has given to electoral registration officers on the promotion of credit referencing as a reason to apply for inclusion on an electoral roll on council-maintained websites. [190066]

Bridget Prentice: Responsibility for issuing guidance to Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) on electoral registration lies with the Electoral Commission. I understand that it has not issued any guidance on the promotion of credit referencing as a reason to apply for inclusion on an electoral register. Promotion of electoral registration within each local authority is a matter for the independent EROs.

Fairtrade Initiative

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will take steps to promote Fairtrade Fortnight 2008 among staff within his Department; and if he will make a statement. [189505]

Maria Eagle: To increase staff awareness of Fairtrade Fortnight, the event has been highlighted on the Ministry of Justice intranet, which provides a link to the Fairtrade Foundation website.

Family Law

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many firms of solicitors held contracts with the Legal Services Commission for the supply of legal advice in family law matters in the latest period for which figures are available. [191101]

Maria Eagle: A total of 2,732 solicitors’ offices held contracts with the Legal Services Commission for the supply of legal advice in family law matters, as at 30 September 2007.

Internet: Suicide

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what progress has been made in implementing the suicide prevention strategy; and what assessment he has made of whether the target for the reduction in the number of suicides will be met. [189061]


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Mr. Ivan Lewis: I have been asked to reply.

The target is to reduce the death rate from suicide and injury of undetermined intent by at least a fifth by 2010. This target is measured in three-year pooled rates. Between 1995 and 1997 there were 9.2 deaths per 100,000 population and between 2004 and 2006 the rate had fallen to 8.3 deaths per 100,000 population—a fall of 10 per cent. from the baseline.

The rate of decline had slowed, but there are now signs that the rate of decline may once again be increasing. An increased rate of decline must be sustained if the target is to be met. We are continuing to take action at local, regional and national levels to help reduce the number of suicides in our communities.

Legal Profession

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many solicitors in Wales have ceased providing legal services to clients who require legal aid for (a) family law and (b) criminal law for each of the last three years, broken down by local authority. [189559]

Maria Eagle: The information is not available by local authority but can be broken down by bid zone (Dyfed-Powys, Gwent, North Wales and South Wales). My noble Friend Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, will write to the hon. Member in the next few days, once this information has been extracted.

Official Visits

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the cost of his visit to the United States in February 2008 was. [189088]

Mr. Straw: The cost to the Department for the visit to Washington DC, Virginia and New York was £22,819.70 (£21,215.10 for travel and £1,358.75 for accommodation).

Open Prisons: Prisoner Escapes

Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many failures to return to open prisons there have been since 1997. [189819]

Mr. Straw: Prisoners fail to return to prison following release on temporary licence. Between 1 April 1997 and 31 January 2008 there were 2,880 breaches of a temporary release licence following release on temporary licence from an open prison. This equates to an average of 266 breaches per year. Not all breaches of a temporary release licence are for failing to return to the prison, but this specific information could be determined only at disproportionate cost by examining each of the 2,880 incidents. Prison Service Order 6300 Release on Temporary Licence was introduced in January 2006.

Perjury

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prosecutions for (a) perjury and (b) attempting to pervert the course of justice were brought in each of the last five years. [190057]


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Maria Eagle: The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for offences relating to perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice in England and Wales in the years 2002 to 2006 can be viewed in the following table.

N umber of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for offences relating to perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice, in England and Wales for the years 2002 to 2006( 1,2)
Proceeded against
Offence 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

Perjury

109

137

155

138

110

Pervert the cause of justice

2,646

2,396

2,088

1,972

1,804

Total

2,755

2,533

2,243

2,110

1,914

(1) These data are on the principal offence basis.
(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
Source:
RDS—Office for Criminal Justice Reform - Ministry of Justice

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