Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the Answer of 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1636W, on Christmas, for what reason his Department spent £33,000 on Christmas receptions in 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Woodward: Every year the Northern Ireland Office use Hillsborough Castle to host a series of receptions at Christmas time to bring a wide cross-section of the community together and to use these opportunities to build community confidence.
2008 was in exactly the same mould as previous years. The four Christmas receptions held in Northern Ireland in 2007 were attended by over 1,400 members of the public drawn from the criminal justice, policing, military, business, charity and community sectors. The guests included families of the security forces and serving personnel, representatives of victims groups, churches and businesses, as well as many others working in the community sectors across Northern Ireland.
These events provide some recognition of the tremendous contribution made by people, both individually and collectively, who have helped to transform Northern Ireland. We work hard to monitor costs at these occasions as we are mindful in Government of the need to provide value for money. Anyone with a close understanding of Northern Ireland will know the value of these occasions in bringing people together in a renewed political environment.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the Answer of 17 December 2008, Official Report, columns 772-3W, on departmental domestic visits, how many of the overnight visits involved staying in an hotel. 
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether Ministers in his Department received representations from (a) Lord Moonie, (b) Lord Taylor of Blackburn, (c) Lord Snape and (d) Lord Truscott in the last seven months. 
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which ICT projects initiated by his Department were abandoned before completion in each year since 1997; what costs were incurred on each project; who the contractors were; what the date of (a) commencement and (b) abandonment was in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department for Children, Schools and Families Computers for Pupils programme has helped over 3,000 pupils in Leeds since its inception, and a further 400 learners will benefit from grant funding recently awarded under the new Home Access for Targeted Groups fund., West constituency host UK online centres, which act as Media Beacons, helping young people who are excluded from school to use new technologies such as music video software and to operate community radio stations, as part of their Interplay Theatre programme. These centres also offer training on new media to staff in other parts of the UK online centres network.
Leeds city council provides public access and training in internet use throughout their network of libraries and community centres. A mobile learning vehicle offers internet access on a regular route around targeted communities, and the citys mobile library vehicles will shortly be fitted with wifi internet access.
In December, senior officers from the city council met to raise awareness of the impact that technology can have on communities and the advantages that it can deliver. A Digital Community Vision is now being developed which will identify and capture the citys digital inclusion aspirations for the future, leading to an action plan for further digital inclusion work.
Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had on the future of the Legal Services Commission in Wales with (a) the Secretary of State for Justice and (b) the First Minister; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. David: I have discussed this issue with the Welsh Minister for Social Justice and Local Government and with colleagues at the Ministry of Justice. I have also corresponded with my noble Friend Lord Bach, Minister for Legal Aid.
My right hon. Friend and I will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Justice and the Welsh Assembly Government to ensure that where efficiency savings need to be made within the Legal Services Commission, the best solution for Wales is found.
Paul Clark: The A1 through Northumberland suffers little in the way of congestion. Schemes to dual discrete sections of the A1 north of Newcastle are being considered for funding by the north-east region, as part of the current regional funding allocation process.
The A1 through Tyne and Wear suffers severe congestion at peak times, and this can extend to periods outside the daily peak, particularly if incidents occur. A number of measures have been carried out over the last few years to improve route performance. These include signing and lining improvements, a slow moving vehicle ban in peak periods, variable message signing (VMS), close circuit television (CCTV), the introduction of the traffic officers, free to customer breakdown recovery services, and the Retriever motorcycle which can get to incidents more quickly and tow vehicles up-to 1,600 kg in weight to recently built emergency refuges.
The Department for Transport publication Britains Transport Infrastructure: Motorways and Trunk Roads in January 2009 stated that the Highways Agency will continue to work with local authorities to consider further the options for relieving congestion on the A1 around Newcastle and Gateshead.
Following the earlier government study the Highways Agency is looking at options for upgrading the A1 Newcastle and Gateshead Western Bypass. This work is being informed by the outcomes of the Tyne and Wear authorities People in Motion demand management study, and findings of the agencys work are expected to be considered in the first half of 2009.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicles of each nationality of registration were (a) inspected and (b) prohibited following inspection
at the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency checkpoint at Wylye on the A303(T) in the latest year for which figures are available; and for what reasons each vehicle was prohibited. 
|Country||Roadworthiness inspections||Mechanical prohibitions|
|Heavy goods vehicle traffic inspections|
|Country||Traffic inspections||Drivers hours prohibitions||Weighed inspections||Overloads prohibitions|
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