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Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Filkin: Under current arrangements, legal aid payments to lawyers and expert witnesses are assessed by a panel of solicitors, barristers and non-legally qualified people in criminal cases, and by the Legal Aid Committee of the Law Society in civil cases, are subject to review and benchmarks set by the Master (Taxing Office) and the High Court. The average costs of cases have been increasing with a resulting increase in the total funding required.

The Access to Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 repeals the Legal Aid, Advice and Assistance (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 which governs the current arrangements for legal aid in Northern Ireland. The order establishes the Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission with effect from 1 November 2003.

The commission will be responsible for funding civil legal services and criminal defence services within the framework laid down by the Access to Justice Order. Within that framework, the commission's overall aim is to ensure that legal advice, assistance and representation is made available to those who need it, and to ensure that it is provided in ways which are effective and give value for money.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who are the members of the legal Aid Board in Northern Ireland; how many are appointed; by whom, and how much are they paid. [HL4409]

Lord Filkin: The new Legal Services Commission of Northern Ireland assumes responsibility for legal aid on 1 November 2003. On 28 July 2003 the Secretary of State appointed the Chair and ten members to the new Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission.

Those appointed to the commission are:

    Chair— Sir Kenneth Bloomfield KCB

    Members—Mr Les Allamby, Mrs Maeve Bell OBE, Professor Sean Doran, Ms Breidge Gadd, Mrs Jennifer Greenfield, Dr Jeremy Harbison CB, Mr Francis Hewitt, Mr Miceal McCoy, Mr Peter Osborne and Mr Ronald Spence CB.

The chair receives £390.00 per day while members receive £289.00 per day.

European Convention on the Exercise of Children's Rights

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to ratify the European Convention on the Exercise of Children's Rights; and, if not, for what reasons.[HL4525]

Lord Filkin: The Government are considering the implications of this convention before taking a decision on signature and ratification. The position will be announced in due course.

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Incapacity Benefits

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the numbers and percentages of people of working age receiving incapacity benefits in each of the past 10 years in each of the standard regions and nations of the United Kingdom.[HL4597]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The information is in the tables.

Sickness/invalidity benefit working age recipients at 2 April 1994 and percentage of working age population by standard statistical region

RecipientsPercentage of population
Great Britain1,505,0004.4
Regions of England:
Yorkshire & Humber138,0004.6
East Midlands88,0003.5
East Anglia35,0002.8
Greater London118,0002.7
South East155,0002.3
South West78,0002.8
West Midlands130,0004.1
North Western267,0007.0


Information Centre, 1 per cent.

ONS mid 1994 population figures.


(2) Numbers rounded to the nearest thousand. Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.

(3) Incapacity Benefit (IB) replaced Sickness and Invalidity Benefits (S/IV) from 13 April 1995. Before this date only the Standard Statistical Regions of England are available.

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Incapacity Benefit working age recipients at dates shown and percentage of working age population by Government Office Region

RecipientsPer cent of PopulationRecipientsPer cent of PopulationRecipientsPer cent of Population
31 May 1995 31 May 1996 31 May 1997
Great Britain1,551,3004.51,555,9004.51,552,3004.5
Regions of England:
North East124,0007.9120,5007.7118,2007.6
North West284,5006.9279,7006.8276,1006.8
Yorkshire and Humber148,0004.9150,1005.0148,9005.0
East Midlands95,4003.899,4004.099,5003.9
West Midlands137,3004.3138,0004.3138,6004.3
Greater London128,4002.9129,7003.0129,7002.9
South East107,3002.3110,1002.3113,2002.4
South West82,6002.986,2003.089,7003.1
31 May 1998 31 May 1999 31 May 2000
Great Britain1,531,1004.41,501,6004.31,490,0004.3
Regions of England:
North East115,4007.5113,1007.4111,5007.3
North West270,2006.6261,6006.4256,3006.3
Yorkshire and Humber145,7004.9142,1004.7139,3004.6
East Midlands101,6004.0102,9004.1103,5004.1
West Midlands138,3004.3136,8004.3138,7004.4
Greater London128,2002.9123,5002.7120,4002.6
South East112,7002.3110,0002.3110,4002.3
South West90,5003.192,0003.292,0003.1
31 May 2001 31 May 2002 31 May 2003
Great Britain1,507,7004.31,504,9004.31,495,2004.3
Regions of England:
North East111,9007.3112,2007.3109,8007.2
North West257,6006.3254,4006.2250,4006.1
Yorkshire and Humber143,0004.7140,3004.6139,2004.6
East Midlands106,5004.2107,6004.2107,7004.2
West Midlands140,9004.4143,7004.5143,5004.5
Greater London119,7002.5117,2002.5117,0002.5
South East112,5002.3114,1002.3116,5002.4
South West94,5003.296,3003.397,8003.3


IAD Information Centre, 5 per cent samples.

ONS mid year population figures for appropriate year up to 2001, mid 2001 figures used for each subsequent year.


1. Numbers rounded to the nearest hundred. Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.

2. Working age is defined as men aged 16–64 and women aged 16–59.

3. Percentage of population is based on caseloads as a percentage of the working age population in each year shown. Figures for 2002 and 2003 are based on mid year 2001 estimates of the population, which are currently the latest available, mid 2002 estimates are released on Friday 26 September.

4. Information by GOR is not available for 1994, hence figures for Standard Statistical Region have been shown for that year.

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Brownfield Development

Lord Plumb asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether their priority to encourage development on brownfield sites extends to rural locations, for example redundant farm buildings; and, if so, whether they are satisfied that the local planning and highways authorities have been given clear guidance to this effect.[HL4397]

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): National planning policies expect local authorities to give priority to reusing previously-developed land where this supports sustainable development. Agricultural land and farm buildings are excluded from the definition of previously-developed land given in planning policy guidance but the reuse of redundant agricultural buildings where this supports sustainable development is encouraged. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has recently issued for public consultation a draft of a new planning policy statement (PPS7) concerning sustainable development in rural areas. This promotes the productive reuse of existing rural buildings where this is consistent with other planning policies.

Parking Penalties

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What statistics they have on the income derived by local authorities from the imposition of parking penalties in their areas.[HL4424]

Lord Rooker: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister collects information on English local authority expenditure and income through the annual Revenue Outturn (RO) suite of forms. The most recent estimate of all income derived from parking is £861 million in 2001–02. This amount includes income derived from the operation of decriminalised parking regimes but it is not possible to separately identify it.

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