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Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if the figures for women and men barristers who were judicial appointees at each level of the courts in (a) 1999, (b) 2000 and (c) 2001 reflect the proportion of women and men called to the Bar between 10 and 15 years earlier. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The relevant data are not readily available in the form requested and I will write to my hon. Friend. Statistics from the Judicial Appointments Annual Report for 200001 show the overall average years in practice at the time of appointment for the main competitions held was 21.0 years for both barristers and solicitors. Figures from the Bar Council show that 10.8 per cent. of barristers with over 20 years' experience were women. Figures in the Annual Report show that the proportion of women, both barristers and solicitors, appointed in open competitions in 200001 was 28.4 per cent.
Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many (a) men and (b) women appointees to the judiciary in (i) 1999, (ii) 2000 and (iii) 2001 were Queen's counsel at the time of their appointment. 
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Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many (a) men and (b) women appointees to the judiciary in (i) 1999, (ii) 2000 and (iii) 2001 were solicitors at the time of their appointment. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The total number of solicitors appointed to the judiciary in open competitions in 199899, 19992000 and 200001 was 294, 211 and 277 respectively. Information on the gender breakdown is not readily to hand but I will write to my hon. Friend with the information.
Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what the average ages were of (a) women and (b) men appointees to the full-time Crown court judiciary in the last 12 months. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The information in the form requested is not readily available. Circuit judges are not generally appointed to sit exclusively in the Crown court. Many sit also in civil and family work and the balance of time spent sitting in the Crown court will vary between appointees and from one year to the next. The average age of candidates approved for appointment for the Circuit Bench in 200001 was 51.4 years. I will write to my hon. Friend with further information about appointments made to the Circuit Bench over the course of the last year showing the average age by female and male appointees.
Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many (a) men and (b) women appointees to the judiciary in (i) 1999, (ii) 2000 and (iii) 2001 were single parents at the time of their appointment. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Information about marital status and children is not specifically sought from candidates and therefore no records are held. Members of the legal profession, irrespective of their background or personal circumstances are encouraged to apply for judicial office. Candidates are appointed on merit against the published criteria for appointment.
Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many (a) women and (b) men appointed to the judiciary in (i) 1999 and (ii) 2000 had previously taken an employment break in order to care for children. 
Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans she has to put in place creche facilities associated with the courts with the aim of encouraging younger women with children to apply for appointment to the judiciary; and what other plans she has to offer such encouragement. 
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Ms Rosie Winterton: The Lord Chancellor is not aware of a specific demand for such creche facilities. The Lord Chancellor gives general encouragement to women to apply for judicial office. With this in mind, among the initiatives he has introduced are a permanent part-time working facility and flexible part-time sitting arrangements for those who have had career breaks for family reasons. In addition the lower age limits for judicial office are applied flexibly.
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many and what proportion of applications for leave to apply for judicial review were (a) heard in court and (b) upheld in the last year for which data are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Wills: The Court Service has instructed managing agents acting on its behalf to renew both of the two current leases that we hold on accommodation at the Shire Hall, Hereford which expire on 31 December 2001. These negotiations are now proceeding.
Ruth Kelly: As a result of the action this Government have taken to deliver economic stability, such as cutting borrowing, and making the Bank of England independent, Budget 2001 forecast gross debt interest for 200102 to be £23.1 billion, £3.0 billion lower than in 200001.
14. Simon Hughes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for further allocations to spending Departments from the contingency fund during the remainder of this financial year. 
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Mr. Andrew Smith: The Contingencies Fund is used to advance urgent resources to departments pending approval of the spending through estimates in the normal manner. There are therefore no plans to make allocations from it, as it is not a budgeting concept. Allocations may be made from the Departmental Expenditure Limit Reserve to meet genuinely unforeseen contingencies. Any such resources additional to departmental budgets will be reported to Parliament through the Supplementary Estimates procedure in the normal way.
Mr. Boateng: The UK has consistently been at the forefront of the international debate on debt relief for the developing countries. The UK pushed for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative to be speeded up, and as a result, 23 countries are now receiving debt relief. These countries will receive $54 billion in debt relief, which will reduce their debts to below the developing country average. The UK's 100 per cent. bilateral policy on debt relief means that it stands ready to write off £1.9 billion of debts for all 42 HIPCs. The Chancellor also announced last December that the UK would hold in trust any payments from those HIPCs yet to receive debt relief. We call on other G7 countries to follow our lead.
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