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Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what her policy is on setting a marriage value taper in respect of the provisions of the Commonhold and Leasehold Bill. 
It is our view that the current valuation basis provides its own taper. The price payable for enfranchisement increases progressively as leases get shorter. We do not accept there is a case for a further arbitrary apportionment of the marriage value which would effectively reduce the price payable by leaseholders.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he will publish a consultation paper on proposals to amend the law in relation to payments to witnesses and pre-trial publicity. 
Mr. Wills: The Lord Chancellor today issued a consultation paper seeking views on the detail of the legislation the Government intend to introduce to outlaw payments to witnesses. The legislation proposed is that it should be a criminal offence to make, or agree to make, or to receive, a payment to a witness or potential witness in criminal proceedings for his or her story with a view to publication.
Also, following the abandonment of the first trial of R v. Woodgate and others the Government intend to amend s.19 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 to empower the court to order a third party to pay costs incurred as a result of his or her unnecessary or improper act. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Brian Cotter: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if his Department will place a notice on its website warning businesses about fraudulent organisations that claim to have statutory powers to maintain the register of data controllers as part of the Information Commissioner's public information campaign. 
Mr. Wills: Details of the Information Commissioner's public information campaign were given in my reply to the hon. Member for Batley and Spen (Mr. Wood) of 5 February 2002, Official Report, columns 90607W. The Commissioner's website at www.dataprotection.gov.uk provides further information. In the interests of assisting the Commissioner's campaign, I am happy to provide a link to her website from the Lord Chancellor's Department website at www.lcd.gov.uk. The necessary arrangements are being put in hand.
Bob Russell: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many members of her staff in each of the past two years have been granted a day's paid leave to work as a volunteer; and if she will make a statement. 
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Also, provided the nature of any service undertaken is compatible with the work of the employee concerned, the Department provides higher allocations of special leave with pay, within specified limits, for a wide range of voluntary public service, such as acting as a school governor, sitting on a health boards, parish council work etc.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what the annual budget of the DPP is in Northern Ireland; and what his estimate of the additional sum required to finance proposals contained in the Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill is. 
In the current financial year (200102)the budget of the DPP in Northern Ireland is £12,023,000 and the additional sum required to finance proposals contained in the Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill is £1,267,000.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many resident magistrates serve in Northern Ireland; what the average number of sitting days is at which each magistrate presides; what mileage cost allowance is available for travel expenses for resident magistrates; and what was the cost of travel expenses paid over the last convenient 12 month period to resident magistrates. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: There are 19 resident magistrates in Northern Ireland. In 2001, the average number of sitting days for each resident magistrate was 191. Resident magistrates are paid mileage allowances in accordance with the rates that are applicable in the Northern Ireland Court Service. The rates paid are determined by the engine capacity of cars. There are four bands that range from 28p per mile for the smallest engine capacity to 53p per mile for the largest. After 4,000 miles are claimed, the rates reduce to a range from 17p per mile to 36p per mile. Subsistence allowances are also payable in accordance with the rates that are applicable in the Northern Ireland Court Service£4.25 per day for more than five hours and £9.30 per day for more than 10 hours. Travel expenses (including subsistence) paid to resident magistrates in 2001 totalled £88,918.34.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many family applications have been made for legal aid for representation at an inquest since 1997; and how many have been granted. 
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Chancellor has the power to authorise the Legal Services Commission to grant funding for representation at inquests in exceptional cases.
Since April 2000, 182 applications for exceptional funding for representation at inquests have been received and 90 granted. The vast majority of those granted were for representation for family members, although there may be a very few cases where non-family members have been granted funding.
Mr. Evans: To ask the President of the Council what the average response time was for responding to departmental correspondence; what percentage of letters took longer than one month for a response; and what percentage took longer than three months for a response in each of the last five years. 
|Number of letters received||151||271|
|Percentage of replies within target||81||94|
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the success of the voluntary approach to the regulation of pesticides against the criteria set by his Department; 
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(3) if he has received the progress reports from the independent steering group on the voluntary pesticides partnership approach; and if he will publish those reports; 
(4) if it is his policy that his assessment of the success of the voluntary approach to pesticides control should take account of the costs of clearing up pollution currently borne by water companies. 
Mr. Boateng [holding answer 4 March 2002]: The independent steering group overseeing the voluntary package of measures to minimise the environmental impact of pesticides is made up of signatories to the package, an equivalent number of environmental organisations and an independent chairperson. The steering group reports to DEFRA. Publication of its reports is a matter for DEFRA.
Reports from the independent steering group will help the Government's assessment of the success of the package. The assessment of whether the package is delivering environmental benefits over and beyond those that would result from a pesticides tax will consider the uptake of the measures in the package, their coverage, effectiveness and cost. It will therefore take account of the impact of the measures on pollution that has to be cleaned up by water companies.
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