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David Lammy: Oh, please!
David Lammy: I do not want to prejudice what I may have to say shortly, but surely the hon. Gentleman is not suggesting that we should legislate to allow a form of prejudice because it may exist in pubs throughout the country.
David Lammy: The hon. Gentleman has not said whether that meeting took place before or after the introduction of the Civil Partnership Bill, which many people consider to be very imaginative and timely legislation.
David Lammy: indicated assent.
David Lammy: There could not be a prosecution. However, we have discussed the fact that someone might engage in litigation. There is a distinction.
David Lammy: Immigration and nationality legal help cases cost £35 million in 1997–98 and £203 million in 2003–04. The figure for 2003–04 is still subject to end of year adjustment.
David Lammy: Domestic violence proceedings are a priority area for legal aid funding. The Legal Services Commission's Funding Code criteria for funding domestic violence cases are wider than for most other family and non-family areas. At present those who need financial assistance are able to obtain legal aid to go to court.
David Lammy: The Act will be fully implemented by January 2005, 11 months before the deadline set out in the Act itself.
David Lammy: The Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) was created in June 2003, and therefore was not in existence during the periods for which details are required.
David Lammy: The real terms reduction of 5 per cent. or more will be a central feature of the public spending settlements for 2006–08 to be announced in detail later this year.
David Lammy: The cost to the Legal Services Commission (including national insurance contributions and overtime payments) for all legal staff employed in the Public Defender Service for the financial year 2003–04 was £1,727,928.00. The staff costs for fully qualified lawyers were £1,271,531.64.
David Lammy: I have been asked to reply. The Government plans to publish a consultation document on parental relationship breakdown. This will set out proposals for improving outcomes for children and the experiences of all those involved in parental separation, through improved services, help and support. Any legislative implications of these proposals will be addressed in the document.
David Lammy: No staff were seconded to this Department from either the private or academic sector in the 2000–01 or 2002–03 financial years. Five staff were seconded from the private sector during the period April 2001 to March 2002. Figures for 2003–04 are not yet available.
David Lammy: Does the hon. Gentleman accept that the United States has a federal system and has a much more proximate degree of local and state-based government than this country?
David Lammy: The Government are making good progress on implementation of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. An extensive programme of work is taking place in Whitehall and beyond, and we are confident of full and effective implementation by 1 January 2005.
David Lammy: My Department determines its priorities in the context of all its responsibilities in accordance with the Government's policies and priorities.
David Lammy: The term "rights" in My Department's strapline is intended to reflect the Department's responsibility for various pieces of legislation, including the Human Rights Act and the Freedom of Information Act, as well as our responsibility to ensure access to justice for all.
David Lammy: The Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor proposed the Department's strapline and following consultation with officials gave his authorisation.
David Lammy: The Government have stated that a fee structure that acted as a significant deterrent to people making use of their rights under the Act would go against the spirit and purpose of the Act.
David Lammy: The legal services ombudsman has today published the 13th Annual Report and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.