Parliamentary Questions - Written Replies

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ROGER LEVITT: The Serious Fraud Office spent pounds 1.4m on the prosecution of the former financier Roger Levitt, who received a 180- hour community service sentence for a single charge of fraudulent trading, the Attorney General, Sir Nicholas Lyell, said.

The case followed the collapse of Levitt's financial services group with debts of more than pounds 34m. Bob Cryer (Lab, Bradford S) said: 'Considering the SFO eventually only prosecuted Levitt on just one charge, this cost is astounding. It is a complete waste of taxpayers' money to spend so much time preparing other charges, then to drop them at the last minute.'

COUNCIL LOSSES: Action is to be taken against loss-making direct service organisations in five councils, Tony Baldry, environment minister, said. The services are ground maintenance at Castle Point (Tory controlled), refuse collection at South Beds (Tory), catering at Hillingdon (Labour), construction at Manchester (Labour) and ground maintenance at Bedfordshire (no overall control).