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Magistrates (Wales)

Mr. Ruane: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list the names of those sitting on advisory committees for the appointment of magistrates in Wales. [27111]

Mr. Hoon: The names of the members of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committees on Justices of the Peace in Wales are as follows, listed by Advisory Committee:

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Poor People

Mr. Pond: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will carry out an assessment of the impact of her Department's current policies on the (a) income, (b) employment opportunities and (c) living standards, of the poorest 30 per cent. of the population. [23344]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Government policies are continually evaluated using a variety of methods. We have a range of surveys and policy evaluation methodologies in place, some of which are targeted specifically at certain low income groups. In addition, various research studies on low income and deprivation have been commissioned from leading academics.

The best way of improving the living standards of most people at the bottom of the income distribution is to help them into work and we are implementing a range of policies under the New Deal to achieve this aim. Our objective is to raise the living standards of the many, not just the few, and to offer educational and employment opportunities for all.

We carry out a range of policies to stimulate growth in employment and to improve the opportunities for those seeking employment--including specific Action Plans for targeting measures on areas and people objectively defined as being in greatest need. The impact of these policies is regularly assessed by their degree of success in meeting specific objectives.

The Standing Advisory Commission on Human Right's Report on Employment Equality published in June 1997 makes over 160 recommendations, a number of which relate to employment opportunities and social deprivation. Consideration of all the recommendations is well advanced and the Government's response will be published in the coming months.

Civil Servants

Mr. Forth: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many civil servants in her Department at each grade for grade 3 or above have (a) resigned, (b) retired before pensionable age and (c) moved to different responsibilities within the department since 1 May 1997; if she will indicate the Minister to whom each was responsible; and if she will make a statement. [26928]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The information for the Northern Ireland Office and the Northern Ireland Departments is as follows: (a) Nil;

(b) One Grade 1, one Grade 1A (both responsible to the Secretary of State); one Grade 3 responsible to Lord Dubs;

(c) One Grade 2 responsible to me; one Grade 3 responsible to Lord Dubs.

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Preparatory Schools

Mr. Robert McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate she has made of the cost of withdrawal of funding to preparatory schools for the primary school sector; and if she will make a statement. [26738]

Mr. Worthington: I announced on 29 January that the subsidy paid towards the teaching costs of pupils attending preparatory departments of grammar schools would be reduced from 40% to 30% with effect from September 1998. This is expected to save around £250,000 to help improve standards elsewhere in the education sector.

It is estimated that this change will mean on average an increase of about 8% on the existing level of parental contributions if a school decides to pass on to parents the full effect of the reduced subsidy.


Mr. Robert McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will withdraw the security passes to Castle Buildings of political parties connected to paramilitary organisations that admit to ending their ceasefire; and what external advice she has sought on the status of such parties. [26735]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The Ulster Democratic Party was declared by the two Governments on 26 January to be no longer entitled to participate in the talks process, in view of the activities of a paramilitary organisation with which it is associated. Its members do not now have access to Castle Buildings. We have involved our legal advisers as necessary in considering the position of the party.

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