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Punishment Beatings

10. Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many punishment beatings have taken place in each month since the Good Friday agreement. [98774]

Mr. Ingram: Since the Good Friday agreement on 10 April 1998 until 21 November 1999 there have been a total of 345 attacks: 114 shootings and 231 assaults. Of the 114 shootings, 68 have been attributed to Loyalist and 46 to Republican groups. Of the 231 assaults, 148 have been attributed to Loyalist and 83 to Republican groups. I have arranged for a copy of the monthly figures to be placed in the Library.

12. Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has received concerning the establishment of an anti-intimidation unit relating to punishment beatings and threats. [98776]

Mr. Ingram: The establishment of such a unit has so far been raised only by my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Derbyshire (Mr. Barnes) and by my right hon.

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Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field). I shall be writing to my right hon. and hon. Friends with a detailed response on this issue shortly.

Peace Process

11. Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on political development in Northern Ireland. [98775]

17. Mr. Curry: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on progress towards establishing a devolved Government in Northern Ireland according to the terms of the Good Friday agreement. [98781]

26. Mr. David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress is being made on the implementation of the Good Friday agreement. [98791]

27. Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Mitchell review. [98792]

28. Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the progress of the peace process. [98793]

Mr. Mandelson: I refer my hon. Friends, the hon. Members and the right hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Dr. Palmer) on 24 November 1999, Official Report, column 604.

Civic Forum

13. Mr. Woolas: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress is being made on the establishment of a civic forum in Northern Ireland. [98777]

Mr. Mandelson: On 16 February 1999 the Assembly agreed a report from the First and Deputy First Ministers (designate) which included arrangements for a consultative Civic Forum. The report identified the sectoral interests which should be represented and guidelines which should be adhered to by nominating bodies. Work is ongoing to ensure the establishment of the Civic Forum within six months of devolution.

Pensioners

14. Barbara Follett: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the impact of the Chancellor's pre-Budget report statement of 9 November 1999, Official Report, columns 883-906, on the living standards of pensioners in Northern Ireland. [98778]

Mr. George Howarth: Pensioners in Northern Ireland are benefiting fully from the Government's strategy to provide effective help for today's pensioners. The extension of the 10p income tax rate to savings, free TV licences for older pensioners together with the other

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measures already announced, including the £100 Winter Fuel Payment and extra targeted support for poorer pensioners through the Minimum Income Guarantee, reinforce the Government's commitment to pensioners throughout the United Kingdom .

EU Structural Funds

18. Judy Mallaber: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what consultation he is having in Northern Ireland on future EU structural funding. [98782]

Mr. Ingram: Consultation in relation to the EU structural funds within Northern Ireland is being taken forward by the Interim EU Programmes' Development Committee which is made up of representatives of the Northern Ireland Assembly Parties, local government and the economic and social partners.

Small Business

19. Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the impact of the Chancellor's pre-Budget report statement of 9 November 1999, Official Report, columns 883-906, on small businesses in Northern Ireland. [98783]

Mr. McFall: It is clearly too early to make any specific judgment in relation to the pre-Budget report's impact on small businesses in Northern Ireland. However, there are many aspects of the strategy which are aligned to the work of the Local Enterprise Development Unit (LEDU), the agency responsible for small business development in Northern Ireland.

Royal Ulster Constabulary

20. Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the role played by RUC officers overseas. [98784]

Mr. Ingram: The RUC have seven officers serving with the United Nations International Police Task Force in Bosnia where they are monitoring the performance of the Bosnian police service. 60 RUC officers have recently taken up positions with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo where they are undertaking an executive policing role pending a new Kosovan police service being trained and ready to take over law enforcement there.

21. Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement committing the Government to the retention of the name and badge insignia of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. [98785]

Mr. Ingram: The Government are currently consulting on the proposals of the Independent Commission on Policing as required by the Belfast Agreement. An announcement on the way forward will follow completion of the consultation process.

Devolution

23. Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Ministers there will be in the devolved Northern Ireland Administration; and what the total bill will be for salaries. [98787]

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Mr. Mandelson: Ten in addition to the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister. Costs in a full financial year are estimated at £1 million.

Maternity Services

24. Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress he has made in improving maternity provision in Northern Ireland. [98788]

Mr. George Howarth: Over the past 12 months maternity provision has been examined throughout Northern Ireland. As a result of risk assessment exercises one unit has closed temporarily and remedial action to improve safety is under way in others. In central Belfast a decision aimed at unifying and improving maternity services will be made soon.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on midwifery services in Northern Ireland. [98772]

Mr. George Howarth: The Government are encouraging Boards and Trusts to implement models of midwifery-led care which offer women greater choice. Progress is being made in this area and midwifery-led care is now available in a number of hospitals.

Paramilitary Crime

25. Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the number of paramilitary crimes committed in Northern Ireland since the signing of the Belfast Agreement. [98790]

Mr. Ingram: From the signing of the Belfast Agreement on 10 April 1998 there have been a total of 47 deaths, 258 shootings and 178 bombings. These figures do not cover crimes such as armed robbery, drugs, counterfeiting, racketeering, extortion and smuggling in which paramilitary groups also engage.

In addition, there have been a total of 345 paramilitary style attacks.

Scottish Universities (Student Funding)

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the financing of students domiciled in Northern Ireland studying at Scottish universities. [99437]

Mr. McFall: Such students are currently subject to the same arrangements as all Northern Ireland domiciled students who are attending universities in the United Kingdom. I am awaiting the Report of the review on fees for students in the final honours year of first degree courses at Scottish universities being carried out by an independent committee, chaired by Sir George Quigley.


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