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Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many employees of the Magistrates Courts Service have (a) had their salaries cut and (b) been downgraded as a consequence of his reorganisation of the magistrates courts. 
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magistrates court; and what this distance will be under the new administrative arrangements being considered by her Department. 
Jane Kennedy: I am not considering any "new administrative arrangements". I understand West Yorkshire Magistrates Courts Service have consulted on possible changes to Petty Sessions Areas within the county. The consultation period is now closed and the magistrates courts committee (MCC) met yesterday to discuss the outcome.
There is no set distance someone is expected to travel to attend a magistrates court. The concept of "local justice" will differ depending on the MCC area concerned. As a locally managed service, each magistrates courts committee is responsible for providing an efficient and effective service to court users. It is for the committee to decide whether its number and location of courthouses meet its needs as it has the best knowledge of the local area.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what representations she has had from the Magistrates Association and other groups involved in the civil justice system expressing concern over plans to rationalise the court areas of the magistracy. 
Jane Kennedy: The Lord Chancellor's Department has not received any representations from either the Magistrates Association or other groups involved in the civil justice system expressing concern over plans to rationalise the court areas of the magistracy either in West Yorkshire magistrates courts committee area or any other magistrates courts committee area.
6. Mr. David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he will announce the Government's plans in relation to compensation for pre-1982 police widows and their families. 
Dr. Reid: On 21 March I was pleased to announce that the Government had decided to double the amount of the lump sum payments recommended in the Steele Report to be made to the pre-November 1982 police widows.
Mr. Ingram: The Government are committed to the implementation of the recommendations of the Patten report on policing in Northern Ireland. A major programme of change is under way, and I want to pay tribute to the commitment with which the police service
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is taking it forward. As the joint statement issued by the British and Irish Governments on 8 March said, we hope that discussions with political parties will result in agreement on remaining issues in June.
Mr. Ingram: The Government are grateful to members of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland for agreeing to stay on for a short period. This will ensure police accountability while we continue discussions before establishing the new Policing Board.
15. Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to promote exchanges between the police service in Northern Ireland and the Garda Siochana. 
Mr. Ingram: During the period 15 February until 15 March there have been two deaths, 26 shooting incidents and nine bombing incidents relating to the security situation. During the same period there have been 18 paramilitary style shootings, nine attributed to Loyalist and nine attributed to Republican groups. Twenty-six paramilitary assaults have taken place, 16 attributed to Loyalist groups and 10 attributed to Republican groups.
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Shots fired by terrorists
Shots fired by the security forces
Paramilitary style attacks involving shootings
Shots heard (and later confirmed)
Other violent incidents where shots are fired (e.g. armed robbery)
|By Loyalist||By Republican|
Figures for 2000-01 are provisional and may be subject to minor adjustment.
Dr. Reid: Substantial progress has been made in implementing the Belfast Agreement. There remain several outstanding issues to be resolved if the institutions are to flourish as we wish, principally policing reform, decommissioning and the normalisation of security arrangements. The constructive all-party discussions at Hillsborough on 8 March provided a basis on which I believe that these issues can be addressed and resolved in the coming months.
Dr. Reid: The strength and stability of the Northern Ireland economy in recent years has been an important factor in creating the right conditions for advancing the peace process. Political progress has in turn had a positive effect on the economy, bringing tangible benefits to everyone and so helping to encourage support for further progress.
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