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7 Nov 2002 : Column 677Wcontinued
Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will review the arrangements for the granting and collection of Crisis Loans, with particular reference to accessibility in rural areas. 
Malcolm Wicks: We believe that the current arrangements are sufficiently flexible to support a good standard of delivery to customers, regardless of their location.
Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will ensure that regular statements are issued showing the outstanding balance on any budgeting loan; 
(3) if he will (a) increase the maximum possible budgeting loan and (b) review the treatment of outstanding loans. 
Malcolm Wicks: We have improved the standard of information given to applicants to explain Budgeting Loan decisions. In addition to the standard letter of
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notification, we now provide a calculation sheet which sets out, in clear stages, how the final decision has been reached.
The scheme already provides for anyone who finds the repayments terms offered unacceptable to opt for a lower size of loan and lower repayments. In addition, anyone who has difficulty maintaining repayments can ask for the repayment period to be extended so that weekly repayments are reduced to a more manageable level.
The #1000 limit on total debt to the Social Fund has been set to ensure access to a reasonable and manageable level of credit which recognises the possible needs of people on Income Support and income-based Jobseeker's Allowance. It means that debt owed to the Social Fund is kept to a manageable level. Keeping the limit at its present level means repayment deductions from benefit can be set at a reasonable level.
We continue to keep all elements of the Social Fund under review to see whether further improvements can be made to its operation and to ensure that the Fund supports our wider welfare reforms.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what the membership is of the Organised Crime Task Force in Northern Ireland. 
Jane Kennedy: The Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF), which I chair, is a Government led multi-agency initiative to tackle organised crime. It is made up of the Northern Ireland Office, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Her Majesty's Customs & Excise, National Criminal Intelligence Service, Home Office and the Inland Revenue. The Task Force is supported by a number of sub groups and expert groups comprising of other Government departments and agencies with a role to play in tackling organised crime including the Health and Safety Executive, Trading Standards Services and the Environment and Heritage Service
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what funds have been allocated specifically for tackling organised crime in Northern Ireland. 
Jane Kennedy: It is for the law enforcement agencies to decide what resources should be allocated to tackling organised crime effectively in order to deliver their operational strategies.
The Organised Crime Task Force seeks to bring the Agencies together in a way that respects their independence and autonomy and allows them to share information and agree priorities. This enables the agencies to agree shared priorities at a senior level and to commit resources and assistance to each other.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what the terms and conditions are of the appointment of Professor Ronald Goldstock as an adviser to the Secretary of State on organised crime; and what his remuneration is. 
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Jane Kennedy: The Secretary of State appointed Professor Goldstock, ex-director of the New York State Organised Crime Task Force, in March 2002 to act as an independent expert and to provide an international perspective on the problem of organised crime in Northern Ireland.
He has been asked to report to the Secretary of State, with recommendations for tackling the problem and, in particular, to formulate proposals for securing cross-community support for action, drawing on international experience.
His remuneration is 1,000US dollars per diem.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Pursuant to the answer of the Minister of State on 28 October, Official Report, column 513W, on the 11-plus, on what evidence he bases the Government's view on the ending of academic selection and the extent of opposition to this proposal. 
Jane Kennedy: The responses to the consultation and the extent of support for and opposition to academic selection and the other proposals in the Burns Report are set out in a Report on the Consultation published on 8 October by the Department of Education for Northern Ireland. Copies of the Report are being placed in the Library.
No decisions have been taken on academic selection and my officials will be discussing the responses to consultation with our educational partners and representatives of parents over the coming weeks.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, when he received the Quigley review of the operation of the Parades Commission; when he transmitted the report to the (a) Government of Ireland, (b) Northern Ireland political parties, (c) members of the Parades Commission, (d) Loyal Orders and other marching organisations and (e) principal residents' group; what the recommendations of the report are; and when he plans to put it into the public domain. 
Mr. Paul Murphy: Sir George Quigley submitted his report on 27 September 2002. It has now been printed and copies have been placed in the Library. I have circulated the report today and intend to allow a period of consultation up to the end of January next year. I will be seeking a broad cross-section of opinion, including from those parties referred to by my hon. Friend.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people in Northern Ireland suffer from (a) serious sight loss and (b) blindness. 
Desmond Browne: Information is not available in the form requested.
Information collected by the Department from Health and Social Services Trusts showed that, at the end of March 2002, there were around 2,200 people in Northern Ireland registered as visually impaired.
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During the financial year 20012002, there were 2,604 blind and 3,283 partially sighted people recorded by Trusts as being in contact with Social Services personnel.
The numbers of registrations and the numbers of people in contact with Social Services are underestimates of the total number of people with a visual impairment, as not all such people are registered or in regular contact with Social Services.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what (a) area is covered by and (b) the greatest travelling time between doctor and patient is in each general practice out of hours co-operative in Northern Ireland. 
Desmond Browne: The areas covered by each general practice out-of-hours co-operative in the four Health and Social Services Boards is shown in the table below. Also shown is the estimated greatest travelling time between patient and Co-operative.
|Out-of-Hours Co- OP||Areas covered||Estimated greatest travelling time|
|Belfast Doctors on Call (BELDOC)||North and West Belfast||30 mins|
|South East Belfast Doctors on Call (SEBDOC)||South and East Belfast||20 mins|
|North Down and Ards Doctors on Call (NDADOC)||North Down and Ards Peninsula||1 hour|
|South Down Doctors on call (DOWNEDOC)||South Down||30 mins|
|Association of Southern Area Doctors on Call (ASADOC) Moy Centre||Armagh and Dungannon||1 hour|
|ASADOC Moylinn Centre||Craigavon and Banbridge||1 hour|
|ASADOC Newry Centre||Newry and Mourne||1 hour|
|Dalriada Doctors on Call(DALDOC) operates from 4 permanent out-of- hours centres in Ballymena, Coleraine, Moneymore and Newtownabbey and 2 part time in Antrim Hospital and Moyle Hospital||Coleraine, Moneymore, Ballymena, Antrim and Newtownabbey||40 mins|
|Foyle Doctors on Call (FOYLEDOC)||Londonderry and Eglington||30 mins|
|ROEDOC||Limavady, Dungiven, Feeny and Claudy||35mins|
|MOURNEDOC||Strabane, Donemana, Castlederg and Newtownstewart||30mins|
|WESTDOC||Fermanagh, Fintona, Dromore, Drumquin, Carrickmore, Gortin and Plumbridge||30mins|
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Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how many (a) doctors and
Desmond Browne: The number of doctors and practices involved in general practice out-of-hours co-operatives in each of the four Health and Social Services Boards is shown in the table below.
|Out-of-Hours Co- OP||Number of GPs||Number of Practices|
|Belfast Doctors on Call (BELDOC)||63||22|
|South East Belfast Doctors on Call (SEBDOC)||80||28|
|North Down and Ards Doctors on Call (NDADOC)||79||29|
|South Down Doctors on call (DOWNEDOC)||32||13|
|Association of Southern Area Doctors on Call (ASADOC) Moy Centre||63||22|
|ASADOC Moylinn Centre||75||25|
|ASADOC Newry Centre||51||22|
|Dalriada Doctors on Call(DALDOC) operates from 4 permanent out-of- hours centres in Ballymena, Coleraine, Moneymore and Newtownabbey and 2 part time in Antrim Hospital and Moyle Hospital||244||78|
|Foyle Doctors on Call (FOYLEDOC)||71||16|
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