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27 Nov 2002 : Column 293W—continued

Official Document Theft (Security Implications)

21. Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the security implications of the theft of documents from police and Government offices. [81619]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The Government take the break-in at Castlereagh and the alleged terrorist intelligence-gathering operation at Stormont very seriously.

Sir John Chilcot has been asked to conduct a review of the national security implications of the break-in at Castlereagh. A progress report has been received from Sir John, but as you will understand, the nature of the material it contains means that it is not appropriate to make it public.

A team from the Security Service is currently undertaking a review of security procedures in the Northern Ireland Office, and I look forward to reading their report. Progress on their recommendations may be made within weeks as improvements are identified, but the review cannot be concluded until after the related police investigations are concluded.

Community Policing

22. Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the role of the Police Service of Northern Ireland in community policing. [81620]

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Jane Kennedy: It is the policy of the Police Service of Northern Ireland to promote community policing as a core function of all policing activity by gearing its service towards meeting locally identified priorities and needs. The Police Service has recently published a policy document, XPolicing with the Community in Northern Ireland", which they are arranging to place on their website. I have placed a copy in the Library.

The Government have made clear its intention, through the coming policing legislation, to clarify the centrality of community policing in the work of PSNI and the Board's role in monitoring this.


23. Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the recent level of violence in Northern Ireland. [81621]

Jane Kennedy: The recent outbreak of renewed violence at the interface in East Belfast is disappointing and is to be condemned. There is evidence that this was clearly orchestrated with the intent of stirring up again sectarian tensions within the area. The sight of a gunman on the streets cannot be tolerated.

It is time for republican and loyalist paramilitary groups to make a commitment to end all forms of violence.

Aggregates Levy

24. Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what research his Department has carried out in the last six months regarding the impact of the introduction of the aggregates levy in Northern Ireland. [81622]

Mr. Pearson: None. Responsibility for policy regarding the aggregates levy rests with HM Treasury/Customs and Excise.


25. Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the security situation. [81623]

Jane Kennedy: Dissident Republicans remain a threat to the peace process but for the most part their activities have been thwarted, intercepted or nullified by good policing operations. Sectarian violence continues to blight both communities in interface areas in Northern Ireland.

Recent activities by paramilitary groups on ceasefire have given cause for concern and the Secretary of State will continue to make judgments as set out in legislation under the Sentences Act 1998, particularly section 3(9).

However, ceasefires in themselves are not enough and we must now see a real and permanent end to the activities of all paramilitary organisations.

Schools (Religious Division)

26. Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proposals he has to end religious division in schools. [81624]

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Jane Kennedy: The Government do not seek to impose any particular type of education. The policy in Northern Ireland is that children should be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents providing this does not involve unreasonable public expenditure.

All schools are open to all pupils regardless of religion. All schools should further understanding of the diversity of national, religious and ethnic identities, and the need for mutual respect and tolerance.

Employment Equality

28. Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on progress towards equality in employment between women and men in Northern Ireland. [81626]

Mr. Browne: The Programme for Government contains a commitment to bring forward a cross-Departmental gender equality strategy during 2003. This will strengthen work being done under section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

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The strategy, including baseline indicators, is being developed in consultation with the Equality Commission and voluntary and community sector groups.

Parades Commission

29. Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the Quigley Report into the Parades Commission. [81627]

Jane Kennedy: Sir George Quigley's Report into the Parades Commission was issued for consultation on 7 November 2002. The consultation period will last until the end of January next year and the Secretary of State is keen to get a broad cross-section of opinion.


30. Sandra Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many nurses were employed in Northern Ireland in 1997; and how many now are employed. [81628]

Mr. Browne: Figures for nurses employed in September 1997 and September 2002, along with the corresponding increase in numbers, are given in the following table:

September 1997 September 2002 Increase
Qualified nurses(2)12,99411,085.2214,13711,933.851,143848.63
Unqualified nurses3,7993,253.374,5063,902.51707649.14
Bank nurses(3)1,356n/a3,048n/a1,692n/a

(1) Whole Time Equivalent

(2) Figures for qualified nurses include health visitors, district nurses, midwives, school nurses, community psychiatric nurses, student health visitors, student midwives and other qualified nurses.

(3) Bank nurses maintain service delivery by covering staffing shortfalls and fluctuating workloads. Due to the variable nature of their employment it is not possible to obtain accurate whole time equivalent data with which to measure their input to the service.


Human Resource Management System


Agency Workers

Mr. Brian Jenkins To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what recent discussions she has had with (a) employment agencies and (b) trade unions regarding the impact of the proposed Directive on Temporary Agency Work; [82948]

Alan Johnson: The DTI commissioned a survey of employment agencies which was conducted by the Bostock Marketing Group (BMG) in 1999. This reported an estimate for the number of temporary agency workers in the UK.

The DTI produced a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) in 2002 which estimate the impact of the proposed EU Directive on Temporary Agency Work. Copies of the RIA are in the Libraries of the House.

To estimate the number of temporary agency workers, the number reported in the BMG survey was adjusted to reflect the rate of growth in the sector as reported by the Labour Force Survey. We estimated the number of agency workers to be 700,000, around 2.5 per cent. of total employment.

The DTI has not conducted any research as to the possible impact of the EU Directive on Temporary Agency Work in other EU countries.

Arms Exports (India)

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what shipments of military aircraft components to India were granted export licences in (a) 2000, (b) 2001 and (c) 2002; and what end-user agreements were reached with the Indian Government in relation to them. [81726]

Nigel Griffiths: The export of military aircraft components is controlled under entries ML2, ML5, ML10, ML11, ML16, ML17, ML21, ML22 and PL5017 in Part III of Schedule 1 of the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994 as amended.

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It would entail disproportionate cost to carry out a search of all export licences issued in 2000, 2001 and 2002 with the above ratings, to establish which covered the proposed export of components for military aircraft, where the end users were in India.

Details of all export licences issued are published by destination in the Government's annual reports on Strategic Export Controls. Copies of the 2000 and 2001 annual reports are available in the Libraries of the House.

The granting of a licence does not necessarily translate into an actual export.

In almost all cases an application for a standard individual export licence, for the proposed permanent export of items controlled for strategic reasons, must be accompanied by an end user undertaking which is consistent with the model format published on the Department of Trade and Industry's Export Control Organisation website. The website address is

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