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15 Jan 2003 : Column 693W—continued

University Research Funding

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland why the results of the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise relating to university funding for Northern Ireland are not being funded. [86460]

Jane Kennedy : I am pleased to advise that, in the financial year 2003–04 and in each of the subsequent two financial years an additional #10 million has been allocated to the two universities for research related

15 Jan 2003 : Column 694W

work. This increase is in response to their improved performance in the recent Research Assessment Exercise and in recognition of the essential role played by the universities in overall research and development in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Dodds : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the level of central Government funding for university research for the current year for Northern Ireland per head of population was. [86463]

Jane Kennedy: Recurrent grant aid to the Northern Ireland universities for 2002–03 from the Department for Employment and Learning, based on the 2001 Census figures, amounts to #16.41 per head of population. Additionally, #4.09 per head is profiled to be spent through the Support Programme for University Research and #1.74 through the Science Research Investment Fund. These figures disregard capital funding not specifically for research initiatives and research funded by other Departments.

West Credit Card

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if the investigation into the West Credit Card Scandal has been completed; and when the report of the investigation will be made available to Parliament. [90182]

Mr. Pearson: A report on the allegations made about the affairs of Into the West (Tyrone & Fermanagh) Ltd. is well advanced and a final report will be issued to the funding bodies and the Northern Ireland Audit Office by February 2003.