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16 Jan 2003 : Column 775W—continued

Local Education Authority Finance

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list for each Local Education Authority the formula spending share, expressed as the amount available for each pupil, in (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools for financial year 2003–04 and subsequent years for which data are available. [88637]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 13 January 2003]: I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 8 January 2003, Official Report, columns 231–33W.

London Mayor (Budget)

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions he has had with the Mayor of London regarding his draft budget; and if he will make a statement. [90288]

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Mr. Leslie: My hon. Friend the Member for Harrow East (Mr. McNulty) has regular monthly meetings with the Mayor of London at which a wide range of topics are discussed.

Post Office Network

Ms Munn: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assistance he is giving to post offices in low income areas of cities. [90941]

Mr. McNulty: The #15 million Deprived Urban Post Office Fund was launched by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on 30 December 2002. It provides grants of up to #50,000 to sub-postmasters in the most deprived urban areas of England to modernise their branches as part of the Government's long-term drive to regenerate impoverished urban communities.

The grant can be used on new retail facilities, shop alterations or improved security. The aim is to reduce the risk of closure of those branches in deprived urban

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areas, which are not closing as part of the Post Office Urban Network Reinvention scheme. In order to secure funding sub-postmasters will need to show that they are at risk of closure and that the grant will significantly reduce this risk.

More than 400 post office branches in the 10 per cent. most deprived wards without an alternative branch for more than a half a mile will be given priority under the fund. Initially only they will be able to apply for funding. After six months other post office branches in the 10 per cent. most deprived wards will be able to apply and after one year branches in the rest of the 20 per cent. will also become eligible.

Separate schemes have been announced for the rural network and the Welsh network, with schemes under development in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Prosecuting Authorities

Mr. Heald: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister in respect of what offences local authorities may act as prosecuting authorities; what decision-making procedures are used by local authorities in respect of charges; and if he will place in the Library the code for prosecutors and charging standards that is used. [88471]

Mr. Leslie: Local authorities may act as prosecuting authorities in respect of a very wide range of regulatory functions, such as trading standards and environmental health, and their own byelaws. In deciding whether to prosecute, authorities should have regard to the Crown Prosecution Service Code of Practice for Crown Prosecutors, which is already available in the Library of the House. In addition the Cabinet Office and the Local Government Association have drawn up an Enforcement Concordat for adoption by authorities and for some functions statutory Codes of Practice are in force.

Refuse Collection

Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proposals to introduce charging regions for refuse collection have been discussed by his Department as part of public service agreement framework negotiations with local authorities. [88707]

Mr. Meacher: I have been asked to reply.

Defra has successfully negotiated with local authorities more than 70 waste targets as part of the Local PSA framework. A number of local authorities have requested either the power to charge householders for refuse collection, or the power to charge for un-segregated waste at Civic Amenity sites. Defra have not been able to grant such powers due to legislative constraints.

The Cabinet Office's Strategy Unit has carried out a wide ranging review of waste policy and has now reported. One of its main recommendations was that local authorities that wished to take forward household incentive schemes to help reduce waste volumes and increase recycling should be allowed to do so. The Government is currently considering its response to that report.

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Arson Attacks

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Chief Constables Dertificates have been issued in the past 12 months in respect of arson attacks on, (a) Orange Halls, (b) premises owned by the Gaelic Athletic Association clubs, (c) Ancient Order of Hibernian's halls, (d) Roman Catholic chapels or halls, (e) Protestant churches or halls, (f) controlled school buildings and (g) maintained school buildings. [88380]

Jane Kennedy: The maintenance of records about Chief Constables Certificates was decentralised to the district command units upon their establishment on 1 April 2001. Therefore, an answer to the above question could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Back to School Grants

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the criteria are for application for Back to School grants administered by the Northern Ireland Memorial Fund. [87338]

Mr. Browne: The Back to School Grant was launched by the Northern Ireland Memorial Fund on 1 July this year and finished on 30 September. It was run as a pilot scheme and the directors of the Memorial Fund have not yet decided if it should run again next year.

The Back to School Grant was open to parents who had children aged 18 or under in full-time education living at home with them and who, as a result of the Troubles, had:

Christmas Expenses

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many departmental Christmas cards he and his Ministers intend to send in 2002; how much these cards will cost (a) to buy, (b) to post and (c) in staff time to sign, address and place in envelopes; and if he will place in the Library a sample copy of the official Christmas card he has sent this year. [88104]

Jane Kennedy: The total number of Christmas cards sent by the Secretary of State and his Ministers is 3,480 at a cost of #2,582.56.

Of this total 1,623 were sent by first class post at a cost of #767.00.

1,857 were sent by the internal mail service, no cost incurred.

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Approximately 20 hours was spent in staff time in undertaking this work (information previously held on Christmas card lists reduced the time spent on this exercise). The Secretary of State and his Ministers personally signed all cards.

A sample copy of the official 2002 Christmas cards will be placed in the Library.

Discrimination Cases

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discrimination cases involving Government Departments, non-departmental Government bodies and agencies were settled out of court in each of the last three years where confidentiality clauses were invoked. [84126]

Jane Kennedy: The number of discrimination cases involving Government departments, non-departmental government bodies and agencies which were settled out of court in each of the last three years where confidentiality clauses were evoked are shown in the table:

Financial yearNumber of Cases
December 1999–20005

Domestic Violence

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on additional measures to tackle domestic violence in Northern Ireland. [84479]

Jane Kennedy: The PSNI have 35 Domestic Violence Liaison Officers who receive comprehensive training in domestic violence procedures. They support the front-line uniform response officers who are required to take decisive action at the scene of a domestic dispute. The PSNI are also working in partnership with other statutory and voluntary organisations undertaking research into a partnership approach to the problem of domestic violence.

Furthermore, the Northern Ireland Office is currently co-ordinating, on behalf of the Northern Ireland Departments, the development of a strategy to tackle violence against women in Northern Ireland. The strategy will look at a range of crimes where women are predominately the victim including domestic violence. Sexual crime and fear of crime will also be dealt with under the strategy. The tackling violence against women strategy will focus on improving prevention, protection and provision of service to women. The strategy is due for publication in spring 2003.

Although it is generally accepted that domestic violence is predominately directed towards women we must remember that men can also be sufferers. The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety's Regional Forum on Domestic Violence has commissioned research into the experiences of 50 male sufferers of domestic violence. Discussion is ongoing with Queen's University about publication of the

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findings. The Forum will then consider whether additional steps need to be taken to help male sufferers specifically.

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