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10 Feb 2003 : Column 561W—continued


Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps are being taken to assist TK-ECC and its workforce as a result of the announcement of redundancies at its Dundonald plant. [95533]

Mr. Pearson: TK-ECC at Dundonald is facing a decision about making reductions to its workforce by up to 300 jobs. This is a commercial decision, forced on a company which is in a commodity market where margins are continually tight. Invest NI has been working with the company to help it achieve efficiencies and operational improvements. A competitiveness assessment has been undertaken to identify areas requiring development and improvement and Invest NI has offered assistance for a consultancy assignment aimed at improving the factory layout, production and materials handling processes.

Regional staff of the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) have already been in contact with the company to discuss the services DEL can provide to support any employees who might be affected should the company be forced to implement staff reductions. While appreciating the early offer of help, the company has decided to defer detailed discussions with DEL regional staff until a decision has been made on the timing of any actual reductions which may take place and how they may be implemented.

Ulster Hospital

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the situation at the Ulster hospital, with special reference to bed capacity, trolley waits, delayed discharges and the level of funding of the hospital from the 1990s. [95970]

Mr. Browne: The recent pressures at the Ulster hospital have exceeded the available bed capacity and have resulted in some patients having to wait on trolleys before a bed becomes available. The staff at the hospital have responded with great commitment and have tried to minimise the impact of these pressures.

A number of actions are being taken to provide a resolution to the underlying problems. There is a very significant expansion and redevelopment scheme under way at the Ulster hospital, which will increase bed capacity and improve acute services in the area. This has included the provision of 20 extra acute beds, which were opened in December 2002.

The Trust is continuing in its efforts to minimise the number of delayed discharges, and the hospital discharge team has been successful in resettling a

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number of patients on a fast-track basis to community care accommodation. In order to free beds for acute admissions, the Trust also utilises beds in the Ards and Bangor community hospitals for suitable patients.

The Trust is also working closely with the Eastern Health and Social Services Board and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, on a Service Improvement Project, which aims to improve throughput and maximise the use of bed capacity at the Ulster hospital.

With regard to resources, the level of funding for the Trust has increased from £48 million in 1993–94 to £144 million in 2001–02.


Ministerial Travel

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many times since 2001 he has taken flights on departmental duties in the UK; how many of these were (a) charter flights, (b) first or club class and (c) by helicopter; and who accompanied him on each trip. [95397]

Peter Hain : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 22 January 2003, Official Report, column 334W.

Strategic Rail Authority

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what representations he has made to the Strategic Rail Authority in relation to the maintenance of rail services within the Wales and Borders franchise; and if he will make a statement. [96806]

Peter Hain: My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary and I have had discussions with SRA representatives about a number of issues, including the new Wales and Borders franchise.

The Authority have made it clear that they will not consider any franchise proposals that suggest a closure of routes in Wales.

Students (National Assembly)

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) if he will establish an inquiry into leaks to media concerning the question of further devolution of powers with regard to tuition fees and maintenance grants to the National Assembly for Wales; [96992]

Peter Hain: No.

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Legal Services Commission

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many Legal Services Commission practices were issued in (a) 2000 and (b) 2002. [95483]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I believe the hon. Member is referring to the number of contracts issued by the Legal Services Commission during 2000 and 2002. The number for both civil and criminal contracts are recorded.

The Legal Services Commission introduced contracting for civil legal aid from January 2000. On 1 January 2000, 5,012 general civil contracts were issued. A further 330 general civil contracts were issued during the rest of that year.

In 2002, 213 additional contracts were issued.

The Commission introduced contracting for criminal legal aid from April 2001. In 2001, 3,055 general criminal contracts were issued.

In 2002, a further 141 contracts were issued.

Publicity and Advertising

Mr. Laws: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how much (a) her Department and (b) each agency and non-departmental public body sponsored by her Department spent on (i) publicity and (ii) advertising in each year from 1995–96 to 2002–03 (estimated); and if she will make a statement. [92235]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested, and available without disproportionate cost, is set out in the table. The increased spend on advertising and publicity by the Lord Chancellor's core Department in 2000–02 was mainly accounted for by a public information campaign about the services of the new Community Legal Service, which was launched in April 2000.

Lord Chancellor's Departments' Spending on Advertising and Publicity, 1995–96 to 2002–03

Lord Chancellor's Department
Court Service00
Northern Ireland Court Service013,180
Public Guardianship Office00
Public Record Office17514,660
HM Land Registry9,79560,400
Lord Chancellor's Department011,600
Court Service00
Northern Ireland Court Service013,730
Public Guardianship Office00
Public Record Office1,27035,950
HM Land Registry11,80078,650
Lord Chancellor's Department136,7306,000
Court Service036,950
Northern Ireland Court Service014,670
Public Guardianship Office066,900
Public Record Office4,06546,840
HM Land Registry12,365163,100
Lord Chancellor's Department422,000399,300
Court Service5,000136,000
Northern Ireland Court Service015,140
Public Guardianship Office070,200
Public Record Office7,15038,000
HM Land Registry9,00084,775
Lord Chancellor's Department0235,410
Court Service18,18033,140
Northern Ireland Court Service0110,865
Public Guardianship Office078,900
Public Record Office2,600115,500
HM Land Registry13,385158,790
Lord Chancellor's Department4,179,3001,347,600
Court Service42,50027,650
Northern Ireland Court Service4,68038,460
Public Guardianship Office070,600
Public Record Office8,73062,250
HM Land Registry2,44560,900
Lord Chancellor's Department0694,345
Court Service0212,700
Northern Ireland Court Service027,880
Public Guardianship Office068,760
Public Record Office5,25061,900
HM Land Registry0140,000
Lord Chancellor's Department15,800835,575
Court Service31,45037,420
Northern Ireland Court Service00
Public Guardianship Office00
Public Record Office4,53563,250
HM Land Registry14,000154,000

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