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20 Mar 2003 : Column 893W—continued

North-South Ministerial Council

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the total cost is in 2002–03 of the Secretariat of the north south ministerial council. [103251]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The 2002–03 budget allocation for the north/south ministerial council joint secretariat (north) is £735,000. Final outturn figures for 2002–03 will not be available for some time.


Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what impact he expects the implementation of the proposed OFT recommendations to have upon people employed in community pharmacies; [103329]

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Mr. Browne: The Office of Fair Trading examined the UK market for retail pharmacy services in order to consider whether consumers are best served by the current statutory controls under which pharmacies can dispense NHS prescriptions. The OFT conclusion was that they are not and their report therefore recommended abolition of these controls in order to improve competition; reduce prices for over the counter medicines; and improve both access to, and the quality of, pharmaceutical services.

Competition and consumer matters are reserved to the United Kingdom Government in Westminster and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry is responsible for co-ordinating the response across Government to the report. However, Health Service pharmacy policy is a devolved matter and the regulations imposing controls on pharmacies are a matter for Ministers in each country. The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry is therefore working closely with Health Departments and other Government Departments to make sure that Government's response to the report takes account not only of competition and consumer interests, but widerpublic policy objectives. It is not considered that the report will affect current prescription charge arrangements.

No decisions have been reached on the OFT recommendation and, as yet, there are no proposals for changes to the legislation. We have invited views from a wide range of stakeholders and are considering these carefully. This includes responses from political representatives, the pharmaceutical profession, the Health Service, patient representative bodies and the general public.

Publicity and Advertising

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much (a) his Department and (b) each agency and non-departmental public body sponsored by his Department spent on (i) publicity and (ii) advertising in each year from 1995–96 to 2002–03 (estimated); and if he will make a statement. [92243]

Mr. Paul Murphy: For the Northern Ireland Office it is not possible to disaggregate spend on publicity and advertising. The figures below cover both, for the core Department and its Agencies. Information on NDPBs is not held centrally.



* Full year estimate based on spend to date.

Within the Northern Ireland administration it was not possible to disaggregate figures for publicity and advertising in all cases. Combined figures for publicity and advertising for the Northern Ireland Departments, its agencies and NDPBs for each year are set out in the following table.

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2002–03* 2,265,3937,229,788

* Estimated.

Royal Prerogative of Mercy

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions the Royal Prerogative of Mercy has been exercised in respect of members of terrorist organisations in Northern Ireland in each year since 1998. [85886]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I am sorry for the delay in replying.

Since 1998 the Royal Prerogative of Mercy has been granted 18 times in respect of individuals convicted of terrorist offences relating to Northern Ireland. The breakdown of cases is as follows:

Stevens Inquiry

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost was of the Stevens inquiry in each year since its establishment; and which Department is meeting the cost. [102641]

Jane Kennedy: The cost of the Stevens inquiry in each year since its establishment is:


These costs are being met by the PSNI, which receives its funding through the Northern Ireland Office.


Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much money has been allocated to swimming in Northern Ireland from (a) lottery funding and (b) Exchequer funding, in (i) 2000–01, (ii) 2001–02, (iii) 2002–03 and (iv) 2003–04; and for which country the two swimmers allocated funding to prepare for the 2004 Olympic Games will be competing. [103708]

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Angela Smith: The total amount of money allocated to swimming in Northern Ireland from (a) lottery funding and (b) Exchequer funding in the years listed is as follows:


(a) Lottery43,86132,82826,468Not available
(b) Exchequer20,00020,00023,500Not available


The lottery figures take into account awards made from the Talented Athlete, Talented Athlete Next Generation and Talented Junior programmes.

Two swimmers are currently on funding programmes associated with the Lottery Sports Fund and both have as their targeted events, competition at the 2004 Olympic Games. Both athletes, as members of the local governing body for the sport, Swim Ulster, which is affiliated with the national governing body, Swim Ireland, will compete for Ireland if selected for Olympic competition. However, selection for competition at the 2004 Olympic Games has not yet taken place and it would be premature to state that either swimmer will be competing.


Television Licence

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many households received free TV licences in (a) 2000–01 and (b) 2001–02, broken down by type of licence; how many households are expected to receive free TV licences in (i) 2002–03, (ii) 2003–04, (iii) 2004–05 and (iv) 2005–06; and what the cost has been. [103805]

Dr. Howells: The number of free licences issued, by type of licence and in total, in 2000–01 and 2001–02, the forecast total for each of the years 2002–03 to 2005–06 (for which a breakdown by type of licence is not available), and the actual or forecast costs for each year, are as follows.

Number of free licences issued by type of licence (thousands)
ColourBlackand whiteAccommodation for residential careTotal free licences issued (thousands)Cost(£ million)
2000–012,963 361543,153323
2003–04(1) 3,927407
2004–05(1) 3,952425
2005–06(1) 3,982448

(1) Forecast


Expenditure is in nominal terms and for the United Kingdom.

Numbers and forecasts of licences issued are rounded to the nearest thousand.

Actual and forecast costs are rounded to the nearest million pounds.


For 2000–01 and 2001–02: Ernst and Young Audit Reports.

For 2002–03 and subsequent years: pre-Budget report, November 2002

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Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many people were (a) eligible for and (b) in receipt of a free TV licence in each of the last three years in Chorley constituency. [104071]

Dr. Howells: TV Licensing, which administers free television licences for the over-75s as agent for the BBC, is not able to provide geographical breakdowns of the number of free licences issued. However, estimates based on the 1991 Census indicate that there were approximately 5,700 people aged 75 or over living in the Chorley constituency.

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