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27 Oct 2003 : Column 128W—continued

Individual Learning Accounts

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the organisation of (a) revised individual learning accounts and (b) career development loans in Northern Ireland. [132787]

Jane Kennedy: The information is as follows:

Individual learning accounts You will be aware that provision was not made in the Northern Ireland budget for a replacement ILA scheme in the 2003–04 financial year. The development work on a replacement individual learning account (ILA) scheme

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will be taken account of in the light of the Review of Further Education and the development of the Skills Strategy. Consequently, the provision of adult learning in Northern Ireland will be reviewed in line with the recommendations contained in both documents. Despite the much-publicised difficulties with individual learning accounts, the approach proved popular and successful with learners and, for this reason, I anticipate that the model will be considered alongside other funding support mechanisms in the review of adult learning.

Career development loans

Work to date has indicated that the scale of potential demand in Northern Ireland for Career Development Loans Scheme renders a separate local arrangement unviable. Representatives from the Department have been in liaison with their counterparts in Great Britain to ascertain how we can work together to determine how Career Development Loans can be introduced into Northern Ireland. Great Britain has embarked upon a major review of adult learning that includes Career Development Loans. In light of this, I have asked the Department to keep abreast of developments, and await the outcome of the major review work prior to embarking on detailed plans to extend the GB scheme here.

Integrated Development Fund

Mr. Hume: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the progress of plans for the Integrated Development Fund announced in March 2003 and on the quality of engagement with local key bodies and individuals; whether there will be technical support provided by the Departments; and whether there are safeguards to ensure that the fund is treated as additional rather than mainstream spending. [133008]

Mr. Pearson: The purpose of the Integrated Development Fund (IDF) is to provide additional support to strong wide-ranging partnerships initially in a small number of areas. On 12 August 2003, I formally invited bids from the Integrated Development Fund in the context of integrated development plans for the North West, West Belfast and Greater Shankill and the South Down fishing villages.

I can confirm that all the key local partner organisations have been engaging positively in each of the three areas to progress the development of integrated plans and identify the resources which may be required to support the plans.

Relevant Government Departments, in their role as active partner organisations, are involved in providing the necessary information and support, and helping to ensure that plans are consistent with existing Government strategies.

I have made clear that the monies available to the Fund are additional and intended to be used to remove particular blockages where there is compelling evidence that there are no resources available from any other sources, including Departments' own spending plans, for the purpose. The removal of such blockages should

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be seen to enable the full implementation of plans to go forward. The Fund is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for existing mainstream funding.

International Bodies

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the total cost of (a) the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference, (b) the British-Irish Council and (c) the North-South Implementation Bodies has been since April 1998. [132095]

Mr. Paul Murphy: A breakdown of the costs in each year since December 1999, when these bodies were established, is set out as follows:

(a) The information requested by the hon. Member for Strangford on the total cost of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conferences since 1999 can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The expenditure of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Secretariat is met by the two governments and the cost to the British Government since 2 December 1999 is as follows:


(34) The BIIGC was established on 2 December 1999.The figure for that year covers the period 2 December 1999 to 31 March 2000.

(35) Provisional figure (April to September 2003).

(b) Each member of the British-Irish Council is responsible for the costs of its participation. The British and Irish Governments provide the secretariat for the Council, in co-ordination with officials of each of the other members, and bear the costs between them. It is, therefore, not possible to provide the total cost of the Council since its inception in December 1999.

(c) I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 7 July 2003, Official Report, column 596W.

North/South Ministerial Council

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the total cost has been since April 1998 of the North/South Ministerial Council. [132093]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The information requested in respect of the North/South Ministerial Council is set out in the table.

PeriodTotal cost
December 1999 to December 20001,027,000
January 2001 to December 20012,025,000
January 2002 to December 20021,525,790

The first meeting of the North/South Ministerial Council took place in December 1999. Financial information for the calendar year 2003 is not yet available.

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Pension Credits

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the take-up rate for pension credits is in each Northern Ireland parliamentary constituency. [132792]

Mr. Spellar: Take-up refers to the percentage of those eligible who are actually claiming pension credit. As the number eligible for pension credit is not known, the take-up rate is also unknown. The numbers currently receiving pension credit and the numbers of people of pensionable age are shown in the table.

Parliamentary ConstituencyNumber of Pension Credit ClaimantsNumber of Persons aged 60 and over (Census 2001 data)
Belfast East3,74219,076
Belfast North5,84818,745
Belfast South3,19416,989
Belfast West5,86713,725
East Antrim2,77215,329
East Londonderry3,88415,216
Fermanagh and South Tyrone5,33016,438
Lagan Valley3,18117,928
Mid Ulster4,72213,067
Newry and Armagh5,51416,342
North Antrim4,38819,296
North Down2,79618,497
South Antrim3,02616,126
South Down4,37017,281
Upper Bann4,65417,374
West Tyrone4,77913,481
Northern Ireland76,877296,912

Police Service Training College

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what funding has been made available for the new Police Service of Northern Ireland training college; what progress has been made in identifying a site for the college; and if he will make a statement. [134821]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The project for the provision of a new police college is of key importance and has the Government's full commitment to see the project through to completion.

The project is being progressed by the Police College Project Board (chaired by the PSNI and with representatives from the NIO and Policing Board) and an Outline Business Case was recently approved by Treasury, allowing the project to proceed to procurement stage.

The procurement is to take the form of a Public Private Partnership (PPP), wherein the successful developer will incur all of the costs associated with the design, build and maintenance of the premises in return for an annual fee over the lifespan of the facility. Consultants have been appointed to project manage the scheme, for which full funding has been provided.

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In relation to the site of the new college, the PSNI and the Policing Board have carried out an exercise to identify a suitable site for the location of the facility and this process is due to reach a conclusion shortly. Provision for funding has been made for the purchase of the site.

Public Disorder

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many public disorder incidents there were in the Cluan Place/Short Strand area from 1 June to 30 September in (a) 2003 and (b) 2002; and what (i) police man hours and (ii) the number of arrests were during the two periods. [132950]

Jane Kennedy: The table below lists the statistics requested in relation to Cluan Place/Short Strand for the years 2002 and 2003.

YearIncidentsArrestMan Hours

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