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15 Jan 2004 : Column 832Wcontinued
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the results were of the investigation into the accident involving a military helicopter in Lough Foyle, County Londonderry on 19 July 2002. 
The Board of Inquiry into the accident is not yet complete. The investigation is expected to be completed later in the year and I will write to the hon. Member with the outcome and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
Angela Smith: The Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee is required, by regulation, to obtain an actuarial valuation of the assets and liabilities of its pension fund every three years. The next actuarial valuation exercise takes place on 31 March 2004. Each quarter the Committee and the fund's actuary monitor the position and the Department of the Environment is advised accordingly, on a regular basis.
Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the estimated additional cost of a rise in the current employer contribution rate to 11.9 per cent. for the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers'
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Superannuation Fund would be to his Department's annual budget; and whether the spending plans for 200506 reflect such a possible increase. 
Angela Smith: For all employing authorities contributing to the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Fund, the estimated cost of an increase from the current employer contribution rate of 4.6 per cent. to 11.9 per cent. would incur further contribution income amounting to £32,605,830 in one year. There are currently 209 employing authorities, including district councils, education and library boards, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Housing Associations and certain schools and colleges, all of which would have to budget for any increase.
The rate of 11.9 per cent. is, however, at this stage, an indication of the potential required increase and the position will be determined when the actuarial valuation of the fund, as at 31 March 2004, is obtained by the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee. It is anticipated that a stepped approach to increasing contribution rates would be adopted, over the period 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2007. The position would also be reassessed at the 31 March 2007 valuation. Efforts would be made to keep annual increases in the contribution rate within the range of 2 per cent. to 4 per cent. of pensionable payroll. 200506 spending plans do not, as yet, take account of any potential increase.
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Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the (a) Director General and (b) Director of Operations of the Northern Ireland Prison Service have been provided with accommodation on the Stormont estate. 
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost to public funds has been of providing accommodation in the Stormont Estate for the Director General and Director of Operations of the Northern Ireland Prison Service. 
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In the case of the Director General and Director of Operations of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, office accommodation in the Stormont Estate is provided through Northern Ireland Prison Service Headquarters at Dundonald House.
(3) what measures are taken by his officials to enforce the rules regulating the party political use of Government buildings; and how many times they have been breached since 1997. 
The Prime Minister: Section 6 of the Ministerial Code, which was last revised in June 2001, provides guidance on the use of Government property for party political purposes. Section 3 of the Civil Service Code, which was last revised in May 1999, is also relevant and it is for each Department to enforce the rules. No central records on this are held.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what the (a) number and (b) salary cost of special advisers was in each Department in each year from 199596 to 200203; and if he will make a statement; 
The Prime Minister: Since July 2002, I have published on an annual basis details of the number of special advisers by pay band and Department and their overall cost. Information for the financial years 200203 and 200304 is available in the Library of the House. The total salary cost for special advisers in 200304 will be published as soon as the information is available at the end of the financial year.
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Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment the Department has made of the extent to which (a) the closure of county magistrates courts and (b) the pressure on the Courts Service's outlying civil and family estate affect the distance people are required to travel to have access to justice in each region. 
Mr. Leslie: The extra time and distance people are required to travel is always carefully considered when magistrates courts are closed. Other factors taken into consideration are workload, the facilities available and the costs of renovations which would be required to bring a court up to standard. All of these are assessed when I consider any appeal on a magistrates court closure.
The Court Service has been working with the Magistrates Courts Committees to look at the opportunities to share court accommodation to ease the pressure on the court estate and thereby improve access to justice.
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Home Affairs on delivering an efficient asylum process. 
Mr. Lammy: In the last 12 months the Lord Chancellor and then the Secretary of State and Lord Chancellor has had eight separate meetings which were scheduled to discuss asylum and 15 separate meetings which were scheduled to discuss reform of the criminal justice system with the Home Secretary. They will also have discussed these issues in the context of other meetings.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many asylum appeals were considered by (a) the Court of Appeal and (b) the House of Lords in each of the past two years; and how many such appeals succeeded. 
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which were classified as relating to Immigration and Asylum matters. Five of these appeals were brought by the Secretary of State.
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