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4 Feb 2004 : Column 951Wcontinued
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many racist incidents were recorded by the police in Northern Ireland in (a) January and (b) each month in (i) 2003 and (ii) 2002, broken down by constituency; 
Mr. Pearson: None. Industrial de-rating in Northern Ireland predated UK accession to the European Union in 1973. Member states were not required to notify pre accession financial support arrangements.
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Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the likely impact of industrial de-rating on (a) small and medium-sized and (b) large businesses in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Pearson: Our assessment on the likely impact on (a) small and medium-sized and (b) large businesses came from a variety of different sources, including studies by DTZ Pieda, Invest NI and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI ), as well as submissions made during the public consultation exercise in 2002 by the DETI and DFP Assembly Committees and local economists. The policy paper published in April last year included the Regulatory Impact Assessment, New TSN and Equality Impact Assessment and all this evidence was summarised, analysed and considered objectively and the various options were discussed openly with representatives of the business community before a final decision was taken.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the likely impact of his decision to rate vacant premises on (a) small and medium-sized and (b) large businesses in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Pearson: Our assessment on the likely impact on all vacant commercial property, and in particular, small commercial property came from a variety of different sources, including the Regulatory Impact Assessment, New TSN, Equality Impact Assessment, as well as submissions made during the public consultation exercise in 2002 by the DETI and DFP Assembly Committees and submissions from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). All this evidence was summarised, analysed and considered objectively and the various options were discussed openly with representatives of the business community before a final decision was taken. The impact of this measure will be felt by property owners rather than small businesses that tend to rent property and therefore are unlikely to face a vacant rate cost.
Mr. Pearson: The policy document in relation to the "Rating of Vacant Property and the Removal of Industrial De-rating", published in April 2003, included Equality Impact and Regulatory Impact Assessments. Both these types of assessment require that the policy be monitored and evaluated after a suitable period of time has elapsed to allow the policy to 'bed down', and three years from its introduction is considered appropriate for evaluation. Monitoring and evaluation, following HM
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Treasury "Green Book" guidance, would seek to measure outcomes during and after implementation in terms of revenue generated and the main impacts against what would have happened in the absence of the policy.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many new houses have been built in the social rented sector in North Belfast in each year since 1997; and what the cost was in each year. 
|Houses||Cost (£ million)|
|Year||Maintenance and repair|
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what additional funding was provided in 2003 for new specialist prescribed drugs for (a) rheumatoid arthritis and (b) multiple sclerosis. 
Angela Smith: The additional £3 million allocated to Health and Social Services Boards in the 200203 financial year towards the costs of new specialist drug treatments including those for rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis has been made recurrent in the current financial year 200304 and increased to £3.1 million to cover inflation.
A further £100,000 made available in September 2002 specifically for infrastructure support for beta interferon treatment for multiple sclerosis has also been made recurrent thus relieving pressures elsewhere in these drugs budgets.
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Angela Smith: Information on the number of individuals awaiting speech therapy assessment is not collected centrally. However, information is collected centrally on completed waiting times for a first outpatient appointment of an episode of care with a community speech and language therapist. In the quarter ending 30 September 2003 (the latest date for which such information is available), 2,453 persons attended their first outpatient appointment. Of these, 218 (8.9 per cent.) had waited for six months or more.
Angela Smith: The Sports Council for Northern Ireland (SCNI) is responsible for the development of sport in NI including the distribution of public funding to individual sports. Funding from SCNI for the five-year period 19982003 for the sport of cricket is:
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what funding has been provided to assist the promotion of (a) hockey, (b) rugby, (c) soccer, (d) gaelic football, (e) hurling and (f) other Gaelic Athletic Association sports in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. 
The following tables provides details of funding from SCNI for the five year period 19982003 for the four sports of Soccer, Gaelic Games (including Gaelic Football, Hurling and other Gaelic Athletic Association games), Rugby and Hockey.
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(11) These figures indicate the funds allocated to Soccer from the Football Development Centre Programme for 200102 and 200203
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and Rugby. The following table shows the funding that was allocated for these sports for the 3-year period 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2003.
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