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Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what actions have been taken by the Assets Recovery Agency against (a) Republican and (b) Loyalist paramilitary groups. 
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Jane Kennedy: There are currently 17 cases under active investigation by the Agency in Northern Ireland with potential assets recoverable of over £7.5 million. These cases cover the whole range of organised crime among all groupings and areas across Northern Ireland.
The Agency determines which cases should be adopted from those cases referred by law enforcement and other agencies. Its objective is that, some 80 per cent. of cases to be pursued this year, will focus on property obtained by, or in the hands of, paramilitaries and other organised criminals.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many patients (a) over and (b) under 45 years were admitted to hospital for asthma in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
|Age||Number of admissions(17)|
(17) Discharges and deaths are a proxy for admissions.
Figures include elective and emergency admissions.
Hospital Inpatients System
Mr. Pearson: Mortality statistics for 2003 have not been fully collated and therefore the latest available data relates to the five-year period 1998 to 2002. The following table gives the number of deaths resulting from asthma 1 registered in Northern Ireland in each year between 1998 and 2002.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many asthma sufferers in the Province had their condition reviewed at least once in the last year for which figures are available. 
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Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the operation of the Barnett Formula as regards Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Pearson: The Barnett formula has worked well over the years and continues to deliver high levels of public spending and investment to the people of Northern Ireland. I do not therefore propose to raise this matter with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has for introducing human papilloma virus testing for screening against cervical cancer; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Smith: The UK National Screening Committee (NSC) commissioned a pilot scheme to examine the role of human papilloma virus testing in cervical screening. The pilot ran for two years and an evaluation report to the NSC is expected in the near future. I will await the advice and recommendations of the NSC before making any decision about this matter.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the liquid-based cytology cervical screening technique will be introduced within the NHS in Northern Ireland at the same time as in the rest of the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Smith: The other home countries are now in the process of rolling out the liquid based cytology technique. This is expected to take up to five years to complete. My Department has set up a regional group to advise, as soon as possible, on the introduction of this technology to N. Ireland. On receipt of the advice of this group the Department will be in a position to consider how best to take this forward and will seek then to identify funding. Roll-out here should be well within five years.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what chiropody service is available within the Ulster Community and Hospitals Trust Area, with particular reference to Ards and Bangor Community Hospitals. 
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Angela Smith: Chiropody services are provided at Ards and Bangor Community Hospitals and in nine other health facilities in the North Down and Ards area. A service is also provided to 40 nursing and residential homes, to training and resource centres, in GP based diabetic clinics and to the homes of patients who are housebound. An additional two podiatrists were recruited in January 2004.
Jane Kennedy: The Christian Education Movement has applied to the Department of Education for funding for the period April 2004March 2007 under the Department's Community Relations Core Funding Scheme. All applications for such funding are currently under consideration and decisions will be announced in the near future.
Jane Kennedy: There are no plans to introduce legislation requiring full transparency. The scheme and Regulations allow for confidentiality at the request of those participating. Any loss of confidentiality would make it less likely that acts of decommissioning would take place.
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Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the total amount of arms and ammunition so far decommissioned is under the supervision of the International Independent Decommissioning Commission. 
In 1998 the LVF carried out an act of decommissioning and the items were listed. PIRA has carried out three acts of decommissioning2001, 2002 and 2003. The IICD made an inventory of the arms concerned, which will be provided to the two governments when its task is completed.
Mr. Pearson: Between mid-year 2001 and mid-year 2002 the estimated population of Northern Ireland increased by 0.43 per cent., from 1,689,300 to 1,696,600 people. This rate of population increase is in line with longer-term trends; on average over the decade from 1992 to 2002 the estimated population increased by 0.44 per cent. annually.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment he has made of future population trends in Northern Ireland; and how he expects public services in Northern Ireland to adapt to these trends. 
Mr. Pearson: In line with the rest of the United Kingdom, the Government Actuary's Department published population projections for Northern Ireland on 18 December 2003. The population of Northern Ireland is projected to increase overall by 5 per cent. from a base of 1.697 million in 2002 to 1.788 million in 2017. Within this figure, the number of children aged under 16 is projected to decrease by 12 per cent., the population aged 1664 is projected to increase by 6 per cent., and the population aged 65 and over is projected to increase by 32 per cent.
Northern Ireland's demographic trends are a key factor determining policy development and resource allocation. Although demographic changes have implications for all departments those most affected are the Department of Education and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.
The Department of Education takes into account future population trends when deciding how many teachers will be needed. Similarly, population trends are recognised by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety when drawing up Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland: a statistical profile and will inform the Regional Health Strategy currently in development.
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