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The rules governing when payment of a person's retirement pension commences are set out in Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1987. There are no plans to change these rules.
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Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make funding available to schools in Northern Ireland which do not provide individual lockers for each post-primary pupil. 
Mr. Gardiner: No. The Department of Education's School Building Handbook provides for either cloakroom space or moveable lockers in schools. It is a matter for individual school authorities to decide what provision should be made at their schools. The issue is, therefore, essentially a matter of local financial management from within the devolved budgets already made available to schools.
Mr. Gardiner: The Department's School Building Handbook provides for either cloakroom or moveable lockers in schools but it is a matter for the relevant school authorities to decide what provision should be made at a particular school. The information requested is not held by the Department, the Education and Library Boards or the Council for Catholic Maintained School. Such information would have to be sought directly from the schools concerned and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to the answer of 27 May 2004, Official Report, column 1850W, on sexual offences, on what date the Government expect to conclude their consideration of the need for a review of the sexual offences legislation in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which sections of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 do not apply to Northern Ireland; and what steps he is taking to bring the law in line with that in England and Wales. 
Mr. Spellar: Section 142 (2) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 details the offences in the Act which extend to Northern Ireland. An overview of these offences was set out in my reply to the hon. Gentleman on 27 May 2004, Official Report, column 1850W. We have not yet made final decisions on a review of the remainder of the body of law on sex offences in Northern Ireland.
The Continuous Household Survey provides the estimated prevalence of smoking among the population in Northern Ireland aged 16 and over. The following table shows the smoking prevalence for teenagers aged 1619 from 1983 to 200203. It should be
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noted that these figures are based on around 400 people in each year. Therefore, the percentages will fluctuate year-on-year.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment has been made of the merits of instituting a ban on smoking in public places in Northern Ireland; and what reports he has received of the effects of the ban on smoking in public places in the Republic of Ireland. 
Angela Smith: The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety commissioned research into public attitudes to smoking prohibitions/restrictions as part of the commitment to implement the Five Year Tobacco Action Plan, launched in July 2003. While 70 per cent. said they would support a ban on indoor public places, support for smoke-free provision in various settings ranged from 82 per cent. in hospitals and 53 per cent. in cafes and restaurants to 34 per cent. in pubs and bars. The Department intends to repeat the survey later in the year.
The ban in the Republic of Ireland was introduced on 29 March and it would be premature at this stage to make a definitive assessment of its impact. However, early indications suggest that the ban is working well with a high level of compliance.
Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to remove the Maximum Aggregate Student Number cap on total full time undergraduate student numbers at Northern Ireland's universities. 
Mr. Gardiner: Since 19992000 the Maximum Student Number (MaSN) cap has been raised to allow for 2,560 more full-time home and European Union undergraduate at Queen's University and the University of Ulster.
Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has received regarding the (a) removal and (b) relaxation of the maximum aggregate student number limit on total undergraduate student numbers at Northern Ireland's universities. 
Mr. Gardiner: The Department for Employment and Learning has received representations periodically from Queen's University, the University of Ulster and other interested parties about relaxing or removing the maximum student numbers (MaSN) cap which applies to full-time home and EU undergraduates at both Queen's and Ulster.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what public funding has been made available for the teaching of children with learning disabilities in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. 
The Department of Education gives Education and Library Boards a block grant each year from which they fund a range of services. Within their Block Grant, Boards establish their own spending priorities and this includes their spending on special educational provision, which includes that for children with learning difficulties. Funding allocations do not specify expenditure for particular types of special educational need and therefore it is not possible to identify separately the funding provided for children with learning difficulties.
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For a general statement on funding provided by the Department for special educational provision, I refer the hon. Gentleman to the written answer I gave to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Belfast, South on 28 April 2004, Official Report, column 1115W.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the smallest possible difference between the lowest A graded pupils and the top D graded pupils is in the Transfer Test. 
|Grade||200304 Quotient||200203 Quotient||200102 Quotient|
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