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Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has had with Castlereagh College on training requirements for future industrial development in the Castlereagh area. 
Mr. Gardiner: Neither the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment, nor Invest NI, have had any direct discussions with Castlereagh College. Invest NTs Accelerating Entrepreneurship Strategy (AES) seeks to actively embed entrepreneurship throughout Northern Ireland's education and training systems. Aspects of AES are undertaken in close liaison with the Association of Northern Ireland Colleges, which represents the sixteen Further Education colleges in NI, including Castlereagh.
Through its Business Improvement Services function, Invest NI also provides specific company based training and development programmes linked directly to the needs of local companies. These programmes can be delivered using internal or external trainers as appropriate, with each client company being responsible for the selection of any external providers. Such training is entirely tailored to the needs of the company thus offering a specific focus on the local economic development needs of the area in which it is based.
12 Oct 2004 : Column 220W
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the Department of Regional Development's review of its policy on signing of churches will be carried out; and if he will make a statement. 
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question about the review of direction signing to churches. I have been asked to reply as the issue raised falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service.
I can confirm that the work on the policy review of the signing of churches and other privately operated premises is on-going and it is expected to be complete by the end of November 2004.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many divisional planning managers within the Department of the Environment have been granted permission to become private sector planning consultants in the last five years. 
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many staff days have been lost as a result of industrial action in each Department, agency and non-departmental public body in Northern Ireland since the start of the current industrial action by civil servants. 
Mr. Pearson: Since the start of the current industrial action by civil servants up to 3 September 2004, 54,737 staff days have been lost in Departments, agencies and non-departmental public bodies in Northern Ireland. A breakdown of the figures for each Department, agency and non-departmental public body is as follows.
|Department||Core/agency/NDPB||Staff hours lost||Staff days lost|
|Agriculture and Rural Development||Department Core||61,188.9||8,268|
|Agricultural Research Institute for NI||33||4|
|Culture, Arts and Leisure||Department Core||962.7||130|
|Ordnance Survey NI||1890.87||256|
|Public Record Office NI||717.8||97|
|Employment and Learning||Department Core||43,139||5,830|
|Labour Relations Agency||1,876||254|
|Enterprise, Trade and Investment||Department Core||2,970||401|
|Health and Safety Executive NI||104||14|
|General Consumer Council||111||15|
|NI Tourist Board||565.5||76|
|Finance and Personnel||Department Core||8,296.6||1,121|
|Valuation and Lands Agency||1,978.4||267|
|Business Development Service||1,505.2||203|
|Rate Collection Agency||7,676.2||1,037|
|Land Registers of NI||1,650.4||223|
|Health, Social Services and Public Safety||Department Core||7,610.08||1,028|
|Health Estates Agency||1,073.37||145|
|Driver and Vehicle Licensing NI||8,872||1,199|
|Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency||48,067.65||6,496|
|Environment and Heritage Service||2,095||283|
|Regional Development||Department Core||16,505||2,230|
|Social Development||Department Core||2,117||286|
|Social Security Agency||111,257||15,035|
|Child Support Agency||18,993||2,567|
|Northern Ireland Office||Department Core||158.96||21|
|Forensic Science Agency||42.11||6|
|Youth Justice Agency||1||0.1|
|NI Prison Service||764||103|
|Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister||Department Core||823.25||111|
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the action that he has taken since the beginning of the parliamentary summer recess to bring an end to industrial action by civil servants in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Pearson: Intensive negotiations took place in July between officials from the Department of Finance and Personnel and trade union representatives. At these meetings officials emphasised that the 3.67 per cent. pay deal for 2003 had now been paid and was final, but that they were willing to explore all reasonable means of resolving the dispute. The trade union also met with the Secretary of State and myself on 23 July to discuss the situation. On 3 August management tabled two offers for 2004 to the trade union a 12-month offer worth 3.49 per cent. and a 16-month offer worth 4.65 per cent. Both offers were quickly rejected and further negotiations took place on 4, 11 and 13 August. As a result of these further negotiations, management restructured the 4.65 per cent. 16-month offer and this was formally put to trade union side on 16 August. The revised offer included an increase in rates of pay of 2 per cent. plus a non-consolidated payment of £150 for all staff.
On 13 September the trade union accepted the 16-month pay offer worth 4.65 per cent. and agreed to suspend the current industrial action. It is hoped that public services can return to normal as a matter of urgency.
Staff in the Northern Ireland Office are subject to separate pay negotiations involving NIPSA in respect of Northern Ireland civil servants and PCS and PDA in respect of home civil servants. All three unions remain in dispute in relation to the 2003 pay award, although only NIPSA has taken industrial action. Formal negotiations in relation to 2004 pay are ongoing.
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Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the impact of industrial action by civil servants in Northern Ireland on (a) members of the public and (b) businesses. 
Mr. Pearson: The industrial action by civil servants, which commenced on 11 December 2003, ended on 13 September. Selective strike action taken by some members of the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance, did impact on services to members of the public and business. While contingency plans were in place to minimise disruption, strike action by staff in the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency resulted in a significant backlog of both vehicle and driver tests. There were also delays in payment of agricultural grants and subsidies, delays in processing planning applications and postponement of Industrial and Fair Employment Tribunal hearings. Precise information on the impact of industrial action on businesses is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many deaths there were in Northern Ireland in 2003 from (a) suicide, (b) drowning, (c) house fires, (d) other domestic accidents, (e) road traffic accidents, (f) murder and (g) manslaughter; and what percentage were (i) alcohol and (ii) drug-related in each case. 
The following tables give the total number of deaths/offences in Northern Ireland in 2003 due to suicide and undetermined injury, drowning, domestic accidents (other than fires in a dwelling or drowning), fires in a dwelling, road traffic collisions, murder and manslaughter. Where possible, the percentage of these deaths/offences, which were alcohol and drug-related is provided.
12 Oct 2004 : Column 223W
|2003 1 deaths||Number of deaths||Alcohol related percentage||Drug-related percentage|
|Suicide and undetermined injury(11)||144||0||16|
|Domestic accidents (other than fires in a dwelling or drowning)(12)||70||n/a||n/a|
|2003 Deaths(13)||Number of deaths||Alcohol related||Drug-related|
|Fires in a dwelling||11||n/a||n/a|
|Alcohol or drug related percentage|
|Road traffic collision deaths||150||30|
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