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11 Nov 2004 : Column 923W—continued


Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the impact of increases in fuel prices on the viability of the Northern Ireland fishing fleet. [197336]

Mr. Pearson: Fuel prices are particularly volatile at the moment and I am conscious that this may be having an impact on the local fishing industry in terms of vessel
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profitability. I have asked the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to continue to monitor the situation.

Economic Output Statistics

Mr. Trimble: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the level of Gross Value Added per employee in the (a) manufacturing sector and (b) private services sector was in each year from 1997 to 2003 in Northern Ireland. [196864]

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Mr. Gardiner: The Office for National Statistics has responsibility for official productivity measures, but do not produce regional estimates of GVA per employee by industrial sector as requested. However, the Department of Trade and Industry publishes GVA per workforce job by broad industry sector for the UK regions. The most recent Northern Ireland and UK data available for this measure is provided in the following table for 1997 to 2001.
Gross value added per workforce job(35) by broad industrysector for NI and UK


(35) Workforce jobs are calculated by summing employee jobs, self-employment jobs from the Labour Force Survey, HM Forces and government-supported trainees.
Regional and Local Division, ONS and Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment

Housing Executive

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many properties owned by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in 2003 took three months or more to repair and refurbish after the departure of the previous tenant. [196916]

Mr. Spellar: The information is not available. However, the Housing Executive, as part of the good management of its stock, carries out post vacancy inspections and depending on demand for housing in the area, any work required to be done will be prioritised with a view to having it completed within a maximum of six weeks from the date the contract is awarded. Basic health and safety checks of the electric and heating systems would be undertaken within one to two days and the timescale for completing other work would vary according to the cost and nature of the work.

Part-time Reserve

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for what reasons new members of the part-time reserve are allowed to serve beyond the age of 62 years; what plans he has to amend this policy; and if he will make a statement. [197261]

Mr. Pearson: In accordance with the Police Service of Northern Ireland Reserve (Part-Time) Regulations 2004, part-time reserve members appointed after 8 February 2004 (the date on which the regulations came into force) shall be compulsory retired at age 65. These regulations also contain transitional arrangements for existing part-time reserve members.
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I have been informed by PSNI that given the community focus of the new part-time officers (as per Patten), it makes sense for their composition to reflect more broadly the community at large. This includes, inter alia, attracting older applicants. It was for this reason that the PSNI recommended an upper age limit of 65 and they have advised there are no plans to amend this position.

Police Recruitment

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the recruitment figures have been for (a) the Police Service of Northern Ireland and (b) the Royal Ulster Constabulary in each of the last 10 years. [196183]

Mr. Pearson: The following table provides the total number of recruits to the Royal Ulster constabulary and the Police Service of Northern Ireland from 1994 to date:
Number of recruits
RUC year
PSNI year
2004 (To date)494

Pre-school Education

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will provide sufficient funding to ensure all children in nursery education benefit from having a teacher fully qualified in nursery education. [197111]

Mr. Gardiner: All children in nursery education do receive their pre-school education from a fully qualified teacher.


Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what advice the Northern Ireland Office has given the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Constable regarding the flying of the PSNI flag at police stations on official flag days. [197021]

Mr. Pearson: It is solely a matter for the Chief Constable to decide when the PSNI flag is flown in line with the Police Emblems and Flags Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2002. A copy of these regulations is available in Library of the House.

Public Appointments

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 2 November 2004, Official Report, columns 242–43W, on public appointments, what action is being taken regarding the levels of appointments from the Protestant
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community to temporary positions in the general service grades of the (a) Northern Ireland Civil Service and (b) Northern Ireland Housing Executive. [196888]

Mr. Pearson: Protestants and men are currently under-represented in temporary positions in the general service grades of the Northern Ireland Civil Service. To encourage applications from these groups advertisements for general service temporary positions have included the following welcoming statement:

As part of current outreach measures, Recruitment Service attends careers events throughout Northern Ireland to encourage young people to consider a career in the Northern Ireland Civil Service. Officials from my Department have also met careers teachers from a predominantly Protestant catchment area in an initiative to ensure that careers in NICS are perceived in a positive way by young Protestant school leavers and that applications received are representative of the entire community. Further outreach measures consistent with achieving a more representative and diversified workforce in the NICS are now being developed. The Northern Ireland Housing Executive has implemented an Affirmative Action Plan in agreement with its Board and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. The Plan outlines a series of measures developed to specifically encourage the Protestant community to consider working for the Housing Executive in the future, and therefore apply for vacancies, whether permanent or temporary, when they arise. The measures put in place include:

Republican Terrorism

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on republican terrorism in the last 12 months. [196169]

Mr. Pearson: The Provisional IRA maintains its capability but as the recent IMC report states, there is no evidence of intent to return to a campaign of widespread terrorism and its paramilitary activities have declined in recent months. Dissident republicans have continued to carry out attacks although many of their activities have been thwarted, intercepted or nullified by the security forces. INLA's activities have been confined principally to 'civil administration'. The report by the Independent Monitoring Commission published on 4 November gives further details of the activities of all republican terrorist organisations.

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