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18 Nov 2004 : Column 1744W—continued

Parliamentary Boundaries

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what the latest date would be by which the orders implementing the Boundary Commission for Scotland's report on Parliamentary Boundaries in Scotland would have to take effect in order for an election in May 2005 to be contested on the new parliamentary constituencies; [198336]

(2) what advice he has received from local authorities in Scotland about the period of time they would require prior to a general election in order for them to make the necessary arrangements for that election to be contested on the constituency boundaries recommended by the Boundary Commission for Scotland. [198381]

Mr. Darling: The Order in Council implementing the Boundary Commission for Scotland's report would need to be in force before dissolution of Parliament had been announced, if it were to affect the next general election.

I have not received any advice from local authorities in Scotland on the time required prior to a general election for them to make the arrangements for that election to be contested on the new constituency boundaries.

Public Relations (Expenditure)

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much money his Department has spent on public relations in each of the last three years; and how much is projected to be spent in each of the next three years. [197991]

Mrs. McGuire: The Scotland Office has had no expenditure on public relations in the last three years and does not expect to have any expenditure in the next three years.

Scottish Grand Committee

Mr. Nigel Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many meetings of the Scottish Grand
 
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Committee there were in each year since 1997; where the meetings were held; and what the subject matter of debate for each Committee meeting was. [193567]

Mrs. McGuire: [holding answer 26 October 2004]: The information is as follows:
DateVenueSubject
1997
13 JanuaryEdinburghScotland in the world
3 FebruarySelkirkEducation and local government finance in Scotland
17 FebruaryMontroseHousing and local government finance in Scotland
8 JulyWestminsterImplications of the Budget for Scotland
3 DecemberWestminsterStatement on Scottish local government settlement
1998
27 JanuaryWestminsterAgriculture in Scotland
2 MarchEdinburghLocal government finance and services in Scotland
7 AprilWestminsterHealth in Scotland
20 MayWestminsterFurther and higher education in Scotland
16 JuneWestminsterCommunity safety in Scotland
6 JulyEdinburghPromotion of Scottish exports
21 JulyWestminsterChildcare strategy for Scotland
1999
18 JanuaryEdinburghHealth in Scotland
1 FebruaryEdinburghLand reform in Scotland
8 MarchEdinburghEducation and the enterprise economy in Scotland
22 MarchEdinburghThe Budget and the Scottish economy
2000
29 FebruaryWestminsterThe New Deal and Youth Employment in Scotland
5 AprilWestminsterEffect of the high pound on Scotland's economy
12 JuneWestminsterSize of the Scottish Parliament
10 JulyGlasgowFairness at work and employment rights
2001
28 MarchWestminsterFuture of the oil and gas industry in Scotland
28 NovemberWestminsterScotland in the world: a new perspective
2002
13 FebruaryWestminsterScottish energy in the 21st Century
5 MarchWestminsterDefence in Scotland
8 MayWestminsterNorth Sea oil and gas industry
10 JulyWestminsterImpact of the Government's policies in promoting social inclusion in Scotland
10 DecemberScottish fishing industry
2003
12 FebruaryWestminsterThe Scottish Economy
12 NovemberWestminsterEvolution of the constitutional arrangements for Scotland

 
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Welfare Baby Milk Foods

Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the distribution of welfare baby milk foods in Scotland is a reserved responsibility. [197646]

Mrs. McGuire: The scheme, which is available to pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under five years in families receiving qualifying benefits, is a reserved responsibility under Schedule 5, Head J, Section J5 of the Scotland Act 1998.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Agency Temporary Staff

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many agency temporary staff have been working for the Department in each of the last five years, excluding those working for agencies for which no data is kept centrally. [196056]

Mr. Pearson: Available figures for the 11 departments of the Northern Ireland Administration and the Northern Ireland Office are shown on the following table. Further figures could only be obtained at disproportionate costs.
Partial statistics showing the number of Agency temporary workers employed by departments over the last five financial years (1999–2004).
Number

Department1999–20002000–012001–022002–032003–04
Agriculture and Rural Development00001
Culture, Arts and Leisure22521128
Education000014
Employment and Learning00010
Enterprise, Trade and Industry01101
Environment0011110
Finance and Personneln/a38364341
Health, Social Services and Public Safetyn/an/an/an/an/a
Regional Development000034
Social Development00443822
Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Ministern/a1151
Northern Ireland Office(9)0(9)0274029
TOTALS265131150161
Overall Total509


(9) Does not include NIO's London based staff



 
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Allergies

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps are being taken to improve diagnosis of allergies by general practitioners in the Province. [198148]

Angela Smith: A recent House of Commons Health Select Committee Report on allergy services has made a number of recommendations which may lead to improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies within primary care.

The recommendations include allergy care becoming part of basic GP training and the introduction of incentives to GP practices to improve allergy care.

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps have been taken to improve hospital allergy services in the Province. [198149]

Angela Smith: The Regional Immunology Centre at the Royal Victoria Hospital treats patients with severe allergies. At present the service has been coming under increased pressure due to a rising incidence of allergy problems.

Staffing of this specialty will be addressed in the Department's Review of Clinical Pathology Laboratory Services. Commissioners have recently secured funding for a second consultant and the Royal Group of Hospitals has also appointed additional laboratory staff and two whole-time equivalent nurses to the specialty.

In addition, patients with milder allergic conditions are treated at other clinics (particularly respiratory, asthma and dermatology) or in a primary care setting.

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures he is taking to reduce waiting times for specialist consultations for people with allergies in Northern Ireland. [197116]

Angela Smith: The Regional Immunology Centre at the Royal Victoria hospital treats patients with severe allergies. At present the service has been coming under increased pressure due to a rising incidence of allergy problems.

Staffing of this specialty will be addressed in the Department's Review of Clinical Pathology Laboratory Services. Commissioners have recently secured funding for a second consultant and the Royal Group of Hospitals has also appointed additional laboratory staff and two whole-time equivalent nurses to the specialty.

In addition, patients with milder allergic conditions are treated at other clinics (particularly respiratory, asthma and dermatology) or in a primary care setting.


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