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Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to open internal Northern Ireland Office and Northern Ireland Civil Service job trawls to Home Civil Service staff employed in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Pearson: Internal Northern Ireland Office (NIO) trawls and service-wide trawls for posts in the NIO are currently open to Home Civil Service (HCS) staff within the NIO. This does not extend to other HCS staff in Northern Ireland. Interchange arrangements facilitate staff movement between the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) and HCS. These are usually for short-term placements. There are no plans to open NICS trawl competitions to HCS staff.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the practice of not including Home civil service staff employed in Northern Ireland in internal Northern Ireland Office and Northern Ireland civil service job trawls has been equality-proofed. 
Mr. Pearson: The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) complies with the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) arrangements in terms of equality proofing. Internal NIO trawls and Service-wide trawls for posts in the NIO are currently open to Home Civil Service (HCS) staff but only those within the NIO. The specific policy of not including all HCS staff in Northern Ireland in trawl competitions run by Northern Ireland Departments has not been equality proofed. However, in accordance with the requirements of its Equality Scheme, the Department of Finance and Personnel has carried out an Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) on the recruitment and promotion policies employed by the NICS. The public consultation period for the EQIA began on the 24 November 2004 and will end on 1 March 2005.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on recent actions to improve access for those with disabilities at GP surgeries and health trust facilities in the Province. 
Angela Smith: Health and Social Services boards and trusts have been taking a range of actions to meet their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). These include access audits of premises, identifying essential remedial work and factoring this into planned maintenance schedules. Where GPs own the premises in which they run surgeries it will be for them to ensure that, as service providers, they meet their obligations under the DDA.
The Department has provided an additional £3.5 million in 200304 and a further £5 million in 200405 to address DDA remedial work. It has also recently appointed Disability Action to carry out a review of action taken to date by Health and Social Services boards, trusts and agencies to comply with the access provisions of the DDA. A report of the review is expected in May 2005.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the infraction proceedings pending against the Government arising from Northern Ireland's failure to comply with EU environmental directives. 
Angela Smith: The following list sets out the EU directives that are subject to Article 226 Reasoned Opinion proceedings or beyond. Some of the cases arise from challenges to the transposing legislation while others relate to specific implementation.
|Directive number||Directive title|
|1978/659/EC||Quality of Fresh Water to Support Fish|
|1991/271/EC||Urban Waste Water Treatment (two cases)|
|1991/676/EC||Nitrates from Agricultural Sources|
|1997/11/EC||Environmental Impact Assessment|
|1998/83/EC||Drinking Water Quality|
|2000/53/EC||End of Life Vehicles|
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether funding for the Executive Children's Fund is located within the Draft Priorities and Budget 200508; and what funding is available in the Draft Priorities and Budget for the implementation of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister's Children and Young People's Strategy. 
Mr. Pearson: The Draft Priorities and Budget 200508 includes proposed allocations for the Children's Fund of £9.5 million and £5.4 million in 200506 and 200607 respectively. The Draft Children and Young People's Strategy was launched for consultation on 23 November with views sought from all interested parties by 28 February 2005. It is only when that consultation process has been completed, that Ministers will be in a position to make informed decisions about any future funding implications.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what funding will be available for children's services in the Draft Priorities and Budget 200508; what the provision was in the last round of funding; and what assessment he has made of the impact the Draft Priorities and Budget 200508 will have on existing services and new developments for children, young people and families in need in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Pearson: Children's services cover a wide and varied range of activities undertaken across a number of Departments and in the circumstances it is not possible to clearly separate all funding on services for children in the budget processes.
The proposed spending plans detailed in the Draft Priorities and Budget 200508 would allow Departments to maintain and develop a wide range of public services which would impact on the community as a whole including children, young people and families in need in Northern Ireland. The draft Public Service Agreements (PSAs), contained in the document, set out the main departmental objectives, proposed budgets for years 200508, planned citizen outcomes, key service channels and targets that Departments are working to deliver. The PSAs will continue to be developed further and final versions will be set out in the Revised Priorities and Budget 200508 document which is due for publication later this month.
Mr. Trimble: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the level of exports, beyond the UK, from Northern Ireland was, expressed as a percentage of the regional gross domestic product in the last year for which figures are available. 
Regional Estimates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) have been superseded by Gross Value Added (GVA) following the extension of the European System of Accounts 1995 (ESA95) to the Regional Accounts and which produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The most recent regional GVA information available is for the year 2002.
9 Dec 2004 : Column 786W
HM Customs and Excise are responsible for the collation of exports figures for the UK and the regions and while the estimate most comparable to the GVA figure would be exports expressed on a balance of payments basis, this is not available at a regional level. Therefore the value used represents exports for Northern Ireland during 2002, based on the total value of goods at the UK border.
|Value of Exports from Northern Ireland in 2002||343|
|Northern Ireland GVA in 2002||20,497|
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