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David Burnside: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to address the skills shortages in the Greater Belfast area for graduates in the hospitality, tourism and leisure industry. 
Mr. Gardiner: The Tourism Training Trust (TTT) is funded by the Department to provide a wide range of initiatives for those wishing to enter the local hospitality and tourism industry including graduate entry. The TTT works closely with the People 1st Sector Skills Council and its immediate priority is to agree with the industry action to address skills shortages and raise skill levels. The Trust has not reported any specific shortages in respect of graduates entering the sector.
The School of Hotel, Leisure and Tourism at the University of Ulster offers a full range of vocational courses in the areas of Hospitality & Tourism Management, Culinary Arts, Consumer Studies and Leisure Events and Cultural Management. The university has a medium term target of up to 700 relevant full time undergraduate student places. In addition, Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education provides a Foundation Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management validated by the University of Ulster.
David Burnside: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the first year student intake was to (a) the catering college and (b) the University of Ulster's Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure at Londonderry and Jordanstown (i) in 2001 and (ii) since the merger transferring all student intake to Portrush; and what the intake was in (A) 2002, (B) 2003 and (C) 2004, broken down by (1) type of degree and (2) courses of study. 
|Course subject area||HNC||HND||NVQ (equivalent) 4 and 5||Total|
|Administration and Office Skills||0||10||0||10|
|Leisure Tourism and Recreation||0||31||31||62|
|Campus||Course subject area||First Degree||Postgraduate||Total|
|Jordanstown||Catering and Institutional Management||75||2||77|
|Magee||Catering and Institutional Management||24||6||30|
Following the merger of the NIHCC with the University of Ulster, the first year student intake on hospitality, tourism and leisure courses at the University of Ulster in 200203 by campus, type of degree and course subject area was as follows.
17 Jan 2005 : Column 795W
|Course subject area||Foundation degrees||First degree||Total|
|Tourism, Transport and Travel||27||45||72|
|Tourism, Transport and Travel||0||6||6|
|Tourism, Transport and Travel||0||7||7|
Information on the first year student intake on hospitality, tourism and catering courses at the University of Ulster in 200304 will not be published by the Department until February 2005 and the 200405 student intake will not be published until February 2006.
David Burnside: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much funding was made available in the current financial year to the Tourism Training Trust; what its budget for the year is; and what estimate he has made of (a) funding and (b) the budget in future years. 
Mr. Gardiner: The funding made available to the Tourism Training Trust (TTT) in the year to date is £100,692. Its budget for 200405 is £195,584. The future funding and budget of TTT are not yet decided and will be based on the business plan to be submitted by TTT for agreement by the Department.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what analysis he has made of the costs and benefits of extending water metering to (a) hospitals, (b) schools and (c) Government offices in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Spellar: It has always been the policy to meter water supplies to properties that are not used exclusively for domestic purposes and this will continue to be the preferred basis for charging this customer group. Hospitals, schools and Government offices are currently metered and these account for around 2,700 of the 74,000 non-domestic meters.
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question (No. 208373) about the projected costs of bringing all Water Service mains and treatment plants up to EC Water Directive standards. I have been asked to reply as this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Water Service.
Priority is at present being given to upgrading water and wastewater treatment works. This accounts for some £1 billion of the total investment required and of this approximately one-third is for water treatment while two-thirds is for wastewater treatment. Refurbishment of watermains and sewer networks accounts for the remaining £1.9 billion and will take longer to complete. It is planned to accelerate spending on network refurbishment to around £100 million per year within the next few years, as the treatment works upgrading programme nears completion.
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question (No. 208374) about Water Service's future work plan with regard to fixing all burst water mains in Northern Ireland. I have been asked to reply as the issue falls to my responsibility as Chief Executive of Water Service.
Water Service aims to provide continuous supplies of safe drinking water to all customers connected to the water distribution system and to ensure that interruptions to supply, whether due to an emergency or planned maintenance work, are dealt with efficiently and without unnecessary delay. Water Service's Customer Charter sets out the standards it aims to achieve in the delivery of these services. These standards include:
Customers can report interruptions in supply or leaks in the distribution system to the Water Service Customer Service Unit by telephoning the Waterline (08457 440088) or the Leakline (08000 282011) during normal working hours. An out-of-hours emergency service is also available by contacting the Waterline. In addition, Water Service has Telemetry Units, which are staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to monitor the working of the water and sewerage systems. Operational repair teams, consisting of around 300 staff from both Water Service and contractors, can be deployed to respond to operational incidents throughout the day and night. During 2004, Water Service repaired over 6,000 bursts and leaks on the water distribution system and it is anticipated that a similar number will be repaired in 2005.
Effective leakage management is a key component in the delivery of Water Service's second Water Efficiency Plan, which was published last year. Water Service is currently implementing a comprehensive leakage reduction programme, costing over £20 million in the three-year period, to reduce leakage to the economic level of 172 million litres per day by 2007.
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question (No. 208375) about the management of water pressure to reduce the amount of water wasted through bursts in water mains. I have been asked to reply as this issue falls to my responsibility as Chief Executive of Water Service.
Water Service's second Water Efficiency Plan, which was published on 12 January 2004, set out a wide range of measures aimed at reducing demand for water, including effective leakage management and the raising of awareness of water efficiency measures. A significant programme of leakage reduction is a major component of the Plan and Water Service is currently implementing a comprehensive Leakage Reduction Action Plan aimed at reducing leakage to the economic level by 2007. It is widely recognised throughout the water industry that excessive water pressure within the distribution system contributes to leaks, and the design and implementation of an effective pressure management scheme is, therefore, one of the main elements of the Action Plan.
Water Service is committed to extending pressure management to 30 new areas each year. In the current year this total has already been bettered and pressure management has been extended to over 50 new areas. Pressure management schemes have targeted areas where pressure, particularly at night, is excessive. The schemes are carefully designed to ensure that an adequate level of pressure is maintained to customers at all times.
The implementation of the Leakage Reduction Action Plan has enabled Water Service to reduce leakage from 291 million litres to 231 million litres in the period from April 2002 to March 2004. Water Service is on target to reduce leakage to 205 million litres per day by March 2005 and to achieve the economic level of leakage of 172 million litres per day by 2007.
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