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Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the average time was from offence to completion for youth defendants in criminal cases coming before magistrates courts in each of the last three years. 
|Offence to charge or laying of information (Days)||Charge or laying of information to first listing||First listing to completion||(34)Offence to completion|
Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on contingency plans for evacuating (a) Ascension Island, (b) St. Helena and (c) Tristan da Cunha in the event of an emergency. 
All three territories have disaster management plans. These include contingency plans for moving the populations to designated areas of safety, in an emergency. Depending on the severity of any emergency, the Governor, in consultation with the local legislature, and the UK Government, will consider whether an evacuation of the territory is appropriate.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many medical retirements there were in each (a) department, (b) agency, (c) non-departmental public body, (d) education and library board and (e) health and social services board in Northern Ireland in each of the last two financial years; and what proportion of all retirements that were medical retirements this represented in each case. 
Mr. Pearson: The number of medical retirements and the proportion of all retirements that were medical retirements in each of the last two complete financial years i.e. 200203 and 200304 are outlined in the following tables, in respect of (i) the main Civil Service Pension Scheme, broken down by Department, Agency, non-departmental public body, (ii) the Health and Personal Social Services Pension Scheme (HPSS), broken down by health boards, and (iii) the Teachers Pension Scheme (Northern Ireland), broken down by education and library board, and (iv) all other non- departmental public bodies, has been placed in the Library.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what assessment he has made of the amount of training provided for civil servants in Northern Ireland to enable them to communicate with
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the deaf and hard of hearing; and how many civil servants in Northern Ireland are (a) trained and (b) undertaking training in sign language; 
(2) what funding has been made available to enable civil servants in Northern Ireland to learn (a) British Sign Language and (b) International Sign Language to (i) Level 1 and (ii) Level 2 in each of the last five years; and what measures he is taking to encourage civil servants to undertake such training. 
A record of the total number of staff with signing skills is not currently maintained. However, training records over the past three years (from 1 April 2002 to date) show that nine civil servants have been trained in British Sign Language, eight at Level 1 and one at Level 2. A further eight are currently undertaking training in British Sign Language, seven at Level 1 and one at Level 2. This training has been provided at a cost of £1,539 for Level 1 and £473 for Level 2. In addition to sign language training, 774 staff have received training in deaf awareness/introduction to sign language/communication with the deaf and hard of hearing/use of text phones.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether a communication audit has been conducted to assess the extent to which Government services are accessible to deaf people in Northern Ireland. 
Angela Smith: A communication audit has not been conducted but several departments are working in partnership with representatives of the deaf community, to develop ideas for improving access to public services for sign language users.
Mrs. Iris Robinson:
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether witnesses at the Inquiry
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into Hyponatraemia-related Deaths will be allowed to appear by video-link. 
Angela Smith: This is a matter for John O'Hara QC, chairman of the inquiry. I understand, however, that the chairman intimated, in his opening remarks at the preliminary hearing held on 3 February 2005, that in certain circumstances he would consider the use of video-link evidence. A copy of the transcript of the hearing has been placed in the House Library.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how much was spent on legal assistance by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland in each of the last four years, broken down by section 75 group; 
(3) how much was spent by the Equality Commission on legal assistance in each of the last four years; and whether there was (a) an overspend and (b) an under spend against budget in each of those years. 
Question 217670: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how much was spent on legal assistance by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland in each of the last four years, broken down by section 75 group.
I would being by clarifying that under the legislation the Commission is only empowered to assist cases in the areas of sex discrimination, racial discrimination, religious belief and political opinion, disability and sexual orientation. It was in December 2003 that sexual orientation was added as a ground on which to base a complaint of discrimination and, consequently, does not appear in the figures you request for the past four years, as there was no expenditure on legal assistance for that ground in December 2003-March 2004 period. Although the Commission has duties with regard to each of the nine Section 75 grounds, we are not presently empowered to assist cases on the grounds of age, and having or not having dependants.
Information on our legal work and the expenditure on legal assistance is contained in our Annual Report and Accounts. With regard to the specific information requested, I trust the following is helpful.
|Religious belief/political opinion||166,780||170,261||916,357||239,464|
|Number of applications per year|
|Religious belief/political opinion||225||411||172||222|
Question 217723: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how much was spent by the Equality Commission on legal assistance in each of the last four years; and whether there was (a)an overspend and (b) an under spend against budget in each of those years.
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