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26 May 2005 : Column 184W—continued


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the International Whaling Commission's approach to the protection of minke and humpback whales. [183]

Mr. Bradshaw: Since the 1985–86 whaling seasons, the International Whaling Commission has maintained a moratorium on the hunting and killing of all great whales, including minke and humpbacked whales. Norway objected to the introduction of the moratorium, is thus not bound by it and hunts minke whales legally; Japan and Iceland abide by the moratorium, but pursue so-called 'scientific whaling' as provided for under Article VIII of the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling.

The UK Government are strongly opposed to all forms of whaling other than limited whaling by indigenous people to meet a substantiated subsistence need. We regularly protest to Norway, Japan and Iceland about their continued whaling operations which, though legal, are not in keeping with the spirit of the IWC.


Catholic/Protestant Areas (Population Numbers)

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of people living in Northern Ireland were living in areas that were more than 90 per cent. (a) Catholic and (b) Protestant in each of the last three censuses. [621]

Angela E Smith: Table 1 shows the percentage of people living in Northern Ireland in areas (ie electoral wards) where more than 90 per cent. had (a) a Catholic community background and (b) a Protestant community background according to the 2001 census. Community background information was derived from the responses provided to the current religion and religion brought up in questions, the latter question being asked of those who indicated that they did not currently belong to any particular religion.
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Table 1: Based on community background (religion or religion brought up in)

Percentage of people in Northern Ireland living in
electoral wards more than:
2001 census
90 per cent. Catholic15.8
90 per cent. Protestant12.0

The category Protestant relates to Protestant and other Christian (including Christian related)

The provision of community background information was a new development in the 2001 census aimed at meeting the need for additional equality monitoring data. Directly comparable information is not available for either of the two previous censuses in 1991 and 1981, which gathered information on current religion only. Table 2 presents the results for 1981, 1991 and 2001 based on responses to the religion question.
Table 2: Based on religion

Percentage of people in Northern Ireland
living in Electoral Wards that were more
1981 census1991 census2001 census
90 per cent. Catholic0.09.08.7
90 per cent. Protestant0.80.30.0

For 1981 and 1991, the Protestant category includes other denominations which comprised both other Christian (including Christian related) and other religions and philosophies. In 2001 the Protestant category excludes other religions and philosophies, which accounted for 0.3 per cent. of the population.

The figures in table 2 are affected by non-response to the religion question and people stating that they have no religion. The proportion of people falling into this category in each of the past three censuses were 18.5 per cent. in 1981, 11.0 per cent. in 1991 and 13.9 per cent. in 2001. Many electoral wards where the Catholic or Protestant percentage of the population is high fall short of being 90 per cent. Catholic or Protestant because of the presence of people who have not responded to the religion question or stated that they have no current religion.

Children's Fund

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the Children's Fund. [515]

Angela E Smith: In the course of the Northern Ireland Priorities and Budget 2005–08 process, Ministers concluded that, rather than having a separate allocation process for the Children's Fund, the unallocated sums that had previously been earmarked over the Budget period should be allocated within the mainstream Budget process.
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Although the published Priorities and Budget document does not explicitly refer to the Children's Fund, all commitments to existing Children's Fund projects have been honoured and the allocation to the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety includes almost £15 million, on a specific ring-fenced basis, for this purpose. The issue of further ring-fenced allocations for future years will be considered in subsequent Budget processes.

Northern Ireland Prison Service

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether an audit has been conducted of whether there is a neutral working environment in the Northern Ireland Prison Service. [453]

Mr. Woodward: While no specific audit has been completed in regards to a neutral working environment, it is the Northern Ireland Prison Service policy that all managers and supervisors are responsible for ensuring that:

This policy is enforced by senior management on their visits to work locations.

The service proactively encourages staff to report any incidents where the neutral working environment has been breached. Steps taken include:

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will break down the complement of the Northern Ireland Prison Service in each of the last five years by (a) community background and (b) gender. [454]

Mr. Woodward: The breakdown of the complement of the Northern Ireland Prison Service grades for the last five years is detailed as follows. There has been little change in the composition—only 130 prison service grade staff have been recruited in this period.
MaleFemaleProtestantRoman CatholicNon determined
Prison service grades
General service grades

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Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when, on present trends, it is calculated that the Northern Ireland Prison Service will be reflective of the community as a whole in terms of community background. [504]

Mr. Woodward: Over recent years the Northern Ireland Prison Service has significantly reduced staffing levels as a result of the closure of HMP Belfast and HMP Maze. There has been no major recruitment campaigns to affect the composition of the service.

In the service's recruitment competition for night custody officers last year it specifically encouraged Roman Catholics and women to apply. The wording of the welcome statements in the job advertisements read as follows:

Given the small number of staff currently being recruited it is not at this stage practicable to determine when the composition of the service will fully reflect the wider population of Northern Ireland.

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