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Smoke Alarms

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the number of homes in Northern Ireland which are not fitted with a working smoke alarm; and what steps are being taken to increase the numbers of homes with working smoke alarms. [7539]


 
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Mr. Woodward: The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) has based its estimates of working smoke alarms on the findings of the June 2004 Northern Ireland Omnibus Survey (NIOS). This found that 96 per cent. of respondents had a smoke alarm in their home. Of these, 72 per cent. reported checking their alarms as least weekly or monthly. Taking into account the likelihood of those who tested their alarms less frequently, or never tested, having working alarms, NIFRS estimates that 19 per cent. of homes may not have a reliable, working smoke alarm.

NIFRS has undertaken a number of initiatives to increase public awareness of the need to maintain smoke alarms. These have included the Touch for Life" television advert, shown every Monday throughout the year, which promotes smoke detector maintenance. Billboard and Adshel posters accompanied the television and radio campaign. NIFRS has also circulated a multi-lingual fire safety leaflet targeting minority ethnic groups. NIFRS has also conducted 3,527 community development initiatives in the past year, including fire safety talks in schools, highlighting the importance of smoke alarm maintenance, and 1,421 home safety visits giving advice on fire safety arrangements, as well as the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms.

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people in Northern Ireland have (a) died and (b) suffered injury as a result of house fires where there was a non-working smoke alarm in each of the last five years. [7540]

Mr. Woodward: The following table shows the numbers of deaths in the last five years in house fires where no working smoke alarm was fitted:
Total fatalities
in house fires
Fatalities where no
working smoke alarm fitted
20001411
2001148
2002125
200391
2004105

Figures for the numbers of serious injuries are not readily available. I will write to the hon. Gentleman when these are to hand.

Strangford Lough Fishing Ban

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people have been awarded compensation by his Department since the ban on fishing with mobile gear in Strangford Lough came into force; and what has been the total cost of this compensation. [7140]

Angela E. Smith: No compensation has yet been awarded.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what criteria were used by his Department when awarding compensation following the ban on fishing with mobile gear in Strangford Lough. [7141]


 
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Angela E. Smith: No compensation has yet been awarded and therefore no assessment criteria have been applied.

Tennis

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proportion of the recently-announced lottery funding for sport in Northern Ireland has been earmarked specifically to develop tennis. [7165]

Mr. Hanson: The recent announcement of £6.4 million lottery funding was for projects under the Big Lottery Fund's PE and Sport programme. The PE and Sport programme does not make awards to specific sports, as it is primarily for capital investment. However five of the 14 projects that have recently received awards totalling £4.5 million have indicated in their sports development plan that they will offer sports development opportunities in tennis.

Trading Standards

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Trading Standards
 
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offences were recorded in Northern Ireland in each of the past five years; and how many people were prosecuted as a result. [7167]

Angela E. Smith: The following table gives the numbers of recorded Trading Standards offences and prosecutions from 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2005.
Year
(1 April-31 March)
Number of Trading Standards offences recorded(45)Number of Trading Standards prosecutions
2000–0181214
2001–02126520
2002–03127914
2003–04149314
2004–0530815


(45)Recorded offences include many instances of non-compliance where remedial action was taken on the spot by the trader.


Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Trading Standards officers were employed in Northern Ireland in each of the past five years, broken down by rank. [7166]

Angela E. Smith: The following table gives details of the staffing of Trading Standards Officers in the last five years.
Trading Standards Officers by rank in past five years

Grades200020012002200320042005
Chief Inspector of Weights and Measures111111
Deputy Chief Trading Standards Officer122222
Senior Inspector111100
Area Inspector777777
Trading Standards Inspector121212111010
Enforcement Officer101011111214
Trainee Inspector006666
Total323340393840

Velcade

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to make Velcade available on the NHS in Northern Ireland; and for what reasons it has not been available to date. [7169]

Mr. Woodward: Velcade was licensed for use in all areas in the UK in April 2004. Clinicians are in a position to prescribe Velcade within its licensed indications and in the context of local prescribing budgets.

Additional funding of £5 million has been allocated in 2005–06 for specialist hospital drugs. It is for the Health and Social Services Boards, as commissioners of services, to prioritise how funding is used, taking into account the competing demands and pressures in their areas and the strategic objectives and priorities of my Department.

The Department will continue to seek to improve access to specialist medicines, which offer the potential for significant improvement in patient care.

CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS

Civil Legal Aid Budget

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what allocations she has made to the civil legal aid budget for each of the next five years. [7957]

Bridget Prentice: There is no set budget for civil legal aid for the next five years. Civil legal aid forms part of the overall total funding available for all legal aid (excluding asylum which is part of the Single Asylum Fund). The resource budget for legal aid is set for three years at each Spending Review and these stand at £1,825 million, £1,872 million and £1,920 million for 2005–06 to 2007–08 respectively.

Prior to the commencement of each financial year the Lord Chancellor is required to direct how much may be paid into the Community Legal Service Fund (which funds civil legal aid). As priorities change throughout the course of the year this amount may be changed by way of an amending direction.

Coroners (Bridgend/Teesside)

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will instruct the Bridgend coroner, Mr. Walters, to provide doctors at the Oaktree Surgery in Bridgend with copies of post mortems carried out on their patients. [6918]


 
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Ms Harman: Coroners have been encouraged to provide doctors with copies of post mortem reports in relation to their patients but the decision is a matter for the coroner alone and not one where the Secretary of State can direct.

Vera Baird: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the contents are of the monthly reports which the Lord Chancellor has been receiving from the coroner of Teesside. [7692]

Ms Harman: The monthly information reports received by the Lord Chancellor from the coroner for Teesside since June 2004 contain the number of coroner cases (including inquests) in the region and specifically the numbers of cases received, disposed of and outstanding on a monthly basis.

Vera Baird: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs on what basis the Lord Chancellor will decide whether he requires the Teesside coroner to continue to send him monthly reports. [7693]

Ms Harman: The Lord Chancellor will decide whether he requires the coroner for Teesside to continue to send him monthly reports based upon the performance of the coroner's office for Teesside during the review period.

Vera Baird: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if the Lord Chancellor will require the Teesside coroner to undergo extra training to ensure that there is no recurrence of delays. [7698]

Ms Harman: The Lord Chancellor has not required the coroner to undergo extra training as part of the review period. The Lord Chancellor will consider what further action, if any, is required after the end of June 2005.


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