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Mr. Hanson: The procedure for the opening of the PPS Regional Offices is a phased rollout" over a period beginning with the creation of the first PPS Pilot in December 2003 and completion by December 2006. A public procurement programme is in place to acquire suitable premises capable, in the case of Londonderry of accommodating some 60 staff. At this point a number of sites in the Londonderry area are being considered.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) bus drivers and (b) railway employees in Northern Ireland have been the victim of offences of violence in each of the last 10years. 
|January to June 2005||11|
Translink has advised that similar statistics relating to its railway employees are not available within the available timescale. I shall reply to the hon. Gentleman with that information as soon as possible.
|Number of racist incidents recorded by PSNI|
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress the Government have made in the implementation of each category of the Regional Transportation Plan approved by the Northern Assembly before suspension. 
Mr. Woodward: My Department continues to be committed to the delivery of the Regional Transport Strategy for Northern Ireland (RTS). Good progress has been made, with the launch of the Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan, the Regional Strategic Transport Network Transport Plan and further development of the Sub Regional Transport Plan. An Accessible Transport Strategy has also been published. Together these provide a very good framework for moving forward on transport initiatives. My Department produces a RTS Annual Monitoring Report, which outlines progress on all aspects of the Strategy. The latest report for 200405 is now available on the Department's internet site and conventional printed copies of the report will be sent shortly to elected representatives and other interested parties. Copies of the report will also be available in the Library.
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many beds for elderly people in residential homes there have been in each year between May 1998 and the latest available date. 
Mr. Woodward: The information requested is not available for May 1998, as it is collected annually at 31 March. Information collected on the number of beds for elderly people in residential homes for each of the years requested is shown in the following table.
As at 31 March
Number of beds
|Difference from previous year|
However, when a pupil is suspended from school, the school must complete a notification of pupil suspension form, which is forwarded to the local education and library board. The reason for suspension is recorded on the form. The reasons for suspension, including bullying, have been collected by the Department from 200203 school year and the information is available on the Department's website at www.deni.gov.uk/facts_figures/education_stats/index_other.htm.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many complaints about the handling of incidents of bullying in schools in Northern Ireland have been lodged in each of the last five years. 
Angela E. Smith: The information the Department holds regarding complaints about the handling of incidents of bullying in schools comes from written cases referred to it. The number of complaints in each of the last five school years is as follows.
|School year||Number of complaints|
The information requested is only available from April 2001. The following table provides figures relating to the number of violent crimes (offences against the person, sexual offences, and robbery) in which the victim's occupation or victim type was given
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as Taxi Driver". It should be noted that it is not known whether the taxi driver was actually working at the time of the offence, and therefore these figures do not provide an accurate reflection of how many taxi drivers have been attacked while working.
|Number of incidents|
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the conclusions of the Equality Impact Assessment were on the impact of reforming water rates on (a) Protestant areas and (b) middle class socio-economic groups. 
(a) A draft Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA), was issued for consultation on 29 November 2004 as part of an Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) of the Water Reform proposals. The EQIA concluded that a charging system based on property capital values would result in Protestants being likely to bear a disproportionately greater burden of domestic water and sewerage charges, reflecting the fact that there is a markedly higher representation of Protestants in those areas of Northern Ireland with higher house prices.
(b) Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 requires public bodies to give due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity across nine specific groups: age; gender; religious belief; political opinion; sexual orientation; marital status; dependants; disabled; and race. The draft EQIA does not therefore reach conclusions on the basis of class or socio-economic groupings.
The conclusions of the draft EQIA are currently being reviewed in light of the comments made in the consultation and the evidence submitted of negative impacts on other Section 75 Groups, including pensioners, the disabled and other Section 75 Groups living in low-income households. The results of this review will be reflected in the final Equality Impact Assessment which will issue with the IIA Consultation Report later in the year.
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