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10 Oct 2005 : Column 256W—continued

English Language Support

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what guidelines his Department issues to Education and Library Boards regarding the provision of English as an additional language support. [13281]

Angela E. Smith: Under Article 6 of the Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland Order) 1986, Education and Library Boards are required to afford for all pupils opportunities for education offering such variety of instruction and training as may be desirable in view of their different ages, abilities and aptitudes, including practical instruction and training appropriate to their respective needs.

The Department is in the early stages of developing a policy for EAL. Equality issues will be considered during the development of the policy and full and meaningful consultation will take place with all interested parties throughout the development process.

A new policy should be developed by September 2006.

Equality and Diversity

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much the Department has spent promoting equality and diversity in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [14661]

Angela E. Smith: Promoting equality and diversity are fundamental principles underpinning the functions of each of the 11 Departments in the Northern Ireland administration and the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), and are mainstreamed into departmental processes and decision making. It would not therefore be possible to apportion costs to these activities with any degree of accuracy. However, we estimate that in the 11 Departments of the Northern Ireland administration
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and NIO there were approximately 135 full-time equivalent (FTE) officials involved wholly or mainly in promoting equality and diversity at a total cost of approximately £4.3 million. The corresponding figure for NIO shows that there were approximately eight FTE officials at a cost of approximately £305,000.

In addition, the budget for the Equality Directorate of the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister for delivery of services relating to equality, diversity and good relations the last year was approximately £29 million, including funding for the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, the Community Relations Council and the office of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People. The Department for Culture Arts and Leisure had a programme budget relating to diversity of £5.3 million last year.

Family and Child Care Services

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding arrangements for family and child care services in Northern Ireland. [16601]

Mr. Woodward: There has been very significant investment in the Pre-school Expansion programme, the Sure Start programme and a range of other child care provisions throughout Northern Ireland. Further investment is required to ensure that every child has the best start in life and this will be a priority in future budget allocations.

Farmers (Bankruptcies)

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many bankruptcies of farmers in Northern Ireland there were in each of the last 15 years; what percentage of the total number of farmers this represented in each year; and what the percentage change in bankruptcies was in each year. [15082]

Angela E. Smith: Bankruptcies of farmers in Northern Ireland from year ending 31 March 1996 to year ending 31 March 2005:
Number of
in year ending
31 March
Number of farm businesses(76)Number of bankruptcy orders made(77)Percentage of bankruptcies to farm businessesPercentage change in bankruptcies
199931,132230.07No change

Figure not


(76)The figures in column 2 were supplied by DARD and relate to the number of farm businesses in operation in Northern Ireland each year. The figure for 2005 is not yet available. The statistical definition of an operational farm used for this answer is as follows. All active farm businesses having one hectare or more of farmed land, whether owned, leased or taken in conacre, and those with under one hectare having any cattle, sheep or pigs or with significant poultry or horticultural activity. Landowners who lease out or rent out in conacre all of their land are not included."
(77)These figures are based on the Standard Industrial Classification of agriculture e.g. arable and livestock farming, horticulture and all related services", and by definition therefore not all the people declared bankrupt under this classification could be regarded as farmers.

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Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many flags have been removed by Police Service Northern Ireland officers in each police district in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years. [14500]

Mr. Woodward: The PSNI have confirmed that verifiable statistics regarding the removal of flags by the PSNI are not currently available. The PSNI have advised that they have written to the Policing Board on this matter and await a response.

Flats above Shops

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in encouraging the use of flats above shops in Northern Ireland. [15163]

Mr. Hanson: The Housing Executive has now written to all district councils in Northern Ireland asking them to submit applications for 'Town Centre Living Initiative Areas' by the end of September 2005. It is anticipated that up to five new areas will be declared each year and the first of these is expected to be announced early in 2006.

Fostering Payments

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much a foster family in Northern Ireland received for each child fostered in each of the last five years. [15085]

Mr. Woodward: The information requested is detailed in the following tables.
Basic fostering allowances April 2000–05 (per annum)(78)

Age bands

(78)At March 2005 HSS trusts reported that 215 foster carers received enhanced allowances in respect of children with additional needs and 254 carers (18 per cent.) of foster carers received in additional to allowances a salary (around £11,000).

Basic fostering allowances

These include provision for the following:
Food (including school meals)40
Household costs25
Clothing and footwear18
Pocket money10
Travel cost7

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Extra allowances

There are four types of extra allowances:

Total boarding out payments made to foster carers

End of yearAmount (£)

(79)Previous returns from HSS trusts do not enable the separate disaggregation of fostering payments.
(80)Not yet available.

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