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Report of the Chief Electoral Officer

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Peter Hain): The Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland, Denis Stanley is responsible for all aspects of electoral administration in Northern Ireland, including the conduct of all elections and referendums, as well as electoral registration. In accordance with section 14 of the Electoral Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1962, the Chief Electoral Officer is required to submit an annual report to the Secretary of State.

I am pleased to announce that the annual report of the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland for the year 2004–05 has been laid before Parliament today. Copies are available in the Library.


Fraud Review

The Solicitor-General (Mr. Mike O'Brien): My right hon. Friend the Attorney General has made the following written ministerial statement:

27 Oct 2005 : Column 17WS

27 Oct 2005 : Column 18WS


Cold Weather Payments

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mr. James Plaskitt): I am pleased to announce that, following advice from the Meteorological Office, the annual review of the Cold Weather Payments scheme has now been completed. Amending regulations were laid on 7 October and will come into force on 1 November, in time for the beginning of the winter period.

One of the weather stations used in the scheme last winter, Newcastle, is closing and two new weather stations are being introduced at Albemarle and Loftus to provide data for the scheme. Two postcode to weather station linkages have been changed on the advice of the Meteorological Office following representations made by hon. Members and others.

I have written to each of the hon. Members affected by these changes.

Cold Weather Payments are separate from, and in addition to, Winter Fuel Payments which are paid to eligible people from age 60.