Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the estimated cost of dealing with illegal dumping of hazardous waste in the Province has been over the last three year period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith:
The Environment and Heritage Service does not hold details of the cost of dealing with illegally dumped hazardous waste. District councils
1 Nov 2005 : Column 1017W
have a statutory responsibility for dealing with fly-tipped hazardous waste, and bearing the costs of its disposal.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the cost to the Northern Ireland economy of illegal dumping in the Province of (a) waste and (b) hazardous waste originating from the Irish Republic over the last three years; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith: The estimated cost of cleaning up the illegal landfill sites is in the order of £25 million. The Department of the Environment does not have details of the cost of any hazardous waste originating in the Republic of Ireland which may have been dumped in Northern Ireland in the last three years.
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list consultancy firms engaged by each Northern Ireland Department to advise on the electronic Human Resources Contract (a) prior to and (b) during the process overseen by the Northern Ireland Civil Service Project Board. 
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 14 October 2005, Official Report, column 647W, on Ilex Company, what criteria were used to select the companies used for recruitment of staff by Ilex; and which companies were used in that recruitment process. 
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has received from senior police officers on the proposed extension of drinking hours in the Province; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hanson: A senior representative from the Police Service of Northern Ireland is represented on the steering group that has been involved in developing proposals for the reform of liquor licensing in Northern Ireland. Account was also taken of a survey of PSNI district commanders and regional headquarters carried out in October 2004. I have kept PSNI fully appraised of the final package of measures I put forward for consultation. A senior PSNI officer spoke in support of the measures at the launch of the consultation in Belfast on 1 November
|Catholic maintained schools
|Other maintained schools
|Total maintained schools
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the impact on employment levels of the recent minimum wage increase, with particular reference to small and medium businesses in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith: The latest available assessment is the Low Pay Commission's The Impact of the National Minimum Wage" (February 2005). The Low Pay Commission (LPC) is the statutory body whose role is to advise and make recommendations to the Government on the national minimum wage (NMW). The LPC report states that the NMW has had no significant adverse effects on business and employment creation. However, the report notes that the NMW is likely to have the most impact in those regions with the highest proportions of low paid employment, namely the North East, the East Midlands, Wales and Northern Ireland.
When the minimum wage was first introduced there was concern that it would lead to an increase in the level and rate of unemployment. These fears have not
1 Nov 2005 : Column 1019W
materialised at either a national or regional level. Since the introduction of the NMW in 1999, Northern Ireland's unemployment rate has fallen from 7.5 per cent. and is currently 4.6 per cent. (UK = 4.7 per cent.). Furthermore, it is encouraging to note that since the NMW was introduced in 1999, the growth in Northern Ireland employment (10.7 per cent.) is almost twice that of the UK (5.4 per cent.).
an MRSA patient information leaflet which provides relevant data on the origins, symptoms and treatment of the disease has recently been updated. The leaflet is available throughout the health service and is accessible on the DHSSPS website:
an antimicrobial resistance and hand hygiene TV advertising campaign was launched in 2004 and re-run in 2005.The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the need for good hand hygiene and also to emphasise the need to reduce the use of antibiotics.
In June the Department launched a consultation document, A Strategy for Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections in Northern Ireland 200510". This document was issued to the HPSS, patient representatives and the general public. Responses to the consultation are being analysed at present and arising from this a detailed action plan will be launched at a major conference on the subject of infection control which the Department is hosting in Belfast in March 2006.
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to improve (a) availability and (b) delivery of disease modifying treatments for multiple sclerosis sufferers in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Woodward: Disease modifying treatments for people with multiple sclerosis have been available in Northern Ireland since the mid-1990s. At 30 September 2005, there were 576 patients receiving treatment with disease modifying therapies.
In 200203, an additional £3 million was allocated to Health and Social Services Boards for a range of specialist medicines, including disease modifying therapies for people with multiple sclerosis. £100,000 was also allocated in 200203 specifically to enhance the infrastructure for delivery of disease modifying treatments for multiple sclerosis sufferers, including the appointment of specialist MS nurses and additional pharmacy staff. Further additional funding of £5 million for specialist hospital drugs has been allocated in the current financial year.
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
1 Nov 2005 : Column 1020W
priorities of my Department. This year, the Boards will spend an estimated £4.7 million providing disease modifying treatment to multiple sclerosis sufferers.