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23 Nov 2005 : Column 1976W—continued

Benefit Fraud

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to reduce benefit fraud in Northern Ireland. [30140]

Mr. Hanson: The Social Security Agency has a wide ranging approach to reducing fraud which is detailed in Programme Protection Plans which are in place in all operational units.

These include:

Blood Donation

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many blood donations have been rejected in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. [30212]

Mr. Woodward: Blood donors may be deferred from giving blood or the donations themselves may subsequently be rejected. The single largest reason for deferment is a low haemoglobin level, which accounts for 6 per cent. of total donor attendances. Donations may be rejected after collection for technical reasons, e.g. inadequate volume, or in a very small number of cases because they fail the standard screening for blood-borne diseases.

Figures for total donations and rejections over the last five years are given in the following table, although the information for 2000–01 is incomplete.
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Whole blood attendanceWhole blood donationsNumber of donors turned down before donationPercentage of donors turned down before donation

Number of donations rejected after donationDonations banked


Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has received from schools seeking support to deal with bullying. [30205]

Angela E. Smith: The Department has not been contacted by individual schools seeking support to deal with bullying. However, the Department has taken pro-active steps to support schools in tackling bullying through development and publication of guidance.

In 2004 the Department in partnership with voluntary organisations, including Save the Children, established an Anti-bullying Forum to enable a collaborative and co-ordinated approach to tackling bullying in schools. The forum enables members to share models of best practice, disseminate information, to develop and co-ordinate joint initiatives to ensure that schools and organisations working with children and young people are able to develop appropriate strategies to prevent and deal with bullying behaviours.

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many cases of bullying were reported in the (a) controlled, (b) maintained, (c) voluntary and (d) integrated sectors of education in each year since 2002; [30207]

(2) how many cases of bullying were reported in (a) the secondary school sector and (b) the grammar school sector in each year since 2002. [30208]

Angela E. Smith: The Department of Education does not collect the information requested.

Information about the scale and nature of bullying in Northern Ireland schools is contained in a research report published in October 2002. A research briefing summary is available on the Department's website at .uk/rb8_2002.pdf.

The Department has recently commissioned updated research into bullying, in all its forms, and the results will also be published in due course.
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Business Regulation

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will take steps to reduce the burden of regulation on business in Northern Ireland. [30121]

Angela E. Smith: A Better Regulation Strategy was introduced by the Northern Ireland Executive in December 2001 in order to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses of all sizes. As part of this, a more robust regulatory impact assessment procedure was introduced. Departments now carry out a micro business test to assess the impact of any proposed legislation on businesses with fewer than five employees. Departments are also required to give all businesses at least 12 weeks' advance notice of any legislation and to provide appropriate guidance on implementation.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment is keeping this strategy under review and is liaising with the Cabinet Office Better Regulation Unit to ensure that improvements in the regulatory regime for businesses are consistently implemented across the United Kingdom.


Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how the Government plans to cut carbon emissions from 1990 levels in Northern Ireland to meet Kyoto agreement targets. [30122]

Angela E. Smith: The United Kingdom has a Kyoto target to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 12.5 per cent. (below 1990 levels) by 2008 to 2012 and national targets to specifically reduce Carbon Dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions by 20 per cent. by 2010 and by 60 per cent. by 2050. The UK is on course to meet the Kyoto target but is currently not on track to achieve the domestic 2010 CO 2 target. In Northern Ireland total GHG emissions in 2003 were 3.5 per cent. below the 1990 base year.

A range of policies and measures are being implemented across government departments in Northern Ireland to reduce CO 2 emissions. These include;

Currently 28 installations in Northern Ireland are participating in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme that effectively places a limit on the amount of CO 2 they can freely emit. The scheme is expected to exert a significant downward pressure on emissions for the foreseeable future.

In the domestic housing sector, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive invests around £40 million per annum on heating, double glazing and insulation works to improve energy efficiency in Northern Ireland's housing stock.
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The Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) is bringing forward amendments to Northern Ireland's building regulations on minimum standards for the conservation of fuel and power and these should be in place from June 2006. DFP also invests in improving the energy performance of buildings in the public sector.

The Carbon Trust helps businesses and public sector organisations to reduce energy consumption through a range of programmes which include energy surveys, design advice, interest free loans, enhanced capital allowances and clean technology venture capital. The Trust is also promoting a Low Carbon Design Initiative for new build projects.

In October the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development issued a public consultation document on recommendations for developing the renewable energy potential of the agri-food and forestry sectors.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced plans in the draft budget to set up an Energy and Environment Fund for research and development into renewables and to incentivise the market through appropriate grant aid assistance.

Further details of these measures will be available in the forthcoming UK Climate Change Programme due to be published shortly.

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the change in greenhouse gas emissions has been in each year since 1997 in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [30704]

Angela E. Smith: Information on total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for Northern Ireland is given in the following table. These figures have been taken from the Greenhouse Gas Inventories for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland 1990–2003 report. No figures are available for 1997 and the latest year is 2003.
Total emission of GHGs (Mt CO 2 equivalent)CO 2 emissions (Mt)

In 2003, total GHG emissions in Northern Ireland have fallen by 3.5 per cent. below 1990, the Kyoto baseline year. Further information on the emission trends can be found in the report, which can be accessed at:

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