|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment the Valuation and Lands Agency has made of whether a police presence will be required in some circumstances for inspectors wishing to inspect a property for valuation purposes as part of the rates revaluation in Northern Ireland. 
Angela E. Smith: The Valuation and Lands Agency has trained risk assessors familiar with the risks in each area of its operations. Risk assessments are carried out on a regular basis as well as in response to changes in circumstances or the operational environment.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) whether the Government expects that pensioners participating in a deferred rates payment system would have a charge placed on their home; and how such a charge would be prioritised on the death of the pensioner relative to their other liabilities; 
(3) if he will publish the preliminary analysis that the Government has drafted on how a deferred payment scheme for pensioners would operate in relation to the draft Rates (Capital Values, etc.) (Northern Ireland) Order 2005. 
Angela E. Smith: The Government has no plans to introduce a rates deferment scheme for people of pension age. No analysis has therefore been carried out on how such a scheme would operate. It is, however, intended to make provision in primary legislation that would allow a future executive to introduce a deferment scheme.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the impact of the level of funding to the Department for Regional Development Roads Service on the completion of Northern Ireland's Regional Transport Strategy. 
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question regarding what assessment he has made of the impact of the reduced funding to the Department for Regional Development Roads Service on the completion of Northern Ireland's Regional Transport Strategy.
In terms of the capital budget, I can advise that by the mid-way point on the Regional Transportation Strategy (RTS) ten-year strategy period i.e. in 20067, investment on strategic improvements, local transport and safety measures, minor network development schemes, bridge strengthening, street lighting, etc. will have reached approximately 50% of the total envisaged in the RTS. Thus I can reassure you that the overall capital investment in the road network is in line with the increased level of investment that the RTS proposed for initiatives to address the bottlenecks and upgrade the key transport corridors in the network. Indeed, the investment plans outlined in the Draft Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland (ISNI) embodies proposals which would take capital spending to levels beyond those of the RTS.
From the maintenance point of view, while average expenditure increased substantially following approval of the RTS, the scope to allocate resources is constrained by the amounts that can be made available from new sources or by reallocating funds from other areas. In order to help create scope to release resources for other priorities, including Health and Education, Ministers have agreed to reduce the amounts in the Draft Budget allocations from
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans are in place to ensure that elderly people in Northern Ireland are protected from the worst effects of prolonged and severe winter weather. 
Mr. Hanson: There are a number of measures in place to protect the elderly from the effects of severe winter weather. The warm homes scheme offers a range of heating and insulation measures to make homes more energy efficient and help save on fuel bills. Since it began in 2001, the warm homes scheme has assisted over 25,000 vulnerable households in the private sector and continues to make a major contribution towards improving the quality of life of those in fuel poverty. To strengthen our commitment to warm homes, funding for the scheme has increased from just under £3 million in 2001 to just under £15 million in the current financial year and despite the many pressures on public funding the target of 8,250 participants each year continues to be achieved.
Winter fuel payments are available to people aged 60 or over who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland. These payments of £200 are paid to all eligible households. Households which include people aged 80 or over can receive an extra payment of £100. During the winter 2004/05, 230,553 households in Northern Ireland benefited from winter fuel payments amounting to £49.7 million.
In addition cold weather payments provide extra help towards heating costs for the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society, including pensioners receiving pension credit, in periods of exceptionally cold weather.
The cold weather payment is made automatically to people awarded pension credit when the average temperature is recorded as, or forecast to be, 0 degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days at the weather station linked to the customer's postcode. Savings are not taken into account and Cold Weather Payments are paid in addition to winter fuel payments.
This year the Government are also making Age-Related Payments to help pensioners with their rates bills or other living expenses. People aged 65 or over and not in receipt of the guarantee credit element of pension credit, could receive £200 per household to help with rates bills. Pensioners are free to use it towards heating costs. People aged 70 or over and in receipt of the guarantee
5 Dec 2005 : Column 1081W
credit element of pension credit could receive 50 to help with their living expenses such as heating bills. Age-Related Payments will be paid together with winter fuel payments.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what role the Sports Council for Northern Ireland has in ensuring that the interests of sportsmen and women in the Province are represented within sports which are (a) organised on a Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland basis and (b) funded through similarly organised sporting bodies. 
Mr. Hanson: Under the Recreation and Youth Service (Northern Ireland Order) 1986 the Sports Council for Northern Ireland (SCNI) is statutorily responsible for the development of Sport in Northern Ireland including the distribution of public funding to sport. SCNI runs a range of development programmes designed to assist sports men and women in Northern Ireland to develop their full sporting potential regardless of whether their sports are organised on a Northern Ireland, all-Ireland or UK basis or organised through similarly organised bodies.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will list the individuals who are on the run for terrorist offences after conviction; and how many individuals are wanted for questioning in connection with offences relating to terrorism in Northern Ireland; 
The Government does not hold figures on how many people are wanted for questioning in connection with offences relating to terrorism in Northern Ireland. The Police Service of Northern Ireland is currently conducting a review of outstanding warrants. This review has not yet been completed.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|