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23 Jan 2006 : Column 1871W—continued

Job Creation (East Londonderry)

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much grant assistance was paid towards additional job creation in the private sector in East Londonderry constituency in 2005. [44061]

Angela E. Smith: During the financial year 2004–05 Invest NI offered £2.29 million of assistance within the East Londonderry constituency area. This contributed towards projects which have a total planned investment of over £11 million; and is comprised of over 400 offers aimed at the establishment, growth and capability development of businesses within the area, including 235 offers of support provided through the Start a Business Programme.

In addition, during 2004–05 the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development awarded £1.17 million to the private sector within the East Londonderry constituency.

Lower Back Pain

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many working days were estimated to have been lost due to lower back pain in Northern Ireland in (a) 2000 and (b) 2005. [43626]

Angela E. Smith: Estimates of the number of working days lost due to lower back pain are not available. However for information, the autumn (September to November) 2005 Labour Force Survey estimated that there were 23,000 people in employment in Northern Ireland that have been suffering from back or neck pain for a period of one year or more. The comparable figure for autumn 2000 was 21,000.

Ministerial Meetings

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many meetings with his officials have been requested (a) by officials in the Fisheries
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Division of his Department and (b) by Lord Rooker since his appointment as Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development; and how many briefings he (i) has requested from officials in the Fisheries Division and (ii)has received. [44771]

Angela E. Smith: Officials are always available to meet Ministers as and when necessary. Lord Rooker has met with officials at their request, on at least five occasions and once at the request of the Minister. The Minister has received briefing on more than 30 occasions. All of these have been initiated with fisheries officials in line with their duty to keep the Minister informed in issues of significance.


Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average waiting time for MOT inspections was at each vehicle testing agency site in Northern Ireland in the last year for which figures are available. [44567]

Angela E. Smith: The following table shows the average waiting time for MOT inspections at each test centre in Northern Ireland for the period 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2005.
CentreAverage waiting time (days)

MRSA (Hospital Deaths)

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people died in Northern Ireland hospitals during 2005 where MRSA was a contributory factor. [42275]

Angela E. Smith: The latest year for which figures are available is 2004. There were 44 deaths registered in Northern Ireland where MRSA 1 was mentioned on the death certificate. Of these 34 deaths occurred where the place of death was in a hospital.

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New Deal

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many young people in each ward in Northern Ireland have been helped into work under the new deal programme (a) in total and (b) in each year since the introduction of the new deal, listed in descending order and indicating in which constituency each ward lies. [44527]

Angela E. Smith: This information has been placed in the Library.

New School Buildings

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which (a) primary and (b) post-primary schools in the (i) controlled and (ii) maintained sectors in East Londonderry constituency are scheduledto have new school buildings within the next 10 years. [44063]

Angela E. Smith: In the East Londonderry constituency, there are currently 11 schemes in planning, four of which have been approved for funding—one controlled primary school scheme (Carnalridge), one maintained primary rationalisation scheme (Dungiven, Largy and Burnfoot), one controlled post-primary scheme (Coleraine college) and one controlled special schools amalgamation scheme (Glasvey and Limegrove).

There are seven schemes that have been identified by the relevant school authorities to the Department of Education as requiring a major capital works scheme and have been assessed by the Department as having a need for a scheme. These are currently in various stages of planning and the progressing of these schemes will be dependent on the availability of resources, and the planning, procurement and construction work required. These schemes are:

Controlled primary

Maintained primary

Integrated primary

Controlled post-primary

Voluntary grammar school

The relevant school authorities have also identified to the Department within their five-year plans the following schools for future assessment.

Controlled primary

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Maintained post-primary

In examining all proposals for new school buildings it will be important that in a situation of falling pupil numbers that schools are assessed as being viable in the longer term before funding approval is given.

Olympic Games

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to help Northern Irish athletes prepare for the 2012 Olympic games. [43719]

Mr. Hanson: The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure is working closely with the Department of Culture Media and Sport and London Organising Committee of the Olympic games to ensure maximum benefit for Northern Ireland, from London hosting the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2012. A Northern Ireland Olympic task force is also in place to develop and implement an Olympic strategy for Northern Ireland, and a principal element of this strategy will address the preparation of Northern Irish athletes for the games.

Partially Sighted People

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to assist people in Northern Ireland who are partially sighted (a) to overcome barriers to employment and (b) into work. [44912]

Angela E. Smith: The Department for Employment and Learning, through the Disablement Advisory Service, provides advice, guidance, training and a placement service for people with disabilities. This service is delivered by specialist Disablement Employment Advisers based in Jobs and Benefits Offices/Jobcentres across Northern Ireland. The Department's advisers have available a range of programmes to assist disabled people overcome barriers to employment and to help them advance in the workplace, all of which can provide assistance for partially sighted people. These programmes, include: the Job Introduction Scheme; Access to Work; Employment Support; and New Deal for Disabled People. Further, the Department has a contract with RNIB to provide assessment services to assist the advisers meet the needs of partially sighted clients.

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