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30 Jan 2006 : Column 135W—continued

Sexual Health

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many young people in Northern Ireland aged (a) 16, (b) 15, (c) 14, (d) 13 and (e) under 13 years have attended Brook Advisory Clinic for contraceptive treatment in each of the last five years. [46459]

Mr. Woodward: Information on the number of young people in Northern Ireland attending the Brook Advisory Clinic is not collected centrally.
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Sexual Offences Review

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the publication date for the Sexual Offences Review consultation document; and what is the time scale for the review. [45789]

Mr. Hanson: I have asked officials to resume work on a review of the law on sexual offences, with the aim of publishing a paper for consultation before Easter. Although it is too early to be specific, I would like to see legislation in place early next year for a new body of law on sexual offences.

Smoking Ban

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the likely improvement in the health of adults in Northern Ireland within two years of the smoking ban in public places being introduced. [46649]

Mr. Woodward: The introduction of smoke-free legislation will protect employees and the public in general from the increased health risks associated with exposure to second-hand smoke such as lung cancer, ischaemic heart disease, stroke, asthma and other circulatory and respiratory diseases. Experience elsewhere suggests that comprehensive controls also help reduce smoking prevalence.

The draft Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order will be issued for public consultation in February and will be accompanied by a draft Regulatory Impact Assessment, which will address both the health and economic implications of tobacco control measures.

Social Security

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the total administration costs associated with the delivery of social security benefits in Northern Ireland were in 2004–05; how many staff are employed in social security administration in Northern Ireland; and what administrative costs per benefit recipient were in 2004–05. [46145]

Mr. Hanson: Information on the cost of administrating social security benefits and the number of staff involved is available from the Social Security Agency Annual Report and Accounts 2004–05. It was published on 31 October 2005 and a copy placed in the Library.

Information on the costs per benefit recipient of administration in 2004–05 is not available.

Special Advisers

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list (a) the special advisers in his Department, (b) their specific areas of expertise and (c) the total cost of employing them in the latest year for which figures are available. [8818]

Mr. Hain: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to him on 4 July 2005, Official Report, column 36W.
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Strabane Fire Station

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many part-time fire-fighters in Strabane Fire Station applied to become full-time fire-fighters in each of the last five years; and how many of those applications were successful. [45874]

Mr. Woodward: In the last five years there have been three full-time recruitment exercises carried out within the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service. The number of retained (i.e. part-time) fire-fighters from the Strabane Fire Station who applied for full-time fire-fighter posts was as follows:
Date of recruitment exerciseApplied
January 20013
September 20037
November 20055

In order to comply with current equality legislation, applicants from the Retained Service are required to undergo exactly the same selection process for posts within the full-time fire-fighting service as all other candidates. None of these applicants was successful in that process.

Transport Links

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans are in place to improve transport links (a) between Northern Ireland and Great Britain and (b) within Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [43758]

Mr. Woodward: Air and sea links between NI and GB are market driven and are generally satisfactory. Consequently, the only area Government is currently seeking to improve, through the Scottish Executive and the Northern Ireland administration, is the Ballycastle/Campbeltown ferry service.

The Regional Transportation Strategy 2002–12 for Northern Ireland is the basis upon which all land based transportation initiatives are now taken forward. This is supported by three transport plans, which contain the detailed programmes of major schemes, and transport initiatives that the Department for Regional Development wants to carry out to achieve the Northern Ireland's transportation objectives. Transport plans for the Belfast Metropolitan Area and the Regional Strategic Transport Network were published last year and are available from the Commons Library. The third sub regional" transport plan that covers the other urban areas and the rural area not covered by the previous two plans will be published later this year.

Treatment Provision

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what arrangements are in place for patients in Northern Ireland to be treated in Scotland to ensure speedier treatment and surgery. [46791]

Mr. Woodward: By March this year no-one should be waiting more than 12 months for inpatient or day case treatment; six months for cardiac or cataract surgery; and nine months for major joint replacement surgery.
30 Jan 2006 : Column 138W

When a trust is unable to treat a patient within the agreed time, arrangements are in place to transfer patients to another provider for treatment. This may be at a hospital within Northern Ireland, elsewhere in the United Kingdom, including Scotland, or further afield if necessary.



Chris Ruane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the accuracy of census figures for (a) houses in multiple occupation and (b) caravan parks; and if he will make a statement. [45668]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the national statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 30 January 2006:

Central Government (Administration Costs)

John Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the costs of central Government administration have been in each year since 1998. [46224]

Mr. Des Browne: Outturn against the administration costs limits of central Government Departments is published each year at tables 4 and 5 of the Public Expenditure Outturn White (PEOWP) Paper. The 2004–05 edition of PEOWP (Cm 6639) has been placed in the Library along will all previous editions.

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