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9 Feb 2006 : Column 1409W—continued

A-Level Results

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proportion of pupils making A-level entries in Northern Ireland obtained passes at (a) grade A level and (b) grades A and B level in each of the last 20 years. [50310]

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Angela E. Smith: The requested information is as follows:
Entries achieving pass at:
Academic yearGrade AGrades A-B

1. The latest available data relates to the 2003/04 academic year.
2. The earliest available data relates to the 1995/96 academic year.

Child Poverty

Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many children are living in poverty in Northern Ireland in each constituency; and what the equivalent figures were in each of the past five years. [47579]

Angela E. Smith: Information is not available for the period requested as the data source households below average income was introduced to Northern Ireland in 2002–03 whereas in GB the survey was introduced in 1994–95. Also to enable estimates for individual Northern Ireland constituencies as requested, it was necessary to combine data for years 2002–03 and 2003–04. The following table shows the numbers and percentages of children living in relative income poverty before housing costs and after housing costs across parliamentary constituencies in Northern Ireland for that period.
Number and percentage of children in relative poverty by parliamentary constituency for 2002–03 and 2003–04 combined

Relative poverty
Before housing costs
After housing costs
Parliamentary constituencyNumberPercentageNumberPercentage
Belfast East3,500234,20029
Belfast North5,300295,20028
Belfast South2,100172,90024
Belfast West5,900246,90028
East Antrim2,900163,70020
East Londonderry8,000307,60029
Fermanagh and South Tyrone7,100229,50030
Lagan Valley2,900133,30015
Mid Ulster5,600347,30044
Newry and Armagh4,500205,60025
North Antrim8,000248,50025
North Down2,800134,20020
South Antrim4,800146,50020
South Down5,600177,00022
Upper Bann8,000217,90021
West Tyrone6,600308,50038

1. Numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred and percentages to the nearest whole number, therefore individual numbers by parliamentary constituencies may not sum to Northern Ireland total.
2. As with any sample survey the numbers and percentages quoted in the table above are subject to a degree of sampling error.
3. A single year's data do not provide robust results at the level of parliamentary constituency. It was therefore necessary to combine two years data to allow robust analysis this level.
4. The data were sourced from Households Below Average Income Northern Ireland (HBAI NI). The HBAI NI is based on information collected from the Family Resources Survey (FRS). The FRS was first run in NI in 2002–03. Therefore data is not available prior to 2002–03. The NBAI was first introduced in Great Britain in 1994–95.
5. The HBAI is the main source of income poverty measures throughout the UK and is used to monitor the United Kingdom's child poverty targets.
6. Relative income poverty is defined as having an income less than 60 per cent. of the contemporary median income.
7. Income before housing costs (BHC) includes the following main components: usual net earnings from employment; profit or loss from self-employment (losses are treated as a negative income); all social security benefits (including housing benefit, social fund, maternity, funeral and community care grants but excluding social fund loans) and tax credits; income from occupational and private pensions; investment income; maintenance payments, if a person receives them directly; income from educational grants and scholarships (including, for students, top up loans and parental contributions); the cash value of certain forms of income in kind (free school meals, free welfare milk, free school milk and free TV licence for those aged 75 and over).
8. Income is net of the following items: income tax payments; national insurance contributions; domestic rates (this includes water and sewerage charges for Northern Ireland); contributions to occupational pension schemes (including all additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) to occupational pension schemes, and any contributions to personal pensions); all maintenance and child support payments, which are deducted from the income of the person making the payment and parental contributions to students living away from home.
9. Income after housing costs (AHC) is derived by deducting a measure of housing costs from BHC income measure. Housing costs include the following: rent (gross of housing benefit); water rates, mortgage interest payments (net of tax relief); structural insurance premiums (for owner occupiers); ground rent and service charges.
Households Below Average Income 2002–03 and 2003–04 Department for Social Development.

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Children's Food Bill

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will take steps to introduce in Northern Ireland the measures contained in the Children's Food Bill. [49033]

Angela E. Smith: The Department of Education, along with the Education and Library Boards and other school authorities, are already in the process of introducing many of the measures contained in the proposed Children's Food Bill.

New Nutritional Standards for school meals are presently being rolled-out to all schools in Northern Ireland. Around 500 schools are operating the standards at present and the remaining schools will be included as soon as possible. Additional funding has been provided to support the initiative which will address not only school meals but will also include other areas of food provision in schools such as tuck shops and vending machines. The Department will shortly be consulting on the timetable for introducing these changes.

In addition, from the 2006–07 school year the Education and Training Inspectorate will be evaluating the nutritional quality of meals in schools. It will also be examining schools' general approaches to promoting healthy eating.

Health education is a compulsory element of the curriculum for all pupils. It provides opportunities to learn about a healthy diet and to know and understand the contribution of food to growth, energy and health.

Civil Service

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps have been taken by the Civil Service to address the under-representation of Protestants in the general service grades of the Civil Service in 2005. [44804]

Angela E. Smith: In 2005 the Northern Ireland Civil Service included statements particularly welcoming applications from Protestants in the following recruitment competitions:

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The Northern Ireland Civil Service has been aware that Protestants have been under-represented in applications for certain general service grades since 2002 when it last carried out a review as required under Article 55 of the Fair Employment and Treatment (NI) Order 1998. Since that time job advertisements for administrative assistant and administrative officer have carried messages particularly welcoming applications from the Protestant community. Appointments continue to be made strictly on merit from those who apply.

The Service's Article 55 review is currently in train and will examine the latest available figures. I expect to be in a position to provide this report to hon. Members in Northern Ireland later in the spring.

In addition, the Service is currently developing a new outreach strategy which will set out actions to be taken to promote Civil Service careers among under-represented groups.

Cognitive Therapy

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans there are to increase the number of cognitive therapists in the Province. [49387]

Mr. Woodward: There are no central plans to increase the number of cognitive therapists. The recruitment of staff, including cognitive therapists, is a matter for individual health and social services trusts taking into account factors such as service needs and available resources.

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