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14 Feb 2006 : Column 1853W—continued

Benefit Claimants

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what change there has been in the
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numbers of unemployed benefit claimants in the past 12 months in each of Northern Ireland's constituencies. [51358]

Angela E. Smith: Unemployment levels from the claimant count in each of the Northern Ireland parliamentary constituencies at December 2004 and December 2005, and the change in levels, are provided in the following table.
Parliamentary constituencyDecember 2004December 2005Change in levels December 2004-December 2005
Belfast East1,040993-47
Belfast North1,9522,108156
Belfast South1,3871,355-32
Belfast West3,0662,900-166
East Antrim1,5021,362-140
East Londonderry1,9831,685-298
Fermanagh and South Tyrone1,4591,329-130
Lagan Valley83987233
Mid Ulster78884557
Newry and Armagh1,7161,388-328
North Antrim1,2931,36875
North Down1,0011,02019
South Antrim9081,044136
South Down1,3821,312-70
Upper Bann1,0961,19397
West Tyrone1,8281,91486


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what amount of arms has been decommissioned by Loyalist paramilitaries in each of the last five years. [50499]

Mr. Woodward: In December 1998, the LVF decommissioned what the IICD described as a small but significant" quantity of arms. Since then, the IICD has not reported any decommissioning by Loyalist groups.

Employment (East Londonderry)

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the change in numbers of (a) males and (b) females in part-time employment in East Londonderry constituency has been in each of the last five years. [51327]

Angela E. Smith: Estimates of the number of employee jobs below Northern Ireland level are only available from the Census of Employment on a biennial basis and the most up to date figures relate to September 2003. Estimates of the number of part-time e in the East Londonderry parliamentary constituency area for September 1999, September 2001 and September 2003 can be so presents the change in the number of male and female part-time employee jobs between each census.
Number of part-time employee jobs split by male and female in the East Londonderry parliamentary constituency area for September 1999, September 2001 and September 2003 and the change between censuses

(a) Male part-time employee jobs(b) Female part- time employee jobs
September 19992,1187,008
September 20012,2637,494
September 20032,5018,002
September 1999-September 2001145486
September 2001-September 2003238508

Census of Employment, DETI

Food Safety Standards

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many prosecutions there were in 2005 of establishments in Northern Ireland serving hot food in contravention of food safety standards. [51355]

Mr. Woodward: The information requested for the calendar year of 2005 is not yet available.

The Food Standards Agency collects data on district council enforcement activities in relation to food hygiene on a financial yearly basis. The most recent available data relates to the period 1 April 2004–31 March 2005.

During this period there were 10 restaurants and other catering premises in Northern Ireland prosecuted by district councils for food hygiene offences.

District council returns for the period 1 April 2005–31 March 2006 are required to be submitted to the Food Standards Agency by 31 May 2006. Collated data on this period will be available after this date.
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Olympic Games

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much financial support the Government will be providing for the special Olympics Ireland games taking place in Belfast in 2006. [46546]

Mr. Hanson: Government are considering financial support to the special Olympic Ireland games taking place in Belfast in 2006 and discussions with the organisers about the details are continuing. A formal announcement will be issued on completion.

School Crossing Patrol Services

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) primary schools in Northern Ireland and (b) children attending them were affected by the decisions of education and library boards to withdraw school crossing patrol services within the past 12 months. [51325]

Angela E. Smith: Education and Library Boards have withdrawn school crossing patrols at 80 primary schools across Northern Ireland in the last 12 months. The decision to withdraw patrols is one that is taken very carefully, and only in cases where a review using the agreed local authority road safety officers' association guidelines has determined that underlying hazards have either declined significantly, or disappeared completely.

It is not possible to provide information regarding the number of pupils affected by the withdrawal of the crossing patrols as not every pupil attending the schools will have been affected by the change. Some schools have more than one crossing patrol point, or indeed more than one entrance; in other cases, the crossing patrol was not located at the school gates. 44 of the patrols removed were lunchtime patrols which few pupils used.


Asylum Appeals

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what steps the Government are taking to reduce the time appellants wait for a hearing in the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. [51384]

Bridget Prentice: The commencement of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) on 4 April 2005, together with changes to the lodging arrangements for asylum appeals, has had a significant impact on the time between the lodging of an asylum appeal and the service of the Immigration Judge's decision.

Information for the period April to September 2005, indicates that asylum appeals, arising from a decision served on or after 4 April 2005, took on average 6 weeks from receipt of the appeal by the AIT to a decision by an Immigration Judge. This does not include the 28 days provided for the Home Office to serve the decision on the appellant and their representative in accordance with procedure rules.
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Additionally, the AIT is currently working closely with UKvisas and the Home Office to introduce further improvements to the entry clearance appeals process aiming to reduce the overall time an appellant waits from first application to their appeal being heard by an average of seven weeks.

Departmental Recruitment

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many job advertisements were placed by her Department (a) in total, (b) in print newspapers and magazines and (c) on a recruitment website in each year since 1997; and at what (i) total and (ii) average cost in each case. [50748]

Ms Harman: My Department does not hold this information centrally and it is, therefore, not possible to collate this without incurring disproportionate costs.

The Department ensures that job vacancies are advertised in a wide range of publications, including those targeted at minority communities where it is appropriate. Details of vacancies are placed on the Civil Service Recruitment Website, which was launched in December 2002 as the site of first choice for central Government recruitment. There is no advertising cost associated with this facility.

Electoral Registration

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the accuracy of the electoral register. [43094]

Ms Harman: The joint Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee's March 2005 report Electoral Registration" included evidence on the accuracy of the electoral register.

In December 2005, my Department made an assessment of electoral registration rates in London which estimated that some 550,000 eligible adults in London were not registered to vote.

This assessment followed Electoral Commission's report Understanding Electoral Registration", published in September 2005, which estimated that around 3.5 million people in England and Wales were eligible to be on the register at their main residence but were missing from it in 2000.

My Department is currently working with a number of partners to promote awareness of electoral registration in London where the issue of under-registration is most acute. The Department also considers the issue of the accuracy of electoral registers in relation to the development of policies to prevent and detect electoral fraud.

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