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22 Mar 2006 : Column 414W—continued

Cross-border Bodies

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost has been of each cross-border body set up under the Belfast Agreement in each year since its formation. [58058]

Angela E. Smith: The total annual expenditure of each of the North/South Implementation Bodies and Tourism Ireland Ltd. is set out in the following table.
Annual expenditure (£)

Body2001(12)20012002200320042005(13)
Foyle Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission1,359,0001,604,0001,807,0001,921,0002,405,0002,670,000
Waterways Ireland9,049,21714,384,42518,323,73618,153,73722,860,03424,656,903
The Trade and Business Development Body1,842,0002,768,0005,199,0006,145,0006,622,5237,879,962
Special EU Programmes Body839,4191,809,1011,811,4751,830,4321,902,785(15)
The North/South Language Body(14)8,609,19611,799,50414,352,12514,548,15014,916,823(15)
The Food Safety Promotion Board1,742,0002,662,0003,969,0005,600,0006,000,0786,287,291
Tourism Ireland Ltd.(16)n/a1,188,47234,354,54638,428,51641,572,00046,181,000


(12) This covers the period 2 December 1999 to 31 December 2000.
(13) The 2005 figures shown are provisional.
(14) The figure quoted for the North/South Language Body for 2002–04 are based on unaudited accounts.
(15) Not yet available.(16) Tourism Ireland Ltd. was only incorporated on 11 December 2000.



 
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Housing Benefit

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average weekly amount of housing benefit paid to tenants in Northern Ireland was in (a) public and (b) private sector housing in 2005. [59819]

Mr. Hanson: The information is shown in the following table for August 2005.
Average weekly amount(£)
Public rented sector51.33
Private rented sector60.99

Illegal Dumping Unit

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many staff are employed in the Department of Environment's illegal dumping unit. [60420]

Angela E. Smith: Investigation of incidents of illegal dumping is the responsibility of the Enforcement Team within the Waste Management and Contaminated Land Unit in Environment and Heritage Service of the Department of the Environment. There are currently 25 staff within the Enforcement Team, 22 in scientific grades and three administrators.

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many cases of illegal dumping have been referred to the courts for prosecution in each of the last three years. [60422]

Angela E. Smith: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the response given to the hon. Member for East Londonderry on Wednesday 15 March 2006, Official Report, column 2270W.

Police College (Cookstown)

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on his proposals for the capital funding of the planned new police college in Cookstown. [59699]

Mr. Woodward: The Government recognise fully the important role that training plays in the delivery of a policing service to the community and fully supports Patten's recommendation for a new police training college.

The Government are committed to the funding of a new police college and has agreed to provide up to £90 million of capital funding for that purpose. This will allow the main elements of PSNI training to move to the new site at Cookstown.

The Department will continue to work closely with the Police College Project Board to prepare detailed plans based on the substantial funding commitments we have made, while ensuring that work on construction can begin as soon as possible.

Post Office Card Account

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many and what percentage of
 
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those in receipt of child benefit in (a) Belfast and (b) Northern Ireland use a Post Office Card Account to access the benefit. [60411]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

According to the latest available figures, approximately 7,460 recipients in Belfast used a Post Office Card Account to access child benefit in November 2005, accounting for around 23 per cent. of the total number of recipients.

In Northern Ireland, there were approximately 38,730 recipients who used these accounts in November 2005, accounting for around 17 per cent. of the total number of recipients.

Prisons

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average time spent by prisoners on remand in prisons in Northern Ireland was in 2005; and what steps are being taken to reduce that number. [59365]

Mr. Hanson: Statistics for 2005 will be validated and published in June. Provisional figures indicate that the average time for periods spent in custody on remand in prisons in Northern Ireland was 59 days.

Criminal justice agencies through the Delay Action Group, a sub group of the Criminal Justice Board, are engaging in a number of inter-agency initiatives to speed up processing of Crown court cases across the criminal justice system. It is anticipated that this will also have a positive impact on average time spent on remand. Initiatives in place include the PSNI Reducing Delay Strategy, electronic case preparation, reforms within the Forensic Science service and the continuing rollout of the Public Prosecution Service. The Criminal Justice Inspectorate is expected to publish an inspection report relating to delay in the criminal justice system in April.

Ulsterbus Personnel (Assaults)

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of Statefor Northern Ireland how many Ulsterbus personnel were assaulted in the course of their duties during 2005. [59611]

Mr. Woodward: Translink has advised that 35 Ulsterbus personnel were assaulted while at work in 2005.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Africa (Good Governance)

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of oil exploration and extraction in (a) Mozambique, (b) Kenya, (c) Nigeria and (d) Angola upon (i) poverty reduction, (ii) good governance, transparency and corruption and (iii) human rights. [58821]

Ian Pearson: Oil exploration is being conducted in Kenya and Mozambique. However, this work is at an early stage and it is premature to assess the impacts,
 
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which will be influenced by the quantity and potential for exploitation of reserves identified through the exploration.

Oil is the mainstay of Nigeria's economy, providing over 90 per cent. of Nigeria's foreign earnings and 74 per cent. of Government revenues. This underpins the Nigerian Government's work to fight poverty, improve governance and meet the Millenium Development Goals. They have developed a comprehensive economic reform programme to enable them to achieve this which the Government actively supports. The UK also supports Nigeria in its fight against corruption through technical assistance to its Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

With UK support, Nigeria is providing global leadership for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to promote transparency of payments in the oil sector. More broadly, we maintain a close dialogue with the Nigerian Federal and State authorities on security and development in the Niger Delta, which includes support for and other measures to improve accountability and governance.

We see a positive prospect for economic growth and prosperity through oil exploration and extraction in Angola. We are committed to ensuring that such growth promotes poverty reduction, good governance, transparency, the fight against corruption, and human rights. Angola is not yet a signatory of EITI, but has taken a number of encouraging initiatives in this area. Most recently, the Angolan Council of Ministers approved the UN and African Union anti-corruption conventions.


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