Previous Section Index Home Page

4 May 2006 : Column 1826W—continued

Speech Therapy

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many primary school pupils were referred for speech therapy in each of the past five years, broken down by postcode. [67183]

Angela E. Smith: DE does not hold information on the number of children of primary school age referred for Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) as the referral is the responsibility of General Practitioners, Community Paediatricians or other medical professionals, generally as a result of parental concerns. However, through the School Census, DE does collect details of the number of children in Primary Schools with a Statement of Special Educational Needs, where the Statement records their special educational needs as speech and language difficulties, although not by postcode. The total of such children in Northern Ireland at October 2005 was 1,145.

St. Patrick's Day

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much public funding was spent on the celebration of St. Patrick's Day in Northern Ireland. [67058]

Angela E. Smith: The Northern Ireland Office and the NI Departments do not hold records of all public funding spent specifically on the celebration of St.Patrick's Day in 2006. However, the Community Relations Unit in the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister provides annual funding to each of the 26 District Councils through its District Councils Community Relations Programme. In the current year, eight of the Councils indicated in their claims that some of their funding was used for St. Patrick's Day events. This amounted to £85,466.

The Community Relations Unit also provides Grant in Aid to the Community Relations Council, which provided £5,000 to Armagh City Council towards the cost of St. Patrick's Day events.

In addition, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has committed to providing financial support of £30,000 per annum to an extended St. Patrick's Day/Week Festival in Down/Armagh area for 2006 and 2007. This funding is being provided through NITB's core budget and funds administered on behalf of the International Fund for Ireland.
4 May 2006 : Column 1827W

Town Centre Retail Development

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of Statefor Northern Ireland what steps are being taken by the Planning Service in Northern Ireland to assist town centres to compete with out of town retail developments. [65877]

Angela E. Smith: The Planning Service will continue to seek to protect the vitality and viability of existing town centres in line with regional policy contained in Planning Policy Statement 5 Retailing in Town Centres". The Department for Regional Development is currently reviewing this Policy Statement.

In relation to Belfast City Centre, the Department for Social Development published in April 2004 a Regeneration Policy Statement (RPS) which sets out Government's objectives and approach to achieving the regeneration of Belfast City Centre by strengthening the City Centre as Northern Ireland's premier regional shopping destination. The RPS has facilitated the development of a major retail-led regeneration scheme at Victoria Square and plans for a further major retail-led scheme in the North East Quarter of the City Centre were announced on 28 March 2006.


Animal Procedures

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the use of primates in scientific procedures; and if he will make a statement. [67705]

Andy Burnham: The Government's assessment of this important issue is that the responsible, limited use of non-human primates for experimental and other scientific purposes continues to play an essential part in producing new knowledge and insights that underpin advances in healthcare and bring other benefits not currently achievable by other means. There is in our view no immediate prospect of an end to this use whilst the benefits to humans, animals and the environment outweigh the costs to the animals involved and until there are suitable alternatives available.

At the same time, the Government remains committed to ensuring that non-human primates are only used where it is considered fully justified and to ensuring that the highest standards of animal welfare are applied. In recognition of this, primates are given special protection under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act1986 and may only be used where no other species is suitable, when the likely welfare cost to them has been carefully weighed against the expected benefits of the research, and when everything possible has been done to minimise their numbers and suffering.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many visitors to the UK travelling on visas issued in Amman, Jordan, have applied for asylum following arrival in the UK, in each of the last five years; what their country of origin was; and if he will make a statement. [67394]

4 May 2006 : Column 1828W

Mr. McNulty: Information on how many visitors to the UK travelling on visa issued in Amman (Jordan) have applied for asylum following arrival in the UK is not available.

Information on the asylum applications by nationality is published quarterly and annually. Copies are available from the Libraries of the House.

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers from Iraq have had support withdrawn by the National Asylum Support Service since the commencement of flights to Erbil airport returning failed asylum seekers to Iraq. [66518]

Mr. McNulty: Scheduled flights to Erbil commenced on 18 June 2005 and charter flights returning unsuccessful asylum seekers began on 16 August 2005 to Erbil and now also to Sulaymaniyah.

NASS has withdrawn section 95 support, under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, from 1,650 Iraqis since 18 June 2005, 1,207 since 16 August 2005. Section95 support is withdrawn at the end of the asylum process and occasionally before the asylum claim has been determined, due to a breach in the conditions of support.

After the resumption of air services to Iraq, from one September 2005 the National Asylum Support Service has withdrawn support from 5,148 unsuccessful asylum seekers who were claiming support under section four of the same Act, as they were not fully satisfying the eligibility criteria, for example by not taking reasonable steps to leave the United Kingdom.

A discontinuation of section 95 support can lead to a successful application for section four support as an unsuccessful asylum seeker. This, in turn, will lead to another withdrawal of support, as section four is designed to be limited and temporary in nature. There will be individuals who have had a withdrawal of both types of support during this period and in the figures above.


Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many arrests have been made for possession of cannabis in each of the last 10 years in (a) Romford, (b) Havering, (c) Greater London and (d) England and Wales. [63019]

Hazel Blears: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Charities Bill

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the evidential basis is for the statement by Lord Bassam of Brighton in the House of Lords on 28 June 2005, Official Report, column 231, that there has been a fair measure of agreement on the thresholds in the Charities Bill, with particular reference to the charge for charities to register with the Charity Commission. [66891]

4 May 2006 : Column 1829W

Paul Goggins [holding answer 2 May 2006]: The Joint Committee on the draft Charities Bill, in commenting on the evidence submitted to it, said (at paragraph 113 of Volume 1 of its Report):

The Joint Committee made no recommendation for any change to the proposed £5,000 threshold.

Charity Commission

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many schools the Charity Commission has (a) reprimanded and (b) closed for inadequate performance in the last five years. [67333]

Paul Goggins: The Charity Commission has not closed any charitable schools in the last five years for inadequate performance and neither is it competent to do so. The Commission is concerned with the governors' compliance with their legal obligations in exercising control and management of the school under charity law. It is not competent to judge the quality and standard of education and care. The Commission has made recommendations on relevant matters to school governors in the course of visits it has undertaken to schools and has taken other action to secure compliance with governors' duty to provide the Commission with their annual accounts in appropriate cases.

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many schools Charity Commission staff visited in the last 12 months. [67334]

Paul Goggins: Charity Commission staff have visited nine charitable schools in the past 12 months as part of the Commission's structured visits programme. The Commission does not keep information on the number of visits that it undertakes in the course of its general regulatory case work but it estimates that it has made about four such visits to schools.

Next Section Index Home Page