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10 May 2006 : Column 357W—continued

Northern Ireland

Attendance Allowance

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what the change has been in the numbers of people claiming (a) higher rate and (b) lower rate attendance allowance in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years; [69190]

(2) how many people in Northern Ireland are in receipt of (a) higher rate and (b) lower rate attendance allowance. [69195]

Mr. Hanson: The information requested is shown in the following tables. Data are taken from February in each year.

Change in number of people claiming Attendance Allowance
Higher rate Change +/- Lower rate Change +/-

2001

52,180

20,398

2002

53,017

+ 837

19,791

- 607

2003

53,310

+ 293

19,447

- 344

2004

53,040

- 270

18,848

- 559

2005

53,645

+ 605

18,095

- 53

2006

52,246

- 1,399

17,717

- 378


Number currently in receipt of Attendance Allowance( 1)
Higher rate Lower rate

2006

53,017

19,791

(1) This excludes people with entitlement where payment has been suspended for example, because they are in hospital

Child Support agency

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2006, Official Report, column 315W, on the Child Support Agency, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the new system. [69235]

Mr. Hanson: Further work to improve the IT system is scheduled to take place over 2006 and 2007. The current position with the IT system is one of improvement; as a result of work over the past 18 months, the stability, availability and performance levels of the new computer system are much improved. Monitoring will continue as the improvements are implemented.

Civil Servants (Women)

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the percentage of women in (a) senior civil service positions and (b) general service grades in Northern Ireland was in each of the last five years. [69182]

Mr. Hanson: The information requested is set out in the table and shows the position as at 1 January in each year. It includes Northern Ireland civil servants working in the 11 Northern Ireland departments and agencies and the Northern Ireland Office.


10 May 2006 : Column 358W
Percentage of women in the senior civil service Percentage of women in the general service grades( 1)

2002

16.3

64.1

2003

17.1

64.3

2004

20.1

64.3

2005

22.0

64.0

2006

25.1

63.8

(1 )Excluding senior civil service grades.

Departmental Staff

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what opportunities exist for people to work beyond retirement age in each department in Northern Ireland, including the Northern Ireland Office. [69233]

Mr. Hanson: For the majority of staff in the 11 Northern Ireland civil service departments and the NIO, including agencies, the normal retiring age is 60 (for some prison officers it is 55). Staff, both industrial or non-industrial, may choose to continue to work up to the compulsory retirement age of 65, subject to satisfactory performance and attendance.

Domestic Violence

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many incidents of domestic violence have been recorded by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in each of the last five years, (a) in total and (b) broken down by District Command Unit; and how many victims of such incidents were(i) women in a heterosexual relationship, (ii) men in a heterosexual relationship, (iii) women in a same sex relationship, (iv) men in a same sex relationship and (v) children; [66458]

(2) how many domestic violence crimes were investigated by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in each of the last five years, (a) in total and (b) broken down by District Command Unit; and how many victims of such incidents were (i) women in a heterosexual relationship, (ii) men in a heterosexual relationship, (iii) women in a same sex relationship, (iv) men in a same sex relationship and (v) children. [66459]

Mr. Woodward: The Police Service of Northern Ireland defines a domestic incident as

The following table provides details of the total number of domestic incidents and crimes reported to police in each of the last five years. A breakdown of these incidents by District Command Unit is only available from 2003-04 and can found on the Police Service of Northern Ireland website at www.psni.police.uk under the hyperlink ‘statistics'. It is not possible to provide information on whether the victims of such incidents are women/men in a heterosexual relationship or otherwise,
10 May 2006 : Column 359W
or if they are children. Statistics relating to the number of domestic violence crimes investigated by the PSNI is not available.

Number of domestic incidents and crimes
Incidents reported Offences committed

2000-01

14,325

7,254

2001-02

14,937

7,814

2002-03

15,512

7,961

2003-04

16,926

8,565

2004-05

20,959

8,508


Eating Disorders

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many deaths in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years have had eating disorders recorded as a contributory factor. [69242]

Mr. Hanson: The following table gives the number of deaths registered in Northern Ireland in each year between 2001 and 2005, where an eating disorder(1 )was recorded on the death certificate as a primary or secondary cause of death.

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005( 1)

Eating disorder recorded as the primary cause of death

3

0

0

1

0

Eating disorder recorded as a secondary cause of death

1

2

1

0

1

Certificates mentioning eating disorders

4

2

1

1

1

(1 )Provisional Data

Equality Impact Assessment

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how an equality impact assessment will be carried out in respect of (a) the programme for government and (b) the Northern Ireland budget. [66392]

Mr. Hanson: Since 2003 the Government have adopted an integrated approach to the publication of both priorities and associated final allocations. The most recent publication, Priorities and Budget 2006-08, was published on 14 December 2005 and Chapter 6 of this document sets out details of how high level equality, good relations and social need impacts are assessed and factored into decision making.

Looking to the future, in preparation for Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 officials are working closely with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland to further develop the methodology to ensure that the assessment of the Government's spending proposals in respect of equality, good relations and social need impacts, continue to comply, to the fullest extent possible, with the equality impact assessment process laid out in the Commission's guidance.


10 May 2006 : Column 360W

Firearm Certificates

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average waiting time is for the processing of firearm certificates by the Police Service of Northern Ireland; and what resources are available to the Chief Constable to reduce waiting times. [66685]

Mr. Woodward: The Chief Constable informs me that the average time taken to deal with most firearms applications is currently 22 weeks. There are 39 civilian staff and three police officers involved in the various aspects of the day-to-day processing of firearm certificate applications. These figures include six additional members of staff recruited in mid-January 2006 to help reduce the current backlog of work.

Fixed Speeding Cameras

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many fixed speeding cameras in Northern Ireland have been found to be faulty or not working in the last 12 months. [67544]

Mr. Woodward: The PSNI currently operates four fixed safety cameras, all in the greater Belfast area. Over the past 12 months, all four cameras have experienced technical difficulties of some form or another. On each occasion that a fault has been identified, it has been referred to the manufacturer and the appropriate remedial action taken to remedy the problem.

Home Working

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people in (a) each Northern Ireland Department and (b) the Northern Ireland Office have been enabled to work from home for part of the week in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [68010]

Mr. Hanson: The number of staff working at home for part of the week in each of the last three years is:

Department 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06

DARD

0

0

0

DCAL

0

0

0

DE(1)

60

61

63

DEL

0

1

1

DETI

0

0

0

DFP

0

1

2

DHSSPS

0

0

0

DOE

0

0

0

DRD

0

0

1

DSD

0

0

0

NIO

0

0

0

OFMDFM

0

1

1

Total

60

64

68

(1) Includes a group of 60 inspectors who are recruited on the basis that they will work from home.


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