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20 July 2006 : Column 702W—continued


Empty Properties

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the estimated change is in the numbers of vacant premises in Northern Ireland between the date when such premises became liable for rates payments and the most recent date for which such figures are available. [85728]

Mr. Hanson: On 4 June 2004 statistics were extracted from the Rate Collection Agency database identifying 8,901 non-domestic vacant properties that were now eligible to pay rates from 1 April 2004. These figures were extracted to facilitate the first phase of billing which commenced on 1 July 2004.

At 17 July 2006 this figure has reduced to 7,153.

Energy Efficiency

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps are being taken to ensure that every home in Northern Ireland uses at least one energy efficient light bulb. [86944]

Mr. Hanson: It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to contribute to a more sustainable environment, one that aims to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels as an energy source. I would like to see every house with energy efficient light bulbs and to that end a number of steps are being taken. Northern Ireland Electricity distributes energy efficiency light bulbs (CFLs) through the Energy Saving Trust Advice Centre, Energy Efficiency Levy projects and the Warm Homes Scheme. Eligible households receive four light bulbs. NIE aim to distribute over 97,000 energy efficient light bulbs this year.

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive as part of its Home Energy Conservation Authority role raises public awareness of energy efficiency by advertising widely on TV, radio etc., by providing face to face advice at exhibitions, shows, etc. in conjunction with the EST Advice Centre, and by funding a number of projects such as cash back for insulation and demonstration schemes. These actions promote and encourage the use of energy efficient light bulbs.


20 July 2006 : Column 703W

Higher Education

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of 18 year olds in
20 July 2006 : Column 704W
each constituency in Northern Ireland went on to higher education in each of the last five years. [85443]

Maria Eagle: The information is set out in the following table.

Percentage of 18 year olds in each parliamentary constituency in Northern Ireland entering higher education 2000-01-2004-05
Parliamentary constituency 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05

Belfast East

31

26

30

26

28

Belfast North

17

18

20

18

18

Belfast South

14

24

20

23

37

Belfast West

17

18

16

16

18

East Antrim

26

27

29

28

34

East Londonderry

29

31

27

27

30

Fermanagh And South Tyrone

43

37

35

38

37

Foyle

28

30

28

29

32

Lagan Valley

32

34

36

31

34

Mid Ulster

38

35

32

35

38

Newry And Armagh

41

34

32

29

31

North Antrim

34

31

34

32

32

North Down

39

35

36

38

34

South Antrim

36

30

31

31

30

South Down

31

32

33

29

32

Strangford

33

31

31

31

33

Upper Bann

33

31

33

29

29

West Tyrone

39

35

35

32

35

Total

30

30

30

29

31

Note: 1. The data in the table exclude 877 18 year olds with an unknown postcode. 2. The total 18 year old population in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years was as follows: 24,408 in 2000-01, 25,548 in 2001-02, 26,023 in 2002-03, 26,756 in 2003-04 and 27,288 in 2004-05. Source: HESA, FESR and NISRA mid-year population estimate

Housing Executive

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive’s properties had been vacant for more than three months in each district council area at the end of 2005. [86943]

Mr. Hanson: The information is not available in the format requested but the following table sets out the figures at 31 December 2005 by Housing Executive district office. The figures include long term voids, those pending demolition, those not available because of short term operational reasons and those available for letting.

Housing Executive district office Total

Antrim

168

Armagh

100

Ballycastle

4

Ballymena

160

Ballymoney

3

Banbridge

33

Bangor

174

Belfast 1

38

Belfast 2

142

Belfast 3

20

Belfast 4

264

Belfast 5

104

Belfast 6

168

Belfast 7

40

Carrickfergus

80

Castlereagh

96

Cookstown

21

Coleraine

97

Collon Terrace

2

Downpatrick

17

Dungannon

50

Fermanagh

14

Lame

192

Limavady

32

Lisburn Ant St.

161

Lisburn Dairy Fm

12

Lurgan/Brownlow

163

Magherafelt

23

Newry

100

Newtownabbey 1

84

Newtownabbey 2

127

Newtownards

127

Omagh

63

Portadown

37

Strabane

23

Waterloo Place

108

Waterside

37

Total

3,084



20 July 2006 : Column 705W

Implementation Group on Positive Parenting

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the terms of reference are of the Implementation Group on Positive Parenting established by the Ministerial Committee on Children and Young People; by what criteria membership of the group will be established; and what the timetable is for its work. [86927]

Mr. Hanson: When the Ministerial Sub-Committee on Children and Young People last met on 4 July, it agreed, in principle, to the establishment of a group to co-ordinate the implementation of Article 2 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 and to assist in the ongoing work on positive parenting, Positive parenting is a cross-departmental issue. An announcement on arrangements will be made soon.

Joyriding

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what sentencing guidelines are in place for persons convicted of “joy-riding” in Northern Ireland. [74982]

Mr. Hanson: The Government does not issue guidelines on sentencing for any offence in Northern Ireland. Sentencing is entirely a matter for the independent courts based on case law and precedent. The role the Government plays is to provide the legislative framework and options within which the courts operate. To that end, in 2004 we introduced two new offences and penalties to deal with what is often inappropriately referred to as “joy-riding”.

We created the offence of “Aggravated vehicle taking” which is a vehicle being taken without consent, and which is then driven dangerously or causes an accident which results in injury, damage to property or damage to the vehicle. The maximum penalty for this offence is up to five years imprisonment, a fine, or both.

We also created the more serious offence of “Causing death by aggravated vehicle taking”. The maximum penalty for this offence is up to 14 years imprisonment, a fine, or both.


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