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24 July 2006 : Column 928W—continued


Science Teachers

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many unfilled vacancies there are for science teachers in secondary schools within each education and library board. [86921]

Maria Eagle: Since vacancies are identified by boards of governors in accordance with the staffing complement they determine under LMS, the information is not currently held by the Department of Education nor by the relevant employing authorities, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Department of Education will carry out an annual survey of teacher vacancies in schools, the first in the autumn of this year, similar to that undertaken annually by DfES in January each year.

Secondary School Trips

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the risk assessment system is for secondary school trips in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [86922]

Maria Eagle: The Department advises schools to carry out a risk assessment when they are planning trips. In 2002 the Department issued comprehensive guidance to schools entitled “Health and Safety of Pupils on Educational Visits”, which was published by the then Department for Education and Employment (DfEE). The Education and Library Boards provided their own guidance to schools in 2004. Both sets of guidance provide advice on carrying out risk assessment, including evaluating potential risks, putting control measures or mitigations in place and informing all relevant people.

Sports Facilities

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of schools in Northern Ireland provided two hours of sports participation for pupils in the last period for which figures are available. [85440]

Maria Eagle: The Department of Education does not collect information on the amount of time schools allocate to any area within the curriculum, therefore the information requested is not available. It is a matter for individual schools to determine how much time they allocate to any subject but the Department has advised schools to provide at least two hours of physical education, including sport, each week.

The Government recognise the importance of physical activity for the long-term health and wellbeing of the community. Therefore physical education is, and will remain, a compulsory part of the Northern Ireland curriculum.

Sustainable Buildings

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to ensure newly-built public buildings in Northern Ireland incorporate energy efficient measures. [80950]

Mr. Hanson: A number of steps are being taken to ensure newly built public buildings in NI use energy efficient measures. These are:

Tolerance Promotion

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what strategies his Department has in place to (a) combat racism and (b) promote tolerance between different ethnic groups within Northern Ireland. [86551]

Mr. Hanson: The Government's Racial Equality Strategy for Northern Ireland and A Shared Future (Policy and Strategic Framework for Good Relations in Northern Ireland) provides the framework for Government and wider civic society to combat racism and sectarianism and to promote good relations. Both are supported by action plans which set out the practical steps to be taken by Government Departments and their agencies to promote racial equality and good relations.

In addition, the Criminal Justice (No2) (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 “hate crime” deals with crimes motivated or aggravated by hatred based on race, religion, disability or sexual orientation. This legislation gives courts the power to increase prison sentences if it is proven that crimes are motivated by hatred.


24 July 2006 : Column 929W

Tourism

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many tourists he expects to come to Northern Ireland in 2006; and how many came in each of the last three years. [86322]

Maria Eagle: The Northern Ireland Tourist Board's (NITB) Tourism Barometer implemented in June indicates a good 2006 performance to date by all tourism business sectors and a positive outlook for the summer period. Accommodation occupancy surveys also support evidence of a positive start to the year. 2006 visitor number forecasts for the full year are not yet available. The table indicates the number of visitors in the last three years.

Visitor Performance, 2003-05
Number

2005

1,972,000

2004

1,985,000

2003

1,896,000


Untaxed Vehicles

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many untaxed vehicles are estimated to be on Northern Ireland's roads. [86578]

David Cairns: A nationwide Vehicle Excise Duty Evasion Survey was undertaken by the Department for Transport during June 2005. The results showed that the vehicle excise evasion rate in traffic in Northern Ireland had fallen from 7.2 per cent. in the 2004 survey to 5.4 per cent. in 2005.

Although 52,552 vehicles were surveyed in Northern Ireland, the sample size was insufficient to calculate a precise figure of evasion in vehicle stock. However, based on the in traffic evasion rate measured in the survey, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland estimates that the number of untaxed vehicles on Northern Ireland roads is approximately 50,000.

Another Vehicle Excise Evasion Survey has been carried out in June 2006 and it is anticipated that the results will be available in the autumn.

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many untaxed cars have been removed from the roads in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. [86583]


24 July 2006 : Column 930W

David Cairns: The number of untaxed vehicles clamped/seized from the roads in Northern Ireland in each of the last five operational years is:

Number

2001-02

413

2002-03

2,872

2003-04

1,435

2004-05

1,899

2005-06

5,343


Vocational Training

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many vocational training places are available in Northern Ireland for 16 year olds; and how many places were filled in 2004-05. [85442]

Maria Eagle: The Jobskills programme provides the guarantee of a training place for all 16 and 17-year-old school leavers wishing to avail of the opportunity for vocational training. It is not possible to split the data between 16 and 17-year-olds, however, in the 2004-05 financial year, 6,985 16 and 17-year-olds commenced the Jobskills programme.

Water Tax

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what average water tax (a) lump sum figure and (b) capital value levy will be charged on domestic households in (i) Northern Ireland as a whole and (ii) each district in Northern Ireland in 2007-08; [86814]

(2) what the latest estimate is of the average water tax bill per dwelling that will be paid in 2007-08 in (a) Northern Ireland as a whole and (b) each district in Northern Ireland. [86818]

David Cairns: The currently available capital value data enable information to be provided on the estimated average unmeasured bills for properties throughout Northern Ireland and within each local government district. The variable charge element of the bill is based on property capital value.

The data in the following table show the estimated charges that would be payable in 2007-08—this is one-third of the full charge because charges are being phased in over three years from 1( )April 2007.


24 July 2006 : Column 931W

24 July 2006 : Column 932W
Estimated average unmeasured bills for Northern Ireland domestic properties, 2007-08
Water charge Sewerage charge
Standing Average variable Total water Standing Average variable Total sewerage Overall total water and sewerage charges

Northern Ireland

17

34

50

18

36

54

104

Antrim

17

31

48

18

31

50

98

Ards

17

38

54

18

40

58

112

Armagh

17

32

49

18

30

49

98

Ballymena

17

32

49

18

33

51

100

Ballymoney

17

30

47

18

31

50

97

Banbridge

17

32

49

18

31

49

98

Belfast

17

34

50

18

38

55

105

Carrickfergus

17

30

47

18

33

52

99

Castlereagh

17

39

56

18

43

62

118

Coleraine

17

36

53

18

40

58

111

Cookstown

17

34

51

18

35

53

105

Craigavon

17

27

44

18

28

47

91

Derry

17

28

45

18

31

49

94

Down

17

35

52

18

36

54

107

Dungannon

17

33

50

18

34

52

102

Fermanagh

17

32

49

18

32

51

100

Larne

17

27

44

18

28

47

91

Limavady

17

29

46

18

30

48

95

Lisburn

17

37

53

18

38

56

109

Magherafelt

17

33

50

18

35

53

104

Moyle

17

34

51

18

36

54

105

Newry and Mourne

17

36

53

18

36

54

107

Newtownabbey

17

31

48

18

34

53

101

North Down

17

44

61

18

48

66

127

Omagh

17

30

47

18

30

48

95

Strabane

17

25

42

18

26

44

87

Note: Totals might not add up due to rounding.

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