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Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many residents parking schemes are under consideration by the Department for Regional Development in each Northern Ireland council area. 
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question regarding how many residents parking schemes are under consideration by the Department for Regional Development in each Northern Ireland council area. As this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.
By way of background, I should explain that the Department took powers in the Road Traffic Regulation (NI) Order 1997 to permit the introduction of residents parking schemes in Northern Ireland. However, one of the key success factors for residents parking schemes is effective enforcement. At that time, the Police Service of Northern Ireland was responsible for the enforcement of parking restrictions, but indicated that they could not provide resources to carry out this enforcement. No schemes have therefore been implemented to date.
You will be aware that, on 30 October 2006 parking offences were decriminalised and Roads Service took over responsibility for the enforcement of parking restrictions. On 17 November 2006 we launched a draft policy consultation on residents parking, which will end on 9 February 2007.
While we have received a number of enquiries in relation to residents parking schemes, none of these will be considered in detail until the consultation has been completed and a policy developed. However, I can advise that following publication of the residents parking policy, it is intended that the first residents parking schemes will be implemented towards the end of next year.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many parliamentary written questions his Office has received in each parliamentary Session since 2001; and how many of these questions (a) were not answered because of disproportionate cost, (b) were not answered, (c) received answers referring back to a previous answer (i) asked by the hon. Member and (ii) asked by another hon. Member and (d) were grouped together for answer; 
(2) what target his Office has for the maximum acceptable amount of time to answer parliamentary written questions; and what percentage of parliamentary answers met that target in each parliamentary Session since 2001. 
The breakdown of the figures requested by the hon. Gentleman is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. My officials are currently developing an electronic system to enable the provision of statistical data on parliamentary questions and answers. It is intended that this system will be in operation from January 2007.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the Department of Regional Development informed the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of its decision to proceed with the Draft Planning Policy Statement 14. 
David Cairns: During the development of draft PPS 14, DRD held discussions and corresponded with other Departments, including the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. DARD was fully engaged during the policy development process and these discussions assisted in the preparation of the draft policy as published in March 2006.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to tackle poverty in Northern Ireland through the community planning process; and if he will make a statement. 
David Cairns: Under forthcoming legislation, local councils will be required to initiate, facilitate and maintain a Community Planning process, leading to the production of a Community plan. In turn, all other public bodies will be required to participate in, and help deliver, Community Planning.
The process of community planning leading to the production of a Community Plan has the potential to identify issues such as poverty, social inclusion and disadvantaged communities as priorities within the new council areas leading to the development of actions aimed at addressing them in a focused, joined-up and coordinated way. Any such actions should be taken forward in line with the aims and objects of Governments Anti-Poverty and Social Inclusion Strategy.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much has been spent on improving waiting facilities for rail passengers at each station between Ballymena and Londonderry in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the oral answer of 22 November 2006, Official Report, column 535, on the rating system, how much the exemplar teacher would pay under the new system; and what the evidential basis is for the estimate. 
In the absence of any reliefs, a property with a capital value of £300,000 would face a rate bill of approximately £1,800. However, without any further details in terms of the example that the hon.
Gentleman quoted, it is not possible to determine this ratepayer's eligibility for assistance through the rate relief scheme or through any of the alternative reliefs available, including the transitional relief scheme
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures are in place to ensure that senior citizens in Northern Ireland are informed of benefits which they are entitled to claim. 
Mr. Hanson: The Social Security Agency (SSA) promotes the full range of benefits for pensioners through Pension tele-centres in Belfast and Londonderry, the internet, promotional leaflets, and regional benefit uptake events as well as through 35 Jobs and Benefit/Social Security Offices.
Since then, it has delivered special exercises targeted at approximately 20,000 pensioners. These exercises have been delivered with the independent advice sector and all participants have been offered a free comprehensive benefit check. In pilot exercises last year successful participants obtained an average weekly increase of £30 with an additional yearly benefit spend of £575,000. This years activities are still being evaluated.
Additionally, the SSA also delivered a housing benefit up-take initiative which targeted 23,765 pensioners in receipt of Pension Credit who appeared to have an entitlement to housing benefit but who were not claiming the benefit. To date, over 6,000 applications have been issued, with approximately 4,000 (65 per cent.) having been returned and passed to either the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) or Rates Collection Agency (RCA) for assessment.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what provision has been made in Coleraine by the Department for Regional Development for waiting areas to be used by taxis. 
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question regarding what provision has been made in Coleraine by the Department for Regional Development for waiting areas to be used by taxis. As this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.
Roads Service has provided 12 waiting bays for use by taxis in Coleraine.
You may also be interested to know that following a recent meeting with a representative of the Taxi Association, local Roads Service officials have undertaken to look at the possibility of facilitating further taxi ranks in Coleraine.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has held with the Ascension Island council on budgetary aid from his Department in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what visits were made to Ascension Island by officials in his Department since 2004; and what the purpose was of each visit. 
Mr. Thomas: DFIDs environment adviser for the Overseas Territories visited Ascension Island in October 2004, June 2005 and November 2006 to monitor projects funded under the Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP) and to provide other conservation advice.
Other than OTEP, for which all Overseas Territories are eligible, DFID does not have a programme of assistance to Ascension Island. However, officials responsible for managing DFIDs programme in St. Helena regularly pass through Ascension Island in transit to or from St. Helena.
Mr. Thomas: During the period from December 2006 until March 2007, the Three Diseases Fund will provide limited transitional support to allow the uninterrupted continuation of treatment provided by well-performing projects which were formerly receiving funding from the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Full Three Diseases Fund operation will start in 2007. We anticipate that the Three Diseases Fund manager will invite expressions of interest for project funding in December 2006, and make the first disbursements in April 2007.
Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which (a) governmental and (b) non-governmental organisations in Burma are expected to receive funding from the Three Diseases Fund. 
It is likely that organisations implementing activities with support from the Three Diseases Fund will include specialised UN agencies, international non-governmental organisations, local
non-governmental organisations, the private sector and local level public health teams. However, no decisions have yet been made on which specific organisations will receive funding from the Three Diseases Fund.
All activities will be consistent with the European Union Common Position on Burma/Myanmar and with the International Humanitarian Principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality. All implementing partners activities will be reviewed against these principles and against criteria established by the fund board which are likely to include demonstrated technical competence, capacity, speed of delivery, coherence with ongoing activities, and ability to access vulnerable groups.
Consistent with the European Union Common Position, no funds will go to the Central Ministry of Health Budget, but the Three Diseases Fund may support the implementation of some crucial township-level public health work, for example DOTS (directly observed treatment, short course) for people suffering from TB, and HIV test kits for blood safety. The funding for such township-level interventions would be channelled through UN agencies.
Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps have been taken to allow the National League for Democracy to receive funding for its health programmes from the Three Diseases Fund in Burma. 
Mr. Thomas: We have consulted a range of civil society and political groups, including the National League for Democracy (NLD), on the design of the Three Diseases Fund. The NLD has expressed its support for the Three Diseases Fund, and stressed the importance of the Fund being transparent and efficient for it to be successful. The NLD recognises that, consistent with the humanitarian principles, the Fund will not provide support through the health or social programmes of any political organisations, including those which the NLD organises.
Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which (a) Governments and (b) international organisations have confirmed contributions to the Three Diseases Fund for Burma; and how much each has committed. 
UKGBP 20,000,000 (over five years)
AustraliaAUS $15,000,000 (over five years)
The NetherlandsEuros 3,000,000 (over three years)
NorwayNOK 5,000,000 (for the first year)
Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether the Three Diseases Fund for Burma is able to operate throughout areas of the country under control of the military dictatorship. 
Mr. Thomas: The Three Diseases Fund is committed to supporting work on the three diseases on the basis of need, irrespective of ethnic origin, social status, gender, nationality, political opinions, race or religion. The fund will target those most at risk from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, particularly those with limited or no access to public health services.
The Three Diseases Fund will continue its dialogue with the Burmese authorities about improving access for the UN and international non-governmental organisations to all areas of the country. It will also seek to strengthen dialogues with community-based organisations, local non-governmental organisations and ceasefire groups about how they can contribute to the funds efforts to deliver services in areas which are difficult to reach.
Mr. Thomas: Because of the huge scale of the challenge working inside Burma, and the availability of other funding for support to refugees in neighbouring countries, it is likely that the Three Diseases Fund will focus on providing support only to people living inside Burma.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether the ruling regime in Burma has given his Department assurances that the Union Solidarity Development Association will not be involved in any projects funded by the Three Diseases Fund for Burma. 
Mr. Thomas: The Burmese authorities will not decide which organisations implement Three Diseases funded support. All funding decisions will be made by the Fund Board, which includes representatives from the donor consortium and independent international experts. Furthermore, the donor consortium has agreed with the Burmese authorities that implementation of the Three Diseases Fund will be consistent with the international humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality. These principles rule out any implementation by organisations with a political nature such as the Union Solidarity Development Association.
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