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David Cairns: Since the introduction of the zero-rate of vehicle excise duty in March 2006 for vehicles emitting less than 100 grams of CO2 per kilometre travelled, two vehicles have applied for licences in this tax band in Northern Ireland.
Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what programmes his Department operates to make particular provision to rural areas; and what the cost of such programmes is expected to be in 2007-08. 
David Cairns: The Government are committed to building a strong economy and fair society where there is opportunity and security for all. This commitment applies equally in rural and urban areas, regardless of the actual location of service points. The majority of departmental programmes benefit both rural and urban areas. However the cost of these programmes in rural areas alone could not be identified without disproportionate cost.
Departments do have a number of programmes in place which address specific issues that have been identified in rural areas. Examples of these programmes and their estimated spend in 2007-08 are listed as follows:
|Department/Agency /ND PB||Programme title||Estimated spend 2007-08 (£)|
|(1) Programme not yet finalised or approved by the European Commission.|
(2) Dependent on approval by the Department of Finance and Personnel.
Mr. Hanson: Responsibility for the Post Office is a reserved matter for the Department of Trade and Industry. However I and my ministerial colleagues and officials have participated fully in discussions over the future of the Post Office network to ensure that the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland were fully taken into account in DTIs considerations. The Department of Trade and Industry has now launched a consultation which includes proposals for new access criteria for the national Post Office network which will protect vulnerable consumers in deprived urban areas and rural and remote areas.
Government recognise the important role that rural schools play both in children's education and in the cohesion of rural communities. It is important that communities have access to strong viable schools which provide an excellent education for the pupils, and have the accommodation, equipment and range of teaching expertise needed to deliver a modern curriculum. This message comes through clearly in the recently published report on the independent Strategic Review of Education.
(2) when the (a) Rainey Endowed School, (b) Magherafelt High School, (c) Ballyclare Controlled Primary School and (d) Straid Controlled Primary School new build is to commence; and what the completion date is in each case. 
Maria Eagle: In regard to Magherafelt Primary School and Magherafelt High School, the North Eastern Education and Library Board have advised that work could start on site in September 2007 and December 2007 with estimated completion in early 2009 and end 2009 respectively. The board has stated, however, that due to a possible problem with the proposed site for Magherafelt P.S., the dates for this school may be subject to change.
The Department of Education is currently examining the Outline Business Case for Rainey Endowed School and Ballymoney High School which are part of a PPP cluster. Subject to confirmation of the Business Case, it is anticipated that construction could commence in 2009 with completion in 2010.
I would also advise that the Government have accepted the recommendation from the Strategic Review of Education that previously announced capital projects currently under way will be reviewed for their consistency with an area-based planning approach. The review will be undertaken quickly to avoid introducing unnecessary delays.
David Cairns: The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development published a payment profile on 21 November 2006 setting out its targets for payments under the 2006 single farm payment scheme. The payment timetable provided for 40 per cent. of payments to be received by 8 December 2006, 65 per cent. to be received by 15 December 2006, 70-75 per cent. to be received by 31 December 2006 and 75-80 per cent. to be received by 31 January 2007. The remaining claims will be paid on an ongoing basis as queries and validation checks on individual claims are reconciled.
|Processed for receipt by:||Percentage|
Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) budgeting loans and (b) crisis loans from the Social Fund were awarded in each of the 26 district council areas in each of the last three years. 
(a) the number of Budgeting Loans from the Social Fund that were awarded in each of the 6 Social Security districts in each of the last three years and
(b) the number of crisis loans from the Social Fund that were awarded in each of the 26 district council areas in each of the last three years.
|Budgeting loans awarded|
|Crisis loans awarded|
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what account was taken of (a) the implementation of the Traffic Management Act in Scotland and (b) the appointment of a Scottish Road Works Commissioner in drafting the Draft Street Works (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order; 
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland five parliamentary questions:
(i) what account was taken of the implementation of (a) the Traffic Management Act in Scotland and (b) the implementation of a Scottish Road Works Commissioner, in drafting the Draft Street Works (Amendment) Northern Ireland) Order (110306);
(ii) what consultations he has undertaken with political parties in Northern Ireland on the Draft Street Works (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order (110307);
(iii) if he will postpone the Draft Street Works (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order until the Northern Ireland Assembly is in a position to consider fully the issue; and if he will make a statement(110308);
(iv) whether the proposals for a draft Street Works (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order have been subject to a targeting social need assessment (110378); and
(v) whether the proposals for a draft Street Works (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order have been reviewed by the Better Regulation Unit of the Department of Enterprise (112742)
I understand Minister Cairns will be responding directly to you on PQ Reference 110308. I have been asked to reply to the other four PQs as the issues raised fall within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service.
Traffic Management Act and Scottish Road Works Commissioner
The Traffic Management Act 2004 (TMA) was introduced in England and Wales to update the existing legislation controlling street workslargely the works of utilitiesin Great Britain (the New Road and Street Works Act 1991, or NRSW). The Scottish Executive, however, decided to introduce different arrangements for controlling street works in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2005.
One of the key differences between the approaches taken in Scotland, and in England and Wales, is in relation to permit schemes. These, as introduced by the TMA, would require utilities to obtain permits for their works and would enable highway authorities to attach conditions to the permits so as to minimise congestion. The Scottish legislation makes no arrangements for permit schemes. However, the Minister is conscious of the frustration and disruption experienced by road users every day, which result from delays caused by utility street works. The decision was taken, therefore, that the power to operate a permit scheme is necessary, in order to facilitate better coordination and, thereby, minimise disruption caused to road users.
Another key difference is in relation to traffic managers. Whereas the TMA makes provision for traffic managers to be appointed by highway authorities, who would be responsible for keeping traffic flowing on the road network, the Transport (Scotland) Act creates the office of the Scottish Roads Works Commissioner, responsible for overseeing works in roads in Scotland. The Department for Regional Development already has a duty to coordinate all works in roads in Northern Ireland and, in order to keep the number of interfaces to a minimum, we have developed a role for certain officials in Roads Service Traffic Sections across Northern Ireland, which is similar to the function of Traffic Managers created under the TMA.
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