Previous Section Index Home Page

19 Feb 2007 : Column 544W—continued


19 Feb 2007 : Column 545W

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the effect of (a) the new discrete capital values system of domestic local taxation, (b) the change in local taxation on property due to changes in the regional and district rates and (c) the introduction of a capital-based system of water charging on long-term house prices in Northern Ireland. [120842]

Mr. Hanson: The University of Ulster looked at this issue in 2003 when it carried out its impact assessment of options for reform of the domestic rating system. Its findings were inconclusive. It did note that, as the new rating system is not a new tax but the redistribution of an existing tax, in the unlikely event that any measurable impact should emerge it could affect the market unevenly and in either direction, depending on location and sector. This work did not extend to examining the impact of Water Reform and no specific study has been carried out.

It should also be noted that recent evidence from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, which referred to its European Housing Review 2007, shows that NI experienced the highest increases in Europe in 2006. This exceptional growth continues and it has included the period in which the Valuation and Lands Agency were advising individual householders in NI of their new capital values, together with an indication of their new rate liability. This would suggest that rating and water reform have not affected the residential property market in NI.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate has been made of the number of appeals against the new domestic capital value ratings (a) prior to 1 April 2007, (b) in the 12 months from 1 April 2007 and (c) in 2008-09. [120856]

Mr. Hanson: The Valuation and Lands Agency estimate that there will be:

Energy: Northern Ireland

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will (a) estimate the total cost to the public purse of free distribution of three energy efficient light bulbs to every home in Northern Ireland and (b) assess the environmental impact of such a move. [120877]

Maria Eagle: The estimated cost of supplying three energy efficient light bulbs to every home in Northern Ireland is £7.59 million. This could result in electricity savings of 1648 GWh and a saving of 360,294 tonnes of carbon during the lifetime of the bulbs. This equates to a yearly carbon saving of 16,574 tonnes.

Garages and Petrol Stations: Northern Ireland

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many retail petrol stations there were in Northern Ireland in 1997; and how many there are in 2007. [121180]


19 Feb 2007 : Column 546W

Maria Eagle: Government do not hold this figure centrally. However, figures obtained from the Northern Ireland petrol retailing industry estimate the figures for licensed premises as approximately 550 for 2007 compared to 1,000 in 1997.

Invest Northern Ireland: Limavady

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many potential inward investors have been to (a) Limavady and (b) Coleraine council area at the invitation of Invest Northern Ireland during 2006. [120289]

Maria Eagle: During 2006 there were no visits under the auspices of Invest Northern Ireland to Limavady and Coleraine council areas by potential inward investors.

Invest Northern Ireland: Londonderry

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much public funding has been spent by Invest Northern Ireland on offering assistance to representatives of companies in the East Londonderry constituency in each of the last two years. [120288]

Maria Eagle: The following table details the amount of assistance offered by Invest NI within the constituency of East Londonderry in each of the two years from 2004-05 to 2005-06.

£ million
Financial year Assistance offered

2004-05

2.13

2005-06

10.65

Total

12.78


Irish Language

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether an economic appraisal has been undertaken to estimate the cost implications across all Northern Ireland Government Departments if the Irish Language Bill envisaged in the St. Andrews Agreement is enacted. [120426]

Maria Eagle: While a formal economic appraisal has not been undertaken a financial impact assessment was carried out. The assessment looked at the cost of implementing similar legislation in Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. This information along with an account of the expenditure incurred by Northern Ireland Departments on the Irish language during the previous financial year was included as chapter 7 of the consultation paper. After the consultation period has ended the costs and benefits analysis will be revisited within the context of assessing the options for the Bill and the preparation of a regulatory impact assessment.


19 Feb 2007 : Column 547W

Local Government Finance

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to the Answer of 30 November 2006, Official Report, column 836-7W, on local government finance, whether a material change to a domestic property that changed the capital value of the property where the property ownership has not changed would change the domestic rates bill before the time of the next rates revaluation. [119526]

Mr. Hanson: Under the existing NAV system and new rates system a material change to a domestic property that changes the rental or capital value of the property, where the property ownership has not changed, will change the domestic rates bill. However, under the new capital value system, these changes will now not have effect until on or after the commencement of the rating year immediately following the year in which the change is made.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to the answer of 30 November 2006, Official Report, column 872W, on local government finance, whether non-structural changes may count as material changes when determining changes in the capital value of the property. [120827]

Mr. Hanson: Under current rating legislation some non-structural changes may count as material changes when determining changes in the capital value of a property. A full list of such changes can be found in schedule 6 of the Rates (Northern Ireland) Order 1977.

NHS: Laboratories

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) clinical biochemistry, (b) haematology, (c) histopathology, (d) cytopathology and (e) microbiology tests and investigations were conducted at each health service laboratory in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. [120341]

Paul Goggins: Information on the number of (a) clinical biochemistry, (b) haematology, (c) histopathology, (d) cytopathology and (e) microbiology tests or investigations conducted at each health service laboratory in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years is not readily available. However, the number of tests conducted at each trust for the last four years is detailed in the following table. The Department started to collect this information in 2001-02 and so caution should be taken with the first year’s data. 2005-06 data are not yet available.


19 Feb 2007 : Column 548W
(a) Clinical biochemistry profiles( 1, 2)
Trust 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05

Altnagelvin Hospitals HSS Trust

373,360

421,968

503,013

564,746

Belfast Link Laboratories(3)

1,514,386

1,520,688

1,778,582

1,859,403

Causeway HSS Trust

149,571

221,535

243,672

288,993

Craigavon Area Hospital Group HSS Trust/Newry and Mourne HSS Trust(4)

666,287

754,056

841,959

907,915

Green Park HSS Trust

151,975

165,207

175,228

97,279

Mater Infirmorum Hospital HSS Trust

132,016

144,419

155,455

142,572

Sperrin Lakeland HSS Trust

208,198

236,161

260,597

330,086

Ulster Community and Hospitals HSS Trust

328,682

366,604

444,843

537,614

United Hospitals Group HSS Trust

651,069

750,268

790,273

901,056

Total

4,175,544

4,580,906

5,193,622

5,629,664

(1 )Profile = a range of tests performed on an individual sample.
(2 )All regional services are excluded from the regional financial benchmarking exercise.
(3 )Belfast Link Laboratories is the joint directorate of the three hospitals in central Belfast, namely, Belfast City Hospitals Trust, the Mater Hospital Trust, and the Royal Group of Hospitals Trust. As the Mater was still being amalgamated into BLL during this review, data were recorded separately. All three hospital sites have laboratories.
(4) Craigavon Area Hospitals HSS Trust, incorporating service provided from Daisy Hill Hospital Laboratory.
Source:
Regional Financial Benchmarking Exercise


19 Feb 2007 : Column 549W
(e) Microbiology Requests
Trust 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05

Altnagelvin Hospitals HSS Trust

109,315

102,724

113,526

116,120

Belfast Link Laboratories(2)

372,446

329,344

348,927

364,924

Causeway HSS Trust

52,728

55,688

53,088

58,293

Craigavon Area Hospital Group HSS Trust/ Newry and Mourne HSS Trust(3)

157,231

159,168

162,178

168,082

Green Park HSS Trust

40,038

43,821

44,412

43,354

Mater Infirmorum Hospital HSS Trust

27,985

30,437

32,620

31,555

Sperrin Lakeland HSS Trust

56,018

57,273

61,182

64,076

Ulster Community and Hospitals HSS Trust

112,193

1 14,422

114,581

116,236

United Hospitals Group HSS Trust

202,435

206,561

225,511

248,248]

Total

1,130,389

1,099,438

1,156,025

1,210,888

(1)All regional services are excluded from the regional financial benchmarking exercise.
(2 )Belfast Link Laboratories is the joint directorate of the three hospitals in central Belfast, namely, Belfast City Hospitals Trust, the Mater Hospital Trust and the Royal Group of Hospitals Trust. As the Mater was still being amalgamated into BLL during this review, data were recorded separately. All three hospital sites have laboratories.
(3) Craigavon Area Hospitals HSS Trust, incorporating service provided from Daisy Hill Hospital Laboratory.
Source:
Regional Financial Benchmarking Exercise.

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost was of pathology and laboratory services provision in the Northern Ireland health service in each of the last 10 years. [120344]

Paul Goggins: The cost of pathology and laboratory services provision in the Northern Ireland health service for the financial years 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2004-05 is shown in the following table. Information for other years is not available centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Financial year Total cost (£)

2004-05

62,754,330

2003-04

57,706,544

2002-03

53,084,579


Next Section Index Home Page