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26 Feb 2007 : Column 1014W—continued


Olympic Games: Greater London

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in identifying sporting talent from Northern Ireland in the run-up to the Olympic Games 2012. [122693]

Maria Eagle: The Northern Ireland Olympic Task Force have developed a draft strategy for Northern Ireland to benefit from London hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. Identifying sporting talent is included in the strategy and this will be taken forward by the Sports Council for Northern Ireland.

Planning

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland why the draft Planning Policy Statement 14 was given full effect prior to the completion of the consultation exercise; and whether the practice in this case conformed with normal practice in the conduct of public consultations. [122287]

David Cairns: The ministerial statement that accompanied draft PPS 14 explained the reason why draft PPS 14 took immediate precedence. The statement set out the concern that the policy direction of draft PPS 14 could be seriously frustrated and undermined by a large influx of old planning applications, particularly for single dwellings, during the consultation period and before the final policy is published. A comprehensive consultation on draft PPS 14 has been undertaken which elicited 8,513 responses.

Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will introduce legislation to provide the Police Ombudsman with powers to investigate the activities of M15 officers in Northern Ireland equivalent to the powers in section 55 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 giving that office the power to investigate Serious Organised Crime Agency staff in Northern Ireland. [120467]

Paul Goggins: Unlike the police and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, the Security Service has no executive policing responsibilities. Further, the Security Service is in any event fully accountable through existing ministerial, parliamentary and judicial mechanisms. Therefore the Ombudsman will have no oversight of the Security Service.


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It is for the Ombudsman to put arrangements in place to enable her to communicate with the Security Service’s oversight bodies on any areas of concern that might arise.

Recruitment Agencies

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department paid to recruitment agencies for the hire of temporary staff in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [110481]

Mr. Hain: The Northern Ireland Office (NIO), excluding its agencies and non-departmental public bodies, can only provide spend on recruitment agencies from the financial year 1998-99.

Financial year Recruitment agencies costs (£)

1998-99

51,349

1999-2000

37,212

2000-01

36,907

2001-02

39,678

2002-03

81,344

2003-04

99,883

2004-05

121,354

2005-06

136,304


Regeneration

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions the Department for Social Development (DSD) has had with other departments or public bodies on the future funding requirements of voluntary and community organisations which will lose DSD funding as a result of the new Neighbourhood Renewal funding model. [122242]

Mr. Hanson: Neighbourhood Renewal is Government’s key vehicle to tackle disadvantage. In implementing this strategy Government are committed to directing resources at the core causes of deprivation based on local need. The strategy is not about supporting individual voluntary and community organisations but is focused on closing the gap in the quality of life and conditions within the worst areas of disadvantage and the rest of Northern Ireland.

Implementation of local action plans currently being developed through a partnership approach involving Government Departments, key community, voluntary, elected and private sectors within the Neighbourhood Renewal areas, will direct funding to a smaller number of key areas to ensure improved outcomes and more effective public services.

Implementation of this strategy over time will inevitably have implications for a range of service providers, including community and voluntary organisations. Through the work of the local Partnerships and the Neighbourhood Renewal Ministerial Group which includes all Government
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Departments and oversees the implementation of the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy, these issues will continue to be discussed.

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which City-wide organisations in Derry have been funded through the Department for Social Development Office but will not receive future Neighbourhood Renewal Funding through Neighbourhood Partnerships. [122243]

Mr. Hanson: The following city-wide groups are being funded through the Department for Social Development’s North West Development Office:

NWDO is currently working with the four Neighbourhood Partnerships in Derry to develop Neighbourhood Action Plans to meet the priority needs of residents in deprived areas. These plans will inform how Neighbourhood Renewal funding and other public funding is delivered in future years. City-wide organisations currently delivering services in Neighbourhood Renewal areas have been encouraged to engage with the Neighbourhood Partnerships with a view to considering whether or not these services should be included in the Neighbourhood Action Plans. Pending receipt of final Neighbourhood Action Plans (March 2007) and their consideration by all relevant statutory bodies, no decisions can be made regarding which services or organisations might be funded.

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what (a) funding and (b) other advice the Department for Social Development is giving to those organisations whose service catchments do not fit within Neighbourhood Partnership areas. [122244]

Mr. Hanson: The Neighbourhood Renewal strategy is focused on addressing deprivation by tackling key issues such as poor educational outcomes, lack of skills, poor employability prospects, community safety, lack of aspirations within our youth and poor health outcomes for those neighbourhoods suffering the worst levels of disadvantage.

In working to close this gap between our worst off and the rest of Northern Ireland, Government funding will increasingly be directed at a smaller number of key
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areas and service providers in response to the identified needs and priorities emerging from local action plans.

Voluntary and community groups outside the Neighbourhood Renewal areas can access numerous other funding streams that support the voluntary and community sector.

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will assess the implications of the new Neighbourhood Renewal funding arrangements for service providers who are not locality specific within any given Neighbourhood Partnership area. [122245]

Mr. Hanson: Implementation of the Neighbourhood Renewal strategy represents a strategic and long-term approach to supporting service provision in response to the key needs of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The local Neighbourhood Renewal action planning process which involves the statutory, community, voluntary, elected and private sectors, will direct future investment in a more strategic way towards a smaller number of key service providers, focused on delivering specific, improved and measurable outcomes. This will result in a reduction in the number of service providers regardless of their geographic location.

Future investment in community and voluntary sector provision will increasingly be determined by the identified needs of neighbourhoods, the agreed priorities for the areas and the ability of providers to deliver the specific outcomes required. The ongoing work to develop action plans and agree implementation of these will shape all future service provision in Neighbourhood Renewal areas.

Those service providers who are located outside the Neighbourhood Renewal areas may be supported to deliver services within Neighbourhood Renewal areas if they are found to be the best option and are the most effective provider.

Rivers Agency

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the religious composition is of staff (a) employed and (b) recruited over each of the last three years by the Rivers Agency in Northern Ireland. [116459]

Mr. Hanson: Monitoring information is gathered to enable the NI civil service to monitor the effectiveness of its equal opportunities policies. Under data protection legislation, any further processing of monitoring information must not be incompatible with that purpose. With the exception of the Child Support and Social Security agencies, monitoring of equal opportunities policies is not carried out below the level of Departments, consequently the further processing of monitoring information at the level requested would not be consistent with the data protection principles.

Water Meters

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many homeowners in Northern Ireland he estimates will have requested water meters to be installed by the end of April. [122690]


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David Cairns: The Chief Executive of Water Service (Mrs. Katharine Bryan) has written to the hon. Gentleman in response to this question.

Letter from Mrs. Katharine Bryan, dated 26 February 2007:

Culture, Media and Sport

Art Deco Buildings

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in respect of which art deco style buildings her Department has provided funding for restoration and preservation in the last 12 months. [112562]

Mr. Lammy: Government funding for the built historic environment in England is channelled through English Heritage. English Heritage's central database does not categorise grants made in terms of building style, so we are unable to provide this information.

EU Cultural Heritage Society

Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has had with European colleagues on the creation of an EU cultural heritage agency. [122608]

Mr. Lammy: I refer the hon. Gentleman to my answer of 1 February 2007, Official Report, column 418, to the hon. Member for Chesterfield (Paul Holmes). I am not aware of any proposals to establish a European Cultural Heritage Agency.

Departments: Freedom of Information

Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the cost to her Department of monitoring the time spent processing requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for the purposes of the proposed fees regulations. [121727]

Mr. Lammy: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him by my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State for Constitutional Affairs on 23 February 2007, Official Report, column 968W.


26 Feb 2007 : Column 1019W

English Heritage

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on how many occasions her Department has overruled advice given to her by English Heritage in the last four years; and what the circumstances were of each occasion. [122298]

Mr. Lammy: No central record is maintained, either by the Department or English Heritage, to show the number of occasions on which advice provided by English Heritage on listing applications is overruled. The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Gambling

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the income of (a) betting shops, (b) casinos and (c) on-course gambling in each of the last five years. [122347]

Mr. Caborn: The Government do not collect data on the overall income of casinos, on-course or off-course betting.

The Gambling Commission monitors, and reports on an annual basis, the level of activity in casinos. For this purpose, the Commission uses ‘drop’ and ‘house win’ figures. ‘Drop’ is the amount of money exchanged for gaming chips, ‘house win’ is the total retained by the casino.

The total drop figures for casinos in Great Britain for each of the last five years are set out in the following table. The house wins resulting from this drop for the same periods are also listed. It is important to note that this figure represents the gross receipts before operating and other costs are deducted. House win is consistently around 17-18 per cent. of ‘drop’.

Total drop (money exchanged for gaming chips)
£ million

2001-02

3,582

2002-03

3,797

2003-04

4,073

2004-05

4,158

2005-06

4,231


The House win (the total retained by casinos)
£ million

2001-02

619

2002-03

669

2003-04

674

2004-05

715

2005-06

704


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