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27 Feb 2007 : Column 1242Wcontinued
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many applications to university places for degrees longer than three years there were in each of the last 10 years. 
Bill Rammell: The available information relates to entrants to full-time first degree courses. The latest information, for academic years 1996/97 to 2005/06, is shown in the table. Comparable information for 2006/07 will be available in January next year.
|Number of entrants to full-time first degree courses by expected length of study, English higher education institutions, academic years 1996/97 to 2005/06|
|Length of study|
|Academic year||3 years or less||More than 3 years||Not known||Total|
| Notes: 1. Figures are on a snapshot basis as at 1 December and are rounded to the nearest 5. Therefore components may not sum to totals. 2. Comparable information on applications to full-time first degree courses is not held centrally. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).|
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many complaints from students were received by (a) the Learning and Skills Council and (b) the Learning and Skills Council South East in each year since 2003. 
Bill Rammell: The following table shows the data readily available on the number of complaints dealt with by the Learning and Skills Council, nationally and for the South East region.
|South East||Total England|
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his place of official residence during the periods for which he has assumed the Prime Ministers responsibilities. 
The Deputy Prime Minister: My official residence remains in Admiralty House.
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what steps the Government are taking to increase the number of women councillors. 
Meg Munn: Currently only 29 per cent. of councillors are women. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government recently announced the launch of an independent Commission on Local Councillors to consider the incentives and barriers to people serving as councillors and make recommendations. One aspect of the review will be to consider issues of under-representation by women. The Commission is expected to report to the Secretary of State in the autumn.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if she will make available to the Public Administration Select Committee the analysis of the consultation on the proposed Civil Service Bill. 
Hilary Armstrong: A statement will be made in due course.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the remuneration will be for those elected to the shadow councils in Northern Ireland in 2008. 
David Cairns: Decisions on the level of remuneration for those elected to the shadow councils in 2008 will be made once the governance arrangements under which they will operate have been determined.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps have been taken to protect vulnerable consumers from the aggressive marketing techniques of finance companies offering credit card facilities in Northern Ireland. 
Maria Eagle: Any business advertising credit, including credit cards, to consumers must comply with the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and the Consumer Credit Advertising Regulations 2004. These regulations set down very strict controls about how credit is advertised and marketed.
The Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service (TSS) has undertaken proactive work to ensure that consumer credit advertising in Northern Ireland complies with these regulations. The TSS also investigates any complaint about the behaviour of consumer credit businesses and, if necessary, reports the findings to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) which has the power to revoke consumer credit licences.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent steps his Department has taken to improve the access of people with disabilities to public services in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Hanson: Government are committed to improving access to public services for disabled people as well as complying fully with all the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). In keeping with the DDA duty to anticipate what reasonable adjustments people with disabilities might require, it continually reviews the accessibility of its services.
Virtually all of the 205 buildings in the NI Civil Service Estate have been subject to Accessibility Audits in line with the access duties of the DDA. A small percentage of these buildings do not require to be audited or to have adjustments made at this time either because there is no public interface, no disabled member of staff present or for operational reasons. All sites are kept under review and adjustments made if circumstances change.
Public service providers must ensure they are meeting their duties under the Act and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland provides detailed advice and information on meeting these requirements.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average absence rates were for staff in each district council in Northern Ireland in (a) 2001 and (b) 2006. 
David Cairns: The information on absenteeism rates within district councils is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, the Local Government Auditor, under the provisions in Article 26 of the Local Government (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 plans to publish a report on council absenteeism for the year ending 31 March 2006 shortly. I will let you have a copy when it is available.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what expenditure the Northern Ireland Office and its agencies have made relating to the use or trial of microchips in rubbish bins for domestic waste collection; and what funding has been provided to councils for this purpose. 
David Cairns: Three Northern Ireland district councils (Newtown abbey, North Down and Craigavon) have used a total of £140,000 grant aid, provided through the Environment and Heritage Services Waste Management Grant Scheme, to microchip recycling bins.
The Waste Management Grant Scheme was introduced in 2001 to put in place the small scale infrastructure, such as recycling bins and amenity sites, that would help councils meet the recycling targets in their Waste Action Plans. These targets are designed to meet EU regulations in respect of the amount of waste going to landfill.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what funding or support the Northern Ireland Office and its agencies have provided to (a) Antrim, (b) Belfast, (c) Lisburn, (d) Newtonabbey and (e) North Down councils for the installation of microchips in domestic rubbish bins. 
David Cairns: The Environment and Heritage Service has provided neither funding nor support for the installation of microchips in domestic rubbish bins in Antrim, Belfast or Lisburn. It has, however, provided such funding to Newtownabbey and North Down councils, £29,750 and £68,500 respectively. Funding of £41,750 was also provided for Craigavon borough council to install microchips in domestic bins.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were on housing waiting lists in each housing executive district in each of the past 18 months; how many people in each district have been waiting (a) less than six months, (b)
six to 18 months, (c) 18 to 24 months and (d) over 24 months for housing. 
The information requested is set out as follows: Table 1 provides the numbers at the end of
each quarter over the last 18 months; table 2 provides the length of time applicants have been waiting for accommodation.
|Table 1: Applicants on Waiting List (the breakdown of the waiting list is a snapshot of applicants for Housing Executive properties on the waiting list on the last day of the month shown)|
|Housing Executive District||December 2006||September 2006||June 2006||March 2006||December 2005||September 2005|
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