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1 Mar 2007 : Column 1458W—continued


Lone Parents

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of lone parents in (a) England, (b) London and (c) West Ham constituency were on income support when their youngest child is aged 16 years old in the last period for which figures are available. [122955]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available.

Pensions

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how the flat rate accrual amount of £72.80 proposed for the state second pension in Schedule 2 to the Pensions Bill was calculated. [118722]

James Purnell: The initial figure of £72.80 for the flat rate accrual amount is the equivalent of £1.40 a week in earnings terms. This figure will be re-valued in line with average earnings during a working life and with prices in retirement.

In coming to this figure we have ‘smoothed’ the accrual amounts; this radically simplifies the current system where for around the next twenty years, state second pension accruals would have been set at different levels for younger and older workers. Over the next forty years our reforms are broadly cost neutral and people’s pensions will build up in a straightforward way that they will find easier to understand.

Northern Ireland

Correspondence

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many letters to his Department sent from hon. Members during Session 2005-06 remain unanswered, broken down by those which are (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four and (e) over six months old. [114615]


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Mr. Hain: All correspondence received into my Department during the parliamentary Session 2005-06 have been replied to.

There is no outstanding correspondence.

Departments: Databases

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what databases are controlled by his Department and its agencies; and what percentage of the data in each database he estimates are inaccurate or out of date. [124030]

Paul Goggins: Information in the form requested is not readily available and could be compiled only at a disproportionate cost. The Department has approximately 300 databases ranging in size from the most sophisticated (SAP and Oracle) to the simplest (MS Access). The Department is currently in the process of rationalising these databases and it is therefore likely that many will be retired within the next 12-18 months.

Smith Institute

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much money from the public purse (a) his Department and (b) its agencies gave to (i) the Smith Institute and (ii) its subsidiary SI Events Limited in each year since 1997; and for what purpose each payment was made. [123093]

Mr. Hain: Neither organisation has ever received any direct payments from the Northern Ireland Office.

Devolution

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made on reinstating devolved government in Northern Ireland. [122440]

Mr. Hanson: Elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly will occur on 7 March. It is the Government’s hope and expectation that this renewed mandate will, under the terms of the Northern Ireland (St. Andrews Agreement Act) 2006, pave the way for the successful restoration of the devolved institutions on 26 March.

Extended Schools: Rural Areas

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what provision is in place to ensure equity of access within the extended schools programme for pupils attending rural schools. [123614]

Maria Eagle: The extended schools programme has been targeted at children and young people who are disadvantaged, marginalised or have the most limited access to current services. It has therefore been necessary to establish selection criteria in order to identify the most disadvantaged schools as follows:


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Using this qualifying criteria almost 500 schools have been identified for Extended Schools funding of which 113 (23 per cent.) are located in rural areas.

Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many visits Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons (HMCIP) made to prison establishments in Northern Ireland in each of the past five years; and which such establishments HMCIP visited over that period. [123456]

Paul Goggins: Her Majesty’s Chief Inspectorate of Prisons (HMCIP) has visited prison establishments in Northern Ireland a total of seven times in the last five years as follows:

Prison Date

Maghaberry Prison

13-17 May 2002(1)

10-14 October 2005

Magilligan Prison

20-24 September 2004

10-19 May 2006

Hydebank Wood Prison (Ash House)

28-30 November 2004

Hydebank Wood (YOC)

4-8 February 2002

14-17 March 2005

(1) Including Mourne House.

Since 2004, HMCIP inspections have been carried out with the Criminal Justice Inspectorate of Northern Ireland.

Local Government

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many times he met local councils in Northern Ireland between January 2006 and January 2007. [123800]

Mr. Hain: I have met with many local council representatives in Northern Ireland as part of my duties including visits to Banbridge, Fermanagh and Limavady councils between January 2006 and January 2007.

Prisons

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on housing prisoners from England and Wales in Northern Ireland. [123502]

Paul Goggins: There have been no discussions between my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary about this issue.


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The National Offender Management Unit for England and Wales did make an initial informal inquiry of the Director of the Northern Ireland Prison Service as to the availability of Maze prison. He advised that Maze was no longer part of the NIPS estate, but belonged to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and no further approaches were made to NIPS.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of prison places in Northern Ireland were occupied in each of the past five years, broken down by prison establishment. [123503]

Paul Goggins: As the prison population and the available accommodation vary on a daily basis, an average annual percentage figure would be unrepresentative. To provide a more accurate picture, statistics from establishments have been selected for the weeks beginning April and October of each year for the last five years.

These figures do not however fully reflect the level of cell-sharing, as some areas of accommodation are reserved for specific categories of prisoners such as females or life sentence prisoners.

Percentage
Establishment
Week beginning Maghaberry Magilligan Hydebank

1 April 2002

73

91

82

7 October 2002

92

91

95

7 April 2003

105

96

104

6 October 2003

104

99

98

1 April 2004

91

101

99

2 October 2004

94

94

99

7 April 2005

106

88

78

5 October 2005

109

86

100

3 April 2006

110

88

95

2 October 2006

110

86

95

Note:
The figures in the table are a percentage of the available certified normal accommodation.

Reparation by Offenders

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what he estimates the cost will be to the public purse of the payments to community restorative justice schemes in Northern Ireland in the year ending April 2008. [123803]

Mr. Hanson: There is no dedicated budget in 2007-08 to fund community-based restorative justice schemes’ activities. However, schemes who seek accredited status will be free to apply for funding, in the same way as any other voluntary or community organisation, from existing funding sources where they meet the appropriate grant criteria.

Roads: Fees and Charges

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has (a) to pilot and (b) to introduce a road pricing scheme in Northern
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Ireland; and what research his Department has undertaken in relation to the feasibility of such a scheme in Northern Ireland. [123494]

David Cairns: The Chief Executive of Roads Service (Dr. Malcolm McKibbin) has written to the hon. Lady in response to this question.

Letter from Dr. Malcolm McKibbin, dated 1 March 2007:

Special Advisers

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many of his Department’s civil servants work full-time to support departmental special advisers; and what the salary is of each such civil servant. [106504]

Mr. Hain: Two civil servants currently work in support of my special advisers, one supporting NIO work, the other, the work of the Northern Ireland Departments. They are paid on the B2 pay band range from £20,869 to £28,620.

I apologise for the lateness of this answer which was due to an administrative oversight.

Terrorism

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 5 February 2007, on “on the runs”, what measures the Government are considering to deal with “on the runs” other than further legislation or an amnesty. [121773]


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Mr. Hain: None. As I explained in my previous answer to the hon. Member for North Down, the Government continue to accept that the position of “on the runs” is an anomaly, and we believe that the anomaly will need to be addressed at some stage. However, the Government do not have any current proposals for doing so.


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