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23 Apr 2007 : Column 893Wcontinued
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made towards the provision of a community midwifery unit in Downpatrick. 
Paul Goggins: In March 2005 the Eastern Health and Social Services Board identified Down Lisburn Trust as the preferred provider to prepare an Outline Business Case for a Community Midwifery Unit which would be located in Downpatrick.
The Business Case was first submitted in November 2005 and the Department has engaged with both the Board and the former Trust to develop and refine the proposal. Discussions are now continuing with the new South Eastern Trust on a small number of outstanding issues. Once these issues are resolved the Department will be in a position to consider approval of the Business Case.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much Northern Ireland Housing Executive unpaid rent was recovered in each district in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Hanson: The following table details unpaid rent recovered in each district during 2006-07.
|NIHE District Office||Rent/rates recovered during 2006-07 (£)|
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many children in each health board area in Northern Ireland were registered as obese in each of the last six years; and what steps he is taking to reduce such figures. 
Paul Goggins: The following table illustrates the prevalence of obesity among Primary One (PI) pupils for the periods covering 1997-98 to 2005-06.
|Percentage of P1 children who are obese|
|Northern Irelandmale and female||1997-98||1999-2000||2002-03||2003-04||2004-05||2005-06|
1. This information is extracted from the Child Health System which is maintained by the four NI health boards.
2. Obesity is defined using the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) Classification of childhood obesity.
3. The data is not based on a sample survey but is based on the total number of P1 pupils fulfilling the valid age criteria who had their height and weight recorded.
Until the recent publication of the NI Health and Social Wellbeing Survey 2005-06 (NIHSWB) the Child Health System data had been the only source of childhood obesity information within NI. Validated figures, which are shown in the following table, are now available from the NIHSWB survey 2005-06
concerning estimates for overweight and obese children in Northern Ireland by health board.
|Percentage of NI children who are obese (aged two to 10)NIHSWB 2005-06|
Based on International Obesity Task Force approach (IOTF)
The results from the survey vary markedly from the P1 study partly because the data is based on low base numbers of participants within each health board . It should be also noted that the differences between the boards are not statistically significant and that because these figures have been obtained from a sample survey, that they are estimates and are subject to some degree of sampling error.
At a regional level the report of the Fit Futures taskforce on tackling obesity in children and young people was published in March 2006. The report included over 70 recommendations designed to deliver the Public Service Agreement target to stop the increase in levels of obesity in children by 2010. Responsibility for this target is shared by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, the Department of Education and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure
A Governmental response to the report including a cross-departmental implementation plan has been developed and issued for consultation. Following this a final plan will be issued shortly.
Locally the four Health and Social Services Boards have been asked to develop local integrated plans to tackle the issue of childhood obesity. These plans should address specific priorities set out in the original Fit Futures report, including enhanced training for front line staff, additional support for children in care, training to improve cooking skills in low income families, and initiatives to tackle specific health and social inequities.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of pensioners in Northern Ireland (a) are eligible for pension tax credit and (b) are in receipt of pension tax credit; what steps are being taken to increase the take-up rate of pension tax credit in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hanson: It is not possible to provide estimates of pensioners in Northern Ireland who are eligible for pension credit.
The number of older people in receipt of pension credit in Northern Ireland is 116,500.
The Social Security Agency (SSA) promotes the range of benefits for pensioners through pension tele-centres in Belfast and Londonderry, the internet, and information which is available in our Jobs and
Benefit Offices/Social Security offices. The agency also has a network of outreach officers who provide a home visiting service.
Benefit uptake is a key priority for the Social Security Agency which places an emphasis on vulnerable customers, particularly pensioners. Since 2005 the agency has undertaken a range of activities to increase benefit uptake including improvements to linkages between state pension and pension credit and a one-off housing benefit exercise to support those in receipt of pension credit to take-up their potential entitlement to this additional benefit (23,743 customers).
Interim results from this year's benefit uptake programme indicates that an additional £2.3 million in benefit has been paid to pensioners; of this, £0.75 million was specific to pension credit.
Approximately 20,000 pensioners have also been offered a free comprehensive assessment by the independent advice sector to ensure that they are receiving their full entitlement to all benefits.
The agency is currently developing its 2007-08 benefit uptake programme with the intention of targeting vulnerable customers, including pensioners, to ensure they are receiving their full entitlement to benefits.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the progress made in responding to the Police Ombudsman's report into the murder of Raymond McCord Junior. 
Paul Goggins: The Chief Constable and the Historical Enquiries Team are making good progress in relation to implementing the recommendations of the Police Ombudsman's report into the murder of Raymond McCord Junior. The Northern Ireland Policing Board, which has responsibility for reviewing the PSNI response to the recommendations, has also been informed of this early progress.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) authorised and (b) unauthorised Traveller accommodation sites there were in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Hanson: The information requested is as follows.
(a) Authorised T raveller accommodation sites:
The information is not available in the format requested. The Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 transferred the responsibility for the provision and management of Traveller sites from councils to the Housing Executive from 1 December 2003. The Housing Executive currently has ownership of a total of six serviced sites, a further two transit sites and two emergency sites in Northern Ireland. In addition arrangements for Housing Executive to provide services to Travellers on co-operated sites have also been agreed.
(b) Unauthorised T raveller accommodation sites:
The information is not available for the period requested. The Unauthorised Encampments Order 2005 was enacted 19 July 2006. Since then there have been 31 reports of unauthorised encampments in Northern Ireland.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent estimate he has made of the size of the Traveller population in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Hanson: The Travellers Needs Assessment survey completed in August 2002 identified 452 Traveller households. Of these 316 households responded to the survey, identifying a total of 1,228 individuals.
In the NI census 2001, 1,650 individuals identified themselves as Travellersrepresenting 0.1 per cent. of the total population. A further needs assessment is programmed to be carried out in October/November 2007.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures he has put in place to inform the public of the changes involved in animal welfare legislation. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Animal Welfare Act was launched on 4 April at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Harmsworth Memorial Animal Hospital, where the BBC series Animal Hospital is filmed.
Further media interviews were given by Ministers and regional radio interviews were undertaken by veterinarian Dr. Scott Miller on behalf of DEFRA on the morning of the launch.
The Departments publicity campaign included posters and leaflets. Posters were sent to pet shops and veterinary surgeries. Advertisements were also placed in a number of magazines in the run-up to the launch. All activity signposted the public to the DEFRA website which contains comprehensive information on the Act. Our external campaign partners, which include Nestle Purina and Masterfoods, provided links to the DEFRA website on their consumer websites. In addition, there were a series of training events on the Act, held around the country. These were attended by officials from local authorities, Animal Health and the RSPCA.
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