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David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average journey time was for ambulances stationed at each hospital in Northern Ireland to respond to emergency calls in their catchment area in the last period for which figures are available; and on how many occasions this average was exceeded by more than 50 per cent. 
Paul Goggins: The information requested is not held centrally and will take some time to collate. I will write to the hon. Gentleman as soon as the information becomes available and place a copy in the Library.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 16 April 2007, Official Report, column 190W, on Desmond Clayton, whether his Department (a) gave and (b) approved any job reference for Mr. Clayton after the termination of his employment at the Northern Ireland Police Fund. 
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on the inclusion of Northern Ireland in a bid to host the 2018 football World Cup. 
Maria Eagle: I have had no discussions with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport as the Government study, published in February 2007, was to assess the feasibility of holding a future World Cup in England.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the drop-out rates of each further and higher education institution in Northern Ireland were in each of the last three years; what assessment he has made of the impact of the payment of tuition fees on drop-out rates; and what funding has been allocated by his Department to reducing drop-out rates. 
No assessment has yet been made of the impact of the payment of (variable) tuition fees on drop-out rates. It is likely that this has had minimal impact as students in the system prior to September 2006 are unaffected by the new arrangements. Furthermore, from academic year 2006-07, a new student finance package has also been introduced to ensure that new entrants from lower income backgrounds are not disadvantaged by the new arrangements. A review of the new arrangements, including participation rates, is planned for 2008-09.
The Department for Employment and Learning allocates a total of £4.6 million annually to the further education colleges and higher education institutions in the form of support funds. These funds are specifically earmarked for the purpose of providing assistance for students who may be discouraged from participating in further or higher education due to financial hardship. These funds provide a greater safety net and help to reduce drop-out rates among students experiencing financial difficulties after starting their course.
The Department also pays the universities a widening participation premium for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Funding of £1.25 million is provided to cover the costs incurred in recruiting and retaining students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are more likely to drop out.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to his answer of 6 April 2007, Official Report, column 196W, on graffiti, for what reasons the Department of the Environment does not hold information on the cost of removing graffiti. 
David Cairns: Under Article 18 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 it is for district councils to decide whether or not to remove graffiti. They do not, therefore, have a duty to remove it and there is no requirement on the Department of the Environment to collect data on graffiti removal costs. The information may be held by individual district councils.
There is no pay dispute in higher education, although the further education lecturers pay claim was not recommended for approval by the public sector pay committee. College employers and lecturers trade unions have now been asked to re-engage in order to prepare revised pay proposals, in line with pay policy guidelines. The Department will
continue to liaise with the further education sector on the scope for devising amended pay proposals within the limits set by pay policy.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on the implications of the increase in the estimated cost of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games for the allocation of funding to lottery good causes in (a) North Down and (b) Northern Ireland. 
Maria Eagle: The allocation and distribution of Lottery funds is a reserved matter with responsibility lying with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The decision on the Lottery will be subject to affirmative resolutions in both Houses.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what meetings have taken place in 2007 between the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and senior representatives of the Roman Catholic church about child sexual abuse; and what information about child sexual abuse was provided at these meetings in relation to (a) each diocese fully within Northern Ireland and (b) each diocese that straddles the border with the Republic of Ireland. 
Paul Goggins: To date, there have been no joint meetings in 2007 between the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and senior representatives of the Roman Catholic church about child sexual abuse.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many hours of physical education per week were provided to school children in schools in each education and library board area in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years; and what steps he is taking to increase the time provided. 
Maria Eagle: The Department does not collect the information requested. The education and training inspectorate monitors the provision of PE, and other aspects of the curriculum, as part of routine inspection in schools. While the Department does not specify the amount of time schools should spend on any particular subject, schools are encouraged to provide at least two hours of physical activity per week. It is for schools to determine how much time is devoted to PE, which is a compulsory part of the revised curriculum for all pupils from foundation to key stage 4.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time physical education teachers there were in
each education and library board area in Northern Ireland in each of the last six years. 
Maria Eagle: The Department of Education does not hold this information. However, I have been advised by the chief executives of the five education and library boards and the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools, who employ teachers that the south eastern, western and Belfast ELBs and CCMS do not hold this information and that staffing is a matter for individual boards of governors.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the total unpaid rent to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in each district in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Hanson: The Northern Ireland Housing Executives total rent and rates arrears is £11,407,571 out of a total rent bill of £265 million. The rent and rates arrears have accumulated over previous years.
|NIHE district office||Rent and rate arrears at 31 March 2007 (£)|
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