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Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many positions have been advertised by Down district council in the last 12 months; and what the religion was of those subsequently appointed to those positions. 
Maria Eagle: Although it is not mandatory for further education colleges in Northern Ireland to offer on-line courses, all 16 further education colleges, to a greater or lesser degree, offer on-line learning in some courses. Access to on-line or blended learning and the number of courses for which it is available, varies extensively across the 16 colleges.
Mr. Hanson: Black Rods Wand is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Assembly and is stored in the Artefacts Store in Parliament Buildings. A catalogue of Parliament Buildings artefacts is available from the Office of the Keeper.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the outcomes of the 12 month pilot project which began on 1 April 2006 involving the use by all Departments in Northern Ireland of photocopying paper manufactured from a minimum of 70 per cent. post-consumer waste. 
Mr. Hanson: An initial assessment of the outcome of the 12 month pilot project, which began on 1 April 2006, is currently under way and will be presented to the Northern Ireland Procurement Board at its next meeting in late May.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions in the last 12 months the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service has met leaders of (a) the Presbyterian Church, (b)
the Roman Catholic Church, (c) the Church of Ireland, (d) the Methodist Church, (e) the Baptist Union of Ireland, (f) the Free Presbyterian Church, (g) the Elim Pentecostal Church, (h) the Reformed Presbyterian Church (i) the Congregational Union of Ireland, (j) the Evangelical Alliance (k) Evangelical Continuation in Northern Ireland and (l) the Caleb Foundation. 
Mr. Hanson: The Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service has had no formal meetings with the leaders of these churches and organisations in the last 12 months. He has met once with the Churches Forum, which has representatives from the Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland and Methodist Church, and he also attended a number of other events with church leaders, including a dinner to mark the retirement of Archbishop Robin Eames and the enthronement of Archbishop Alan Harper. He would be willing to meet representatives of any of the churches and organisations listed, if requested.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many individuals applied for individual voluntary arrangements in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: There are no published statistics on the number of individuals who have applied for an individual voluntary arrangement. However there are published statistics for the numbers of individual voluntary arrangements approved by creditors for the last five years and they show
Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 20 February 2007, Official Report, column 658W, on MG Rover, in which sectors the 100,000 jobs have been created; what the locations are of the 1,000 hectares of brownfield land which have been reclaimed; and what initiatives (a) Advantage West Midlands, (b) the Learning and Skills Council and (c) Birmingham City Council have put in place to assist unemployed former employees of MG Rover and its suppliers. 
Advantage West Midlands does not collect data in the form asked. The agency does have data which disaggregate the jobs total by whether they are jobs in rural, urban or disadvantaged areas but these data are only available from 2005-06 onwards.
The sector data are not available and to disaggregate the totals by sector can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
AWM is able to account for 459 hectares of brownfield sites reclaimed since 2003. The remaining 541 hectares were acquired through legacy projects funded by other agencies and programmes, such as the SRB programme and English Partnership.
Following the highly successful work of the MG Rover Task Force over 95 per cent. of ex-MG Rover employees are now back in work. The remaining 260 job seekers are able to access a number of initiatives delivered in partnership by AWM, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and Birmingham city council. These are:
South West Business Connections, led by Birmingham city council
Work for you ProjectPartnership project between AWM and Birmingham city council
Working for jobsinitiative involving AWM, LSC and Job Centre Plus
Northfield and Longbridge Uplift Projectled by Birmingham city council
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what methods will be used to determine those post offices which will qualify for the closure compensation package being offered should more than 2,500 post offices apply. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Following the Governments final decisions, it will be for Post Office Ltd. to develop local area plans for proposals for closures and other changes in service provision on a strategic basis within the framework set by Government. As outlined in the consultation document the closure programme will be a compulsory scheme.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the reasons are for the deferral of publication of the Government's conclusions on the response to the consultation on the closures within the Post Office network. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department received over 2,500 responses to the public consultation which formally closed on 8 March. We are giving full consideration to the comments submitted and hope to be in a position to announce final decisions in May.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether his Department is monitoring colony collapse disorder in honey bees in (a) the US and (b) Germany; 
John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to fund research into the potential emergence of colony collapse disorder in the UKs honey bee colonies. 
Barry Gardiner: DEFRA is aware of the press reports about the situation in the USA in respect of the widespread loss of bees described as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Reports of high colony losses have come from at least 22 states.
In the UK, scientists and inspectors at the National Bee Unit (NBU) are monitoring the situation, and are in contact with experts in the USA and in Europe to learn the latest results of research into abnormal colony mortality. The NBU has taken samples for further analysis from the few apiaries in England and Wales found this spring with unusually high colony loss for which there is no readily identifiable cause. This work will help the NBU ascertain whether there is a common cause for such losses.
The DEFRA budget for bee health research and development in 2006-07 is £200,000, which is comparable to previous years, and covers work on all pests and diseases of bees. If findings in the US or elsewhere identify a research need in the UK, the necessary resources would be found as part of our contingency response to emerging new threats.
Colony loss is known in Europe, but there is currently no reason to link high colony losses in the USA to the situation in Europe. Recent cases in Spain and Portugal seem likely to have been caused by Nosema ceranae, a spore-forming protozoan that invades the digestive tracts of bees, as well as the impact of varroa.
If a common cause for high colony loss in the USA is identified and it is pest or disease-related, it is unlikely to be imported here, as long as the rules restricting imports from third countries are respected. It is illegal to import bees from the mainland of the USA.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to increase the (a) speed and (b) accuracy of tests to determine the presence of bovine TB in cattle. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The single intradermal comparative cervical tuberculin (SICCT) test, commonly known as the tuberculin skin test, is the primary screening test for TB in cattle in Great Britain and other parts of the European Union (EU). The skin test is the internationally accepted standard for surveillance for infection with Mycobacterium bovis, and is considered the best screening test currently available for detecting TB in cattle. No diagnostic test is 100 per cent. accurate, but the current skin test is effective.
In October 2006, the Government extended the use of the gamma interferon blood test, alongside the skin test, to improve the sensitivity of the testing regime for controlling disease in infected herds by identifying more infected animals more quickly. It is being applied mainly in herds disclosing TB infection in low risk areas to help ensure infection does not become established in cattle or wildlife. It will also continue to be available for use as a disease control tool in areas of higher incidence.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the costs and benefits of local authorities reducing the collection of waste bins from domestic residences from once a week to once a fortnight or longer. 
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether proposed changes to the number and boundaries of sea fisheries committees may proceed only (a) after consultation with and (b) with the support of home sea fisheries committees affected by the proposals. 
Mr. Bradshaw: As outlined in the current Marine Bill White Paper, I have asked my officials to undertake a review of the number and boundaries of Sea Fisheries Committees (SFCs) in England and to pursue measures in the Marine Bill to implement any change. The review will take place later this year in consultation with the SFCs, the fishing industry and with other interested parties. I will examine the outcome of that review before deciding on any changes to the number and boundaries of SFCs in England.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his estimate is of the number of fishermen working (a) full-time and (b) part-time in the UK in each month since January 2006, broken down by region. 
|Number of fishermen by district: 2005|
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