Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost of leasing buildings and office space for (a) his Department and (b) its agencies was in each of the last five years. 
|Cost of leasing buildings for the NIO|
|(a) NIO core Department||(b) NIO agencies|
Travel agency fees, historically, have not been separately identifiable on invoices; they are added to the total cost of arranging travel or accommodation so we are unable to easily identify the fees paid.
The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) core Department put a system in place in financial year 2005-06 in order to identify travel agency fees. The following table provides the travel agency fees paid in the last two financial years. The NIOs agencies do not have the same system in place so for them to identify the fees would be at disproportionate cost.
|Travel agency fees|
|NIO core Department||£|
Public Prosecution Service NI were unable to provide a response to this question as it would not be feasible to disaggregate what was spent on advice and what was spent on the conduct of prosecutions. For them to do so would be grossly misleading as advice and the conduct of prosecutions are generally intimately intertwined and not capable of disaggregation.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what his most recent estimate is of the cost to public funds to date of (a) the Saville Inquiry, (b) the Finucane Inquiry, (c) the Hamill Inquiry, (d) the Nelson Inquiry and (e) the Wright Inquiry; and if he will make a statement. 
|Total costs of inquiry expenditure to end April 2007 (£)|
|(1) Of this total cost (rounded) £142.6 million falls to the NIO, the remaining £38.2 million falls to the MOD|
I know that concern has been expressed in this House and elsewhere about the length and cost of some public inquiries. In particular, there are concerns about the cost of the Bloody Sunday inquiry£129.9 million to date, with a predicted final cost of £155 million. I understand that unhappiness, but setting up that inquiry was the right thing to do, and I commend the work of Lord Saville and his team. Having been established, the inquiry must run its course if it is to be fair to individuals and if the truth is to emerge. We will, of course, take all reasonable steps to control costs in the inquiries that I have announced today, including capping legal costs where appropriate. We will ensure that the inquiries have the maximum powers, as well as aiming for better, quicker
inquiries. Even so, these inquiries will inevitably mean the commitment of significant resources. The Government recognise peoples desire to see public funds spent on delivering better public services and effective policing. I recognise public concern about further expenditure on inquiries into the past.
Since the establishment of the Robert Hamill, Billy Wright and Rosemary Nelson inquiries, the Government have worked with the inquiries to put in place a number of measures to ensure that, while they have the resources necessary to fulfil their task, costs are kept to a reasonable level. The specific steps that have been taken are as follows:
agreeing a management statement that includes a financial memorandum with the inquiries. The management statement sets out the broad framework under which any public funds are paid to the inquiries including the conditions under which public funds are paid and how the inquiry accounts for its expenditure. My officials hold regular formal meetings with the Robert Hamill, Billy Wright and Rosemary Nelson inquiries to discuss their financial forecasts under the terms of these documents;
letting the inquiries make use of the Northern Ireland Office procurement division and have access to other procurement expertise in order to ensure that value for money is secured;
setting maximum hourly fees levels for publicly funded counsel and solicitors;
introducing a general 40 hour weekly cap on fees;
ensuring representation by counsel is limited only to interested parties or key witnesses whose evidence is in dispute;
making sure the scope of the legal work that may be undertaken at the public expense is circumscribed by the respective inquiry costs protocol and that all bills in respect of publicly funded legal assistance are subject to monthly scrutiny by the inquiry solicitor who is required to authorise disbursements in excess of £100.
The chairmen of the Billy Wright Inquiry and the Robert Hamill Inquiry separately asked me to convert their statutory basis for their inquiries to the Inquiries Act 2005 under section 15 of that Act. One consequence of my decision to grant their request for conversion is that the framework for the award by the chairman of costs in relation to legal representation set out in section 40 of that Act applies. I know that both chairmen take seriously their responsibilities in this regard, and the provision in section 17(3) of the Act that:
In making any decision as to the procedure or conduct of an inquiry, the chairman must act with fairness and with regard also to the need to avoid any unnecessary cost (whether to public funds or to witnesses or others).
In respect of the Billy Wright Inquiry I exercised my power on 25 October 2006 to make a notice of determination under section 40(4) of the Act and notified the House by means of a written statement, Official Report, columns 89-91WS.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many injury collisions occurred on the Ballyquin Road, Limavady between January 2006 and January 2007; and whether any further safety works are being considered for the road. 
Paul Goggins: PSNI have advised that a total of seven injury collisions occurred between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2006(1) on the Ballyquin Road between Greystone Road and Main Street Dungiven. The following figures detail the severity of the collision and the number of people injured. These figures do not include collisions at the junctions with Greystone Road and Main Street. Statistics for January 2007 have not been provided as all the information for that period has not yet been processed.
(1 )2006 figures are provisional and subject to change.
Source: Central Statistics Unit, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Lisnasharragh.
|Number of collisions|
|Number of casualties|
Where the Scotland Office rents office space within another Departments building, the Office pays an agreed share of the overall running costs of the building, which includes such items as rent, rates, utilities, cleaning and security; a separate record is not held of the rental element of these costs. These figures do not take into account any space occupied by other Departments.
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