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Baroness Ashton of Upholland: There are 13 full Sure Start programmes in rural areas. These programmes are developing innovative ways to deliver in rural areas the high quality services that characterise Sure Start in towns and cities.
In addition, we are funding a pilot project of 50 mini Sure Start programmes in rural areas and pockets of deprivation. These programmes cover areas where the number of disadvantaged children living in a defined area is considerably less than the 800 required for a typical full programme and so would not be covered by the traditional Sure Start model. The mini Sure Starts are building on existing services like neighbourhood nurseries or other facilities delivering children's services and using Sure Start funding to deliver outreach and additional health work. Of the 50 mini Sure Start pilots, 29 are in rural areas.
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Ashton of Upholland on 21 November (WA 14), which Minster is able to answer the query in relation to Northern Ireland.[HL295]
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: I regret that my Answer of 21 November (WA 14) did not say more about the position in Northern Ireland, for which no data are held by the Department for Education and Skills. I am happy to clarify that my noble friend Lord Williams of Mostyn will reply to the noble Lord's Questions as he is the government spokesperson on all matters relating to Northern Ireland.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has launched a major programme of work to enable electronic relicensing of motor vehicles. Plans include provision of both Internet and telephone facilities to support the present over-the-counter service.
Pilot systems are expected to be in place early in 2004. This will provide facilities for keepers of private and light goods vehicles not requiring an MOT certificate. The service will be extended to include vehicles in all taxation classes, and of all ages, by the end of 2005.
Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Dishonoured or fraudulent credit/debit card transations involving the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in the financial year 200102 amounted to 127 at a value of £24,300. The total number and value of credit/debit transactions for the same period was 239,000, at almost £64 million. The transactions relate to DVLA, Great Britain; there were no similar transactions in Northern Ireland.
Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is able to accept credit/debit card payments for some driver and vehicle transaction fees, sales of attractive vehicle registration marks, penalty charges and, in certain circumstances, for vehicle excise duty (VED). DVLA does not know of any practical difficulties for the motorists in using these forms of payment. The customer benefits from a speedier delivery of the service required and the agency benefits from the early settlement by electronic transfer of funds.
|NOP Question- naire||Letter||Total|
|South East England||6,625||15,226||260||22,111|
|North of England||1,625||102||55||1,782|
Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: No. However, decisions on the siting of any additional airport capacity resulting from the current consultation exercise will be based upon an expectation that appropriate controls will be established to protect communities. If such an airport were to be constructed, it would be possible to stipulate restrictions on night flying under existing planning legislation. A decision on whether to designate the airport would be taken in the light of all relevant circumstances.
Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: In the light of the current consultation on air transport, we will set out in next year's White Paper our policies on how much airport development is necessary, where this should be located and on what main terms and conditions such development could be taken forward. Many important issues of detail, including the impact on the water environment, will be for later determination.
The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): It is the Government's understanding of the Implementation Bodies Agreement that the functions of the North/South Language Body in relation to the Irish language and Ullans and Ulster-Scots are exercised by the respective agencies of the body. The agreement also provides that the respective members of the board relating to the two languages have responsibility for the exercise of the functions of the body through the relevant agency. This means that the appointment of the chief executive of the Irish Language Agency was properly made by that part of the board having responsibility for that agency, and the same arrangements apply to the appointment of a chief executive for the Ulster-Scots Agency. The present Government have not received any legal opinion on this matter or had sight of any opinion which the authorities in the Republic of Ireland may have received.
In addition to the issue referred to by the noble Lord, two other matters relating to the Language Body were not recorded in joint communiques issued following NSMC meetings held on 30 March 2001 and 27 June 2001. These decisions, as recorded in the record of decisions, were communicated to the noble Lord on 6 November 2002 in a letter from the joint secretaries.
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