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The Lord President of the Council (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Budgets for all North/South bodies are determined in the context of annual business plans for the bodies and the financial resources required to deliver the plans. The process of agreeing the budget was carried out in accordance with the arrangements under the agreement made by the exchange of notes between the two governments dated 19 November 2002. The financial position of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure at that time was not a factor in this process.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The budget for the North/South Language Implementation Body for 2003 was agreed by the two governments on 26 February 2003 under the agreement made by the exchange of notes between the two governments dated 19 November. Prior to the approval by the two governments the proposed budget was the subject of consultation between the relevant departments North and South and was agreed by the Finance Ministers North and South. As the noble Lord is aware, the Secretary of State raised the issue of funding for the North/South Language Body at the meeting of the British-Irish Inter-Governmental Conference on 20 May, and work is now underway to change the funding.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: It is the policy of the State Pathologist's Department to perform all paediatric post mortem examinations jointly with a paediatric pathologist. The post mortem examinations are performed in the mortuary at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has mainstreamed cultural tourism as a key marketing and development opportunity for tourism in Northern Ireland. NITB will prioritise the development of a visitor experience that is unique to Northern Ireland and that capitalises on the distinctive and diverse elements of Northern Ireland's cultural traditions and way of life.
|Lady of the Lake Festival, Fermanagh||500|
|Apprentice Boys: Maiden City Festival||20,000|
|Feile an Phobail||20,000|
|Rhythm in the City||5,000|
|Festival of the Peninsulas||5,000|
|Belfast Festival at Queen's||15,000|
|Bard of Armagh Festival||1,000|
|Belfast Film Festival 200203||1,000|
|Bangor Choral Festival||500|
|Celtic Film & Television Festival||5,000|
|Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival||1,000|
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government made clear their continuing commitment to reducing energy costs for consumers in the context of the consultation paper Towards a New Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland published by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment on 17 April 2003.
A working group of economists drawn from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, the Department of Finance and Personnel and the Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation was established to further examine a legislative low-cost borrowing mechanism and other options for the refinancing of energy assets and contracts, with a view to energy cost reductions. The working group is expected to report shortly.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Moyle interconnector was sold on 14 April 2003 to a fully debt financed, not-for-profit company. This will lead to a reduction of some £12 million in customers' bills over the next four years.
Further options for the refinancing of energy assets and contractsincluding the generator contractsare being considered by a working group of economists drawn from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, the Department of Finance and Personnel and the Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation. The working group is expected to report shortly.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. The Chief Commissioner has been asked to write to the noble Lord. A copy of his letter will be placed in the Library.
Lord Willliams of Mostyn: "The Magic of Harry Potter with UK online" was one of many activities undertaken with commercial partners during the Get Started campaign to promote the benefits of the Internet.
The Secretary of State for International Development (Baroness Amos): The conflict that has affected northern Uganda for much of the last 17 years has intensified over the past 12 months. Up to 800,000 people are now internally displaced. There is growing inequality between northern and southern Uganda and the continuing conflict is preventing normal development activity from taking place. We continue to stress to the Ugandan Government the need to use all means, military and diplomatic, to resolve the situation and achieve a sustainable peace.
In response to the deteriorating situation DfID developed a humanitarian response strategy in 2002. This is currently being updated. Over the last 12 months we have disbursed £2.5 million through the World Food Progamme, UNICEF and the Uganda Red Cross Society and we are currently considering requests for a further £1 million for urgent humanitarian needs. We have also provided Save the Children Fund Denmark with a grant so that they can improve the conditions for the increasing number of unaccompanied children who are sleeping in town centres at night to avoid abduction by the LRA.
We will continue to actively engage and support the activities of the Government of Uganda, civil society, and traditional and religious leaders as they explore all avenues for ending this conflict.
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