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Northern Ireland Parliament 1921–72: Legislation

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: I am not aware of any legislative provision enacted by the Parliament of Northern Ireland which was discriminatory on the grounds of religious belief.

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Northern Ireland Police Fund

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who are the members of the board of the Northern Ireland Police Fund; how many persons are employed by the fund; whether each employee is vetted for security purposes prior to employment; and which service performs any such vetting procedure.[HL342]

Baroness Amos: The members of the board of the Northern Ireland Police Fund are:

    Sir John Semple (Chairman)

    Mrs Kate Carlisle

    Dr John Galway

    ACC Duncan McCausland

    Mr David McClurg

    Mrs Francesca Reid

    Lord Rogan

    Mr Robert Wilson.

A team of seven staff is employed by the fund; five deal with administrative duties and two are assessment officers.

It is not government practice to comment on individual cases in relation to security vetting. My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Northern Ireland (Jane Kennedy) made a Written Statement in the other place on 15 December about progress on the review of security vetting arrangements (Official Report, col. 127WS) a copy is available in the Library. The Police Fund will be included in the ongoing programme to improve the effectiveness of protective security arrangements.

North/South Language Body

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 4 December (WA 31) and 12 November (WA 199) concerning the incorrect titling of the staff remuneration for the Language Implementation Body decision paper, why they have refused to indicate which department made the error; and whether they will now name the department responsible.[HL363]

Baroness Amos: I have nothing further to add to the answers given on 12 November (WA 199) and 4 November 2003 (WA 31).

Northern Ireland Executive for Education

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What percentage of funds allocated by the Northern Ireland Executive for Education in the last financial year was spent on administration; and what was spent of providing education.[HL436]

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Baroness Amos: In the 2002–03 financial year 4.1 per cent of funds allocated for education was spent on administration; 95.9 per cent on providing education.

Northern Ireland Executive for Health

Lord Laird: asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What percentage of funds allocated by the Northern Ireland Executive for Health in the last financial year was spent on administration; and what was spent on providing healthcare.[HL437]

Baroness Amos: Of the final funds allocated to the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for 2002–03, total expenditure on management and administration costs by the four health and social services boards and 19 health and social services trusts amounted to 4.6 per cent. In addition, the department's own administration costs amounted to £36 million. Taken together, therefore, the total percentage of the 2002–03 final allocation spent on administration and management amounted to 6.1 per cent. A further 91.4 per cent was spent on delivery of health and social services and the remaining 2.5 per cent was spent on the provision of an effective fire-fighting, rescue and fire safety service.

Ulster-Scots Community: Parity of Esteem

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answers by the Lord President on 20 November (WA 356) and 10 December (WA 63) concerning parity of esteem, when the section of the Joint Declaration of 11 May 2003 concerning the diversity of traditions and respect for civil, political, social and cultural rights will be applied to those of an Ulster-Scots background; and whether it has been so applied to date.[HL440]

Baroness Amos: I refer the noble Lord to the previous Answers given on 20 November (Official Report, col. WA 356) and 10 December 2003 (Official Report, col. WA 63).

Construction Industry Training Board: NI Firms Working Abroad

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What legal advice has been received regarding Construction Industry Training Board levies for employees of Northern Ireland firms working abroad.[HL458]

Baroness Amos: This issue was raised at a full meeting of the Construction Industry Training Board earlier this year and it was then referred to the Department for Employment and Learning for further guidance on the interpretation of the legislation. The department referred the matter to its legal advisers.

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In line with Part II, paragraph 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information and under Part II, paragraph 4b, Law Enforcement and Legal Proceedings, it would be inappropriate to disclose the information requested by the noble Lord.

Northern Ireland: Conservation Areas and Demolitions

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many properties have been demolished in conservation areas in Northern Ireland in the past five years.[HL459]

Baroness Amos: In the past five years, Planning Service has granted 195 consents to demolish buildings within a conservation area. Once consent to demolish has been granted, Planning Service does not monitor whether the demolition work has taken place.

Olympic Games 2012: London Bid and Prime Minister's Support

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What events the Prime Minister has attended during 2003 to promote the 2012 London Olympic Bid.[HL282]

Baroness Amos: The Prime Minister fully supports the bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London and was directly involved with the announcement of government support on 15 May 2003. He will continue to attend events as appropriate.

Trade Liberalisation: Impact on Developing Countries

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will initiate research, either directly or through the International Labour Organisation and the World Trade Organisation, to assess the exact impact of trade liberalisation on (a) developing countries, and (b) the poorest people in the world; and whether they consider that such research should cover food security within countries, sustainable agriculture, and the protection of the natural environment.[HL313]

Baroness Amos: DfID is working closely with the international financial institutions and other multilateral and bilateral bodies to quantify the potential gains to developing countries of international and domestic trade liberalisation. Although estimates vary across studies, on balance evidence suggests that developing countries benefit from increased trade openness in the same proportion as richer countries. Furthermore, a reduction of a country's own trade barriers tends to bring real benefits to its consumers, including poor consumers.

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None the less, while the reforms may lead to aggregate gains in a country's economic welfare, they inevitably create losers. As well as undertaking studies on the effects of trade reform on livelihoods and food security of the poor segments of the population in developing countries, DfID is working with a number of developing country partners and through the multilateral system to link the trade agenda within countries' own development strategies. We are also supporting the EU's sustainability impact assessments, which aim to gauge the potential economic, social and environmental impacts of the WTO negotiations on affected sectors in both the EU and developing countries. The intention is to ensure that liberalisation is accompanied by other policies to help maximize the economic opportunities for all and mitigate adverse impacts on poor households.

Millennium Development Goals

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps it is taking to review its policies and approach to the role of agriculture in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.[HL488]

Baroness Amos: The Department for International Development has published a new policy paper on agriculture: "Agriculture and poverty reduction: unlocking the potential."

The paper sets out DfID's commitment to agriculture as a fundamental part of the Government's approach to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The paper provides details of DfID's current activities in agriculture through both its central and country programmes, and outlines DfID's approach to finding new ways of reversing agriculture's relative decline and stagnation in many of the world's poorest countries.

Copies of this policy paper have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and comments are welcome. The contact point is [email protected]

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