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Written Answers

Thursday, 22 July 2004.

Ulster-Scots Agency

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): Under the care and maintenance arrangements of north/south bodies during suspension of the Assembly the budget of the Ulster-Scots Agency was increased by 10.65 per cent to £1,704,000 for 2004. It is up to the agency to prioritise its spending within its budget while recognising that spending must be within the approved budget and associated business plan.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: As a sponsoring department of the agency, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure supports the Ulster-Scots Agency through funding to enable it to fulfil its remit as defined in the legislation. The agency was set up to promote greater awareness of Ullans and Ulster-Scots cultural issues and to this end has its own media relations strategy.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: I have nothing further to add to the Answers given on 26 May 2004 (WA 134) and 17 June 2004 (WA 79).

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Amos: The Government did become aware of the existence of the Official Languages Act on 29 May 2003. The Ulster-Scots Agency was consulted about the Act at a Language Body Facilitation Meeting held on 30 March 2004. It is not the case that action was taken only in March. As indicated in my earlier Answer, to which the noble Lord refers, that was simply the date of the first formal meeting.

Ulster Scots Culture

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: I have nothing further to add to the Answer I gave on 7 June 2004 (WA 1).

Northern Ireland: Ministerial andCivil Service Flights

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: The number of ministerial and Northern Ireland Civil Service flights between Belfast and the named airports is set out below:
2001–022002–032003–04
London Heathrow10,32414,71714,186
London Gatwick4,6664,5002,890
London City556541140

These figures relate only to single sector flights booked through the contracted travel agency services and do not include any journeys undertaken and which were booked through other channels, as to obtain this information would be at disproportionate cost to departments.
 
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Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: Air travel for Ministers and officials between Belfast and the named airports is generally organised through a contracted travel agent. Contracts for these services are awarded following a competitive process.

The agent identifies the best value air fare to meet the business need including consideration of flights by all airlines flying to the required destinations. The contract with the travel agent is currently on a fee per booking basis and there are no direct contractual agreements tendered to airlines for official air travel.

Northern Ireland: A6

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: The Chief Executive of Roads Service (Dr Malcolm McKibbin) has written to the noble Lord in response to this question.

Letter from the Chief Executive of Roads Service, Malcolm McKibbin, to the Lord Kilclooney

You recently asked Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated cost per kilometre of providing a dual carriageway between the Toome bypass and the City of Londonderry. I have been asked to reply as the issue raised falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service.

Research carried out for the Regional Strategic Transportation Network Transport Plan, indicates that it would cost approximately £5 million per kilometre (at 2004 prices) to construct a dual
 
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carriageway. This figure contains an element for land costs. The cost of dualling the 66 kilometres of the A6 between the western end of Toome bypass and the City of Londonderry would therefore be in the region of £300 million to £400 million (at 2004 prices).

Language Implementation Body

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: I refer the noble Lord to the Answers I gave on 22 March 2004 (WA 73), 21 April 2004 (WA 39), 17 June 2004 (WA 80), 22 June (WA 113) and 12 July 2004 (WA 115). I have nothing further to add to these Answers.

Northern Ireland: Sports Funding

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: The Sports Council for Northern Ireland (SCNI) is responsible for the development of sport in NI including the distribution of public funding to individual sports.

The following tables provide details of exchequer funding from SCNI for the financial year 1998–99 to 2003–04 for the four sports of soccer, Gaelic games (excluding camogie), rugby and cricket.
 
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Exchequer Funding
1998–99£1999–2000£2000–01£2001–02£2002–03£2003–04£Total£
Soccer50,00050,00050,00059,00052,50090,348351,848
1 100,000 1 232,000 1 911,0001,243,000
Gaelic Games (Excluding camogie)30,00030,00030,00030,00045,000129,497294,497
Rugby16,00016,00016,00016,00024,000106,090194,090
Cricket20,00020,00020,00020,00026,33071,462177,792
Totals116,000116,000116,000225,000379,8301,308,3972,261,227




1 These figures indicate the funds allocated to soccer from the Football Development Centre Programme for 2001–02 and 2002–03.


Safe Sports Grounds

The money provided by the Safe Sports Ground Programme was made available from financial year 2000–01 for the three sports of soccer, Gaelic games and rugby. The following table shows the funding that was allocated for these sports for the three-year period 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2003.
1998–99£1999–2000£2000–01£2001–02£2002–03£2003–04£Total£
Soccer1,206,809784,003415,1882,406,000
Gaelic Games622,085350,833507,0821,480,000
Rugby136,843140,61268,536345,991
Total1,965,7371,275,448990,8064,231,991



 
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As the organisations listed are voluntary organisations, they do not have any statutory duty under section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. However, the Sports Council does require all organisations which it funds to have an equity policy in place in their constitution/articles of association. Each of the organisations listed has provided the Sports Council with a copy of their Equity Policy.


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