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Baroness Andrews: Overall timescales for both projects will depend on the outcome of both projects' procurements and will reflect the successful suppliers' proposals. The FiReControl and Firelink project teams are working closely together as part of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's resilience program to ensure that we achieve an integrated delivery. We expect to make an announcement on FiReControl shortly.
What is their response to each example of the adverse impact of the changes introduced in the public funding regime in April 2004, as stated in the report Justice Denied: Asylum and Immigration Legal AidA System in Crisis, published by the two charities Bail for Immigration Detainees and Asylum Aid. [HL459]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The reforms introduced in April 2004 addressed serious concerns about increasing costs and poor quality work. They were designed to target resources on cases with merit and to drive up the quality of publicly funded legal services in the field of asylum and immigration. Since the changes were introduced the number of firms and organisations undertaking this work has fallen but during 200405 the net reduction was less than 10 per cent. This is in the context of a significant fall in asylum numbers from a peak of 84,000 to 32,000 in 200405.
In most areas of the country there is an adequate number of suppliers and the Legal Services Commission (LSC) acts to ensure that any local gaps in supply are addressed as quickly as possible. The measures introduced last year are essential to achieve and maintain control of costs and the LSC has worked closely with suppliers to ensure that the procedures are as effective as possible. In 200405 89 per cent of applications from suppliers were dealt with by the LSC within one day and 97 per cent within two days. The merits test used by the LSC in determining applications is contained in the
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Funding Code approved by Parliament in 2000. Good quality law firms and advice agencies with a proven record of success are entitled to work to higher thresholds under devolved powers. The LSC is committed to ensuring the majority of suppliers obtain devolved powers status.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: For the 1975 referendum there were special arrangements to allow service personnel and their spouses to vote. This was irrespective of whether they were registered to vote under the Representation of the People Act or not. Service personnel and spouses were able to vote at a polling station or by post, and earlier than was the case for other electors.
Regarding the new Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission, under what law the Northern Ireland Court Service identified, in a news release dated 14 June, the community background of the Commission's members as eight Protestants, five Catholics and one neither; who are the individuals; and whether a person who is born in Northern Ireland can be perceived as belonging to neither of the two dominant communities unless he or she belongs to a minority community. [HL550]
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: There are 13 members of the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission. The members of the commission were invited to indicate their community background. The Court Service press release dated 14 June 2005 was based on the information provided by the members of the commission.
Whether they are responding to the request by Lord Laird on 24 May (Official Report, col. 410) for an official investigation of loans made by the Bank of Scotland, whether in Belfast or elsewhere. [HL241]
The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Rooker): The Government have not initiated an investigation of loans made by the Bank of Scotland. The direction of operations and investigations when criminal activity is suspected is a matter for the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
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|DCAL||Arts Council of NI||£90,000||Annual support for organisation's programmecontribution to salaries and artistic costs (year-round)|
|Arts Council of NI (National Lottery Fund)||£25,000||Audience Developmentthe Oscailt Project to encourage people with disabilities to participate fully in festival events|
Arts Council funding supports the activities of Féile an Phobail throughout the year: it is not possible to detail the exact sum provided for the August Féile (also known as the West Belfast Festival).
|DCAL||||£5,515||Better Twelfth InitiativeBelfast County Grand Lodge schools art competition|
|||£22,650||Better Twelfth Initiative|
|Ulster-Scots Agency||£250||Killegar Ulster-Scots Groupperformance of concertina band at Kest and Rossnowlagh|
|£242||Drum Accordion BandUlster-Scots element of annual event 15 July 2005|
|£5,000||Portadown Cultural SocietyUlster-Scots element of festival 4 to 9 July and 12 July 2005|
|DCAL||Arts Council of NI||£85,000||Annual support for organisation's programmecontribution to salaries and artistic costs (year-round)|
|Arts Council of NI (National Lottery Fund)||£23,304||Audience developmentthe Oscailt Project to encourage people with disabilities to participate fully in festival events|
|NI Events Company||£20,000||Capped shortfall funding provided by DCAL (year-round)|
|Arts and Business||£5,000||New Partners award to match business sponsorship of £15,000|
|Foras na Gaeilge||£3,000||Sponsorship of August Féile|
|DSD||Belfast Regeneration Office||£102,720||Capped shortfall funding (year-round)|
|DETI||NI Tourist Board||£15,000||Event Marketing Support Schemeto support international marketing|
Much of the funding provided was to assist with the year-round programme and running costs of Féile an Phobail: it is not possible to provide a figure for the August Féile (also known as the West Belfast Festival) in isolation.
As Foras na Gaeilge is funded 25 per cent by DCAL and 75 per cent by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in the Republic of Ireland, only 25 per cent of its £12,000 grant has been recorded in the table above.
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