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Internet and Telephone Access

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Andrews: The Government are committed to ensuring that the benefits of information communication technologies (ICTs), such as the Internet and telephone, reach every citizen. Recent government reports outline the Government's strategy to improve access and use of ICTs: the Digital Strategy and Transformational Government. The Social Exclusion Unit's Inclusion Through Innovation report further champions the benefits and role of ICT in tackling social exclusion.

The Government have already taken steps to put in place an extensive network of public Internet access points. There are now over 6,000 online centres throughout the UK, 2,000 of which are located within the most deprived wards.

Ensuring that basic telecommunications services remain within everyone's reach, regardless of circumstance, is a key priority and is implemented by Ofcom through universal service obligations (USOs). USOs make sure that basic fixed telephone line services are available at an affordable price to all citizens in the UK—including special tariff schemes for low-income customers, reasonable geographic access to public call boxes and services for customers with disabilities.
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Israel: Settlement Building

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: We are greatly concerned by Israeli settlement building, particularly around east Jerusalem. We continue to raise the issue of settlement activity with the Israeli Government. Phase one of the quartet road map calls on Israel to freeze all settlement expansion, including "natural growth", and to dismantle settlement outposts erected since March 2001. We continue to urge Israel to meet its road map commitments. We have stressed repeatedly that the building of settlements on occupied land is contrary to international law. My right honourable friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of State (Dr Kim Howells) raised with Israeli Housing Minister Herzog our concerns about reports of Israeli intentions to construct additional dwellings in Ma'ale Adumim, during his recent visit to Israel and Palestine.

Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002: Section 4

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Notice of a decision to make a deprivation order has been given in one case.

Northern Ireland Civil Service

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The net staff in post for the Northern Ireland Civil Service have increased by 11.7 per cent between 1 April 2001 and 1 September 2005 rather than the percentage stated in the Question.

This figure relates to staff in post, calculated on a headcount basis, in the 11 ministerial departments and NIO (including their agencies). The NIO figure excludes those in the PSNI, uniformed prison service staff and the non-administrative staff employed in the Youth Justice Agency. Staff on career break have also been excluded.
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The level of growth varies from department to department but the main reasons for the overall growth are:

Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: There is no threshold.

Northern Ireland: Boarding Schools

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The requested information is as follows.
Grant-aided Schools

Preparatory DepartmentSecondary Department
Grammar Schools
Campbell College160
Methodist College8135
Royal School, Armagh196
Royal School, DungannonNot applicable44
St Colman's CollegeNot applicable44
Victoria College242

Special Schools
Fleming Fulton4

Independent Schools
Glencraig Curative School24

Northern Ireland: Cross-border Bodies

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Rooker: The North/South implementation bodies operate under the North/South Co-operation (Implementation Bodies)(NI) Order 1999, and their business plans and budgets are set in that overall context.

Northern Ireland: Funding for Nationalist and Unionist Festivals

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure met the two applications for funding for 12 July from its cultural policy allocation.

Northern Ireland: Proposed Education Authority

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The governance arrangements have not yet been finalised. It is envisaged that membership will comprise those with expertise and experience across a wide range of areas relevant to the planning and delivery of educational services. Members will be appointed in accordance with the principles of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Northern Ireland: Railways

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Although there are no direct daily routes between Londonderry and Dublin, seven of the nine services between Londonderry and Belfast connect with the Enterprise service to Dublin. On the return journey seven of the eight Enterprise services connect with the Belfast to Londonderry service. These arrangements apply from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, there are two connecting services from Londonderry to Dublin and three between Dublin and Londonderry.

The outcome of the consultation on the Railways Review Group report in 2004 allocated funding of £17.2 million over a five-year period for the lesser used parts of the NIR network, which include the line north
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of Ballymena to Londonderry. As connecting services already exist between Dublin and Londonderry, and as funding for the lesser used lines is limited, there are no plans to run direct routes between Dublin and Londonderry and there are no plans at this stage to commission a feasibility study or consultation exercise on the issue.

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