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Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Royal Hospitals Trust is funding the smoking rooms using capital resources allocated by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to health and social services trusts for use in accordance with local priorities.

Since 1994 health and social services bodies have been required to operate no-smoking policies. This recognises however that, where necessary, smoking rooms should be set aside for patients and staff who cannot stop smoking.

Lisburn and Antrim Railway Line

The Earl of Mar and Kellie asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: When regular passenger services are withdrawn from the railway line between Lisburn and Antrim at the end of June 2003, the line will be maintained to a standard that will enable trains to use it as a diversionary route in emergency circumstances, albeit under strict safety rules and speed restrictions. This arrangement will be reviewed one year on from the cessation of scheduled passenger services to ascertain actual usage of the line for diversionary purposes. The review will consider the full range of options for the future usage of the line at this stage.

Further to my answer of 25 February 2003 (Official Report, col. WA 24) I can confirm that the Belfast Circle Line remains a longer-term possibility.

Cross-Border Implementation Bodies

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 30 April (WA 101) concerning Cross-Border Implementation Bodies, who approved the remuneration package of the Chief Executive of the Special European Union Programmes body and when; on what basis it was calculated; and how it relates to the remuneration package of the Chief Executives of other Cross Border Bodies.[HL2714]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The salary ranges for the chief executives of North/South Implementation Bodies and other conditions of service were formally approved by the North/South Ministerial Council at a plenary meeting on 26 September 2000.

The chief executive post for the SEUPB was assessed as being at the Senior Civil Service level. Following a recruitment exercise, the starting salary and remuneration package of the successful candidate was negotiated by the two finance departments, which resulted in a recommendation that the candidate be offered the highest salary point on the scale. This was approved by the Finance Ministers (North and South) following which the appointment was confirmed by the North/South Ministerial Council on 19 December 2000.

Salary ranges for all the chief executives were based on detailed job descriptions for each post and an assessment of grading and salary levels made against the job evaluation system used within the Northern Ireland Civil Service. All the chief executive posts were assessed as falling within either the Northern Ireland Senior Civil Service level or the NICS Principal (Grade 7) level. The starting salaries were negotiated with each of the successful candidates and were agreed between the Department of Finance and Personnel and the Department of Finance. The table at Annex 1 shows the comparison between the SEUPB and the other CEOs' remuneration packages.

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ANNEX 1 Comparison of North/South Implementation Bodies CEO Salaries

Chief Executive Senior Civil Service (Note 1)/NICS Grade 7 Current Salary Range Current Salary
SEUPB (Note 2)Senior Civil Service£51,250–£66,953£66,953
Waterways IrelandSenior Civil Service£70,725–£83,025£70,725
Food Safety Promotion Board (Note 3)Senior Civil ServiceE81,981–E102,478 (£50,828–£63,536)E87,165 (£54,042)
Trade and Business Development BodySenior Civil Service£51,500–£72,100£57,822
N/S Language Body Foras Na Gaeilge (Note 3) The Boord o Ulster-Scotch Senior Civil Service NICS Grade 7 E87,319–E100,200 (£54,138–£62,124) £29,744–£54,700 (effective 1/04/02) E87,319 (£54,138) Not in post
FCILC Loughs Agency (Note 2)Senior Civil Service£53,511–£63,946£53,511


1. The posts assessed at Senior Civil Service were aligned to the relevant pay bands and then adjusted to take account of the fact that the scales in the south had a significantly lower maximum.

2. Two of the North/South Implementation Bodies' chief executives have been provided with cars.

The chief executive of the Special EU Programmes Body is provided with a Mercedes Benz, which does not have a capital value in accounting terms to the organisation as it is leased. The current taxable benefit of the car is £11,203 or 14 per cent of his remuneration package.

The chief executive of the Loughs Agency has use of a Landrover Freelander which has a current capital value of £8,703. The current taxable benefit of the car is £2,402. This vehicle is not part of the remuneration package.

3. These CEOs are paid in euros—figures have been converted to sterling (£1 = E1.6129) for ease of comparison.

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Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made in the provision of pensions for staff of the Cross-Border Implementation Bodies.[HL2770]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The North/South Ministerial Council (NSMC) at the September 2002 Plenary approved the outline of the proposed benefit structure for a common pension scheme (modelled on the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (NI)) for the North/South Implementation Bodies.

Officials from both the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP), in Northern Ireland, and the Department of Finance (DoF), in the Republic of Ireland, together with the Government Actuary's Department (GAD), in Great Britain, drew up a set of draft scheme rules on behalf of the bodies. This required considering a number of complex legal and other issues surrounding the unique status of a pension scheme for all North/South bodies (including Tourism Ireland Ltd.). They also secured preliminary statutory or other approvals from a wide range of stakeholders in both the UK and Republic of Ireland, including the bodies, Revenue organisations and public sector pensions departments.

The bodies and sponsoring departments are currently considering a revised draft set of rules. Following agreement by these organisations, the final clearance from the other stakeholders will be sought prior to final approval.

In the meantime, the bodies are consulting with the trade unions on the introduction of the scheme, and are making the other practical arrangements necessary to administer the scheme, when approved.

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North/South Ministerial Council

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who are the political advisers to the North/South Ministerial Council.[HL2771]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The North/South Ministerial Council comprises Ministers from both jurisdictions who may have political advisers. There are however no political advisers to the North/South Ministerial Council as an entity.

Peace II Funding

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why Peace II grant money has not been made available to organisations which are Ulster Scots; whether such money can now be made available; if so, through what mechanism; and what encouragement can be given to Ulster Scots groups.[HL2775]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Peace II money has been made available to several Ulster Scots organisations and others are under consideration. Peace II funding is accessed by applying to one of the programme's measures. Applications are assessed against the relevant criteria by selection panels and successful projects offered assistance. The Peace Programme is governed by principles and actions which promote equality of opportunity, including access across all sectors of the community, as defined by Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. It is also targeted at those areas, sectors, communities and or groups adversely affected by the conflict. Advice and encouragement on how to apply can be obtained from

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the SEUPB. All organisations, including Ulster Scots organisations, across Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland can apply for funding.

Northern Ireland Health Service: Hospital Beds

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the number of beds available in the Health Service in Northern Ireland in all the medical specialities; and how that compares per head of the population with the rest of the United Kingdom.[HL2777]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: During 2001–02 on average there were 2,335.5 available hospital beds in the medical specialities within the Health Service in Northern Ireland.

In the same period there were on average 8,419.1 available hospital beds across all specialities available within the Health Service in Northern Ireland.

The medical specialities are defined within the Health Service in Northern Ireland as general medicine, gastroenterology, endocrinology, haematology (clinical), rehabilitation, palliative medicine, cardiology, dermatology, thoracic medicine, infectious diseases, genito-urinary medicine, nephrology, medical oncology, neurology, rheumatology, paediatrics, paediatric neurology and dental medicine.

Comparable figures for the number of beds in the medical specialities across the United Kingdom are not available.

The most recent figures available across the United Kingdom for all specialities show there were 5.1 available hospital beds per 1,000 population in Northern Ireland compared with 3.7, 5.0 and 6.8 in England, Wales and Scotland respectively.

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