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Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure: Linguistic Diversity Branch

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I very much regret the delay in replying. The information on costing promised is below. Cost of Expert Advice Provided to Linguistic Diversity Branch, DCAL Language Planning £3,471.54.

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Advice on European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages £7,783.35. Proof-reading and editing of documents translated into Irish £6,583.91. Ulster-Scots Research £16,693.75 Irish Language Research £10,000.00.

Special European Union Programmes Body

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 3 June (WA 139) concerning set-up costs for the Special European Union Programme Body, what are the details of set-up costs incurred during 2001 and 2002.[HL3235]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The set-up costs for the Special EU Programmes Body during the years 2001 and 2002 were as follows:

YearPremises Set Up*IT EquipmentProfessional (Recruitment) fees
2001£442,656£143,757£168,627
2002£242,441£72,061£36,688

*Breakdown of Premises Set Up by Office


2001Fixtures and Fittings Construction Fit-outElectrical WorkProfessional FeesTotal
Belfast£3,575£11,562£15,137
Omagh£25,303£155,149£195,516£51,551£427,519
Monaghan
Total£28,878£155,149£195,516£63,113£442,656

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2002Fixtures and FittingsConstruction Fit-outElectrical WorkProfessional FeesTotal
Belfast£23,771£120,218£68,718£26,724239,431
Omagh£204£2,500£2,704
Monaghan£306£306
Total£24,281£120,218£71,218£26,724£242,441

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Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 3 June (WA 139) concerning set-up costs for the Special European Union Programme Body during 2000, what are the details of the office costs and the £1,413.97 spent on artwork.[HL3236]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The original figure of £1,413.97 for artwork listed in my Answer to the noble Lord on 3 June (WA 139) should have read £3,006 as some costs were incorrectly categorised as furnishings. The artwork is comprised of eight drawings, two paintings, four glass pieces and a wooden/copper sculpture. Only the latter item of artwork, costing

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£864, was actually paid for by the SEUPB. The other items predated the SEUPB and were transferred at no cost from DOF to the SEUPB upon occupation of the Monaghan premises. This one item was ordered by DOF in 1999, but only arrived in 2000 and it is this item which the SEUPB actually paid for. Similarly the bulk of the Monaghan office furniture pre-existed the SEUPB and became its assets, but without cost to the body. The corrected table is as follows:

Furnishings(1)Amount (£ Sterling)(2)
Belfast Office11,200.27
Omagh Office4,096.69
Monaghan Office12,920.89(3)
Sub Total28,217.85
Fittings
Safe1,770.47
Air Conditioning276.23
Artwork3,006.00(4)
Total33,270.55
Office Furnishings of £28,217.85 are detailed below.

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ChairsWorkstations/Tables/Drawer UnitsCabinetsBookcases/ShelvesCoffee Tables
Belfast151783
Monaghan2911832
Omagh10111

(1) Furnishings comprise desks, chairs, tables and other office furniture.

(2) Figures relate to expenditure during the first year of operation (2000).

(3) Includes notional cost of existing furniture prior to SEUPB occupying the office.

(4) Includes notional costs of existing artwork prior to SEUPB occupying the office.


Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the role of the Special European Union Programmes Body includes the relocation of people living in Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland even if those people are wanted by the Northern Ireland security forces.[HL3255]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: No. The Special European Union Programmes Body is the managing authority for the PEACE II programme and the Northern Ireland/Ireland INTERREG IIIA programme. There are no measures or activities defined in the programme complements of the PEACE II or INTERREG IIIA programmes which fund the relocation of people living in Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland.

North/South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the allocated budget for the North/South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat for 2003, broken down into detailed headings; who approved the budget; under what procedure; and on what date.[HL3251]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The 2003–04 budget allocation for the North/South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat (North) is £672,000. The budget allocation is not approved at a detailed level but as a total figure.

The budget is approved annually by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in accordance with the department's budget management arrangements, operating within the procedures for the management of public expenditure in Northern Ireland.

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Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the North/South Ministerial Council Secretariat's policy towards inquiries from the public about its activities in terms of telephone calls, e-mails, letters, individual visits and deputations.[HL3277]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The North/South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat (North) is committed to dealing with telephone calls, e-mails, letters, individual visits and deputations in line with the six service standards for central government. These standards are set out below: The Six Service Standards for Central Government In serving the public, every central government department and agency will aim to do the following: Standard 1 Answer letters quickly and clearly. Each department and agency will set a target for answering letters and will publish its performance against these targets. In OFMDFM this target is 15 working days. Standard 2 See members of the public within 10 minutes of any appointment they have made. Standard 3 Provide clear and straightforward information about services and at least one number for telephone inquiries to help members of the public or to put them in touch with someone who can. If a member of the public contacts the department using any of the telephone numbers that will be published in the charter, they can expect their call to be answered within 20 seconds. Standard 4 Consult its users regularly about the services it provides and report on the results. Standard 5 Have at least one complaints procedure for the services it provides and be able to provide information about a procedure if asked. Standard 6 Do everything that is reasonably possible to make its services available to everyone, including people with special needs.

Northern Ireland: Primary Schools

Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the average expenditure, for the most recent year, for each pupil in a primary school in Northern Ireland; and what is the comparable figure for England.[HL3291]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The table below sets out the information requested for the latest year for which data are available (2001–02). The figure for Northern Ireland is taken from outturn statements published by each of the education and library boards for controlled and maintained schools and the Department for

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Education in respect of grant-maintained integrated schools. The figure for England represents net current expenditure and is drawn from the DfES Section 52 outturn statements for 2001–02 as reported by local education authorities. Direct comparison of these per capita figures is not appropriate given the differences in the levels of delegated responsibility, the incidence of small schools and differing levels of social deprivation.

Year2001–02
Northern Ireland£2,402
England£2,700

Northern Ireland: Rural Public Transport

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to improve public transport in rural areas in Northern Ireland.[HL3610]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We are assisting Ulsterbus under the Northern Ireland rural transport fund to introduce and operate new bus services in rural areas, which are economically unviable. The fund currently supports 53 Ulsterbus routes, which provide 1,158 additional services each week to people in rural areas. Of these routes 21 have been introduced since April 2002. The fund also supports the operations of 16 rural community transport partnerships, which provides door-to-door and group hire services using accessible mini-buses. Most of rural Northern Ireland is now covered by partnerships and we are working to extend coverage to those areas currently without such services. The resources available to the fund are due to increase to £4.1 million in 2005–06 from the current level of £1.8 million.

Public transport in rural areas will also benefit from measures being taken to improve services in Northern Ireland generally. Grant aid of £46 million over the next three years to assist Translink to purchase new buses will enable the company to introduce more new low-floor buses on rural routes. We have also initiated a pilot scheme to tender for the supply of new bus services outside the Belfast area to be supported by bus route subsidies.

The regional transportation strategy (RTS) 2002–12 identifies a range of possible measures to improve public transport in rural areas, including new flexible demand-responsive services. The RTS is being implemented throught three transport plans. The sub-regional transport plan will consider the appropriate mix of different types of public transport services needed in different locations. We are committed to the development of an accessible transport strategy by December 2004. That strategy will help inform the emerging transport plans and assist targeting of resources to promote social inclusion and target social need in rural areas.

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