Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: During 2001, the SEUPB budget was increased to cover additional funds that could not have been anticipated at the time of the setting of the original budget. The additional costs included accommodation requirements for the three SEUPB offices, provision of secretariat to the newly established Regional Partnership Board and staff recruitment.

NSMC, meeting in special EU sector format, approved the budget increase on the basis of the needs identified and proposals made to it when it met on 30 October 2001.

Belfast Education and Library Board

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: This is a matter for the Belfast Education and Library Board. However, I understand from the chief executive that the board is keen to deepen the links with education providers in other jurisdictions and, while currently there are no specific plans to form connections with Scotland, the board's current business plan includes a target to develop East/West links with the mainland, including Scotland.

9 Sept 2003 : Column WA110

Ulster Scots Language and Culture: Support

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 8 July (WA 25) concerning the Northern Ireland Department of Education, what steps they have taken to encourage schools to introduce aspects of the Ulster Scots language, literature and culture as part of the cultural heritage and education for mutual understanding.[HL3956]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Provided the requirements of the statutory Northern Ireland curriculum are met, it is a matter for each individual school to decide which additional subjects should be made available for pupils. The statutory curriculum is designed to take up less than 100 per cent of a school's timetable, allowing schools a degree of flexibility to offer other subjects or to concentrate on particular areas, which they have identified as being important to them or for which there is demand.

Northern Ireland: Unemployment Data

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 12 June (WA 53), concerning unemployment in Northern Ireland, why there are no research findings available to explain the differences observed in unemployment rates between denominations within the Protestant community; and what steps they have taken to identify the factors responsible for such differences.[HL4022]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Official government statistics show observed differences in unemployment rates between denominations within the Protestant community. Research in this area is affected by both measurement difficulties and the complexity of labour market dynamics. Measurement instruments such as sample surveys disaggregated by Protestant denonimation usually cannot be sufficiently precise to separately identify real differences and differences due to sampling or other survey features. This is particularly so when we are seeking to comment on marginal changes in unemployment based on Labour Force Survey data.

Therefore under these circumstances any speculation regarding the factors responsible and their relative impact will remain inconclusive. The results from the 2001 Census will enable a comparison of the unemployment rates between the Protestant denominations; however this will require the sample of anonymised records, due to be released later in 2003. Further, while such an analysis will enable comparisons of observed unemployment rates, it may not explain any such differences.

9 Sept 2003 : Column WA111

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Across the four largest Christian denominations in Northern Ireland, in how many (a) parliamentary constituencies and (b) local government district areas was the highest male unemployment rate found among those giving their religion in the 2001 Census as (i) Catholic/Roman Catholic (ii) Presbyterian, (iii) Church of Ireland and (iv) Methodist.[HL4023]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: (a) Among males aged 16 to 74 within the four largest Christian denominations in Northern Ireland, those who gave their religion in the 2001 Census as Catholic 1 had the highest unemployment rate in 10 out of the 18 parliamentary constituencies in Northern Ireland. Those who gave their religion as Church of Ireland had the highest unemployment rate in the remaining 8 parliamentary constituencies. In none of the parliamentary constituencies was the unemployment rate found to be highest among those who gave their religion as Presbyterian Church in Ireland or Methodist Church in Ireland.

(b) Among males aged 16 to 74 within the four largest Christian denominations in Northern Ireland, those who gave their religion in the 2001 Census as Catholic 1 had the highest unemployment rate in 17 out of the 26 local government districts in Northern Ireland. Those who gave their religion as Church of Ireland had the highest unemployment rate in the remaining 9 local government districts. In none of the local government districts was the unemployment rate found to be highest among those who gave their religion as Presbyterian Church in Ireland or Methodist Church in Ireland.


    1 The term Catholic includes those respondents who gave their religion as Catholic or Roman Catholic.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Across the three largest Protestant denominations in Northern Ireland, in how many (a) parliamentary constituencies and (b) local government district areas was the highest male unemployment rate found among those giving their religion in the 2001 Census as (i) Presbyterian, (ii) Church of Ireland and (iii) Methodist.[HL4024]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: (a) Among males aged 16 to 74 within the three largest Protestant denominations in Northern Ireland, those who gave their religion in the 2001 Census as Church of Ireland had the highest unemployment rate in 16 out of the 18 parliamentary constituencies in Northern Ireland. Those who gave their religion as Methodist Church in Ireland had the highest unemployment rate in the remaining 2 parliamentary constituencies. In none of the parliamentary constituencies was the unemployment rate found to be highest among those who gave their religion as Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

9 Sept 2003 : Column WA112

(b) Among males aged 16 to 74 within the three largest Protestant denominations in Northern Ireland, those who gave their religion in the 2001 Census as Church of Ireland had the highest unemployment rate in 22 out of the 26 local government districts in Northern Ireland. Those who gave their religion as Methodist Church in Ireland had the highest unemployment rate in the remaining 4 local government districts. In none of the local government districts was the unemployment rate found to be highest among those who gave their religion as Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are committed to progressively eliminating the differentials in unemployment rates between different denominations within the Protestant community in Northern Ireland; and what measurement techniques they intend to use to assess progress in this.[HL4025]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Socio-economic differences exist across a range of social categories and groups. The new TSN policy aims to address inequalities wherever they exist. The recently completed interim evaluation of new TSN contains recommendations for the monitoring of disadvantage including unemployment rates. Subject to public consultation on the future of the policy, these recommendations will be considered in due course.

Northern Ireland: Amnesties

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have met the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission to discuss amnesties for those who have escaped custody; if so, what advice did the Government offer; and whether their advice was accepted.[HL4064]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Des Browne MP, met the commission on 13 November 2002. Among the issues which the commission raised with the Minister was the subject of terrorists on the run. The Government did not offer the commission advice on this subject.

Northern Ireland: Housing Stock

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to improve the housing stock in Donemana, County Tyrone.[HL4123]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Housing Executive currently has 140 dwellings in 12 locations in Donemana. All stock built prior to 1970 has already been modernised. Stock built after 1970 is kept up to current standards through planned maintenance schemes. The entire stock has either had an external cyclic maintenance contract completed or is included in a scheme planned up to and including 2006–07.

9 Sept 2003 : Column WA113

External cyclic maintenance involves carrying out work to the external fabric of the dwelling and its immediate surroundings on a five-year cycle.

In addition, the Housing Executive is also making significant progress with its rural cottage replacement initiative. This work is being carried out by the housing association sector. Work is scheduled to start within the next two months on the replacement of three cottages at 146 and 148 Lisnarragh Road and 14 Cavancreagh Road. Replacement of a further four cottages in the Donemana area is included in the housing association schedule of work for 2005–06.

The Housing Executive's home improvement grants scheme is one of the main tools for tackling unfit housing, with a variety of grants available for the improvement and repair of homes within the private sector. However, information regarding these grants is only available by district council area and cannot therefore be provided specifically for the Donemana area.

Private sector housing development has not been a major feature of the housing market in the area over the past few years and has been mainly confined to individual dwellings. However, in the past year, three small schemes, with a total of 20 dwellings, have been built within the village of Donemana itself.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page