Shailesh Vara: As the Secretary of State confirmed this morning, it has been agreed that the next meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference will take place in Dublin on Friday 2nd November. This will be chaired by my RHF the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, with the Secretary of State and Irish Justice Minister, Charles Flanagan, also in attendance.
Shailesh Vara: My Department has regular discussions with the Department for Exiting the European Union, at ministerial and official level, about a range of issues relating to the UK’s exit from the EU. This includes making sure that, as we leave the EU, we do so in a way that takes account of the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland.
Shailesh Vara: Health is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland. The honourable Member may find it useful to refer to the answer I gave on 29 October which confirms that preparatory work is underway within the Department of Health in Northern Ireland to allow for the introduction of HPV to boys in Northern Ireland, if and when such a decision is taken by a Health Minister in Northern Ireland. This approach...
Shailesh Vara: I understand the PSNI has submitted its case for additional resources and that bid is currently being considered. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is in regular contact with both the Chancellor and the Chief Constable about the specific and unique concerns in Northern Ireland and is focussed on protecting the best interests of Northern Ireland in Brexit negotiations.
Shailesh Vara: I can confirm that no members of staff in the Northern Ireland Office are paid less than £8.75 per hour.
Shailesh Vara: I can confirm that in London no members of Northern Ireland Office staff are paid less than the London Living Wage of £10.20 per hour. Staff members of the department working outside London are not paid less than the UK Living Wage.
Shailesh Vara: I can confirm there are currently two apprentices employed in the Northern Ireland Office.
Shailesh Vara: The PSNI has submitted a case for additional resources to HM Treasury. That bid is currently under consideration.
Shailesh Vara: City Deals are long-term financial commitments to a programme of capital investment that will drive economic growth and productivity in line with the key priorities of City Regions. The Chancellor has announced that the Belfast City Region will receive £350m of UK funding to support the development of the digital and innovation sector. The next steps for Belfast City Region, the UK...
Shailesh Vara: The Hart report was commissioned by the NI Executive, and the method of response to the recommendations should be for a restored devolved Government to decide. The Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service has made a commitment to have legislation to implement the recommendations of the Hart report ready to publish soon. I am assured that he will take what action he feels appropriate at this...
Shailesh Vara: The Arc21 Residual Waste Infrastructure project, including issues relating to procurement and financing, is a matter for the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure.
Shailesh Vara: The Government’s consultation ‘Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Past’ has received over 17,000 responses. I am encouraged to see so much interest in the consultation and it is right that we now take the time to consider responses fully. The Northern Ireland Office is carefully considering all the views received and will set out in due course how we intend to move forward....
Shailesh Vara: The budget for the payment of salaries to MLAs is held by the Assembly Commission which is the corporate body of the NI Assembly. I would advise the honourable Lady write to the Assembly Commission to inquire on the figure for MLA salaries paid.
Shailesh Vara: The Department has spent £16,902 on consultancy fees since July 2016 for work related to the UK leaving the EU. This work covered research into many aspects of the economy in Northern Ireland, and only a portion of this work related directly to the impact of EU Exit.
Shailesh Vara: The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has provided guidance to the Northern Ireland Departments on decision making in the absence of the Executive. There are no plans to issue the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure with specific guidance on the use of private finance for the funding of infrastructure.
Shailesh Vara: This is a devolved issue. Northern Ireland Office officials have been liaising with the Northern Ireland Department of Health on this important issue and I am pleased to hear that work is ongoing to ensure an appropriate process is in place which will provide clinical consultants, and hence patients, access as soon as possible.
Shailesh Vara: I can confirm that Northern Ireland Office officials have been in contact with their counterparts in the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) regarding this issue.
Shailesh Vara: The Northern Ireland Office has been charged the following for (a) electricity and (b) natural gas in each of the last three years: (a) electricity 2017/18 - £ 88,642 2016/17 - £ 51,133 2015/16 - £ 69,032 (b) natural gas 2017/18 - £ 9,029 2016/17 - £ 6,265 2015/16 - £ 11,178
Shailesh Vara: The Northern Ireland Office includes, as standard, a payment clause in all contracts involving subcontractors, requiring payment to be made to contractors within 30 days and that these terms apply to any subcontractors they may have.
Shailesh Vara: May I first pay tribute to my two local newspapers, the Hunts Post, whose editor is Daniel Mansfield, and the Peterborough Telegraph, which is now owned by JPI Media, and in particular the editor, Mark Edwards, and his staff, who do a fantastic job serving the local community? My right hon. and learned Friend spoke of the need to reduce debts by £85 million and the possibility of job losses....