24. Mr. To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what further measures are proposed to increase employment and training opportunities in Northern Ireland over the next 12 months. 
§ Mr. Ancram
The Government continue to give a very high priority to those successful policies which have contributed to the development of the economy and provided increased employment opportunities. This is clearly evidenced by the high levels of employment being maintained, currently at 573,880 (March 1996). Our on-going commitment is further witnessed by the allocation in 1996–97 of some £455 million in support of a wide range of employment and training measures. Additionally, £7.3 million has recently been made available from the EU's special support programme for peace and reconciliation which will support a range of additional innovative programmes aimed at investment and employment development.