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Postnatal Depression

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all antenatal clinics have in place a procedure for identifying mothers at risk of postnatal depression. [100098]

Yvette Cooper: "The Report on Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths in the United Kingdom 1994-1996" recommended that the early identification of women at risk of postnatal mental illness or self harm should become part of routine practice. At the maternity booking stage, brief details should be taken about the presence or history of maternal psychiatric disorder, alcohol or substance abuse, severe social problems and previous self harm. Mechanisms should be in place to ensure effective psychiatric liaison as well as to provide appropriate support. The report's recommendations were widely circulated to health professionals in the National Health Service in November 1998.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will list, by region, the number of psychiatric beds available in mother and baby units for the treatment of women suffering from postnatal depression; [100099]

Yvette Cooper: The information is not collected centrally in the form requested. However, there were an estimated 613 finished consultant episodes recorded with a primary diagnoses of puerperium (post natal depression occurring within six weeks of delivery) during 1996-97, the latest year for which information is available. A patient may, of course, have more than one episode of treatment during a year.

Children in Care

Mr. Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he intends to take to improve the well-being of children in care. [99064]

Mr. Hutton: A major programme of action to improve services for children in the public care has been set out in the Government's Response to the Children's Safeguards Review: the launch of the three-year "Quality Protects" programme; and in the White Paper "Modernising Social Services". The "Quality Protects" programme set new national objectives to transform the management and delivery of children's social services. A special grant of £375 million over three years has been made available to support the changes.

The Government also believe that many young people living in and leaving care have not been getting a fair deal. The Children (Leaving Care) Bill, introduced in the

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House of Lords on 18 November, will change the system to give these young people the support they need and deserve in preparing for and leaving care.


South Korea

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to prevent IMF support for South Korea being used to subsidise South Korean shipyards; and if he will make a statement. [99844]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer my predecessor as Economic Secretary gave him on 1 March 1999, Official Report, column 807W. There is no evidence that IMF support has been used to subsidise the South Korean shipbuilding industry, and this year South Korea has made net repayments to the IMF.

The UK Government strongly support Korea's IMF programme, the benefits of which are now being felt as that country recovers from financial crisis. However, the Government fully acknowledge the necessity to monitor that the terms and conditions of the programme continue to be fully respected. This point was underlined by the Industry Council on 9 November in the context of a discussion of the European Commission's first monitoring report on the situation in the world shipbuilding market.

National Minimum Wage

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect of the introduction of the national minimum wage on inflation. [99633]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Monetary Policy Committee is charged with setting interest rates to ensure the Government's inflation target of 2.5 per cent. is met, and hence the introduction of a National Minimum Wage is not expected to have any material effect on inflation.

Duty Free Sales

Mr. Cox: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of the abolition of duty free sales within the countries of the European Union on employment in the UK. [99607]

Mr. Timms: In introducing the legislative framework for the duty free successor regime, the Government promised a post-implementation review after six months. Early next year we will carry out a properly structured evaluation exercise to assess the impact on UK industry.

Income Drawdown and Annuities

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the Inland Revenue to conclude its examination of income drawdown and annuities. [100022]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Inland Revenue has been conducting a review of the operation of income drawdown in personal pension schemes and an announcement will be made in due course if it is decided that any changes are required.

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Incomes (North Staffordshire)

Mr. Stevenson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average gross weekly income was in (a) the North Staffordshire travel-to-work area and (b) Stoke-on-Trent for the last year for which data are available. [99878]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Director of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Tim Holt to Mr. George Stevenson, dated 29 November 1999:

    Estimates of average gross income data for North Staffordshire TTWA and for Stoke-on-Trent, as discrete areas, are not available. The lowest regional breakdown of household income data published by the ONS is for annual gross household income per head by county. The latest published figures are for 1995 and were published in Table 9 of the article Regional Accounts 1995: part 2 in Economic Trends no. 535, June 1998. This publication is available in the House of Commons Library. Sub-regional estimates of household income in the future will be based on different geographies, owing largely to the reorganisation of local government throughout Great Britain. The first estimates on this basis will be published in the first half of 2000, and will include data for more recent years.

    The county figures available relate to the income of the household sector, as defined for the purposes of national and regional accounts. In addition to private households, this includes charities, voluntary and other non-profit organisations, and quasi-corporations.

    The published figures are normally presented in terms of total annual household income per head of population. The 1995 average household income per head estimate for the county of Staffordshire, converted to a weekly average, was £186.

Student Grants

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on the payment of national insurance contributions within the student grant system. [100038]

Dawn Primarolo: There is no liability for National Insurance contributions in respect of student grants. I am not aware that any representations have been received on this issue.

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Transport (Revenue)

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the fuel duty increases in table B9 of the Pre-Budget report make provision for hypothecated revenue for transport. [100498]

Mr. Timms: No. I refer the hon. Member to paragraph B17 of the Pre-Budget Report which explains the assumptions behind table B9.

Air Passenger Duty

Mr. Alasdair Morgan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost to the Exchequer of exempting the Highlands and Islands of Scotland from air passenger duty. [100305]

Mr. Timms: Customs' preliminary estimate of the cost of an exemption for flights from airports in the Scottish Highlands and Islands is under 5 million, but the precise figure would depend on the exact scope of any exemption. Customs are consulting on this and a final decision will be announced in the Budget.

Mr. Alasdair Morgan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost to the Exchequer of exempting Inverness from air passenger duty. [100306]

Mr. Timms: It is not possible to break down a figure for Inverness with any assurance at this stage. Fuller data will be compiled as part of the consultation announced in the Pre-Budget Report.

Mr. Alasdair Morgan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what discussions he has had with the European Commission on exempting the Highlands and Islands of Scotland from air passenger duty; [100309]

Mr. Timms: The European Commission has been informed that the Government are consulting on introducing an exemption for flights from the Scottish Highlands and Islands, as part of a package of measures to amend air passenger duty announced in the Pre-Budget Report.