|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
3 Apr 2003 : Column 844Wcontinued
(3) if he will review the costs and benefits of smoking restrictions in the work place. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Government are currently looking at possible options to reduce the exposure of people to tobacco smoke. We will announce our conclusions in due course about how best we will achieve further progress in this area.
Mr. David Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the administrative costs of the Social Fund were in each of the last five financial years; and if he will make a statement. 
3 Apr 2003 : Column 845W
The information is not available in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The Department now accounts for its administration and benefit expenditure by Strategic Objective, as set out in its Public Service Agreements (PSA), and by individual Requests for Resources (RfRs) as set out in the Departmental Estimates and Accounts.
|Financial year||Estimated Social Fund expenditure(30)|
Costs are rounded to the nearest £million
Social Security Departmental Reports 19992000 (Figure 50) and 200001 to 200102 (Figure 42).
3 Apr 2003 : Column 846W
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many hits the Targeting Fraud website has received, broken down by month; how many cases of suspected fraud have been reported to the website; how many of these suspected cases have been investigated; how many (a) cases of fraud have been established, (b) changes to benefits have been made and (c) successful prosecutions there have been, as a result; and what sentences have been imposed by the courts where prosecutions have been successful; 
Malcolm Wicks: Information is not collated centrally on sentences imposed by the courts where successful prosecutions have resulted from the Targeting Fraud Website. The available information is in the table.
|Month||Number of hits(30)||Number of cases of suspected fraud reported||Number of cases accepted for action by investigation staff||Number of investigations completed||Number of resulting benefit rate changes(31)||Number of successful prosecutions|
(30) Information provided by the National Benefit Fraud Hotline.
(31) The number of benefit rate changes includes both increases and decreases both due to client error and to official error. This is not the number of frauds proven, for which data is not available.
(32) For the month of December 2000 the total figure includes the number of hits from May 2000 until December 2000 and these cannot be broken down by month. Figures were not accessible, at that time, without incurring disproportionate costs.
(33) The fraud database shows completed cases commenced in the relevant period. Due to the elapsed time between commencement of an investigation and completion of a prosecution there are cases which are inserted into previously completed data for earlier periods. All totals are therefore correct at the time when quoted but subject to adjustment at a later date.
Fraud Information By Sector system
3 Apr 2003 : Column 847W
Mr. Dhanda: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what discussions he has had with the Seroxat Users Group regarding the Committee on Safety of Medicines review of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class anti-depressants; 
(2) what action he is taking to ensure that the research conducted by members of the Committee on Safety of Medicines who hold shares in manufacturers of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class anti-depressants is fully independent; 
(3) what action he is taking to ensure that the review of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class anti-depressants being conducted by the Committee of Safety of Medicines is fully independent. 
Ms Blears [holding answers 28 March 2003]: The Medicines Control Agency (MCA) and the independent scientific advisory group the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) have kept the safety of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants under close review since authorisation, it is normal practice for the CSM to convene an expert group to consider particular issues. The meeting of the ad hoc expert working group of 21 November 2002 was primarily convened to hear a presentation of the research of Dr. David Healy. Members of the Medicines Act advisory committees, such as the CSM, are required to follow a code of practice relating to declarations of interests in the pharmaceutical industry. The code is applied where members attend meetings of expert working groups and this was the case on 21 November 2002.
A new CSM expert group is being appointed to conduct further review of SSRIs and appropriate membership is being considered in light of issues raised at the meeting and the further work these will require, as well as further legal advice on interests in the particular circumstances of this class review.
Ms Blears: National health service trusts, and all other units providing in vitro fertilisation, must be licensed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and take account of the provisions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 as well as the HFEA's code of practice and other guidance issued by the HFEA. The HFEA inspects all clinics regularly to make sure the requirements are being met.
3 Apr 2003 : Column 848W
been attributed to carbon monoxide in the (i) UK and (ii) south-west region in each of the past 10 years; and what action the Government has taken, or plans, to reduce the number of people harmed by carbon monoxide. 
Ms Blears: The total number of deaths per year, due to carbon monoxide poisoning of any cause (including suicide) in England has declined from 1,419 in 1992 to 441 in 2001 and in the south-west region has declined from 181 in 1992 to 62 in 2001. A breakdown of the figures for each of the last 10 years has been placed in the Library.
Figures relating to Scotland and Wales are a matter for the devolved administrations. Whilst the institutions in Northern Ireland are suspended, responsibility lies with the Minister for the Northern Ireland office.
Unpublished research commissioned by the Department for Trade and Industry has suggested that between 42 and 57 deaths a year in the United Kingdom are the result of carbon monoxide poisoning from domestic appliances. A breakdown for each of the last ten years is shown in the table. This information is not available for the south-west region.
|Number of deaths|
In 2002, the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Nursing Officer at the Department of Health issued a letter to community nurses, midwives, health visitors and general practitioners to encourage recognition of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. The Department of Health has also commissioned research on the health effects of carbon monoxide.
Following a fundamental review of gas safety by the Health and Safety Commission completed in 2000, HSC has set a target of a minimum 20 per cent. reduction in gas-related fatalities over a 10-year average; this includes those caused by CO poisoning (75 per cent. of all gas fatalities).
Measures being taken forward include: improving the public's safety awareness through advice and publicity; driving up gas installers' standards of work by introducing completion certificates to be given to consumers; changes to gas safety enforcement responsibilities and changes to the duties of gas emergency service providers.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|