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7 Jan 2004 : Column 397W—continued


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out for each year of the programme the (a) total number of people who took part in smoking

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cessation programmes and (b) number of four week quitters; and what assessment he has made of the number and proportion of four week quitters who subsequently recommenced smoking. [145078]

Miss Melanie Johnson: We do not have the information in the form requested.

The table shows the number of people setting a quit date through the national health service stop smoking services, and the number of those who remain quit at four week follow up.

People setting a quit date and outcome at four weeks (based on self report) England 1999–2000 to Q1 2003–04

Number setting a quit dateNumber successful (self report)
Q1 2003–04 April-June64,69133,926


Department of Health Smoking Cessation Monitoring Returns

The monitoring of the NHS stop smoking services establishes success four weeks after the client's quit date. This method was chosen as a viable, practical way to ascertain initial success.

Smoking is an addictive behaviour and it is difficult for smokers to stop. From the evidence of clinical trials, we expect that around 65 per cent., of clients successful at four weeks will relapse to smoking. The Department of Health has commissioned a research project to investigate further the success of the NHS Stop Smoking Services in helping smokers to stop in the longer-term. This is due to report in the new year.

The huge health benefit from smokers stopping means that services, such as the NHS stop smoking services, are highly cost effective.

Strategic Health Authorities

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out for each Strategic Health Authority the (a) budget and (b) spending on (i) language support, (ii) interpreting services and (iii) ethnic monitoring in 2002–03. [145081]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested is not collected centrally.

The NHS Plan sets out a commitment to make available a national translation and interpreting service through NHS Direct. NHS Direct is currently involved in procuring a national interpreting and translation service by March 2004. This will provide access for all national health service organisations to a telephone-based interpretation and translation service. Information on the costs of local arrangements for language support and interpreting services cannot be disaggregated in the financial returns.

The Department has made a commitment to the collection of ethnic origin information using the 2001 Census categories for all statistical data sets collected from the national health service for England.

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While the Department has promoted ethnic monitoring in response to the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 (and highlighted examples of good practice), the collection of ethnic data is largely incorporated as additional data items within existing collections, to minimise both the burden and cost related to the collection of such information on the NHS. This is consistent with the Department's procedures to ensure that the value of all centrally collected information fully justifies the burden and cost it places on those who provide it.

"Valuing People"

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 8 December 2003, Official Report, column 320W, on Valuing People, if he will list the other centrally funded projects which were funded through the £3.3 million. [144948]

Dr. Ladyman: The unused £3.3 million capital was not directly transferred from the Learning Disability Development Fund to another project. It contributed to the overall budget available for other capital projects, which were delivered in 2002–03 but which did not have funding set aside for them at the start of the year. An example of a project funded in this way was the refurbishment of psychiatric wards.


Council Tax

6. Mr. Barnes : To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness and fairness of the council tax banding system; and if he will make a statement. [145889]

Mr. Raynsford: The Government acknowledged the criticisms of council tax in the 2001 White Paper, "Strong Local Leadership, Quality Public Services". Consequently we have established the Balance of Funding review which has been giving detailed consideration to key issues affecting the funding of local government. The review will be considering proposals for change in the course of the next few months.

Brownfield Land

8. Mrs. Humble : To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, if he will make a statement on progress in bringing more brownfield land into use. [145891]

Mr. Prescott: Through English Partnerships and the Regional Development Agencies we are reclaiming brownfield land at a rate of over 1400 hectares a year. This has enabled us to achieve our national brownfield target eight years early. By 2000 60 per cent. of new housing development was on brownfield land. By 2002 this proportion had increased to 64 per cent.

Regional Assemblies

9. Mr. Grogan: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, what assessment he has made of the benefits to the Yorkshire and Humber economy of an elected regional assembly. [145892]

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Yvette Cooper: An elected assembly for Yorkshire and the Humber will enhance regional prosperity, pride and democracy. It will control or influence key elements impacting on the regional economy, including the work of Yorkshire Forward and policies affecting planning, housing, transport and skills. Similarly it will improve people's safety and quality of life through work on the environment, fire prevention, culture and sport and the promotion of public health.

Mr. Curry: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the estimated annual Government grant is to the proposed regional assemblies in (a) the North West, (b) the North East and (c) Yorkshire and the Humber. [146039]

Mr. Raynsford: Based on figures for 2002–03, and on existing programmes, elected regional assemblies would receive grants of around £780 million in the North West, £350 million in the North East and £570 million in Yorkshire and the Humber. Assemblies would also have influence—through consultation with, and making appointments to specified bodies—over budgets totalling £1,600 million in the North West, £600 million in the North East and £1,100 million in Yorkshire and the Humber.

In addition, the White Paper "Our Fire and Rescue Service" published in June 2003 said "we envisage that, eventually, where there are elected regional assemblies, fire and rescue authorities will be regional bodies". In 2001–02, the existing local fire and rescue authorities spent around £238 million in the North West, £103 million in the North East and £159 million in Yorkshire and Humberside. These are the latest figures available. Broadly speaking, three quarters of the Fire and Rescue Service's overall budget spending is met by revenue support grant and national non- domestic rates and the balance from council tax.


10. James Purnell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his policy on involving English Partnerships in regeneration. [145894]

Keith Hill: English Partnerships is the National Regeneration Agency. It leads on the development of Urban Regeneration Companies. It works closely with the Housing Market Renewal Pathfinders to regenerate areas of low demand and abandoned housing. Through the £400 million coalfields programme it is actively regenerating former coalfield areas and their communities. We are also proposing that EP take a leading role in overseeing development in the wider Milton Keynes area through close co-operation with the local council and other key stakeholders.

Standards Board

11. Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the performance of the Standards Board. [145895]

Phil Hope: Ensuring high standards in public life—including in local government—remains a firm commitment of the Government. The Standards Board for England continues to command the Government's full support as it develops to meet the challenges set for

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it by the Local Government Act 2000. Copies of the Boards Annual Report are available in the Library, and on the Board's website.

Building Regulations

12. Norman Baker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to amend building regulations to improve environmental performance in respect of water consumption. [145896]

Phil Hope: In response to statements made by my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at the Better Buildings Summit, proposals to amend the Building Regulations to include the conservation of water will be taken forward early in the New Year.

It is anticipated that amended regulations will be laid in the latter part of 2005.

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