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Schools (Surplus Places)

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the projects to reduce surplus places funded through the Targeted Capital Fund in each of the last three years; what the cost of each project was; and how many places were lost under each project. [218478]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 28 February 2005]: In accordance with the Targeted Capital Fund programme, projects were accepted from local education authorities that included reductions in surplus places. Information on these projects, and the places lost per project, is not recorded centrally.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many times she has used the powers under schedule 7 of the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998 to require local education authorities to bring forward plans to reduce the number of surplus places. [218479]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 28 February 2005]: Local education authorities are responsible for balancing the supply of places in their area, to ensure schools serve the needs of their local communities and provide good quality education in the most cost effective way.

The Secretary of State's powers under schedule 7 of the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998 are reserve powers, which have not yet had to be used.



Mr. Cash: To ask the Solicitor-General what involvement (a) the Lord Chancellor and (b) Baroness Morgan had in preparation of the reply to the parliamentary question tabled by the hon. Member for Stone to the Prime Minister on 11 March 2003 on the legal basis for military intervention in Iraq to which the Attorney-General referred in evidence to the Butler Inquiry on 5 May 2004; and if she will make a statement. [218964]

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Solicitor-General where and in what buildings, the written statement made to Parliament on 17 March 2003 setting out the legal basis for the war in Iraq was prepared; and by whom. [219422]

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Solicitor-General (1) what discussions the Attorney-General had with respect to drafting the written answer of 17 March 2003, Official Report, House of Lords, column WA2; [219444]

(2) what advice the Attorney-General received, and from whom, prior to the writing of the written answer of 17 March 2003, Official Report, House of Lords, column WA2; [219445]

(3) whether the Attorney-General's written answer of 17 March 2003, Official Report, House of Lords, columnWA2, was written by the Attorney-General. [219446]

The Solicitor-General: The Attorney-General's written answer of 17 March 2003, Official Report, column 515W, which I relayed to the House, was drawn
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up in the office of the Attorney-General. Those involved were the Attorney-General and myself, two officials in our office, three officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Christopher Greenwood QC. The draft was also discussed with the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg. The Attorney-General was fully involved throughout the drafting process and personally finalised and approved the answer.

No other Minister or official was involved. In particular, neither Baroness Morgan of Huyton nor Lord Falconer of Thoroton, nor any official in the Prime Minister's office had any involvement whatever in the drafting of the answer. The Attorney-General has never said that they did so. As the Attorney-General has always made clear, he set out in the answer his own genuinely held, independent view that military action was lawful under the existing Security Council resolutions.

Parliamentary Questions

Lynne Jones: To ask the Solicitor-General how many officials were involved in drafting the parliamentary answer to Baroness Ramsey (HL2172); and from which Department each came. [218541]

The Solicitor-General: Five officials were involved: two from the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers and three from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


Agenda for Change

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will guarantee that all Whitley conditions of employment are protected during the implementation of Agenda for Change. [217715]

Mr. Hutton: The protection arrangements which apply under Agenda for Change to staff employed by national health service organisations have been agreed by the NHS Staff Council. These arrangements are set out in Section 46 of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook, a copy of which is in the Library.


Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will exempt asthma medication from prescription charges. [217447]

Ms Rosie Winterton: We have no plans to extend the existing list of medical conditions that give exemption from prescription charges. The list has been reviewed on a number of occasions but no clear cut case for extending it has emerged. There is no consensus on what additional conditions might be included in any revised list of medical exemptions, or how distinctions could be drawn between one condition and another.

Government policy is to help those who may have difficulty paying charges. The current exemption and charge remission arrangements are intended to ensure that
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no one need be deterred from obtaining any necessary medication on financial grounds. Consequently, 86 per cent., of prescriptions are dispensed free of charge.


Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many full-time equivalent consultants were employed in the NHS on the latest date for which figures are available; how many were employed in 1997; and if he will make a statement. [217773]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 25 February 2005]: The latest data available is at June 2004.

The information requested is shown in the table.
Hospital, Public Health Medicine and Community Health Services (HCHS): medical and dental consultants

England(10)Whole time equivalents
September 199719,661
June 200427,640

(10)Data as at 30 September 1997 and 30 June 2004.
Department of Health medical and dental workforce census

The number of whole-time equivalent consultants working in the National Health Service increased by 7,979 or 41 per cent., between September 1997 and June 2004. The number of specialist registrars has also increased significantly over recent years and these doctors will become the consultants of the future.

Continuing Care

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1)how much has been paid to date by his Department to individuals or their families where it has been found that they were inappropriately charged for NHS continuing care since 1996; [211696]

(2) pursuant to the answer of 24 January to the hon. Member for West Chelmsford to question reference 210193, if he will list by each strategic health authority (SHA) the number of complaints each SHA has investigated on allegations of individuals being inappropriately denied funding for continuing care at (a) December 2003, (b) March 2004 and (c) July 2004; and if he will list in each case (i) the number and percentage of completed investigations and (ii) the number of cases eligible for payment as of July 2004. [211832]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 1 February 2005]: The exact amount of restitution paid to date is not known centrally. However, we estimate the figure to reach £180 million by the end of the process.

With regard to the number of complaints investigated, I refer the hon. Member to the statement Imade to the House on 16 September 2004, Official Report, column 175WS. That statement provides the latest available statistics, including the most up to date information on the numbers of cases eligible for payment. Further to this information, the table shows details of the number of requests for retrospective funding investigations received between 31 March and 31 July 2004 and the total number of retrospective cases completed by the 31 July 2004.
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Strategic health authority name
Number of requests for retrospective funding investigations between 31 March and 31 JulyTotal number of retrospective funding investigations completed by 31 July
Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire110608
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire30132
North West London17209
North Central London46101
North East London23169
South East London36246
South West London25182
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear35202
County Durham and Tees Valley23223
North and East Yorkshire and North Lincs46302
West Yorkshire42177
Cumbria and Lancashire75419
Greater Manchester66285
Cheshire and Merseyside103651
Thames Valley39195
Hampshire and Isle of Wight74544
Kent and Medway65280
Surrey and Sussex137555
Avon, Gloucestershire And Wiltshire109857
South West Peninsula49533
Dorset And Somerset76429
South Yorkshire26197
Leics, Northants and Rutland31245
Shropshire and Staffordshire37432
Birmingham and The Black Country37278
West Midlands South41275

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