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18 Jul 2005 : Column 1451W—continued

Swindon Borough Council

Mr. Wills: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much has been provided in grants from central Government to Swindon borough council in each year since 1997. [12543]

Mr. Woolas: The amounts of central Government grant allocated to Swindon borough council since 1997 are shown in the following table. The figures are shown in £000.


The data are taken from the RS (outturn) forms for all years except 2004–05 and 2005–06 when the data are taken from the RA (budget) form. These forms are completed each year by individual local authorities.

Grants in the table include special and specific grants inside Aggregate External Finance", Revenue support grant and Redistributed Non-domestic rates.

Comparisons across years may not be valid due to changing local authority responsibilities.

Tees Valley

Vera Baird: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to increase the economic activity rate in the population of the Tees Valley. [11904]

Mr. Woolas: The stimulation of economic activity and promotion of entrepreneurial activity are complex and long-term issues, which need to be tackled through the co-ordinated efforts of a range of public, private and community sector organisations.

The Regional Development Agency for North East England, One NorthEast, is currently engaged in an extensive consultation process on the review of the Regional Economic Strategy. One of the aims of the strategy is to

and One NorthEast and other regional partners can expect to receive the full support of Government in its efforts to achieve this.

Tees Valley has a fully rolled out Jobcentre Plus service delivering job-seeking and benefit services under one roof, and from October 2005 will have a Pathways to Work programme to help people claiming incapacity benefit to move into work.

Vera Baird: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many new business start-ups there were in Tees Valley in the first half of 2005; and what the start-up rate in England was. [11905]

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Yvette Cooper: Figures for the number of new business start-ups in Tees Valley and in England are not yet available covering the first half of 2005.

The latest available figures show that in 2003 there were 1,120 VAT registrations in Tees Valley. This represents a rate of 22 per 10,000 members of the population aged 16-plus and compares to a rate of 42 per 10,000 for England.

Vera Baird: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to improve the productivity of working people in the Tees Valley. [11906]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not have lead responsibility for productivity, but does work closely with other Departments—through Government offices, regional development agencies and other regional partners—to ensure that the overall contribution to the issues from the public sector is maximised.

Proposed work to improve productivity in Tees Valley is contained in section 8 of the 'Tees Valley City Region Development Programme', which was published with 'Moving Forward: The Northern Way Business Plan 2005–2008' in June 2005, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

Vera Baird: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what his assessment is of the effect on Redcar of its designation as part of the Coastal Arc in Tees Valley; [11907]

(2) what resources have been invested in Redcar consequent on its designation as part of the Tees Valley Coastal Arc; [11908]

(3) what the core aim is of the designation of part of the Tees Valley as Coastal Arc; [11909]

(4) how many jobs are expected to be generated through the designation of Redcar as part of the Tees Valley Coastal Arc; and in what sectors of employment; [11914]

(5) if he will make a statement on the effect of the designation of Redcar as part of the Tees Valley Coastal Arc on planning. [11915]

Yvette Cooper: The Government welcome the leadership that the Tees Valley Partnership have shown in setting out an ambitious investment programme, including areas in my hon. and learned Friend's constituency through the Coastal Arc proposals. The Government, and the regional development agency ONE North East, will be studying these proposals carefully, with a view to supporting priority projects that deliver sustainable economic development.


Bereavement Counselling

Ms Gisela Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding is available from her Department to organisations which provide bereavement counselling. [10944]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: In the current year, 2005–06, the Secretary of State for Health, through the section 64 General Scheme of Grants (section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968) has awarded £414,750 to organisations which provide bereavement counselling. In addition, we are aware of a range of locally funded innovative projects in national health service trusts and voluntary organisations around the country which are aimed at developing services for the bereaved locally.

Breast Cancer

Mr. Bailey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken to break down cultural and language barriers preventing women from accessing breast screening services. [5671]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 21 June 2005]: For cultural and/or religious reasons, some women are less likely to accept invitations for screening than the general population as a whole. Language and access to acceptable and meaningful information can also be a significant barrier and can effect the coverage levels.

The national informed choice leaflet, Breast Screening: The Facts", which is sent out with every invitation for screening, has now been translated into 18 languages.

In December 2003, NHS Cancer Screening Programmes published Inequalities of Access to Cancer Screening: A Literature Review". The recommendations in the review have been sent to all local screening programmes.

A number of local actions have been put in place to combat inequalities in inner-city areas. For example, in Haringey, sessions on screening have been held in community centres, with advocates from the relevant communities attending to translate and encourage women to attend their screening appointment. Many primary care trusts are conducting similar initiatives across the country.

In 2004, to raise awareness about the availability of breast cancer screening, the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes issued a regional communications pack to all local breast screening programmes to increase coverage rates, the packs include advice on raising the awareness of screening and posters.

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what additional measures are planned to ensure that adequate resources are in place to implement the proposed two-week wait for urgent and routine breast referrals; [12447]

(2) what additional measures are planned to support patients with information and counselling within the proposed two-week wait for urgent and routine breast referrals. [12448]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The 2005 Labour party manifesto gave the commitment that all women with breast symptoms should be seen within two weeks of referral by their general practitioner by 2008. Details of this commitment and how it will be resourced and implemented are yet to be determined with stakeholders and finalised.
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Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are in place to implement the recommendation of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence that women aged 40 to 49 years with a family history of breast cancer should be entitled to annual screening. [12449]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Clinical guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) are reflected in the standards published by the Department which provides a framework for continuous improvement in the overall quality of care people receive. Clinical guidelines are covered by the developmental standards, standards which the national health service is expected to achieve over time. The Healthcare Commission has a responsibility for assessing progress towards achieving these standards.

Clinicians are expected to take full account of NICE's guidelines because they are based on the best available evidence and have been put together after wide consultation, drawing on the views of patients and carers as well as the experts in the field.

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