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Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 18 January 2006

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Oral Answer (Correction)

The Minister for Trade (Ian Pearson): During Foreign and Commonwealth Office oral questions on Tuesday 10 January, in response to a supplementary question from my hon. Friend for Northampton, North (Ms. Keeble), I said that "the United Kingdom is providing £10 million in support for the emergency housing programme"—Official Report, column 144. I should have said that the United Kingdom has disbursed over £1 million in support to the international response to Operation Murambatsvina, which has included support for basic supplies, water and sanitation. The £10 million figure actually refers to HMG's commitment to the UN World Food Programme for food distribution. I apologise to my hon. Friend and to the House for this inadvertent error.

HEALTH

Foundation Trusts

The Secretary of State for Health (Ms Patricia Hewitt): Section 4(1) of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003 provides that a National Health Service trust may make an application to Monitor (the statutory name of which is the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts) for authorisation to become an NHS foundation trust, if the application is supported by the Secretary of State for Health.

I am today announcing that I support the following 18 NHS trusts in their bids to become NHS foundation trusts as part of wave 2 of NHS foundation trust applications:

Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Trust

Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology NHS Trust

Gloucestershire Partnership NHS Trust

Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Trust

James Paget Healthcare NHS Trust

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust

Nothumbria Health Care NHS Trust

Oxleas NHS Trust

Royal Berkshire and Battle NHS Trust

Salford Royal Hospitals NHS Trust

Salisbury Health Care NHS Trust

Sheffield Children's Hospital NHS Trust

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust

South Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

South Essex Partnership NHS Trust

South Staffordshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Tameside and Glossop Acute Services NHS Trust

York Healthcare Services NHS Trust
 
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I can also announce that Monitor will be reviewing the applications of six national health service trusts that have previously received the support of the Secretary of State for Health. The trusts are:

Aintree Hospitals NHS Trust

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust

East Somerset NHS Trust

King's College Hospital NHS Trust

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust

Southend Hospitals NHS Trust

Section 6 of the 2003 Act sets out the matters to be taken into account by Monitor and the terms under which authorisation of NHS foundation trust status can be given.

I understand from the Chairman of Monitor that it would expect successful applicant NHS trusts to be authorised as NHS foundation trusts in two batches on either 1 April 2006 or 1 July 2006.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Immigration

The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality (Mr. Tony McNulty): As a result of intelligence received in 2001 and July 2004 suggesting systematic fraud in applications for UK Ancestry from Zimbabwean nationals, consideration of such applications was suspended pending further investigation.

In the light of continued evidence of fraudulent Zimbabwean applications for indefinite leave to remain in the UK on grounds of UK ancestry lodged prior to 25 October 2004, I have made an authorisation under section 19D of the Race Relations Act 1976 of six months' duration. This authorisation enables staff in the Immigration and Nationality Directorate to subject these applications to more rigorous investigation than applications from persons of other nationalities, for the purpose of detecting fraudulent applications.

We will review the continued need for this authorisation before its expiry. In addition, the Independent Race Monitor appointed under section 19E of the Race Relations Act 1976 (as amended) will submit a report to the Home Secretary for submission to Parliament on the likely effect of authorisations made by Ministers and on how they are operated in practice by officials.

A copy of the authorisation has been placed in the Library of both Houses of Parliament.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Independent Commissioner for Detained Terrorist Suspects (Annual Report)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Shaun Woodward): Copies of Dr Bill Norris's annual report for 2005 have been placed in the Library of both Houses. This is the final report to be submitted by the Commissioner and I am grateful to him for all the hard work he has carried out in this post.

I welcome Dr Norris's report and will consider it carefully. I will respond as soon as possible.