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12 May 2006 : Column 570W—continued


John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health about the merits of giving the Healthcare Commission statutory authority to monitor and evaluate the adequacy of mental health care provision across the prison estate. [65586]

Mr. Sutcliffe: National health service primary care trusts (PCTs) assumed full responsibility for the commissioning of prison health services in the public prisons in England in April 2006. HM Prison Service previously held this commissioning responsibility. The main aim of this transfer is to help ensure that prisoners receive a similar level of service from the national health service as that received by the general public.

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As part of this, the statutory authority for the Healthcare Commission to performance manage prison health services, including mental health services, was automatically assumed when responsibility for commissioning prison health services was transferred to the national health service. The Healthcare Commission has responsibility for the assessment and performance of NHS organisations, which includes primary care trusts with responsibility for prison health services.

Probation Service

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the estimates of additional probation staff needed to implement the Criminal Justice Bill 2003 contained in explanatory notes published on 21 November 2002 are still valid. [63083]

Mr. Sutcliffe: On 3 April in answer to the hon. Gentleman's written question number 63078 18 April 2006, Official Report, column 354W, I provided details of substantial increases in probation staffing since 1997 and of further planned increases. Comparison with the estimates that were made three and a half years ago is difficult because the changes introduced through the Criminal Justice Act 2003 are not the only ones to affect deployment of probation resources. We are monitoring the courts’ use of the new sentences in the 2003 Act and, thus far, the sentences are being imposed broadly in line with the planning assumptions that informed the explanatory notes.

Sheikha Ahmed

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects Sheikha Ahmed, reference LR1918000565, will be notified of her immigration status. [69475]

Mr. McNulty: Officials from the Immigration and Nationality Directorate wrote to Mrs. Ahmed informing her of the decision concerning her immigration status on 9 May 2006.

House of Commons Commission

Personal Computers

Mr. Vaizey: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many personal computers are allocated to employees of the House. [69455]

Nick Harvey: The latest estimate of personal computers currently used in the House service, including those allocated to PICT which is a department serving both Houses, is 1850, made in connection with the programme for updating computers to Microsoft XP. Following the creation of PICT in January of this year, a more systematic process for central recording of information on equipment
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volumes and for keeping it up to date is under way. All House staff who require a desk and access to the network have a desktop personal computer. Not all desktop computers are personally allocated; some are based in work areas used by different staff at different times. There are further computers used for training and development purposes, and a small number of laptops held within individual departments.

Trade and Industry

Animal Welfare

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list his Department's (a) advisory bodies and (b) committees concerned with animal health and welfare; and if he will make a statement. [67177]

Jim Fitzpatrick: For information on advisory bodies and committees with which the Department works, but which also cover the work of other Departments I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs on 9 May 2006, Official Report, column 125W.

British Nuclear Group

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discount rate has been used to calculate the nuclear liabilities of British Nuclear Group in preparation for its sale by British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. [64055]

Barry Gardiner: Following the European Commission's decision on state aid as announced on4 April (press release reference IP/06/428), financial responsibility for the civil nuclear liabilities of BNFL including British Nuclear Group was assumed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority with effect from 31 March 2006. The sale of BNG was agreed to in the expectation that the State Aid decision would be favourable in allowing for this assumption of financial responsibility. As such, the sale of BNG does not include those nuclear liabilities and no calculations were needed.

Disability Pay Gap

Ms Diana R. Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the pay gap between able-bodied and disabled workers in (a) Kingston upon Hull, North and (b) the UK in each year between 1997 and 2005; and what steps his Department is taking to reduce that gap. [69763]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Low Pay Commission reported that, in 2004, the pay gap for people with a work-limiting disability was 13 percentage points. This Department is not aware of any further data on the pay
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gap between disabled and non-disabled workers in Kingston upon Hull or the UK in the years 1997 to 2005.

The Equal Opportunities Commission's code of practice on equal pay recommends that it is good practice for employers, when comparing the pay between men and women to also look at disability and seek advice from the Disability Rights Commission to ensure that the relevant provisions of the disability legislation are taken into account.

As a result of a strong economy and active labour market policies, the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people is starting to close. The employment rate for disabled people was 38.1 per cent. in spring 1998, rising to 46.6 per cent. by spring 2005; over the same period, the employment gap fell from 35.1 per cent. to 28 per cent.

The DTI supports the recommendations in my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit report, “Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People”, and the aims of the Office for Disability Issues and contributes to implementing recommendations within its area of responsibility.

Energy Saving

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he has taken to encourage manufacturers to place on the market televisions and other such appliances which switch automatically from stand by to off mode after a pre-set time. [68465]

Ian Pearson: I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply on 19 April 2006, Official Report, column 729W.

Energy Saving Trust

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what funding was allocated by his Department to the Energy Saving Trust in each year since 1997. [66732]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 27 April 2006] I have been asked to reply.

Total funding for the Energy Saving Trust by my Department is as follows:

£ million

















Figures for 1997-98 cannot be obtained without disproportionate cost.

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John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with the government of Brazil about the implications for the UK of its experience of the use of ethanol as a fuel. [68221]

Malcolm Wicks: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not held any direct discussions with the Brazilians on the use of ethanol. However, the Prime Minister discussed the benefits of bioethanol with President Lula during his state visit to the UK in March. Part of the discussion focused on the study scoping a possible Brazil-UK-Africa partnership on bioethanol that is currently being undertaken by E4tech for the Office of Science and Innovation. This project arises from a visit made to Brazil by the UK Government's Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir David King, as part of the preparations for the UK G8 Summit in Gleneagles in July 2005. The final report on the study will be available for discussion at the Brazil- UK science days at the Royal Society on 22 and23 May. The aim of the project is to try and address two difficult global problems, climate change and African development, through a tri-partite partnership. Work is currently focused around achieving a win on climate change and African development through development of production capacity from sugar cane.

European Energy Charter

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the Government's policy is on the European Energy Charter. [69930]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government see the Energy Charter Treaty as a valuable instrument with important provisions on non-discrimination on energy investment, trade and transit and an energy efficiency protocol. The Government's policy is to help to enhance its effectiveness by encouraging all member countries who have not yet ratified the treaty to do so.

International Energy Agency

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on UK (a) policy on and (b) contributions to the International Energy Agency. [69934]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 11 May 2006]: The Government believe the International Energy Agency (IEA) carries out an important role as expert energy adviser to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (the OECD).

The IEA organised the collective release of emergency oil stocks held by member states to address the loss of supplies and to restore confidence to the oil market in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. It is also an international respected centre of technical energy expertise and is involved in the Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable
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Development. The G8 asked the IEA to undertake significant work under the Gleneagles Plan of Action.

In 2005 the UK paid an annual subscription of €1,459,674 (£962,833 at today's rates). The UK also made additional voluntary contributions from the Global Opportunities Fund that, in 2005, amounted to £144,695. The UK, as part of the G8, also made a contribution of €1 million to fund the work under the Gleneagles Plan of Action.

Miners' Compensation

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and (b) vibration white finger claims have been submitted from Bassetlaw constituency, broken down by district electoral ward. [69752]

Malcolm Wicks: The breakdown of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and vibration white finger (VWF) claims requested above is set out as follows:

Postcode COPD VWF

DN10 and 11





















John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many bereavement awards have been paid out as part of a miner’s industrial disease claim in each year since 1999. [69784]

Malcolm Wicks: In total, 32,681 bereavement awards have been paid out as part of miners' industrial disease claims since 1999. The annual breakdown is as set out as follows:

Number of bereavement awards paid

















(1) As at 7 May.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many services claims under the vibration white finger scheme have been (a) submitted and (b) refused since 1999. [69791]

Malcolm Wicks: As at 7 May, 50,699 vibration white finger services claims had been submitted(1) and 2,866 denied since 1999.

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John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what (a) minimum and (b) maximum costs (i) have been claimed from and (ii) paid by his Department for common law (A) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and (B) vibration white finger claims since 1999. [69800]

Malcolm Wicks: The minimum and maximum costs claimed are not readily available but the sums paid each year since 1999 are set out in the following tables:

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Minimum Maximum

























Vibration white finger
Minimum Maximum

























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