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25 May 2006 : Column 2012W—continued

Section 64 Grants

Mr. Andy Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what basis the decision was made to withhold the full payment of section 64 awards to charities in Loughborough; and when charities with two or three-year grants will receive full payment. [73293]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Voluntary and community sector organisations with continuing section 64 grants will receive quarterly instalments during 2006-07 providing they have complied with the terms and conditions of the award. Full payment in 2006-07 will not be made until the final quarterly instalment is paid in January 2007.

Payment of the first quarterly instalment due in April 2006 was delayed while a departmental central budget review took place. This has now concluded and outstanding payments made. Interim payments were offered to minimise financial risk.

A decision to withhold full payments for an individual organisation would be made on a case by case basis.

Mr. Andy Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations her Department has received from grant applicants based in Leicestershire about the time taken for section 64 grant decisions to be made. [73331]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: There is no record of any direct representation from either of the two grant applicants based in Leicestershire about the time taken for grant decisions to be made.


25 May 2006 : Column 2013W

Sexual Health

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to reduce (a) unplanned pregnancies and (b) sexually transmitted diseases; and if she will make a statement. [72446]

Caroline Flint: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 21 March 2006, Official Report, column 250W.

Measures to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) were set out in the “National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV” (200l) and the public health White Papers “Choosing Health” (November 2004) and “Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services” (January 2006), which are available in the Library and on the Department’s website at www.dh.gov.uk.

Sexual health and access to genito-urinary medicine clinics is one of the six top priorities for the NHS in 2006-07. By 2008 everyone should be offered an appointment within 48 hours of contacting a genito-urinary medicine clinic. Strategic health authorities have all submitted plans to meet this target.

In addition to these national measures, primary care trusts are responsible for providing sexual health services which meet the needs of their local populations. To support them in this role, the Department, working with professional bodies, has published recommended standards for sexual health service a toolkit of best practice for sexual health promotion, and guidance on commissioning.

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment she has made of the impact of the use of condoms on the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases; and if she will make a statement. [72447]

Caroline Flint: We have assessed the domestic and international evidence for the impact of condom use on the incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). For example, in the early 1990s, the Thai Government implemented a 100 per cent. condom programme to encourage sex workers to increase their use of condoms in commercial sex facilities. Rojanapithayakorn and Hanenberg (1996) reported that there was a substantial increase in the proportion of reported commercial sex acts in which condoms were used, i.e. from 25 per cent. in 1989 to 94 per cent. in 1995. During this period, the incidence of curable STIs reported in Government clinics decreased dramatically, which was coupled with a decrease in the prevalence of HIV among Thai military recruits.

Evidence such as this, has been used to guide the brief for the forthcoming sexual health campaign, which will focus on the risks of unprotected sex and the benefits of using condoms to avoid the risk of STIs or unintended pregnancies.

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent in each year since 1997 on free contraception in areas with high rates of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancy; and if she will make a statement. [72448]

Caroline Flint: This information is not held centrally.


25 May 2006 : Column 2014W

We have asked primary care trusts (PCTs) to complete the first ever national questionnaire of contraceptive services. This has provided PCT sexual health leads and commissioners of contraceptive services with an audit tool to map their current service provision and to highlight gaps in local services so that they can develop contraceptive services that meet their local population needs. To support them in this role, the Department is investing £40 million over the next two years (£20 million in both 2006-07 and 2007-08) to improve access to contraceptive services and to the full range of methods.

Improving access to free contraception, including condoms, to avoid the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or unplanned pregnancies is one of the key aims of the Government's White Paper “Choosing health: making healthy choices easier”. Reducing the rate of value added tax on condoms and emergency hormonal contraception from 1 July 2006 will also make the costs of these items more affordable to those who choose not to access free services.

Waiting Times

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the specialities where waiting times have increased to the maximum target waiting time since waiting times were last reviewed, broken down by NHS trust. [65781]

Andy Burnham: The information requested is available on the Department's website at

www.performance.doh.gov.uk/waitingtimes/index.html, where waiting time data is available broken down by both speciality and national health service trust.

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 15 May 2006, Official Report, column 758W, on waiting times, what definition of “very few” she uses; and whether “very few” means (a) less than 10, (b) less than 50, (c) less than 100 or (d) another amount. [72559]

Andy Burnham: Of the 771,100 patients waiting for treatment at the end of March 2006, 199 people had been waiting for longer than six months. This was three patients for every 10,000 waiting for treatment—a figure I would describe as very few.

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer to question 70897, on waiting times, what the maximum period between initial GP diagnosis and operation could be without breaches of the six month target. [72560]

Andy Burnham: The waiting time standard is now a maximum of 13 weeks from referral by a general practitioner (GP) to a first out-patient appointment. That consultation may lead to further out-patient appointments and diagnostic tests and currently, these are not subject to waiting time targets. If the hospital consultant then considers that the patient needs to be admitted for treatment, there would be a maximum wait of six months from that point. The target for 2008 will transform this into a maximum wait of 18 weeks from GP referral to the start of treatment.


25 May 2006 : Column 2015W

Home Department

Animal Experimentation

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to encourage the development and validation of alternative methods of scientific experimentation to replace and reduce the use of animal experiments. [72392]

Joan Ryan: The Home Office is fully committed to encouraging the development of alternatives to animal experimentation where this is possible. Indeed, under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, we will not license the use of animals in scientific procedures if alternative non-animal techniques are available.

In addition, the Home Office contributes £250,000 annually to the National Centre for the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) which was established by the Government in May 2004 to co-ordinate and stimulate research and practice in the 3Rs. The NC3Rs funds high-quality 3Rs research and facilitates the exchange of information and ideas, the identification of knowledge gaps, and the translation of research findings into practice to benefit both animals and science. The Centre submits an annual report to the Minister for Science and Innovation on its activities, the first of which was published in January 2006 and is available on their website at:

Internationally, the United Kingdom Government continues to support the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) through contributions to the European Union. We take a lead in formulating European policies, standards and targets which neither disadvantage the United Kingdom nor drive work abroad to countries where lower standards apply.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers in Suffolk have (a) had their application refused and (b) been removed from the UK in each of the past five years. [72532]

Mr. Byrne: The number of asylum seekers supported by the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) are published on a quarterly and annual basis, broken down by Local Authority. The next publication covering the first quarter of 2006 was published on 23 May 2006, and will be available on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics website at:

Data on asylum seekers supported by NASS broken down by parliamentary constituency are also available from the Library of the House.

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers there were in West Suffolk constituency in each year since 1997. [72534]


25 May 2006 : Column 2016W

Mr. Byrne: The National Asylum Support Service (NASS) assumed responsibility for the support of asylum seekers on 3 April 2000. The following table shows the numbers of asylum seekers (including dependants) supported by NASS in West Suffolk constituency as at the end of each year (available from December 2003).The number of asylum seekers supported by the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) are published on a quarterly and annual basis, broken down by local authority.

Number of asylum seekers (including dependants) supported by NASS in West Suffolk constituency as at the end of each year from December 2003
As at December each year: In NASS accommodation In receipt of subsistence only

2003

5

2004

*

2005

* = 1 or 2.
Note:
Figures are rounded to the nearest 5.

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers there are in (a) West Suffolk and (b) the East of England region. [72536]

Mr. Byrne: The number of asylum seekers supported by the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) are published on a quarterly and annual basis, broken down by Government Office Region and Local Authority. The next publication covering the first quarter of 2006 will be published on the 23 May 2006, and will be available on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics website at:

Correspondence

Clare Short: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Minister for Immigration will reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood, of 4 April 2006, on behalf of Sakineh Soltan Malek-Mohammadi, wife of Rahmatollah Farahmand (Home Office Reference G1091885, acknowledgement reference B9197/6). [71365]

Mr. Byrne: The Immigration and Nationality Directorate wrote to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood on 19 May 2006.

Drug-related Crime

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many incidents of drug-related crime there were in each police authority area in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [71840]

Mr. McNulty: There are no figures available specifically on drug-related crime. The available information relates to recorded drug offences only and is given in the following tables.


25 May 2006 : Column 2017W
Recorded crime—drug offences
2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05

Avon and Somerset

1,990

1,860

2,308

2,457

2,739

Bedfordshire

896

1,009

1,069

1,130

1,131

Cambridgeshire

829

798

904

1,047

1,174

Cheshire

1,644

1,591

1,717

1,695

1,546

Cleveland

952

1,109

1,685

1,368

1,45l

Cumbria

949

925

1,038

1,189

1,321

Derbyshire

1,374

1,635

1,877

1,932

2,023

Devon and Cornwall

3,374

4,079

4,516

4,826

4,356

Dorset

1,237

1,390

1,371

1,455

1,577

Durham

1,207

1,317

1,289

1,205

1,062

Dyfed-Powys

1,690

2,407

2,978

2,420

2,327

Essex

2,208

2,212

2,377

2,295

2,328

Gloucestershire

1,293

1,223

1,311

1,288

1,218

Greater Manchester

4,932

4,698

5,667

5,981

6,703

Gwent

2,196

1,729

1,585

1,422

1,332

Hampshire

3,464

3,449

3,938

3,967

3,773

Hertfordshire

1,441

1,350

1,553

1,678

1,754

Humberside

1,342

1,513

1,883

1,874

2,048

Kent

2,940

3,051

3,236

2,795

2,170

Lancashire

3,124

3,169

4,084

3,640

3,411

Leicestershire

1,395

1,705

1,629

1,821

1,942

Lincolnshire

906

1,116

1,060

1,061

951

London, City of

296

469

790

744

876

Merseyside

4,421

4,390

5,419

5,497

5,649

Metropolitan Police

23,626

26,204

33,311

32,332

33,011

Norfolk

1,160

1,211

1,392

1,508

1,602

Northamptonshire

967

958

979

971

1,477

Northumbria

4,238

4,804

6,040

5,414

4,636

North Wales

1,427

1,382

1,830

1,830

1,834

North Yorkshire

1,259

1,491

1,582

1,624

1,690

Nottinghamshire

2,028

2,070

2,352

2,830

2,667

South Wales

3,038

3,907

3,872

3,837

3,705

South Yorkshire

3,521

3,408

3,448

3,191

3,013

Staffordshire

1,623

2,186

2,264

2,586

2,689

Suffolk

1,178

1,292

1,689

1,923

1,974

Surrey

1,858

1,872

1,934

1,689

1,904

Sussex

2,002

2,602

2,665

3,050

3,343

Thames Valley

3,364

4,093

4,903

5,404

6,167

Warwickshire

629

659

751

944

914

West Mercia

2,073

2,109

2,053

2,218

2,278

West Midlands

7,519

7,578

8,828

6,656

7,840

West Yorkshire

4,820

4,297

5,015

5,295

5,666

Wiltshire

1,028

1,076

898

971

1,066

113,458

121,393

141,090

141,060

142,338

(1 )Numbers affected by the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standards which came into effect in 2002-03. Data not comparable with earlier years


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