Previous Section Index Home Page

12 Nov 2007 : Column 54W—continued

Hydrographic Office

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many private sector stakeholders the team carrying out the review into the UK Hydrographic Office’s structure and ownership have met during the course of their work. [161928]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The study team and its consultants have met with a range of stakeholders, including two trade associations representing private sector companies, and 14 other private sector industry participants. These include Original Equipment Manufacturers of ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems), distributors of navigational
12 Nov 2007 : Column 55W
products, shipping fleet operators, UKHO survey data re-users and finance specialists.

The review was also informed by a range of other information derived from the private sector. These include the UKHO’s own quarterly surveys of 250 end users of the UKHO’s products, papers from international conferences and fora, and published market analyses.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many humanitarian airdrops have been conducted by the Royal Air Force in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan in each year since 2001. [162645]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: UK forces routinely use air-drops in order to resupply deployed troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan. But centrally-held records show that the Royal Air Force has not carried out any airdrops specifically for humanitarian purposes in the period from 2001 to date in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency: Complaints

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints have been made to the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency and its predecessors on veterans’ matters since 2001. [162512]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Veterans Agency and the Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agency merged on 1 April 2007.

From September 2001, when records were first kept, to date, the Veterans Agency and the Veterans Agency element of the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency have received a total of 2,114 complaints on veterans’ matters.

The information requested, on veterans’ matters complaints, for the former Armed Forces Personnel and Administration Agency and those elements (Armed Forces Pension Scheme and medals administration) that transferred into the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Slovenia: EC Presidency

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contacts he has had with his Slovenian counterpart on Slovenia's EU presidency in the first half of 2008; and if he will make a statement. [162630]

Des Browne: I meet the Slovenian Defence Minister regularly when attending EU and NATO ministerial meetings. I discussed the forthcoming Slovenian EU presidency with him in the margins of a NATO meeting last year.

Submarines: Decommissioning

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) age and (b) proposed date of decommissioning is of each of the Trafalgar Class submarines. [162372]

12 Nov 2007 : Column 56W

Des Browne: The current age and the planned out of service dates, which are kept under regular review, for each of the Trafalgar Class submarines are as follows:

Vessel Age Out of service date

HMS Trafalgar



HMS Turbulent



HMS Tireless



HMS Torbay



HMS Trenchant



HMS Talent



HMS Triumph



Innovation, Universities and Skills

Apprentices: Finance

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills whether access to the skills account for advanced apprentices announced in his speech of 31 October 2007 will be means-tested. [162776]

Mr. Lammy: Skills Accounts will not be means tested. Skills Accounts aim to give individuals, in or out of work, more ownership, purchasing power and choice over their training, helping them progress in their careers and in sustainable employment. Skills Account holders will have better information and access to key services, such as the new universal careers service. They will also be able to see the costs and value of training and find out about financial support, entitlements and learning options available to them, including Apprenticeships. They will be trialled nationally in England in 2009-10.

Apprentices: Peterborough

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many apprenticeship schemes are operating in the Peterborough city council area; and if he will make a statement. [163175]

Mr. Lammy: Figures for those participating in apprenticeships can be derived from the Learning and Skills Council’s (LSC) Individualised Learner Record (ILR). There were 780 learners on apprenticeships and 390 on advanced apprenticeships in Peterborough local authority (based on home post code of the learner) in 2005/06.

Apprenticeships are highly valued by this Government, which supports their continuing improvement and expansion. Apprenticeships give young people a chance to earn while they learn, get excellent vocational training and build a sustainable career. Employers are helped to build a professional skilled workforce, equipped with the knowledge and experience that their business needs to compete and stay ahead in today’s global economy.

12 Nov 2007 : Column 57W

Intellectual Property: India

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the (a) timetable and (b) content is of the bilateral action plan agreed with the Indian intellectual property rights authorities, as referred to in the answer of 5 July 2007, Official Report, column 1163W, on intellectual property: India. [162997]

Ian Pearson: The information is as follows:

(a) It is still not clear what the timetable for implementing the bilateral action plan will be. However, there will be further talks with India in this matter next month, as part of the Economic Trade Committee discussion. We are keen that we move forward on this as soon as we can.

(b) The action will focus on the following areas:

Religion: Finance

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what funds were paid to which (a) Jewish, (b) Muslim and (c) Christian seminaries by his Department and its predecessors in each year since 2001. [162398]

Mr. Lammy: The Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills has not paid any funds to Jewish, Muslim or Christian seminaries in any year from 2001.

Vocational Training

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what proportion of the additional support budget of the Train to Gain programme was spent in each English region by the Learning and Skills Council in 2006-07. [162121]

Mr. Lammy: Additional learner support is financial support that is available to help individuals to access or complete their education in situations where a lack of money may otherwise restrict them. The funding is for learners from families on benefits or low incomes, or suffering from exceptional financial hardship. Additional learner support can help cover childcare costs, accommodation, or general costs such as textbooks and equipment.

Most learning provision on Train to Gain is delivered in the workplace so it is very unusual for learners participating in Train to Gain to need to apply for support. The Additional Learner Support spent by the Learning and Skills Council in 2006-07 on learners on Train to Gain funded programme of learning was only £1,729 (£150 in the North East and £1,579 in the North West).

12 Nov 2007 : Column 58W


Cancer: Waiting Lists

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of the £75 million earmarked for reducing cancer waiting times and providing a named midwife for all pregnant women over the period of the Comprehensive Spending Review, as set out in the Department of Health press release dated 9 October 2007, will be spent on each of these two priorities; how much is proposed to be spent over each year of the Comprehensive Spending Review; and if he will make a statement. [162417]

Mr. Bradshaw: The £75 million announced in the press release relates only to the cost of reducing cancer waiting times over the spending review period. The figure is the Department's estimate of the cost to the national health service (NHS) of delivering improvements. The great majority of NHS funding is allocated to primary care trusts, who will decide spending in each area of health care in the light of both national and local priorities. The exact spend on reducing cancer waiting times in each year of the spending review period will therefore be determined locally by the NHS, and is not prescribed by the Department.

Departmental Contracts

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether any applicant company for a contract with the NHS or his Department has been excluded because of convictions for a criminal offence or cases of gross professional misconduct since 2004. [162385]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department does not collect information on whether applicant companies are excluded from contacts with the NHS or the Department because they have been convicted of a criminal offence or gross professional misconduct in the format requested. To do so would attract disproportionate cost.

In purchasing goods and services for the national health service, the Department is subject to all European Union (EU) public procurement regulations. The rules compel the Department to advertise and award any proposed contract in accordance with the legal procedure set out in the regulations. This ensures that the process is fair, transparent and non-discriminatory.

As part of central procurement exercises run by the Department or NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency on behalf of the NHS, bidders are requested to confirm at an early stage whether there are any factors which would exclude them under the EU criteria (grave misconduct, criminal offences etc.). Under EU procurement guidelines, bodies are permitted to exclude a company that has been convicted of a criminal offence or grave professional misconduct in relation to the conduct of their business.

Health Professions: Regulation

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he (a) has had and (b) plans to have with the Healthcare Commission on the provisions to regulate health professionals to be contained in the forthcoming Health and Social Care Bill; and if he will make a statement. [163520]

12 Nov 2007 : Column 59W

Mr. Bradshaw: The provisions within the forthcoming Health and Social Care Bill concerning the regulation of health professions and health and social care workforce do not effect the Healthcare Commission directly. The Department has, in its development of proposals for the wider implementation of the White Paper, “Trust, Assurance and Safety—The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century”, consulted a wide variety of stakeholders, including the Healthcare Commission, and continues to do so.

Health Services: Reciprocal Arrangements

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will negotiate a reciprocal agreement with the French government to enable retired British citizens living in France to access French healthcare without private medical insurance; [163052]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of British citizens living in France who will be affected by the French Government’s decision to change healthcare law; [163053]

(3) what advice he has received on the legality under EU law of the French government’s decision to change its rules regarding access to healthcare for British Citizens. [163054]

Dawn Primarolo: The position of British citizens living in France who are covered by European Union reciprocal agreements has not changed and they will still receive state provided healthcare in France. This means that retired people in receipt of United Kingdom state pension are still able to access state healthcare in France.

The changes to the French system affect early retirees from other member states including the UK who are not covered by EU regulations and have not lived in France long enough to meet their residency requirements. It is not known how many people are affected.

Health and social security systems differ in each member state. Who and what is covered is a matter for each individual state in this instance France. There are no plans to negotiate an agreement with France that goes beyond existing ones. It is critical that people consider how they will access healthcare when they move abroad.

NHS: Expenditure

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on (a) NHS hospital and community health services, (b) NHS maternity services and (c) other NHS costs in 2006-07. [162303]

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on (a) the NHS, (b) NHS hospital and community health services and (c) NHS maternity services in the 2006-07 financial year as referred to in the answer of 25 June 2007, Official Report, column 266W, on NHS: finance. [162995]

Mr. Bradshaw: Expenditure for 2006-07 (England) is shown in the following table:

12 Nov 2007 : Column 60W
Expenditure (£ million)

National health service


NHS hospital and community health services (HCHS)


NHS maternity services


Notes: 1. NHS expenditure is the total NHS net revenue expenditure. 2. HCHS maternity services are derived from data in the summarised accounts which relates to community or secondary health care and this includes the purchase of health care from non-NHS providers. 3. The maternity services expenditure shown is included within the HCHS figure, which is already included under the total net NHS revenue expenditure.

Next Section Index Home Page