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Welfare Tax Credits

Mike Penning: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many requests to reconsider the recovery of overpayments of working tax credit were received by HM Revenue and Customs in (a) 2003, (b) 2004, (c) 2005 and (d) 2006; and if he will make a statement. [163392]

Jane Kennedy: Information about requests to reconsider the recovery of working tax credit overpayments is not kept separately from other tax credit disputes.

Mike Penning: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate for each type of tax credit the value of unclaimed credits in each parliamentary constituency. [164122]

Jane Kennedy: Estimates of the amounts unclaimed for Child and Working Tax Credits in 2003-04 and 2004-05 are available in Table 1 in the HMRC publications “Child and Working Tax Credit take-up rates”, for each relevant year. These publications are available on the HMRC website at:

The same information is not available at parliamentary constituency level.

Mike Penning: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many people had tax credit payments suspended due to overpayments in (a) each county in England and Wales and (b) Hemel Hempstead constituency in each year since tax credits were introduced; [164116]


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(2) how many tax credit claimants had (a) in-year and (b) end-of-year adjustments made to their awards in each year since 2003-04; and in how many in-year adjustments the tax credit award was reduced to zero. [164121]

Jane Kennedy: Information on the number of tax credit customers who have an overpayment at the end of each year for 2003-04 to 2005-06 to be recovered either directly or by reducing an ongoing award for the years 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 is published in the HMRC publications “Child and Working Tax Credits. Finalised Awards. Supplement on Payments”. These publications are available on the HMRC website at:

The same information by county and constituency, is available in the HMRC publications “Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics. Finalised Annual Awards. Supplement on Payments. Geographical Analysis”, for each relevant year. These publications are available on the HMRC website at:

The same information for 2006-07 is due to be published in May 2008.

The information requested on how many customers are having payments reduced due to overpayment recovery is not readily available and could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

Welfare Tax Credits: Hemel Hempstead

Mike Penning: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many tax credit claimants in Hemel Hempstead constituency there were in each year since the scheme began; and how many have been (a) underpaid and (b) overpaid. [164117]

Jane Kennedy: Estimates of the number of families with tax credit awards, including information on overpayments and underpayments by constituency, based on final family circumstances and incomes, for the years 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 are available in the HMRC publications “Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics. Finalised Annual Awards. Supplement on Payments. Geographical Analysis”, for each relevant year. These publications are available on the HMRC website at:

The same information for 2006-07 will be available in May 2008.

Welfare Tax Credits: Islington

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in Islington North constituency were in receipt of tax credits in the most recent period for which figures are available; and what the (a) equivalent figure and (b) average amount paid was in each of the last three years. [164902]

Jane Kennedy: The latest information on the number of recipient families with tax credits, by each parliamentary constituency, is available in the HMRC
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snapshot publication “Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics. April 2007”. Equivalent snapshot figures for April 2005 and 2006 are also published.

For the average amount paid, information on average annual entitlements by each parliamentary constituency, based on final family circumstances and incomes in 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06, is produced in the HMRC publications “Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics. Finalised Annual Awards. Geographical Analyses”, for each relevant year. All of these publications are available on the HMRC website at:

Duchy of Lancaster

Charities: Political Activities

Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether the Government’s proposals for reform of charity legislation will allow charities to be set up and run (a) exclusively and (b) mainly for (i) political and (ii) campaigning purposes. [164212]

Phil Hope: To qualify as a charity in England and Wales, an organisation must be established for exclusively charitable purposes which are for the public benefit. The activities of a charity can include campaigning and political activities provided they are likely to further or support the charity’s charitable purposes.

The Charities Act 2006 represents an important reform of the legal and regulatory framework for charities, and there are currently no plans for further legislation to reform charity law.

Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether the Government’s proposals on charities engaging in political campaigning will apply to student unions. [164213]

Phil Hope: Most students’ unions are charities, and like other charities they must comply with charity law, including the rules on engaging in political campaigning. The Charity Commission and what was then the Department for Education and Skills have published guidance for students’ unions, which includes details on campaigning and political activity.

Departmental Manpower

Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) how many reports have been made to the Cabinet Office’s nominated officers under paragraph 16 of the revised Civil Service Code since its publication on 6 June 2006; [162428]

(2) how many allegations of victimisation for whistleblowing have been reported to the Cabinet Office by departmental staff since 6 June 2006; [162429]

(3) when the Cabinet Office’s whistleblowing procedures were reviewed to reflect the provisions in the revised Civil Service Code. [162430]


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Gillian Merron: Guidance on whistleblowing is set out in the “Civil Service Management Code” and the “Directory of Civil Service Guidance”. Both documents are being updated, and the revised versions will incorporate the provisions of the new Civil Service Code. Departmental whistleblowing procedures will be amended to reflect the revised guidance.

I understand that the Civil Service Commissioners intend from 1 April 2008 to monitor Departments’ procedures and collect information on all issues raised under the “Civil Service Code” and not just those appeals made to them. They will report on this in their annual reports.

Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether the Cabinet Office arranges training for (a) nominated officers and (b) staff of other Government Departments on handling whistleblowing concerns. [162442]

Gillian Merron: The Cabinet Office hosted a number of seminars for departmental nominated officers in the lead up to the publication of the new Civil Service Code and further cross-departmental events are planned. The Cabinet Office also provides advice and support to Departments on individual cases when requested.

Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many cases alleging victimisation for whistleblowing were taken to the Civil Service Appeal Board in the last year for which figures are available. [162443]

Gillian Merron: Statistics on the number of appeals heard in each of the last 10 years can be found in Appendix 3 of each of the Board’s Annual Reports. Copies can be found on the Board’s website at: www.civilserviceappealboard.gov.uk. The Board has confirmed that it did not receive, or hear, any cases during 2006-07 involving allegations of victimisation for whistleblowing.

Health

Ambulance Services

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made towards ensuring that ambulance services call centre staff have clinical expertise. [162617]

Mr. Bradshaw: Ambulance trusts are currently taking forward work on the delivery of a national competency framework, and of a performance management framework, for control rooms and these will be used to inform the development of nationally recognised education and training programmes for ambulance call handling staff.

Ambulance Services: Global Navigation Satellite Systems

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the (a) suitability and (b) effectiveness of navigation systems used by ambulance services, with particular reference to Terrafix. [162618]


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Mr. Bradshaw: The Department has made no assessments on the suitability or effectiveness of navigation systems used by the ambulance service. Ambulance trusts decide locally which navigational systems they wish to procure; therefore, assessment of suitability and effectiveness will be a matter for each national health service ambulance trust to manage locally.

Ambulance Services: Standards

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all ambulance trusts meet national response time requirements; and if he will make a statement. [166088]

Mr. Bradshaw: It is for strategic health authorities (SHAs), as the local headquarters of the national health service, and primary care trusts (PCTs), as commissioners, to ensure that national response time standards are delivered and maintained by ambulance trusts. The Department, via the Recovery and Support Unit discusses performance with SHAs to ensure that SHAs work with local organisations to address performance issues, and if appropriate with support from the National Ambulance Performance Implementation Lead.

In 2008, changes to performance reporting will be introduced, which will align the reported response times more closely to patients’ experience. The Department is supporting ambulance trusts to prepare for this change by providing advice and specialist support, and facilitating the sharing of data, analysis and best practice.

The Department implemented a £25 million capital incentive scheme during 2006-07. A similar scheme operated in 2004-05. Both schemes rewarded trusts who demonstrated improved levels of performance including response times.

The Healthcare Commission assesses ambulance trusts, and PCTs on performance against national response time requirements.

British Psychological Society

Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will ensure that when regulations are issued in relation to the Draft Order in Council under section 62 (10) of the Health Act 1999 relating to the Health Care and Associated Professions (Miscellaneous amendments) (No. 2) Order 2007, that the order contains provisions that will allow the free transfer of the appropriate membership lists from the Association of Educational Psychologists similar to that facility proposed for the British Psychological Society and its members. [163671]

Mr. Bradshaw: Draft legislation to introduce statutory regulation of educational psychologists is due to be published shortly. It will contain a provision for all current practitioners subject to voluntary regulation which demonstrates their fitness to practise safely and competently to be automatically transferred to the statutory register.


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Cancer: Drugs

Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which primary care trusts in England provide funding for Sunitinib for patients with renal cancer who have failed to respond to all other treatments. [165891]

Ann Keen: The Department does not hold information on which primary care trusts (PCTs) in England provide funding for Sunitinib (sutent) for patients with renal cancer who have failed to respond to all other treatments.

Sunitinib is licensed in the United Kingdom for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumours.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently appraising Sunitinib for renal cell carcinoma.

In the meantime, it is for local PCTs to decide whether to make Sunitinib available to patients. In doing so, they need to take into account the available evidence. It is not acceptable for national health service organisations to refuse to fund a treatment simply because it has not been appraised by NICE.

Departmental NDPBs

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) budget and (b) remit is of each non-departmental public body sponsored by his Department; who the chairman is of each; and to what salary, including bonuses and expenses, each chairman is entitled. [163617]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Information on all the Department's public bodies is published annually by the Cabinet Office in the Public Bodies Directory. This is available at:

The directory for each year from 1998 to 2006 is currently available and the 2007 directory will be available before the end of the year.

Edgware Hospital: Rheumatology

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will ensure that rheumatologists at Edgware hospital will be able to continue to refer patients direct to physiotherapy and podiatry services at Edgware hospital on the same day; what the reasons were for the change in these arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [162988]

Mr. Bradshaw: This is a matter for the local national health service. It is for the local health organisations to decide how to best serve their local communities.

Edgware Hospital: Surgery

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to facilitate access to out-of-hours operating theatre capacity at Edgware hospital; when these plans will be enacted; and if he will make a statement. [162987]


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Mr. Bradshaw: This is a matter for the local national health service. It is for the local health organisations to decide how to best serve their local communities.

General Practitioners

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of GP practices have had facilities available for (a) video and (b) telephone links to hospital consultants in each year since 1997 for which figures are available. [162240]

Mr. Bradshaw: These data are not collected centrally.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he plans to take to ensure that the 100 new GP practices for the 25 per cent. of primary care trusts with the poorest primary care provision are (a) able to embrace the latest, most modern models of primary care, (b) situated in convenient locations and (c) open into the evenings and at weekends. [163363]

Mr. Bradshaw: It is for primary care trusts (PCTS) to determine the detailed service specification that contractors will be invited to tender to provide. We will expect PCTs to look to procure innovative solutions and models of provision that will contribute to improvements in access and outcomes for patients through the primary health care services secured.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health by what date (a) the first and (b) all the 100 new general practitioner practices for the 25 per cent. of primary care trusts with the poorest primary care provision will be open. [163368]

Mr. Bradshaw: The 25 per cent. of primary care trusts that have been identified as having the poorest primary medical care provision are developing their delivery plans to meet local needs. The Department is now working with the national health service to ensure that the proposed services are commissioned and this includes discussions around timescales.


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