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Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much Government funding has been spent in Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency by the regional development agency in the last three years. 
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department is taking to reduce the burden of regulation for small and medium-sized businesses in West Lancashire constituency. 
Mr. McFadden: Government undertook an exercise, supported by industry, to measure the administrative burdens that impact businesses of all sizes as a result of complying with regulations. Upon the completion of this exercise, 25 per cent. net targets by 2010 were set to reduce this burden.
In December 2007, 19 simplification plans were published, showing more than 700 measures to reduce the burdens of complying with regulations. Over 280 of these measures have already been delivered saving businesses £800 million per year.
Simpler law for smaller businesses (BERR):
Smaller businesses stand to benefit from substantial rewrite of company law. Coupled with better guidance, new provisions are expected to lower third party costs and make compliance easier. Conservative estimate of £2 million annual savings delivered.
Changes to Small Business Rate Relief (Communities):
Small firms eligible for small business rate relief no longer have to register for relief annually. £3 million annual savings delivered, and expected to rise to £11 million by 2010.
Small Firms audit requirements (Financial Services Authority):
Removed the need for 3, 400 small firms to have a statutory audit, saving £12.9 million per year. Copies of these plans are available online at:
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he will answer (a) question 173134, tabled on 6 December 2007 and (b) Question 175767, on telephone contact centres, tabled on 17 December 2007 by the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne. 
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans he has to amend the regulatory regime to permit the use of remote electronic voting in trade union ballots. 
Mr. McFadden: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has requested the Government to use the order-making power in Section 54 of the Employment Relations Act 2004 to permit the use of electronic balloting in statutory ballots under trade union law. The Department is currently examining the TUCs proposal. We would not bring forward legislation in this area without first undertaking a full public consultation.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will instruct (a) his Department and (b) the Certification Officer to raise public awareness of the right of trade union members to opt out of the trade union political levy in trade unions which have political funds. 
Mr. McFadden: The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform raises awareness of the right to opt out of a trade union political fund via a publication entitled Trade union political funds: a guide for trade unions, their members and others which is freely available on the Departments website.
The Certification Officer is an independent office holder appointed by the Secretary of State to carry out specific statutory functions which are set out in the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 Act. The Secretary of State does not instruct the Certification Officer in the performance of his functions.
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what guidance (a) his Department and (b) the Certification
Officer has issued on the application of cooling-off periods to the sale of trade union membership. 
Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the effect on suitability of UBS AG to continue work for his Department on the financial and commercial aspects of new nuclear build of that Bank's announcement of its Chairman's resignation. 
Malcolm Wicks: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is content that this issue does not impact upon the ability or suitability of UBS to undertake this work for Government. However, as with all such contracts, the Department will continue to assess the suitability and performance of its advisers on an ongoing basis.
Mr. Ivan Lewis [hol d ing answer 21 April 2008]: On 14 June 2007, I announced two important measures to help improve the safeguarding of vulnerable adults. This followed the publication of the UK Study of Abuse and Neglect of Older People: Prevalence Survey Report, by Kings College London and the National Centre for Social Research. The Department contributed £250,000 towards this research, which was jointly commissioned with Comic Relief.
Plans are now being put in place to introduce a new national monitoring system to report the extent of abuse, so that each individual council can monitor abuse locally and act on it. This will be based on a standardised method for the collection of data on protection of vulnerable adult referrals in England, offering new understanding about the size of the challenge we face and allowing comparisons between councils.
No Secrets, the existing statutory guidance on safeguarding vulnerable adults, which was issued in 2000, provides for health, social services and the police,
to work together to protect vulnerable adults from abuse. Seven years on, and in the light of experience and knowledge gained, we are now working to review this guidance and to consult with the public and other Government Departments that have an interest in this field. We will also consider the case for legislation as part of the review process. A copy of the No Secrets, guidance is available in the Library.
On 27 March this year, I announced the launch of a further major research project, which is also to be co-funded by the Department and Comic Relief. The new study, entitled Abuse, Neglect and Loss of Dignity in the Institutional Care of Older People, will examine the experience of older peopleand those caring for themin institutional settings, such as care homes and national health service wards, and will focus more broadly on issues of loss of dignity as well as abuse or mistreatment. The tender process for this work will start shortly.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the average period of employment for a Commission for Social Care Inspection inspector was at the most recent date for which information is available; 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have been informed by the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) that, as at 26 March 2008, the average period of employment of an inspector was 5.34 years. CSCI does not have information on the dates inspectors began work from the period prior to the establishment of its predecessor organisation, the National Care Standards Commission, on 1 April 2002.
Headcount: 869; and
Full-time equivalent: 825.25.
Dawn Primarolo: The National Chlamydia Screening Programme for England aims to control Chlamydia through early detection and treatment of asymptomatic infection. One of the key aims of the programme is raise awareness of Chlamydia and its effects among the public and health professionals alike. In addition, the Department's Condom Essential Wear campaign includes messages and information regarding a wide range of sexually transmitted infections including Chlamydia to an audience of sexually active 18 to 34-year-olds alongside its key condom normalisation message.
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 11 March 2008, Official Report, column 259W, on Chlamydia screening, (1) what steps his Department plans to take against those areas that fail to meet their targets for screening 15 per cent. of their 15 to 24 population in 2007-08; 
(2) on what dates officials in his Department discussed Chlamydia screening in the last six months with strategic health authorities; what the content of the discussions was with each strategic health authority; what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the performance management routes described in the Answer; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: Officials within the Department have discussed Chlamydia screening with strategic health authorities (SHAs) in both formal and informal settings on a number of occasions within the last six months. The following table shows the dates when officials met with SHAs and at most of these meetings Chlamydia was discussed. The content of the discussions focused on the performance of SHAs in relation to Chlamydia screening.
Performance on Chlamydia screening is one of the indicators used to inform primary care trusts rating through the Healthcare Commission Annual Health Check in 2007-08. Reducing Chlamydia prevalence has been identified as a national priority target for local delivery in the national planning guidance for the national health service in the NHS Operational Plans 2008-09 to 2010-11, which highlights the Government's continuing commitment to tackling this infection. A copy of the guidance is available in the Library. We will continue to work through performance management routes to support delivery of this target and increase screening volumes.
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the Answer of 7 March 2008, Official Report, columns 2853-54W, on Chlamydia screening, which areas the National Support Team for Sexual Health is supporting to help meet the 15 per cent. screening target; what support is being given by the National Support Team for Sexual Health to those areas finding it most challenging to meet their targets; and what central funding has been given to the National Support Team for Sexual Health in each year since its inception. 
Dawn Primarolo: The sexual health national support team (SH-NST) was set up in February 2006 to support local areas to deliver against the 48 hour genito-urinary medicine access target. Since inception the national support team has undertaken 62 visits and provided associated ongoing support to local areas across England. The total staffing and visit costs of the team to date is £1.2 million.
In 2008-09, the SH-NST will be shifting its focus to providing support on the Chlamydia screening indicator. It will work closely with the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) to increase screening volumes, working jointly with strategic health authorities to identify those areas facing the greatest challenge and supporting and monitoring the NCSP to ensure rapid progress to target.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The total amount awarded under the Section 64 General Scheme of Grants to third sector organisations (including charities and other not for profit organisations) from 1996 is given in the following table. Information on amounts awarded prior to 1996 is not available. Public sector organisations are not eligible for grants under Section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968.
|(1) In 2004-05 £4.2 million was transferred to the Department for Education and Skills for projects relating to childrens social care policy following reorganisation of departmental responsibilities for childrens social services. Following the transfer the Department for Children, Schools and Families Section 64 grant scheme was renamed Safeguarding Children and Supporting Families Grants.|
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