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30 Apr 2008 : Column 440W—continued

Social Rented Housing: Disabled

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what means of redress are available to social housing tenants who have
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parents, partners or children with disabilities whose needs are not being accommodated by their social landlord. [202502]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 places a duty on all public authorities, when carrying out their functions, to have due regard to the need to promote disability equality. They have to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people.

Social housing tenants who live with disabled relatives, and are living in a property which does not meet their needs can apply for a transfer or request that their current home be adapted to meet their needs. Under the statutory allocations framework, housing authorities must give ‘reasonable preference’ to existing tenants who need to move on medical or welfare grounds. Local authorities are responsible for arranging the provision of adaptation works or additional facilities. Disabled social tenants can apply for the disabled facilities grant (DFG), a mandatory entitlement across all tenures, to help fund the provision of adaptations or additional facilities. Local authorities have the discretion to decide whether to means test the DFG for their tenants or to make an increased payment for the adaptation.

Where the local authority decides that the tenant does not have any priority under their allocations scheme for a transfer, the tenant has the right to request a review of that decision. Secure tenants should refer any complaint to the local government ombudsman, and housing association tenants to the housing ombudsman service. In addition, they can contact their local councillor about their concerns.

Standards Board for England: Complaints

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley of 14 March 2008, Official Report, column 705W, on Standards Board for England: complaints, how many complaints were made to the Standards Board in 2007-08; and how many were upheld (a) in whole or (b) in part. [199285]

Mr. Dhanda: In total, 3,547 complaints were received by the Standards Board for England in 2007-08. Of these, 524 were referred for investigation after initial assessment by the Standards Board for England. Of these 524, 285 were sent to local authority monitoring officers for them to investigate, 223 were dealt with by the Standards Board's ethical standards officer. The remaining 16 cases have yet to be allocated.

Of the 223 cases, the ethical standards officers' investigations found that in 200 cases the complaint was unfounded or that no action was required. 10 were found to be sufficiently serious to be referred to the Adjudication Panel for determination. Of these 10, in one case there was found to be no breach, two cases resulted in a suspension for up to six months and the remaining seven cases resulted in disqualifications for periods between six months and five years.

The remaining 15 cases were referred to the monitoring officer of the relevant local authority.

Information on matters referred to councils, including cases referred for investigation, is not held centrally.


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Health

Abortion

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's file (a) CPO 2/25 Lord Braine of Wheatley's Partial Birth Abortion (Prohibition) Bill and (b) CPO 2/29 David Amess's Abortion (Amendment) Bill; and if he will make a statement. [201964]

Dawn Primarolo: To release the information contained in these files would entail manually checking and redacting each of the files which could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost.

Bird and Bird

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what contracts were awarded by his Department to Bird and Bird Solicitors in each year since 2005; and what the (a) value and (b) duration of each such contract was. [201641]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department does not collect information on contracts in the format requested. To do so would attract disproportionate cost.

Blood

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many units of blood were collected by the National Blood Service in England and Wales in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05, (c) 2005-06, (d) 2006-07 and (e) 2007-08, broken down by local authority area. [200636]

Dawn Primarolo: The following table gives the number of units of blood collected in England and north Wales.

Units of blood collected( 1) (million)

2003-04

2,296

2004-05

2,155

2005-06

2,039

2006-07

1,971

2007-08

1,927

(1) These figures are rounded to the nearest 10,000.

The National Blood Service is unable to provide a breakdown by local authority area.

These figures include certain categories of specialist donation, such as neo-natal, rare blood sub-types and mobile component donation.

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the blood collection level of each geographical area in England and Wales was assessed to be by the review of the National Blood Service Strategy, broken down by (i) percentage of donors in the population in each area and (ii) number of times donors give blood in a given period. [201248]

Dawn Primarolo: The National Blood Service (NBS) has provided the information shown in the following table.


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Region( 1) Donor penetration in population (percentage) Average frequency of donation( 2)

Anglia

4.4

1.50

London

3.6

1.15

North and Yorkshire

4.7

1.36

North-west

3.6

1.25

South

4.7

1.36

South-east

4.0

1.37

South-west

5.6

1.25

Trent

4.7

1.41

West midlands

3.6

1.62

(1) The regions are based on NBS definitions not standard Government regions.
(2) Average number of donations per registered donor per year.

Chlamydia: Screening

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library a copy of the mathematical modelling referred to on the National Chlamydia Screening Programme's web page on the local delivery plan monitoring line, which indicates that a higher proportion of the 16 to 24-year-old population will need to be screened to make a serious impact and reduce the disease burden. [201334]

Dawn Primarolo: A copy of ‘Modelling the effectiveness of chlamydia screening in England’ has been placed in the Library.

Departmental Contracts

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what contracts were held by (a) YouGov, (b) ICM, (c) Gallup, (d) GfK NOP, (e) Rasmussen, (f) ComRes and (g) Opinion Leader Research with his Department in the financial year 2007-08; and what the (i) purpose and (ii) cost to the public purse was of each contract. [201423]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department does not collect information on contracts in the format requested. To do so would attract disproportionate cost.

A new system will now be introduced on 1 July 2008 called SHOWA, which will be able to gather such future but not retrospective information for the Department.

Departmental Pensions

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his most recent estimate is of the unfunded liability in present value terms of each public sector pension scheme for which his Department is responsible; and on what assumptions for (a) discount and (b) longevity the estimate is based. [200711]

Ann Keen: The last published resource accounts for the NHS Pension Scheme are those for the year ending 31 March 2007 when the estimated liabilities were £218 billion. The discount rate changed from a real rate of 2.8 per cent. to a real rate of 1.8 per cent. (5.37 per cent. to 4.6 per cent. including inflation) from 31 March 2007. The demographic assumptions adopted for the
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assessments are derived from the specific experience of the membership of the scheme to 31 March 2003, and other similar large public service schemes where some aspect of the experience is not readily available.

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the unfunded liability in present value terms was of each public sector pension scheme for which his Department is responsible in each year since 1990-91. [200712]

Ann Keen: Information from 1996-97 to 2006-07, the latest year that pension scheme accounts for the NHS Pension Scheme (England and Wales) are available, is shown in the following table. Comparable information is not available for the years 1990-91 to 1995-96.

There have been various changes in the method of calculation over the years. These include amending the discount rate in 2005-06 and 2006-07 and updating the assumptions on longevity. Direct year-on-year comparisons are therefore not entirely meaningful.

£ billion

1996-97

60.9

1997-98

64.0

1998-99

67.2

1999-2000

72.2

2000-01

75.0

2001-02

86.8

2002-03

94.6

2003-04

104.2

2004-05

131.4

2005-06

165.4

2006-07

218.0

Source:
National Health Service Appropriation Accounts and NHS Pension Scheme Resource Accounts.

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the effect on his Department’s expenditure would be of increasing the employee contribution to each pension scheme for which his Department is responsible by 1 per cent.; and if he will make a statement. [200714]

Mr. Bradshaw: Increasing the member contribution for the NHS Pension Scheme by 1 per cent. across the board would yield approaching £330 million per annum to the scheme, based on a pensionable payroll of approaching £33 billion over the 12 months to 31 March 2007.

Until 31 March 2008 the NHS Pension Scheme contribution rate was six per cent. of pensionable pay, however, members classed as manual workers paid five per cent. Employees’ contribution rates to the NHS Pension Scheme have been increased from 1 April 2008 as shown in the following table. This will produce an estimated yield of about 6.5 per cent. an increase of about 0.5 per cent. over the previous contribution structure. There is no change to the Department’s expenditure from this increase.


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Pensionable pay Contribution rate ( percentage )

Up to and including £19,682

5

£19,683 to £65,002 (linked to Agenda for Change pay point 17)

6.5

£65,003 to £102,499 (linked to Agenda for Change pay point 49)

7.5

£102,500 to any higher amount

8.5


Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cash equivalent transfer value is of the public sector pensions of the 10 highest paid members of staff in his Department and its executive agencies; and if he will make a statement. [200715]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department publishes annual salary, allowances, benefits and pensions information for members of its Departmental Management Board in its Annual Resource Accounts. Copies of the 2006-07 resource accounts are available in the Library and are also available at the Department’s website at:

The cash equivalent transfer value of the Department’s 10 highest paid permanent members of staff in post as at 31 March 2007 was £6,867,000.

Departmental Temporary Employment

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many full-time posts were filled on a temporary basis for a period in excess of six months in his Department in each of the last three years. [200663]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department employs temporary staff of various kinds for a number of reasons, including:

The Department does not separately identify the type of post that is being filled on a temporary basis. The figures provided therefore cover all instances of posts being filled temporarily.

The numbers of civil servants employed on a temporary basis for more than six months in each of the last three years are as follows:

As at 1 October to 30 September each year Number

2006-07

23

2005-06

29

2004-05

59


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