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24 Mar 2009 : Column 222W—continued

Non-Domestic Rates: Empty Property

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what revenues have been raised to date from the levy applied to empty properties in England in the last 12 months. [265329]

John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to the answers given by the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury to the hon. Member for Eddisbury (Mr. O'Brien) on 10 December 2008, Official Report, column 195W.

Planning Permission

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate has been made of the number of planning applications the Infrastructure Planning Commission is likely to determine in each year of its operation. [266250]

Mr. Iain Wright: The original impact assessment estimated that around 45 major projects a year would be considered by the IPC, but made clear that this figure would vary from year to year because supply would depend on market conditions. In January this year we published an Annex to the Planning Bill Impact Assessment, which concluded that despite various changes, we still believe that this is a fair reflection of the Infrastructure Planning Commission's anticipated workload.

Sustainable Development

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions her Department has had on the use of powers under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 with those local authorities planning to use such powers. [265379]

John Healey: On 14 October 2008, the Secretary of State invited local authorities in England to prepare proposals they consider, with their local communities, would improve the economic, social or environmental well-being of their area and to submit these to the Local Government Association (LGA). The LGA, which has been appointed as the “selector” under the terms of the Act, will short-list proposals and work in co-operation with the Government to consider the proposals. Discussions between local authorities and the Secretary of State are not a formal part of the process.

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Temporary Accommodation

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) households and (b) households with children were living in temporary accommodation in each of the last 20 quarters. [264987]

Mr. Iain Wright: Information about English local housing authorities' actions under the homelessness legislation (part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected quarterly at local authority level.

Data collected include the number of households accepted by local housing authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to secure that suitable accommodation is available). If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority must secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes so.

Information on the numbers of households housed in temporary accommodation is reported quarterly by local authorities as at the last day of each quarter. The figure includes: those households which have been accepted as owed the main homelessness duty; those for which inquiries are pending; those being accommodated for a limited period because they have been found intentionally homeless and in priority need; those being accommodated pending possible referral to another authority, and those being accommodated pending the outcome of a local authority review or county court appeal.

The number of households in temporary accommodation at the end of each of the past 20 quarters, and the number which include dependent children (or expected children), is published in Table 6 of the Statistical Release on Statutory Homelessness, and available on the web and in the Library:

Tenant Services Authority

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of her Department’s (a) management statement and (b) financial memorandum in respect of the (i) Tenants Service Authority and (ii) Homes and Communities Agency. [265257]

Margaret Beckett: The TSA Framework Document has recently been agreed by Whitehall and HM Treasury and the TSA is now preparing this for publication.

The Department is working with the HCA and other Government Departments, towards finalising corporate documentation that will constitute the Management Statement and Financial Memorandum for the HCA. This documentation is currently in draft and once finalised will be laid before Parliament at the earliest opportunity.

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what date recruitment for the (a) Tenant Services Authority and (b) Homes and Communities Agency commenced; and by what date she expects each process to have been completed. [265259]

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Margaret Beckett: Recruitment for TSA's executive team began week commencing 27 July 2008, these posts were filled between January and March 2009. Recruitment for the assistant directors began on 15 February and will be completed by July 2009 depending on notice periods. The TSA is currently restructuring staff transferred on 1 December from the Housing Corporation. This is due to be substantially completed by July 2009.

The first recruited post for the Homes and Communities Agency was the position of chief executive designate. This was advertised in July 2007 and the position was filled in March 2008. On 1 December the majority of the HCA's staff transferred from the predecessor bodies. The HCA are currently reviewing the organisation's corporate and regional structures. Until that process is finished it is not possible to specify when the recruitment process will be complete.

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she expects the restructuring processes involving (a) the Tenant Services Authority and (b) the Homes and Communities Agency to have been completed. [265260]

Margaret Beckett: The TSA has established an organisational structure to reflect the fundamental objectives that were established for it in the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008.

It has also launched a wide consultation with tenants, landlords and other stakeholders about the design of the new regulatory framework that it will introduce under the same Act. This framework will secure better standards of housing provision for tenants of affordable housing and a greater accountability of landlords to their tenants. It will also continue to provide essential regulation of the financial viability of housing associations.

To support this new regulatory framework, the TSA has begun its restructure with the appointment of its senior management team and it will be complete by autumn 2009 ahead of the introduction of that new regulatory framework.

The HCA are implementing a Change Plan to move the organisation away from an amalgamation of its predecessor bodies to a single, integrated organisation able to successfully deliver the Single Conversation. This is essential to build more effective structures that will deliver the demanding targets Government have set for housing and regeneration. Implementation will be an ongoing process, subject to review.


Acute Trusts: Financial Status

9. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made towards ensuring that financially challenged acute trusts achieve recurring balance. [265619]

Mr. Bradshaw: “Financially challenged” was a term introduced in 2007 for those 17 remaining national health service hospitals that were not in a position to deal with their historic debts.

Since then, 10 of them, including the Royal Cornwall, have agreed solutions and are no longer designated as financially challenged.

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All but one of the remaining seven financially challenged trusts are in London and work is well under way to address their historic debt, but over a slightly longer timescale.

Hospital-Acquired Infections

10. Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of progress in reducing the level of hospital-acquired infections. [265620]

Alan Johnson: We have exceeded our target to halve methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) blood stream infections, with a 65 per cent. reduction on the 2003-04 baseline.

Since the first quarter in which the current data format was used, April to June 2007, we have seen a 47 per cent. reduction in the number of cases of Clostridium difficile when compared to the number of cases in July to September 2008, the latest quarter for which data are available.

NHS Executives

11. Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) chief executives and (b) board members of NHS trusts have been dismissed since 1997. [265621]

Alan Johnson: Since 2001 seven non-executive board members of national health service trusts have been removed from office. The Department does not hold information prior to 2001 when the Appointments Commission assumed responsibility.

Chief executives and other executive directors are employees of their trusts and dismissal is a matter for the trust, acting in accordance with individual employment contracts and general employment law.

Information regarding dismissals is not collected centrally.

Bilateral Cochlear Implant

12. Mr. Heppell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his plans are for the future provision of simultaneous bilateral cochlear implant to those who require it. [265622]

Dawn Primarolo: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued guidance on 28 January 2009, recommending simultaneous bilateral cochlear as an option for children or adults who are blind or have other disabilities and who are not receiving adequate benefit from acoustic hearing aids.

Primary care trusts are required to make funding available within three months of final NICE guidance to enable clinicians to follow positive technology appraisal recommendations.

Mental Health Services

13. John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what additional support he plans to provide to assist mental health care staff to identify mentally ill patients who present a serious threat to themselves and others. [265623]

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Phil Hope: Judgments about which mentally ill patients present a serious threat to themselves and others are a core clinical skill for frontline mental health clinicians. To support them, last year's review of the Care Programme Approach for mental health service users included a focus on risk and safety management and the Department commissioned a new national training package for staff. In 2007 we also published best practice guidance on managing risk to self and others.

Coeliac Disease

14. Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many requests for serological testing for coeliac disease have been received by pathology services in England in the last three years. [265624]

Ann Keen: This information is not collected centrally.


15. Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to improve its services to people with autism. [265625]

Phil Hope: In April, we will publish good practice guidance on commissioning for the NHS and local authorities and launch consultation on a new national strategy for autism with the aim of publishing the final strategy by December. We will ensure the needs of children with autism are addressed in Children and Young People's Plans.

Financially Disadvantaged: Health

16. Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the factors contributing to poor health outcomes for those in the bottom decile of income. [265626]

Dawn Primarolo: Research shows that factors associated with poor health in low-income groups include unemployment, overcrowding, lack of a car, low educational attainment, poor housing and behavioural risk factors, and area deprivation amongst others. I have not made specific analysis of the bottom income decile.


17. Charlotte Atkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to improve public awareness of the symptoms of stroke. [265627]

Ann Keen: Treatment of stroke is time critical. In February we began a very successful public awareness campaign informing people about stroke symptoms using FAST—Face Arm Speech Time to call 999, so that they can become stroke savers. The advert has appeared across television, radio, the press and on-line. Recognising symptoms earlier, means people get treatment faster and their outcomes are better.

Social Enterprise

18. Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent steps his Department has taken to promote social enterprise in the health and social care sector. [265628]

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Phil Hope: My Department is actively promoting social enterprise in health and social care through investment from the £100 million Social Enterprise Investment Fund. The NHS next stage review also promotes social enterprise through its introduction of PCT staffs “right to request” to set up social enterprises to deliver services.

Individual Budgets

19. Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the operation of individual budgets. [265629]

Phil Hope: Over the past year I, and my colleagues, have had several discussions with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and his Junior Ministers, about the operation of individual Budgets.

First Aid Training

20. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will have discussions with the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families on the inclusion of first aid training in the national curriculum. [265630]

Ann Keen: Children and young people can learn about basic and emergency first aid through Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education. While PSHE education is currently non-statutory, in October 2008 the Department for Children, Schools and Families announced its intention to make it statutory, and launched an independent review. Proposals for the statutory implementation of PSHE education will be the subject of a full public consultation. My colleagues at DCSF, who lead on this issue, are therefore making progress towards a decision.

Primary Care: Southwark

21. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the future provision of primary care in Southwark; and if he will make a statement. [265631]

Mr. Bradshaw: The local national health service is responsible for providing primary care services to meet the complex health needs of the local population. We are informed that Southwark primary care trust is currently consulting on a five to 10 year strategy for primary and community care, to include the development of four health and social care centres.

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