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13 May 2009 : Column 784W—continued

Tibet: Human Rights

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of China on human rights in Tibet. [273423]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 7 May 2009]: We continue to have concerns about the human rights of Tibetans both in Tibet and the surrounding regions. Most recently my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister raised our concerns on the situation in Tibet with both Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, urging the Chinese authorities to resume their discussions with the Dalai Lama's envoys without delay.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary also raised Tibet with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at the UK-China Summit in February 2009.

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I made the same points to the Chinese ambassador when we met on 25 March 2009. The UK also raised concerns about human rights of Tibetans during China's appearance before the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva on 9 February 2009.

Energy and Climate Change

Carbon Sequestration

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of progress in the development of the technology to enable the burial of carbon captured from coal-fired power stations under the North Sea; and what his most recent estimate is of the cost of such operations. [273199]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made an oral statement to the House on proposals for carbon, capture and storage (CCS) policy on 23 April 2009, Official Report, column 345. These proposals build on previous policy statements and are underpinned by a number of studies and reports, including assessments of development status of CCS:

Most recently, DECC's Advisory Committee on Carbon Abatement Technologies (ACCAT) has set out its views in its advisory document on ‘Accelerating the Deployment of Carbon Abatement Technologies with special focus on Carbon Capture and Storage, 2009’:

These reports all indicate that CCS has reached the stage of development at which it needs to be demonstrated at full-scale. It is for this reason that the Government have decided to support up to four such demonstration projects in the UK.

The CAT strategy (2005) compared estimates of the cost of carbon abated with CCS and alternative low carbon power generation technologies. This showed a wide possible range because the cost of CCS is sensitive to the cost of building CCS, its operational performance and the relative cost of coal compared to other fuels. It would not be fruitful to produce new estimates until these uncertainties have been reduced by full-scale CCS demonstration projects.

Departmental ICT

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the level of carbon dioxide emissions from ICT systems operated by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [273549]

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Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Department currently uses IT systems provided by the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs under IT services contracts with Fujitsu and IBM respectively. No separate estimate has been made for the levels of carbon dioxide specific to my Department. However, my Department is engaging with the Carbon Trust to understand the emissions that will be generated by the single IT system my Department plans on adopting from the summer of this year.

Low Carbon Buildings Programme

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Wealden (Charles Hendry), of 26 March 2009, Official Report, column 708W, on the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, what estimate he has made of the amount of funding requested through those eligible grant applications for solar photovoltaic technology under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme Phase 2 which have been put on hold. [270714]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 27 April 2009]: The Low Carbon Buildings Programme has seen significant levels of applications for solar PV technology. Since December 2008, £9 million has been reallocated within the programme to support solar PV bringing the total grant commitment to £26.5 million.

Following the Budget announcement, we have allocated immediately an additional £5 million for solar PV Phase 2 to be able to deal with the majority of projects which were put on hold.

Nuclear Power: Safety

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what arrangements have been put in place for nuclear safety policy and its implementation at nuclear installations following the disbanding of the Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee. [273894]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: There has been no change to the arrangements for regulating nuclear safety at nuclear installations. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) continues to regulate nuclear installations to the highest standards of safety and to provide expert advice on these matters to Government.

The Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee was one of several HSE advisory committees. It reached the end of its latest term of office in October 2008. The HSE Board decided to defer any decisions on reconstituting the Committee pending the outcome of various reviews. This included taking account of the recommendations, published in January 2009, of Dr. Tim Stone's review of nuclear regulatory arrangements.

One of Dr. Stone's recommendations accepted by the Government was to restructure the HSE's Nuclear Directorate through legislation. The future make up of any advisory body needs to follow decisions on these arrangements. Meanwhile, in addition to its own experts, the HSE is able to call on many external sources of advice on nuclear safety.

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Sellafield: Safety

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what investigation his Department has undertaken of the coolant incident that occurred at the high-activity liquid radioactive waste storage tanks at Sellafield on 1-2 April; when he was first informed of the incident; and when notification of the incident was made to (a) Euratom safety authorities and (b) the International Atomic Energy Agency. [271813]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: This incident was notified to the Health and Safety Executive, the independent nuclear safety regulator, on 1 April and to officials in my Department on 2 April. The Executive is currently conducting a full and formal investigation to establish the facts of the incident, which will be used to inform the need for regulatory enforcement action. The incident was not notified to Euratom or to the International Atomic Energy Agency as there is no requirement to do so for incidents of this kind.

Wind Power

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what percentage of the electricity consumed in England and Wales was generated by wind farms in 2008; and if he will make a statement. [275032]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The latest available data for electricity consumption and wind generation in England and Wales are for 2007. Data for 2008 will be available in September 2009. As shown in the following table, wind generation accounted for 0.7 per cent. of electricity consumption in England and Wales in 2007.

Electricity consumption (GWh) Wind generation (GWh) Wind generation as a percentage of electricity consumption









England and Wales





Care Homes

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent from the public purse on the (a) operation and (b) refurbishment of care homes in the latest period for which figures are available. [273695]

Phil Hope: The information is not collected centrally in the format requested. No estimate has been made.

Compulsorily Detained Mental Patients

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people diagnosed with schizophrenia are being held in detention in secure hospitals (a) nationally and (b) in Leicester; [275125]

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(2) how many people were diagnosed with schizophrenia (a) nationally and (b) in Leicester in each of the last three years; [275135]

(3) how many people are being held in detention in secure hospitals for mental health reasons (a) nationally and (b) in Leicester. [275136]

Phil Hope: Information on the number of people held in secure hospitals due to a diagnosis of schizophrenia, or for other mental health reasons is not collected centrally.

Information is collected on the average daily number of psychiatric beds in national health service units in England in 2007-08 within high, medium and some low secure units and of the average daily occupancy level and is shown in the table.

Secure services in Leicester are provided by Leicestershire Partnerships NHS Trust. Information is also available on the number of secure service beds within Leicestershire Partnerships NHS Trust, but not occupancy levels, and this is also shown in the table. These figures show only NHS beds and not those commissioned by the NHS from independent sector providers.

2007-08: Average daily number of mental health secure unit beds in NHS units in England; national average daily occupancy levels in secure unit beds; and average daily number of mental health secure unit beds in NHS units in Leicestershire Partnerships NHS Trust: data on average daily occupancy levels in secure unit beds is not collected at trust level


Average daily number of Secure Unit beds in England


Average daily Secure Unit beds occupancy in England


Average daily number of Secure Unit beds in Leicestershire Partnerships NHS Trust


Average daily Secure Unit beds occupancy in Leicestershire Partnerships NHS Trust


n/a = Not available.
Department of Health Dataset KH03

Departmental Complaints

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what procedure his Department follows for dealing with complaints received (a) by e-mail, (b) by post, (c) by telephone and (d) via his Department's website. [274523]

Mr. Bradshaw: Individuals who wish to make a complaint about the Department or its members of staff may contact the Department in any form they wish. However all complaints are treated the same way, no matter how they are received.

Should an individual wish to make a formal complaint, he or she may do so to the Department's Customer Service Centre. Each complaint is investigated thoroughly, and if upheld, recommendations are made internally to ensure that future service is improved. Wherever possible, the Department aims to respond to complainants within 20 working days.

Details of how to make a complaint to the Department can be found on the Department's website.

If a complainant is unhappy with the Department's response they may ask their Member of Parliament to request that the Parliamentary and Health Service
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Ombudsman investigates the complaint and the way it was handled. The Ombudsman carries out independent investigations into complaints about Government Departments.

Departmental Pay

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much members of his departmental board claimed in expenses in each financial year between 2004-05 and 2007-08. [272779]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department is committed to being open about its use of expenses. Recent answers to parliamentary questions and freedom of information requests have not only covered the expenses directly claimed but also expenses covered by centrally managed contracts, for example train and hotel bookings. These answers have included expenses data at an aggregate level or for a handful of individuals based on recent data. To ensure consistency we would need to approach several suppliers, some who no longer hold the contracts to provide the data and have no obligation to provide the information.

There is no statutory requirement to collect and report on this data in the format requested and to provide an answer to this question would require manual interrogation of a finance system, which was replaced in July 2008 by a new departmental accounting system. Since 2004-05, there have been 33 members of the board. Therefore, the Department cannot provide an answer as to do so would be at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reason the NHS capital budget for 2009-10 has been reduced by £100 million from the plans set out in the 2008 pre-Budget report. [273623]

Mr. Bradshaw: The NHS capital budget in 2009-10 is unchanged between pre-Budget report 2008 (£5.4 billion, Table B18, page 214), and Budget 2009 (£5.4 billion, Table C11, page 241).

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to Table 6.1 of the Budget Report 2009, (1) how much each organisation for which his Department has responsibility will contribute to the £10.5 billion in savings proposed in relation to the new 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review target; [273625]

(2) how his Department plans to release (a) £500 million through reductions in average length of stay in hospitals and (b) £500 million through improved capability and planning capacity in commissioning; whether primary care trust allocations for 2009-10 and 2010-11 are to remain unchanged; and if he will make a statement; [273626]

(3) what (a) cashable and (b) non-cashable savings his Department plans to make to meet the £10.5 billion savings proposed over the period covered by the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review; and in which year each saving is to be made. [273627]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department does not set savings targets for individual national health service organisations. All organisations will be expected to contribute to the
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savings and, where appropriate, this is reflected when setting allocations from the Department to NHS and other organisations and when setting the payment by results tariff prices that NHS providers receive for providing NHS services.

Table 6.1 in the Budget report 2009 includes examples of how the Department intends to meet its new savings target of £10.5 billion per year by 2010-11. Further specific details are set out publicly in the Department’s Value for Money Delivery Agreement and the Government’s 2009 Value for Money Update.

There is scope for significant savings through reductions in average length of stay through movement towards the performance of the best organisations, including bearing down on clinical intervention thresholds that appear to be inappropriate when compared to clinical best practice.

The World Class Commissioning Programme has supported primary care trusts in focusing their energy towards commissioning for long-term health gain for their local communities. We will build on this by introducing a new efficiency competency into the assurance framework in 2009-10. This will ensure that commissioners are equipped with the capability and planning capacity to drive transformations in both the quality of care and the efficiency of services.

HM Treasury guidance requires that all value for money savings declared under the 2007 comprehensive spending review (CSR) programme are cash-releasing. There are no interim targets but the Department report publicly on progress towards the 2010-11 target in its annual autumn performance report and departmental report. The Department’s approach to delivering savings in the 2007 CSR period is set out in its Value for Money Delivery Agreement and the Government’s 2009 Value for Money Update.

Primary care trust allocations for 2009-10 and 2010-11, announced in December 2008, are unchanged.

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