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9 Jun 2009 : Column 836W—continued


Health Bill

Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library a copy of (a) his recent letter regarding the potential costs of compliance with Part 3 of the Health Bill [ Lords] sent to retailers and (b) his Department's analysis upon which such estimates were based; and what plans he has to issue further guidance to retailers on the means by which compliance may be achieved prior to the enactment of legislation. [278312]


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Gillian Merron: The letter relating to the tobacco provisions of the Health Bill sent from Baroness Thornton to the National Federation of Retailers and Newsagents dated 6 May 2009 has been placed in the Library. The letter contains information on the potential costs of removing tobacco displays, including cost estimates provided to the Department from a Canadian company with experience of providing solutions to remove tobacco displays in Canada. Further detail of the analysis of estimate costs of removing tobacco displays, and other measures contained in the Health Bill, can be found in the impact assessment produced by the Department, copies of which are available from the Vote Office in the House of Commons or from the Department’s website.

The Department is committed to working with retail organisations such as the Association of Convenience Stores, the British Retail Consortium and the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, along with the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services, to develop and distribute guidance to business with regard to regulations on tobacco displays.

Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to publish in draft form the draft regulations provided for under the provisions of the Health Bill [ Lords]. [278313]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The timetable for preparing and publishing draft regulations which support, where relevant, implementation of the provisions in the Bill will vary and depends on a range of different factors concerning each provision. We aim to publish draft regulations on the tobacco provisions as soon as possible, subject to the passage of the Health Bill through Parliament. This would give businesses adequate lead-in time before regulations commence.

Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which organisations he plans to consult on the provisions contained in Part 3 of the Health Bill [ Lords]. [278314]

Gillian Merron: We intend to work closely with a wide range of interested stakeholders, as appropriate, on the detailed implementation of the provisions in Part 3 of the Health Bill.

We are already working with various organisations to develop draft regulations concerning the tobacco provisions. The consultation on the draft regulations will be open to all interested stakeholders and members of the public.

The organisations we will consult include, but are not limited to: the Association of Convenience Stores, the British Retail Consortium, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services, the National Association of Cigarette Machine Operators, the UK Travel Retail Forum, the Association of Independent Tobacco Specialists, the Imported Tobacco Products Advisory Council, the Local Government Association, the Airport Operators Association as well as a number of individual businesses.

Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department plans to undertake a regulatory impact assessment on the effect of the provisions of the Health Bill [ Lords] on small retail businesses; and if he will make a statement. [278315]


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Gillian Merron: The published impact assessments supporting the Bill include, where relevant, our assessment of the likely impact on smaller retailers.

Copies of the impact assessments supporting the Bill can be obtained from the Vote Office in the House of Commons, and are also available in the Library and on the Department’s website at:

Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on the provisions contained in Part 3 of the Health Bill [ Lords] and the likely cost of their implementation. [278316]

Gillian Merron: All relevant provisions in Part 3 of the Health Bill were cleared through the usual processes across Government, including with the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. The Department continues to work closely with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on the Bill’s provisions, in particular to ensure regulations are developed that will enable cost-effective solutions to be used to remove tobacco displays. Relevant provisions are supported by full impact assessments.

Health Services

Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department's impact assessments in measuring inequalities in (a) gender, (b) social, (c) geographical and (d) ethnic groups in relation to cardiovascular and kidney disease and diabetes. [278591]

Ann Keen: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Sir Nicholas Winterton) on 3 June 2009, Official Report, column 507W.

The Department has assessed the impact on equality relating to policies on cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and diabetes. The assessments identify and analyse the available data and evidence on inequalities in relation to these conditions and set out ways in which to reduce the inequalities. The assessments have informed policy development in these areas and are expected to lead to improvements in outcomes and a reduction in inequalities.

The Department expects to monitor progress in reducing inequalities for conditions including diabetes, kidney disease and stroke. This will include activity to identify gaps in evidence and ways of addressing these, increasing awareness of health and social care services of high risk groups and improving the availability and quality of data to ensure people with these conditions are identified and receive good quality care. Improvements in access to services, a better experience and better outcomes for groups at risk will demonstrate the effectiveness of the impact assessments in identifying inequalities and suggesting ways of reducing them.


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Hospitals: Infectious Diseases

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 22 April 2009, Official Report, column 712W, on hospitals: infections, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the incidence of surgical site infections resulting from orthopaedic surgeries. [278864]

Ann Keen: A key component is surveillance of surgical site infections (SSIs). Since 2004, when surveillance of orthopaedic surgical site infections became mandatory, rates of SSI have decreased.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the rate of co-incidence of clostridium difficile and other healthcare-associated infections has been in individual patients in England in the last five years. [278866]

Ann Keen: Data on co-infections are not collected centrally.

NHS: Complaints

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman will be limited to the investigation of maladministration or service failure in his consideration of complaints which would previously have been subject to review by the Healthcare Commission. [278611]

Ann Keen: The scope and remit of the parliamentary and health service ombudsman to consider complaints has not been changed by the abolition of the Healthcare Commission.

Putney Hospital

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much Wandsworth Primary Care Trust has spent on (a) the development plans for Putney Primary Care Centre, (b) the security and maintenance of the Putney Hospital site and (c) consultation with local residents on development plans for Putney Primary Care Centre in each year since Putney Hospital closed. [278793]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The information requested is not held centrally. The future of the site of the former Putney hospital is a matter for Wandsworth Primary Care Trust.

Social Services: Correspondence

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms exist for hon. Members to request an immediate response from social services to urgent cases referred to them by those hon. Members; and if he will make a statement. [278810]

Phil Hope: The responsibility for regulating adult social care services rests with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). CQC has a range of enforcement powers and will take action where it considers that the welfare of service users may be at risk.


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Where concerns are raised about social services, there is no requirement for local authorities, or CQC, to respond urgently to any particular individuals or groups. However, the Department would expect them to respond in an appropriate and timely manner, taking account of the circumstances of the case.

Local authorities are autonomous, elected bodies. They are responsible for ensuring that the services they commission or provide meet the needs of service users and they must discharge their statutory duties and act legally. If a service user, or someone acting on their behalf, has concerns about the conduct or performance of their social services department, they are entitled to pursue the matter through the statutory social services complaints procedure, which all local authorities are required to have, or they may ask the local government ombudsman to investigate.

The responsibility for children’s social care services rests with the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

Treasury

Tax Avoidance

9. David Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with representatives of (a) high street banks and (b) major accounting firms on measures to reduce tax avoidance. [278512]

Mr. Timms: The Chancellor and Treasury Ministers have a range of discussions with industry on Budget representations.

In addition, HM Revenue and Customs is in regular contact with banks and major accounting firms on a range of issues including tax avoidance, the introduction of a code of practice on taxation for banks, and other matters of mutual interest.

Tax Reporting Requirements

12. Mr. Dunne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate he has made of the cost to businesses of complying with tax reporting requirements. [278515]

14. Mr. Binley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate he has made of the cost to businesses of complying with tax reporting requirements. [278517]

Mr. Timms: Research commissioned by HMRC in 2005 found the administrative burden imposed on business by the UK tax system is approximately £5.1 billion a year.

Reducing administrative burdens for business is a priority for this Government, and so is one of HMRC’s priorities. At Budget 2009, HMRC have reported significant progress and have implemented or committed to measures that will deliver administrative savings to business of around £540 million per annum.


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Public Sector Debt

13. Mr. Burns: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what date he next expects public sector debt to fall below 40 per cent. of gross domestic product. [278516]

Kitty Ussher: The UK entered the global economic crisis with low public debt, which has given the flexibility to allow debt to rise in the short term to support the economy. Reflecting the Government’s commitment to ensuring sustainable public finances over the medium term, the temporary fiscal operating rule requires debt to be falling as a proportion of GDP once the global shocks have worked their way though the economy in full. The Budget set out plans that are consistent with debt falling as a share of GDP by 2015-16.

Financial Services Authority

16. Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with the chairman and the chief Executive of the Financial Services Authority on the authority's performance against its objectives. [278519]

Ian Pearson: Ministers and officials meet the FSA on a regular basis to discuss a wide range of issues. The FSA reports annually to the Treasury on its performance against objectives. The Treasury then lays the report before Parliament.

Departmental Expenditure Limits

17. Mr. Harper: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department has made of the aggregate percentage change to departmental expenditure limits between 2010-11 and 2013-14. [278520]

Mr. Byrne: In the 10 years from 1997, total public spending increased by 43 per cent. in real terms, compared to 14 per cent. in the previous decade. Such high levels of investment, coupled with reforms, have enabled the Government to achieve major improvements across frontline public services. The Government are committed to increasing investment in important public service priorities over the coming years, alongside delivering more efficient and effective public services and cutting down on waste. Departmental allocations plans for 2010-11 were set out in Budget 2009.

Departmental allocations plans beyond 2010-11 will be decided at the next spending review. Over 2011-12 to 2013-14, public sector current expenditure is set to grow at an average of 0.7 per cent. in real terms, and public sector net investment will move to 1.25 per cent. of GDP in 2013-14.

19. Mr. Swayne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department has made of the aggregate percentage change to departmental expenditure limits between 2010-11 and 2013-14. [278522]


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23. Mr. Spring: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department has made of the aggregate percentage change to departmental expenditure limits between 2010-11 and 2013-14. [278526]

Mr. Byrne: In the 10 years from 1997, total public spending increased by 43 per cent. in real terms, compared to 14 per cent. in the previous decade. Such high levels of investment, coupled with reforms, have enabled the Government to achieve major improvements across frontline public services. The Government are committed to increasing investment in important public service priorities over the coming years, alongside delivering more efficient and effective public services and cutting down on waste.

Departmental allocations plans for 2010-11 were set out in Budget 2009. Departmental allocations plans beyond 2010-11 will be decided at the next spending review. Over 2011-12 to 2013-14, public sector current expenditure is set to grow at an average of 0.7 per cent. in real terms, and public sector net investment will move to 1.25 per cent. of GDP in 2013-14.

Employment

18. Mr. Bailey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect on levels of employment of the measures in the 2009 Budget. [278521]

22. Julie Morgan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the effect on levels of employment of the measures in the 2009 Budget. [278525]

Kitty Ussher: Action the Government have taken in the pre-Budget report 2008, since then and at Budget 2009 is of critical importance in supporting employment. For example, targeted cash-flow support for businesses through HMRC’s Business Payment Support Service has already helped 100,000 businesses employing 600,000 people since PBR. Precise quantification of the impact of each measure in the 2009 Budget will be undertaken where possible and when the relevant data become available.


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