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26 Jun 2009 : Column 1195W—continued

Under the new dental contractual arrangements, introduced on 1 April 2006, patients do not have to be registered with an NHS dentist to receive NHS care. The closest equivalent measure to ‘registration’ is the number of patients receiving NHS dental services (‘patients seen’) over a 24-month period.

Information on the number of patients seen in the previous 24 months in England is available in table Dl annex 3 of the “NHS Dental Statistics, Quarter 3: 31 December 2008” report. Information is provided by adults and children and is available at quarterly intervals, from 31 March 2006 to 31 December 2008. This data are also provided at PCT and SHA level.

This report has already been placed in the Library. It is also available on the NHS information centre website at:

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All 10 SHAs have set themselves the aim of providing access to NHS dentistry for all who seek it by March 2011 at the latest. We are supporting PCTs to meet this aim with extra resources—an 11 per cent. uplift in our dental funding allocations for 2008-09, and a further 8.5 per cent. uplift in total funds for 2009-10, which takes the total available for dental allocations to £2,257 million (net of patient charge income).

We have also set up an expanded national dental access programme, headed by Dr. Mike Warburton an experienced clinician and manager, to support managers and clinicians to rapidly expand services where needed.

“NHS dental service in England: An independent review led by Professor Jimmy Steele”, published on 22 June 2009 recommends a series of further actions to support access and quality. Piloting of the recommendations will begin from this autumn. This report has been placed in the Library and is also available at:

Muscular Dystrophy: Medical Treatments

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will reintroduce Government funding for UK MDEX trials researching treatments for muscular dystrophy. [282456]

Gillian Merron: The usual practice of the Department’s National Institute for Health Research and of the Medical Research Council (MRC) is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics. Research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. Both organisations welcome applications for support into any aspect of human health and these are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the scientific quality of the proposals submitted.

The researchers who lead the MDEX Consortium have received funding from the Department and the MRC. They are aware of the public funding routes open to them and how to apply for support for any proposals they have for further research.

Swine Flu

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department has issued to primary health care providers on testing of people who think they may have been exposed to the swine influenza virus in cases where an outbreak of the disease has been confirmed; and if he will make a statement. [282458]

Gillian Merron: The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has published swine flu guidance for health care professionals on its website. This guidance is regularly updated. A copy of the most recent advice has been placed in the Library.

The HPA has also provided general practitioners (GPs) with algorithms for identifying suspected cases of swine flu in their patients. A copy of the algorithm has also been placed in the Library. If a GP suspects a patient has swine flu, they can notify their regional flu response centre, who will provide a swab kit so that a sample can be sent to a regional laboratory for confirmation.

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The HPA also offers front line clinicians, including GPs or emergency department doctors, direct clinical advice by phone via local flu response centres.

Communities and Local Government

Delivering Better Skills for Better Places Programme

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding has been allocated to the Delivering Better Skills for Better Places programme in each of the next two years; and if he will make a statement. [282644]

Mr. Ian Austin: The “Delivering Better Skills for Better Places” action plan was launched by the Housing Minister, John Healey, at the Chartered Institute of Housing Conference on 16 June. The HCA (Homes and Communities Agency) Academy has led this work, with participation and support from over 20 different organisations across the sustainable communities sector. These bodies represent professions integral to successful place-making: regeneration, housing, planning, construction, economic development, architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, local government, property, surveying, civil engineering and sustainability. The action plan will build on many of the successful projects and national, regional and local initiatives already under way by some of the partner organisations. It aims to ensure alignment between these initiatives and available resources to deliver the objectives of the action plan. Each partner has been working towards similar ambitions and “Delivering Better Skills for Better Places” combines these energies. Such a co-ordinated approach (for example to recruitment and retention across the sector) has been designed to achieve better outcomes.

The main aims of the action plan are to:

The HCA Academy has allocated £240,000 in each of the next two years to take forward this programme. This allocation will fund detailed research to give an up-to-date and comprehensive picture of employment flows in and out of the sector, and to measure skills gaps so that future actions can be better planned. Other areas of work that will be covered by this funding include development and delivery of training programmes in generic skills (eg cohesion; addressing the downturn) and opening up career progression and entry routes across the professions. Full details of the action plan are available on the HCA Academy website at

Housing Revenue Accounts

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the amount of Housing Revenue Account Subsidy to be paid to each local authority in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12. [282648]

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Mr. Ian Austin: No such estimates have been made. Consultation on the Housing Revenue Account Subsidy Determination for 2010-11 will commence at the end of October 2009.

Housing: Low Incomes

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding from the National Affordable Housing Programme was allocated to each region in each of the last 12 quarters. [282645]

Mr. Ian Austin: The Homes and Communities Agency and formerly the Housing Corporation publish the regional allocation statements on their websites. These provide information on allocations made by region and by quarter for the 2008-09 Affordable Housing Programme.

Regional allocation statements for Affordable Housing Programme for previous financial years are also available on the Housing Corporation website.

Repossessions Prevention Fund

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department has provided to Bassetlaw local authority to provide small loans for householders facing serious mortgage arrears; and what terms and conditions apply to such loans. [282455]

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding has been allocated to each local authority under the Repossessions Prevention Fund. [282388]

John Healey: Allocations have been made to local authorities from the Preventing Repossessions Fund based on population and levels of repossession activity. A list of allocations to individual authorities has been placed in the House Library.

The fund enables local authorities to extend small interest-free loans of up to £5,000 to families at risk of homelessness through repossession or eviction. Detailed terms are set at local level.

In the current economic conditions, we have acted rapidly to put in place help and support for households struggling with their mortgage at every stage: from free debt advice when problems start, to free support for cases that reach court. Advice is available to all households struggling with their mortgage, with targeted schemes for those in most need.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Lynne Jones: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the answer to the right hon. Member for Horsham of 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1785W, on chronic fatigue syndrome: research, when the Medical Research Council plans to set up a panel
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of experts from different disciplines to look at the subtypes and causes of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. [281820]

Mr. Lammy: The Medical Research Council (MRC) set up in 2008 a panel of experts from different disciplines to look more closely at chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME). The group is reviewing the current research and will identify additional opportunities with the aim of stimulating further research into CFS/ME, in particular focusing on the causes of the condition. The MRC hopes that this will encourage new research towards understanding the aetiology and subtypes of CFS/ME and lead to an advancement of knowledge in this field and the development of new therapeutic approaches.

Higher Education: Merseyside

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of 18 to 25 year olds resident in (a) Merseyside and (b) Crosby were in higher education (i) in 1997 and (ii) on the latest date for which information is available. [282527]

Mr. Lammy: The Government do not collect data on the number of adults resident in a particular area who are not in higher education, so it is not possible to calculate the proportion of 18 to 25 year-olds from Merseyside and Crosby who were in higher education in any given year.

The number of 18 to 25 year-old students from Merseyside and Crosby who were enrolled in higher education are shown as an alternative in the following table. Figures for the 2008-09 academic year will be available in January 2010.

18-25 year old enrolments( 1) from Merseyside and Crosby constituency( 2) UK higher education institutions
Academic y ear Merseyside Crosby







(1) Covers undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled on full-time and part-time courses.
(2) Parliamentary constituency are defined by full and valid home postcodes recorded on the HESA student record.
Figures are on a snapshot basis as at 1 December and are rounded to the nearest five.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Learning and Skills Council: Pay

Bob Spink: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how much was paid in bonuses to (a) directors, (b) senior managers, (c) specialist delivery managers and (d) executive support and administration staff in the Learning and Skills Council in each of the last five years. [280605]

Kevin Brennan: The Department does not hold this level of information. The Learning and Skills Council makes decisions about the payment of bonuses based upon its own business needs. Geoff Russell, the Council’s acting chief executive, will write to the hon. Gentleman with further information. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

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Low Pay

John McDonnell: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what data (a) his Department and (b) the Low Pay Commission collects on the living costs of those aged (i) over 21 years and (ii) 21 years and under. [281602]

Kevin Brennan [holding answer 22 June 2009]: The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is a key part of the Government’s wider strategy for achieving a fair minimum income from work. The aim of the Low Pay Commission (LPC) is to have a NMW that helps as many low paid workers as possible without having an adverse impact on inflation or employment. Neither the Department nor the LPC collects data on living costs as decisions on NMW rates take account of their effect on employment, inflation and competitiveness, not on living costs. Other measures for alleviating poverty such as tax credits take account of an individual’s circumstances.

Students: Loans

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department’s predecessor took legal advice on the decision to fix the interest rates on post-1998 student loans at zero per cent. for 2009-10. [282226]

Mr. Lammy: Yes. The advice was based on the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998 and the regulations made under it.


Legal Opinion

Lynne Jones: To ask the Solicitor-General whether it is her policy to request an update of legal advice to Government in circumstances where the evidence was not made available to the Law Officer giving the advice at the time. [268626]

The Solicitor-General: A Government Department seeking Law Officers’ advice is responsible for providing all the relevant information necessary for dealing with the request. If, after such advice has been given, a Law Officer becomes aware of further relevant information which may affect the substance of the advice the Attorney-General’s Office will raise this with the department and the Law Officers may reconsider the advice.

Energy and Climate Change

Energy: Housing

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many households in rural areas of Ribble Valley constituency have received assistance from his Department and its predecessors to meet or reduce fuel and heating costs in each of the last five years. [278578]

Mr. Kidney: The following table indicates the number of households in the rural areas of Ribble Valley that have received heating and insulation measures under the current phase of the Warm Front scheme (since 2005). The data has been compiled using the Office of National Statistic’s definition of rural areas.

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Ribble Valley, rural areas

Heating Insulation Total

























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