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14 Jan 2010 : Column 1085W—continued


Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 14 December 2009, Official Report, column 757W, how much has been paid to each legal firm employed to draft the contracts for the National Programme for IT. [309163]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: As part of the total sum for legal and commercial support relating to the national programme for information technology, monies paid to the legal firms in question include among a range of things, fees for the drafting of contracts. Information is not held in a form that makes it possible to identify payments made for work relating specifically to the drafting of contracts.

Between 1 April 2002 and 31 March 2009, the total fees paid to Allen & Overy amounted to £10,309,877 and to DLA Piper UK LLP £28,864,938, although Allen and Overy ceased to advise after 2006.

Obesity: Children

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what proportion of children in each multiple deprivation decile were classified as obese in 2009. [310644]

Gillian Merron: The information is not available in the form requested.

However, the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) provides data on the prevalence of obesity in children aged 4-5 years (reception year) and 10-11 years (year 6). Figures 13 and 14 in the NCMP report for 2008-09 provide information on the prevalence of obese children in reception and year 6 as measured by the index of multiple deprivation 2007. This publication has already been placed in the Library.


Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) below-knee lower limb amputations and (b) above-knee limb amputations have taken place in each strategic health authority in the NHS in each of the last five years. [309976]

Ann Keen: Tables providing the number of finished consultant episodes (FCEs) where there was a main or secondary procedure of below knee amputation; above knee amputations; other amputations; and amputation of foot or toe by strategic health authority (SHA) of treatment, have been placed in the Library.

In 2006-07 there was a SHA configuration change, where 28 SHAs merged into 10. For this reason, data for 2006-07 to 2008-09 are based on the new configuration and the data prior to this are based on the old configuration.

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It should be noted that the number of FCEs does not represent the number of patients as a patient may have more than one episode within a year.

Reference should be made to the footnotes and clinical codes when interpreting the data.

Stafford Hospital

Mr. Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received requesting a public inquiry into Stafford Hospital under the Inquiries Act 2005. [309864]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: In the period since the Healthcare Commission published their report in March 2009, the Department has had requests for a public inquiry, for example from local Members of Parliament and from a local patient group, Cure the NHS.

Home Department

Airguns: Children

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of measures to control the sale of air rifles to children via the internet. [310227]

Mr. Alan Campbell: The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 introduced a number of changes to the controls on air weapons which will help prevent the unlawful sale of air weapons to minors The minimum age for purchasing an air weapon was increased to 18 and the final transfer of all air weapons sold by way of trade or business must be conducted on a face-to-face basis. This provides an opportunity to seek proof of identity if there is any doubt about the purchaser's age. These changes were introduced with effect from 1 October 2007 and their impact will be closely monitored together with all other controls on air weapons.


Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evidence there is that the policy before 2002 of allowing asylum seekers who had waited more than six months for a decision on their claim to apply for permission to work was a pull factor for asylum seekers to come to the UK; and if he will make a statement. [305956]

Mr. Woolas: The Government believe that managed migration is a valuable source of skills and labour to the British economy and there are recognised routes into the UK for those seeking to work. However, entering the country for economic reasons is not the same as seeking asylum, and it is important to maintain the distinction between the two.

Giving asylum seekers or failed asylum seekers permission to work would be likely to encourage asylum applications from those without a well-founded fear of persecution, hence slowing down the processing of applications made by genuine refugees and undermining the integrity of the managed migration system. Indeed, asylum intake has dropped significantly since the policy change in 2002.

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This is why we do not generally allow asylum seekers to work while their claim for asylum is under consideration. The only exception is asylum seekers who have been waiting 12 months for a decision where this delay cannot be attributed to them. This is consistent with our obligations under the EC reception directive.

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for permission to work were (a) made by asylum seekers and (b) granted in each year since 2000. [305957]

Mr. Woolas: The requested information on the number of applications for permission to work made by asylum seekers and those granted since 2000 is not collated and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost through examination of individual case records.

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the potential savings that could be made by allowing asylum seekers who have waited more than six months for a decision on their claim to undertake paid work so that they would not be dependent on support from the public purse. [305958]

Mr. Woolas: No formal estimate has been made to date. However, the Government consider that while allowing asylum seekers to work may increase tax revenue this has to be balanced finely against the very real concern that allowing employment will act as a pull factor, and that the UK may subsequently receive an increase in the number of unfounded asylum applications as a result. We also have to consider the potential that this may have to delay the processing of asylum claims which would lead to more hardship, not less and more demands on the public purse as well as an increase in exploitation by traffickers.

Borders: Personal Records

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his latest estimate is of the date on which the e-Borders programme will be fully operational. [309526]

Mr. Woolas: The e-Borders programme is expected to be fully operational by 31 March 2014, processing 100 per cent. of all passengers and crew into and out of the UK.

e-Borders aims to capture 95 per cent. of passenger and crew movements by December 2010, covering all commercial traffic. It is expected that the remaining 5 per cent. including leisure boaters and the general aviation sector, will be providing travel document information data after 2010.


Mr. Touhig: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions Capita Group plc tendered for contracts let by his Department in each of the last five years; how many such tenders were successful; how much his Department paid to Capita Group plc for the execution of contracts in each such year; how many contracts which terminate after 2010 Capita Group plc hold with his Department; and what the monetary value is of all outstanding contracts between his Department and Capita Group plc. [303158]

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Mr. Woolas: The Home Department does not retain a central register of companies that tender for contracts. A search of individual records for instances where Capita Group plc or its subsidiaries have submitted tenders in each of the last five years could only be undertaken at disproportionate cost, however, six contracts were awarded in this period.

Inclusive of its agencies, the Department's total spend on Capita Group plc and its subsidiaries contracts in each of the last five years is as follows:

Financial year £ million











The majority of the spend derives from the Criminal Records Bureau's Disclosure processing contract with Capita Business Services Ltd. The contract was awarded in 2000 and runs for 10 years from service go-live which occurred in March 2002. This is the only contract held by the Department with Capita Group plc or its subsidiaries which expires after 2010. The outstanding monetary value of the Disclosures processing contract with Capita Business Services Ltd is £249 million.


David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Christmas trees were purchased by his Department and its agencies in each of the last five years; what the cost was of those trees in each year; from where the trees were sourced; what account was taken of the sustainability of the sources of the trees; and by what process the trees were disposed of. [305639]

Mr. Woolas: My Department does not keep central records on the purchase of Christmas trees. At our Headquarters in 2 Marsham street the Christmas trees have been provided by the facilities management provider at no additional cost to the Department for this year and the previous two years. These are sourced from a company who provide a certificate of origin and environmental benefit. Before that trees were from sourced from the Prison Service. On disposal the trees are chipped and recycled.

Crime Prevention: Milton Keynes

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to ensure the continuation of collaborative crackdowns on the illegal use of drugs and pubs in the city of Milton Keynes. [310221]

Mr. Alan Campbell: Investigations into allegations of illegal drug supply and consumption in licensed premises is a matter for the police, who prioritise resources towards tackling crime which causes the most harm.

Many police forces undertake action targeting the night-time economy. This includes sniffer dog operations in and around pubs and clubs and the deployment of drug trace detection machines. The use of trace detection
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devices can be a deterrent for drug users and dealers, and provides reassurance to the community by showing that a high profile drugs initiative is in operation. The most effective response to tackling drug supply in licensed premises is through a partnership approach between the police, licensing officers and local authorities to identify hotspot bars, pubs and clubs and then working with licensees to reduce drug supply in their premises.

The Government announced in March 2009 that the only central target for the police will be to increase public confidence. The target states that nationally, by 2012 60 per cent. of the public will feel confident that the police and local councils are tackling the crime and antisocial behaviour issues that matter most locally.

Criminal Records

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his most recent estimate is of the number and proportion of white males who have a criminal record. [310367]

Mr. Alan Campbell [holding answer 12 January 2010]: The Police National Computer (PNC) is an operational tool and is not designed to produce the information requested. To do so would require software to be designed, produced and tested to interrogate the PNC. This would incur a disproportionate cost.

Departmental Conferences

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which conferences held overseas have been attended by civil servants based in his Department in the last three years; and what the cost to the public purse was of such attendance at each conference. [305875]

Mr. Woolas: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

Departmental Domestic Visits

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many planned visits by Ministers in his Department within the UK were cancelled within 72 hours of the visit taking place in the last 12 months; and what the planned venue or venues were for each such visit. [309875]

Mr. Woolas: The Home Office does not hold this information centrally, nor will it be able to provide this information without disproportionate cost.

Departmental Electronic Equipment

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many plasma screen televisions his Department has purchased since 2001; and what the cost has been of purchasing and installing such screens in each such year. [306075]

Mr. Woolas: Central records on the purchase of plasma screens are not held.

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Departmental Energy

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the (a) energy rating and (b) energy band of each building occupied by his Department and its agencies was in each year for which figures are available. [305972]

Mr. Woolas: Display Energy Certificates (DEC) were introduced in 2008. OGC publish central Government Departments' Display Energy Certificate (DEC) operational ratings on a building by building level twice a year. The most recent data for the Home Office, published on 31 July 2009, include DEC ratings up to and including 28 February 2009 and can be seen via this link:

This information covers one Home Office Building, 16 UK Border properties and eight Identity and Passport Service buildings.

Data to October 2008 can be seen via this link:

Data relating to the month ending 30 September 2009 will be published on 18 December 2009.

Departmental Legislation

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criminal offences have been (a) created and (b) abolished by secondary legislation sponsored by his Department since 1 May 2008. [307807]

Alan Johnson: The following new offences have been created by secondary legislation since 1 May 2008:

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2009

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2008

No offences have been abolished by secondary legislation since 1 May 2008.

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