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Equality Bill: Religious Groups

7. Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what recent representations she has received on the provisions of the Equality Bill relating to religion or belief; and if she will make a statement. [313707]

Michael Jabez Foster: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Romford (Andrew Rosindell) earlier today by the Minister for Women and Equality.

National Minimum Wage

8. Hugh Bayley: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on the effect of the national minimum wage on the gender pay gap. [313708]

Maria Eagle: The Minister for Women and Equality regularly meets with her colleagues to discuss how to improve women's position in the labour market, including by tackling the gender pay gap. Between 950,000 and 1 million employees stand to benefit from the latest increases in the national minimum wage (in October 2009), two thirds of whom are estimated to be women.

Discrimination: Older Workers

9. Gordon Banks: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what steps the Government Equalities Office is taking to tackle discrimination against older workers. [313709]

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what steps the Government Equalities Office is taking to tackle discrimination against older workers. [313701]

Michael Jabez Foster: We know that just because we are past 65 we are not past it.

Through the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 the Government have ensured that older people have a legal right not to be discriminated against at work, or harassed because of their age. The legislation removed the compulsory retirement beyond the age of 65. The employer must consider this request.

Research published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission on Monday found that the majority of workers over 50 want to continue working beyond the state pension age. We want to give older people flexible options and this is one reason why we have brought forward our review of default retirement age to this year.

Prime Minister

Official Residences

Mr. Maude: To ask the Prime Minister what steps are being taken to remove persons occupying the former ministerial residence at South Eaton Place. [312445]

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The Prime Minister: South Eaton Place is unoccupied. The property is for sale.


Asthma: Drugs

Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of the potential cost savings consequent on full implementation of the 2008 National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance on inhaled corticosteroids for the treatment of chronic asthma. [313528]

Ann Keen: The Department has made no such estimate. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published costing reports alongside its two technology appraisals relating to the use of corticosteroids in the treatment of chronic asthma in adults and children. The costing reports are published on NICE'S website at:

Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much he spent on metered dose inhalers in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09. [313529]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The net ingredient cost of metered dose inhalers (including pressurised metered dose inhalers and dry powder inhalers) together with refills was £773.7 million in 2007-08 and £833.6 million in 2008-09. Figures are taken from the Prescription Cost Analysis system, supplied by the Prescription Services Division of the NHS Business Services Authority.

Metered dose inhalers are defined by those listed within British National Formulary sections 3.1 Bronchodilators, 3.2 Corticosteroids and 3.3 Cromoglaticate and related therapy and leukotriene receptor antagonists.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department plans to provide funding for biomedical research into the causes, transmission and treatment of (a) myalgic encephalomyelitis and (b) other xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related illnesses. [313597]

Mr. Lammy: I have been asked to reply

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is one of the main agencies through which the Government support medical and clinical research. The MRC is a non-departmental public body which receives its grant in aid from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The MRC does not normally allocate funds to particular topics: research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. When appropriate, high quality research particularly in areas of strategic importance may be given priority in competition for funds, but research excellence and importance to health continue to be the primary considerations in funding decisions. The MRC always welcomes high quality applications for support into any aspect of human health and these are judged in open competition with other demands on funding.

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Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) continues to be a strategic priority area for funding and the MRC remains committed to supporting scientific research into all aspects of CFS/ME including evaluations of treatments and studies into the biological basis of the condition.

The MRC recently held a CFS/ME research workshop where the recent findings on xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus (XMRV) were among the items discussed. A note of the discussions will be published on the MRC website in due course.

The MRC's National Institute for Medical Research is leading a programme on infection and replication of retroviruses (including XMRV). One study within the programme is looking at how XMRV reproduces in the cell, its interaction with host cell factors and how it subverts the host immune systems.


Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what procedures are in place to protect against the transmission of vCJD through contaminated blood; which of these procedures was recommended by the Advisory Committee on Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs; what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of such measures; and if he will make a statement. [314085]

Gillian Merron: Since the theoretical risk of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) transmission through blood was first identified as a possibility in 1996, a series of precautionary measures have been implemented to protect the blood supply and products made by fractionating plasma, including:

Applicable to all blood/blood products


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Cryoprecipitate (a special cold-treated plasma preparation)

All of these recommendations were recommended or endorsed by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (which first met in January 2008), or its predecessor committees.

Because of the apparently lengthy incubation period of vCJD and the small number of clinical cases observed to date, it is not possible to make a definitive assessment of the contribution each measure makes to the overall risk reduction.

Contraceptives: Health Education

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 6 January 2010, Official Report, column 471W, on contraceptives: health education, through what metrics the effectiveness of the campaign is being measured; for what reasons his Department is using econometric modelling to determine the effectiveness of the campaign; and if he will make a statement. [313632]

Gillian Merron: The metrics that will be used to measure the effectiveness of the "Contraception. Worth Talking About" campaign include levels of awareness and understanding, personal relevance, willingness to discuss contraception with friends, family and partner and discussion of contraception with a health care professional. In the short term these metrics will be measured predominantly by tracking research.

Evaluating the overall success of the campaign more thoroughly requires complex multivariate analysis based on attitudinal and behavioural data and assumptions on how people react as a result of campaign activity. In the medium to long term we are considering using econometric modelling as this uses statistical techniques to strip out irrelevant factors affecting the results of the campaign.

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Departmental Drinking Water

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department spent on bottled drinking water in 2009; and if he will make a statement. [313287]

Phil Hope: The Department does not purchase bottled water.

For meeting or hospitality purposes the Department utilises its own water supply which is filtered and bottled on site.

In 2009 the cost of this was £39,925.08.

Departmental Management Consultants

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much consultants employed by his Department and its agencies have been paid (a) in total and (b) in reimbursable expenses in each of the last 10 years. [313990]

Phil Hope: Specific information detailing spend on management consultancy has been routinely collected by the Department since April 2005. Information on management consultancy expenditure before April 2005 is not held by the Department.

Information is collected on total payments to management consultancy organisations and does not reflect the payment to individual employees. The figures from April 2005 until March 2009 are as follows:

£ million









Information on expenditure on reimbursable expenses is not collected centrally. It is the Department's preference to commission management consultancy based on fixed prices for entire pieces of work and to include expenses as part of this.

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Where expenses are paid, the Department reimburses costs at the same rates and policies as for its own employees.

Departmental Pay

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding his Department has allocated for (a) year-end and (b) in-year bonuses for its staff in 2009-10. [307030]

Phil Hope: The wages/salaries outturn for the Department for 2009-10 is not yet known. Based on projections, it is estimated that non-consolidated performance payments will represent a maximum of 1.7 per cent. of the pay bill for 2009-10.

Non-consolidated performance payments are an integral part of the Department's reward strategy for staff at all levels. These payments have to be re-earned each year and do not add to future pay bill costs.

Health Education: Internet

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 16 December 2009, Official Report, column 1317W, on health education: internet, what the name was of the company paid £10,000 to develop the iPhone application. [313422]

Gillian Merron: The Department paid Capita Health Services £10,000 to develop the iPhone application. Capita then paid £9,000 of this to Brain Bakery and the remaining £1,000 to Antbits Interactive for the design and delivery of the application.

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