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24 Mar 2010 : Column 387W—continued

The Department does not hold comparable information about what the total cost of payments to Wave One ISTC providers would have been under the tariff set for comparable NHS procedures.

Tuberculosis: Offenders

Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to ensure that medical treatment of prisoners with tuberculosis continues on leaving custody. [323421]

Phil Hope: The Department acknowledges that prisoners leaving prison with a diagnosed medical condition such as tuberculosis require ongoing care from primary and specialist care services in the community.

This is a challenge given the often complex social and personal circumstances of prison-leavers. Issues around homelessness are a particular concern as it can lead to loss of contact with locality based care services. Recognising the need for cross-organisation working, the Department has committed itself to improving care pathways for offenders in prison and in the community in the cross government Health and Criminal Justice Delivery Plan "Improving Health, Supporting Justice" (November 2009, Department of Health). A copy has already been placed in the Library.

In the interim, through-care and after-care programmes in prisons endeavour to ensure that ongoing care requirements are met and planning for discharge occurs so that prison-leavers are referred to services in their home community. Our partners recognise this challenge too and are actively engaged in working through the issues with us.

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Tuberculosis: Screening

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the NHS in diagnosing those with tuberculosis; and what steps he is taking to improve the methods used by the NHS to diagnose people with that disease. [323668]

Gillian Merron: The Department has made no specific assessment of the effectiveness of the national health service in diagnosing tuberculosis. The Care Quality Commission, as part of its Annual Health Check of NHS organisations, monitors the implementation of National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines and assesses how the NHS implements delivery of services, including TB services. The organisation and running of local services are matters for local NHS management. Primary care trusts are responsible for procuring TB services to fit their local demography and incidence of TB in their area, and ensuring that those standards are monitored, met and reviewed as part of the commissioning process.

The Department published a toolkit in June 2007 for the NHS recommending that the NICE clinical guidelines (published 2006) on the diagnosis and management of tuberculosis should be followed by all NHS service providers.

The diagnosis of TB is made from a combination of context, symptoms, clinical signs and investigation. NICE recommends that clinical investigation for pulmonary TB (the only infectious form) comprise a chest X-ray, followed by multiple sputum samples for TB microscopy and culture. These represent the current 'gold standard' diagnostic tools, and NICE advises that if the clinical signs and symptoms are consistent with pulmonary TB then treatment should be started without waiting for further tests.

NICE identified areas for future research, one of which concerned Interferon Gamma Release Assay (IGRA) tests, to assess whether interferon-gamma tests are acceptable to patients and more effective than tuberculin skin tests for predicting subsequent development of active TB, or diagnosing or ruling out current active TB. Research proposals have been set in motion for these, but results of these studies are likely to be some years away.

Vaccination: Children

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether he has made an estimate of the number of children eligible for vaccines resident in areas in which the Child Health Interim Application is in use in the last three years; [323915]

(2) whether he has made an estimate of the effect on the number of children receiving immunisations of errors in the Child Health Interim Application. [323916]

Gillian Merron: The Health Protection Agency (HPA) monitors and publishes quarterly COVER (Cover of Vaccine Evaluated Rapidly) uptake data, which include that from London Strategic Health Authority. These are published on the HPA website:

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In order to ensure that children within primary care trusts (PCTs) using the Interim Child Health Interim Application (CHIA) received their immunisations at the right time, both regular and additional audit activities were carried out by PCTs, general practitioner practices, BT (the Local Service Provider for the London Cluster) and the Health Protection Agency. These activities have been used to validate the immunisation returns and to ensure that any children overdue an immunisation are invited to have one at the appropriate time. PCT chief executives and the Director of Public Health for London were fully engaged in and supportive of these activities.

Communities and Local Government

Affordable Housing

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made for the purposes of the allocation of regional funding by the Homes and Communities Agency of the likely number of HomeBuy Direct completions in each region in 2010-11. [324149]

John Healey: HomeBuy Direct is a demand-led product so regional funding is adjusted to match take-up by first-time buyers.

Agriculture: Planning Permission

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to Lord Taylor of Holbeach of 23 February 2010, Official Report, House of Lords, column 290WA, on planning, what the timetable for the review of effectiveness of planning policy guidance on the protection of the best and most versatile farmland is. [323089]

Huw Irranca-Davies: I have been asked to reply.

Planning policy on agricultural land requires local planning authorities to take account of the presence of best and most versatile agricultural land, alongside other sustainability considerations, when determining planning applications. As outlined in the soil strategy, "Safeguarding our Soils(1)", DEFRA and the Department for Communities and Local Government are committed to reviewing the weight that should be given to protecting this land from development. It is planned that the findings from this review will be delivered in 2010.

Council Housing: Immigrants

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the effects of the European Court of Justice ruling in Cases C-310/08 and C-480/08, London borough of Harrow v. Nimco Hassan Ibrahim and Maria Teixeira v. London borough of Lambeth, on the requirements of local authorities to provide council housing to migrant workers. [323157]

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Mr. Ian Austin: We are considering the implications of judgment of the European Court of Justice for the allocation of social housing.

However, because of the very specific circumstances of the two cases, we do not expect that the judgment will have a significant impact on the amount of council housing provided to migrant workers.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Peterborough of 2 March 2010, Official Report, column 1144W, on housing: regeneration, how much was spent on demolitions in each pathfinder area in each year since 2003-04. [323997]

Mr. Ian Austin: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 6 January 2010, Official Report, column 364W.

Disabled Facilities Grants: Hyndburn

Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he intends to announce the Disabled Facilities Grants allocation for Hyndburn borough council for the year 2010-11. [322812]

Mr. Ian Austin: An announcement on the Disabled Facilities Grant allocations for the year 2010-11, including Hyndburn borough council's allocation, will be made shortly.

Details of the amount awarded to each local authority will be available on the Communities and Local Government website at:

and will also be made available in the Libraries of both Houses.


Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what requirements apply to homes in eco-towns to be constructed at (a) Level 5 and (b) Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. [323300]

John Healey: The Planning Policy Statement: eco-towns (PPS), that we published last July, sets out the standards that eco-towns must achieve. The primary focus is to set targets for innovation across the development as a whole, rather than an individual building approach, but it does include minimum performance levels for individual dwellings, including that they should meet at least level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

On energy efficiency and carbon, the PPS will require dwellings in eco-towns to demonstrate high levels of energy efficiency in the fabric of the building, having regard to proposals for standards to be incorporated into changes to the Building Regulations between now and 2016, and to meet at least 70 per cent. carbon reduction on site relative to Part L 2006 of the building regulations. This level of onsite carbon reduction is more demanding than Code level 4, is consistent with the zero carbon homes standard announced last year
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and will take effect significantly earlier than the general zero carbon homes requirement. In addition, over a year, the net carbon dioxide emissions from all energy use within the buildings on the eco-town development as a whole must be zero or below. This too is consistent with (and, depending on policy decisions to be made on allowable solutions for zero-carbon homes, may be more demanding than) the definition of Zero Carbon Homes which the Government have adopted for introduction in 2016.

The Eco-towns PPS includes a range of ambitious standards on other aspects of sustainability including high Code levels, for example in relation to water consumption, which taken together are the toughest standards ever required for new development. Copies of the PPS are available in the House Library.

Eco-Towns: Construction

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homes he expects to be built in each proposed eco-town; and over what period. [323530]

John Healey: As we set out in Planning Policy Statement: eco-towns, each location must be able to make provision for at least 5,000 homes. We expect 10,000 homes to be built by 2016, of which at least 30 per cent. will be affordable, and up to 10 eco-towns under development by 2020.

Energy Performance Certificates

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to his Department's publication, "Warm homes, greener homes: a strategy for household energy management", whether a privacy impact assessment will be prepared in respect of plans to increase the number of public bodies with access to the Energy Performance Certificate Register. [324010]

John Healey: The Department of Energy and Climate Change has recently published 'Warm Homes, Greener Homes', the Government's strategy for Household Energy Management. This Department has recently published a consultation, 'Making better use of Energy Performance Certificates and Data'. This consultation sets out our proposals for increased access to the data collected through energy performance certificates and display energy certificates.

A small-scale privacy impact statement has been completed by this Department in relation to the proposals contained in the consultation.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has made an estimate of the proportion of (a) private rented, (b) social rented and (c) owner-occupied households with access to a garden in each year since 1997. [324034]

Mr. Ian Austin: Estimates of the proportion of households in each tenure with access to a garden for each year from 1997-98 to 2006-07 are provided in the
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following table. These estimates are based on data from the Survey of English Housing and include those with access to a yard/patio. The question was not asked in 2007-08.

Households with access to a garden( 1) , England
Percentage of households in tenure

Private renters Social renters Owner occupiers









































(1) Includes those with a yard/patio, typically around 5 per cent. of owner occupiers and social renters and 15 per cent. of private renters.
Survey of English Housing

Green Belt

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what change there has been to the extent of green belt land in (a) England and (b) Coventry since 1997. [310679]

Mr. Ian Austin: The extent of green belt land in England increased between 1997 and 2009 by around 34,000 hectares if one disregards the re-designation of 47,300 hectares as part of the New Forest National Park in 2005. Since development control in National Parks is very strict, that re-designation need not be seen as a loss of green belt countryside.

The area of green belt in Coventry has been maintained at around 3,020 hectares between 1997 and 2009.

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