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2 Jun 2010 : Column 40W—continued

Hospitals: Wynyard

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the future of the proposed new hospital at Wynyard in Hartlepool constituency; and if he will make a statement. [89]

Mr Simon Burns: As with all significant spending commitments made between 1 January 2010 and the election on 6 May, the proposed new hospital scheme at Wynyard for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust will be subject to the Government's re-examination of such approvals to ensure they are consistent with the Government's priorities and good value for money.

Maidstone Hospital: Maternity Services

Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the reconfiguration of maternity services at Maidstone Hospital; and if he will make a statement. [57]

Anne Milton: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health is currently considering initial advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel following the referral made by the Kent County Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee. A decision by the Secretary of State for Health will be made in due course.


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Primary Care Trusts

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what future commissioning role primary care trusts will have following the implementation of measures in the Government's proposed Health Bill. [683]

Mr Simon Burns: The 'Coalition: our programme for government' document indicates the new role and functions envisaged for primary care trusts. We will bring forward more detailed proposals in due course.

NHS: Dismissal

Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the reasons were for the dismissal of each consultant dismissed from each hospital trust since 2005; and from which NHS employer and on what dates employees have been dismissed for reasons related to data protection since 2005. [4]

Mr Simon Burns: The information requested concerning reasons for dismissal of consultants is not collected or held centrally by the Department. Performance of staff (including disciplinary issues) and any arising matters are monitored and managed by local national health service organisations. This includes any issues arising from breaches of the Data Protection Act. Reasons for dismissal are a matter that is dealt with by the local employer.

Prescriptions: Fees and Charges

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the merits of ending prescription charges for adults with cystic fibrosis; and if he will make a statement. [256]

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to (a) maintain and (b) extend the programme of free prescriptions for people with long-term diseases. [714]

Mr Simon Burns: Decisions on any future changes to the system of prescription charges and exemptions in England would need to be taken in the context of the next spending review, which is due to report in the autumn. In the meantime, there are no plans to make any changes to the current list of conditions which are exempt from prescription charges.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Building Colleges for the Future Programme

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many further education colleges he expects to be rebuilt or refurbished from the £50 million of Government funding allocated for that purpose. [504]

Mr Hayes: The additional £50 million for college building projects will support further education institutions to offer the best facilities possible, bringing real benefits to learning and training. Many colleges will benefit
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from this resource, which will be focused at colleges that have yet to receive significant investment. Following the announcement of revised criteria we hope to invite colleges to apply to this fund shortly with a view to successful projects starting as soon as is practicable.

Concert Halls: Leeds

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what grant he plans to allocate to the development of the Leeds Arena in 2010-11. [63]

Mr Prisk: In December 2009, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills gave Yorkshire Forward approval to spend up to £9.88 million from its budget on the project. It did not "allocate" funds to the project. Some £8.1 million has already been spent. Yorkshire Forward is not expecting to spend any more on the project during this current financial year.

Departmental Electronic Equipment

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) plasma and (b) LCD televisions there are in Ministerial offices in his Department. [381]

Mr Davey: There are no plasma screens. All Ministers bar one have currently only one LCD television in their office. One Minister inherited two LCD televisions from his predecessor and asked for the second television to be removed immediately on taking office.

Departmental NDPBs

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much is expected to be saved by each non-governmental organisation for which his Department is responsible in order to contribute to the £100 million reduction in expenditure set out by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 24 May 2010. [99]

Mr Davey: The £100 million saving equates to approximately 11% of the overall running costs for the Department and we are expecting that saving to be applied across BIS and its partner organisations.

Higher Education: Student Numbers

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the likely change in the number of students in universities in the North East between academic year (a) 2009-10 and (b) 2010-11. [97]

Mr Willetts: The number of students in each institution will depend upon the recruitment decisions taken by individual institutions. However, we are making available funding for an additional 10,000 places in academic year 2010/11 which will be allocated by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.


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Nissan: Finance

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will maintain the previous Government's commitment of a £20 million grant to Nissan to fund the development of fuel-efficient vehicles; and if he will make a statement. [151]

Mr Prisk: The Chief Secretary has written to all Secretaries of State asking them to re-examine all spending approvals made since 1 January and re-examine all pilot schemes. This is due diligence by the Government of their inheritance. It is not a blanket cancellation of projects or pilots. Where projects or pilots are affordable, consistent with the Government's priorities and good value for money, they will go ahead.

One NorthEast

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans he has for the future of One North East; and if he will make a statement. [152]

Mr Prisk: The Government set out their position on the future of Regional Developments Agencies (RDAs) in their programme for Government: "Freedom Fairness Responsibility". We will support the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships to replace RDAs.

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans he has for the future of One NorthEast; and if he will make a statement. [87]

Mr Prisk: The Government set out their position on the future of Regional Developments Agencies (RDAs) in their programme for Government: "Freedom Fairness Responsibility". We will support the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships to replace RDAs and will publish the future of our plans in due course.

Post Offices: Bank Services

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on the role of the Post Office in delivering bank services. [658]

Mr Davey: We have been clear in "The Coalition: our programme for government" that we will ensure that post offices are allowed to offer a wide range of services in order to sustain the network, and will look at the case for developing new sources of revenue, such as the creation of a Post Office Bank.

Royal Mail: Pensions

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his most recent estimate is of the size of the (a) current and (b) (i) five and (ii) 10-year projected (A) surplus and (B) deficit of the Royal Mail pension scheme. [678]


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Mr Davey: The most recent reported actuarial valuation for the deficit was in 2006 and it gave a figure of £3.4 billion. The company and the pension trustees are currently working together to complete the ongoing March 2009 triennial plan valuation. This is scheduled to be finished by the end of June.

Royal Mail has recently said that it estimates the current value of the deficit to be around £10 billion.

St George's Day

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will consider the merits of introducing a national holiday for England on St George's Day. [651]

Mr Davey: The Government regularly receive representations requesting additional bank holidays for a variety of reasons. The pattern of bank holidays is well established and accepted but we keep all of these suggestions under consideration.

Supermarkets: Competition

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on the (a) date of introduction of a supermarket ombudsman and (b) powers the ombudsman should have in respect of suppliers in (i) the UK and (ii) developing countries. [653]

Mr Davey: The coalition programme for Government, published on 18 May, makes a commitment to introduce an ombudsman, in the Office of Fair Trading, to enforce the Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) and curb abuses of power which undermine our farmers and act against the long-term interest of consumers.

We are currently carefully analysing some 60 responses offering a wide range of views on the consultation which ran from 5 February to 30 April. We want to ensure that this body is robust and effective and shall be looking to make further decisions on this measure as soon as practicable.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) when he expects to announce his plans for the enforcement of the Grocery Supply Code of Practice regulation introduced by the Competition Commission on 4 February 2010; [692]

(2) what assessment he has made of the results of the public consultation on the Government's proposal to establish a Supermarket Ombudsman. [693]

Mr Davey: The coalition programme for Government, published on 18 May, makes a commitment to introduce an ombudsman, in the Office of Fair Trading, to enforce the Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) and curb abuses of power which undermine our farmers and act against the long-term interest of consumers.

We are currently carefully analysing some 60 responses offering a wide range of views on the consultation which ran from 5 February to 30 April. We want to ensure that this body is robust and effective and shall be looking to make further decisions on this measure as soon as practicable.


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Vergo Retail

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will hold an inquiry into Vergo Retail Ltd.'s acquisition from the East of England Co-operative Society of the society's non-food trading activities in 2009 and its subsequent operation of the business. [215]

Mr Davey: Vergo Retail Ltd. went into administration on 11 May 2010. In view of the reporting duties imposed on the joint administrators of the company the Department would not normally duplicate their work by carrying out separate inquiries. However, my officials will ask the joint administrators to inform them of any specific matters that come to their attention in relation to the company's affairs which might require further consideration by the Department.

Leader of the House

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

Mr Winnick: To ask the Leader of the House (1) how many staff are employed by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority; and when the organisation is expected to be fully staffed and functioning; [45]

(2) what senior vacant posts are being advertised by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority; and what the salary offered is in each case; [46]

(3) what (a) complaints and (b) other representations have been made on the helpline of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority; what categories of information (i) may and (ii) may not be provided by the helpline; and what plans there are for the helpline to provide more information to hon. Members and their staff; [47]

(4) what the (a) duties, (b) salary and (c) other remuneration is of (i) the Chair, (ii) the Chief Executive and (iii) each other official with a salary of over £50,000 of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority; [48]

(5) if the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) will make it its practice to provide assistance to staff of hon. Members whenever required in their dealings with IPSA; and if he will make a statement; [49]

(6) if he will discuss with the Chair of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority the development of administrative mechanisms which will ensure appropriate levels of authentication for all claims submitted by hon. Members without undue complexity; and if he will make a statement; [589]

(7) if he will discuss with the Chair of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority the reason for requiring hon. Members to produce a fresh contract of employment for a contracted employee working for one day a week in respect of additional duties undertaken in place of another employee of the same hon. Member who has taken leave; and if he will make a statement; [591]

Sir George Young: There is no ministerial responsibility for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.


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Education

Building Schools for the Future Programme

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has to distribute funds allocated under the Building Schools for the Future programme in the last six months; what plans he has for the future of that programme; and if he will make a statement. [40]

Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his plans are for continuation of the Building Schools for the Future project for (a) Westhoughton High School and (b) Smithills School; and whether funding for each project will be maintained at the previously planned level. [480]

Phil Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether Hurworth Comprehensive School remains a priority for funding under the Building Schools for the Future programme. [590]

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education from which of his Department's budgets funding will be allocated for the (a) capital and (b) annual revenue costs of free schools. [216]

Mr Gibb: The Department has not taken any decisions on Building Schools for the Future. Any future rollout decisions will be announced in due course.


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