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9 Sep 2010 : Column 633Wcontinued
Meg Hillier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects to publish the level of compensation payable to companies involved in the development of identity cards whose contracts (a) have been and (b) will be terminated. 
Damian Green: Negotiations with the companies involved in the development of identity cards are ongoing and are currently planned to conclude by end of September 2010.
On conclusion of the negotiations, the Department will consult with the affected suppliers and Home Office colleagues regarding the decision to publish details of compensation sums payable.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what illegal goods have been seized by the UK Border Agency as a result of coastline patrols in each of the last five years; and what estimate she has made of the monetary value of such goods. 
Damian Green: Illicit goods with the following approximate values have been detected by cutter activity in UK and international waters over the last five years:
|(1 )To date.|
This amounts to approximately 16.5 tonnes of controlled drugs. In addition, in the same period, cutters have seized in excess of 7 million cigarettes, 40 firearms, over 200 other prohibitions including paedophile material, in excess of £700,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act and in excess of £15 million in unpaid value added tax.
Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance she issues to police forces on (a) policy and (b) practice on the retention of information on persons cleared of criminal charges and the subsequent disclosure of such information in enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks. 
Lynne Featherstone: Information relating to an arrest for a recordable offence, together with the subsequent outcome, is recorded on the police national computer (PNC). This includes both 'not guilty' verdicts and decisions taken by the police or Crown Prosecution Service to take no further action against an individual. It is currently the policy of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to retain this information for 100 years from the subject's date of birth.
Any intelligence or information deemed necessary for policing purposes is recorded in local police records. Such information is recorded and retained in accordance with the statutory code of practice on the management of police information
Operational guidance supporting the code states that records should be reviewed and disposed of when there is no longer a policing purpose for retaining them. This decision is the responsibility of the chief police officer, as the data owner. Part 5 of the Police Act 1997 requires that all information held in police records must be considered for disclosure. If, in the opinion of the chief police officer concerned, the information is considered relevant to the post applied for and ought to be included on the certificate, then it must be disclosed. Information on persons cleared of criminal charges may be disclosed on this basis, but is not routinely disclosed on a CRB enhanced disclosure.
The Government have indicated that they intend to review the criminal records regime. Terms of reference for the review are under consideration and a further announcement will be made by Ministers in due course.
23. Henry Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans her Department has to amend the food labelling standards for which it is responsible; and if she will make a statement. 
Mrs Spelman: The Government have made a commitment to clear and honest food labelling. Our food labelling standards work remains focused on protecting consumers and enabling them to make informed choices, as well as ensuring a level playing field to promote the competitiveness of our food industry.
24. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions her Department has had on a strategy for sustainable agriculture in England; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: Our objective is to support British farming and encourage sustainable food production. Environmentally sustainable farming is essential to protect the natural resources on which future food production depends, and to protect biodiversity and the countryside. Economically sustainable farming is essential for having a thriving farming industry. Strategic priorities are set out in the Structural Reform Plan and we will be elaborating on our sustainable agriculture objectives as we develop our departmental business plan in October.
Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has for the future of the Agricultural Wages Board. 
Mr Paice: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the Secretary of State on 22 July 2010, regarding the changes to arm's length bodies, which, as part of the Government's Structural Reform Plan, made clear that the Agricultural Wages Board, and the 15 Agricultural Wages Committees, would be abolished.
Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had on reducing the regulatory burden on farmers; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: We are very aware of the need to reduce burdens on farmers, increase competitiveness and trust in business and maintain standards. The Task Force on Farm Regulation, appointed in July, will consider how to reduce regulatory burdens, and deliver risk-based and integrated compliance and inspection. It will consider all regulation that bears on farmers, including hill farmers, and have started a wide consultation to understand which issues cause farmers most concern.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department has taken to monitor the entry of imported animal products and cloned animal products into the food chain. 
Mr Paice: The rules governing the importation of animal products including meat, milk and genetic material are laid down in EU legislation. Each consignment must come from an approved establishment (food for human consumption) or an approved collection centre (genetic material) in an approved third country, be accompanied by animal health and public health certification as appropriate and enter the EU through a Border Inspection Post where veterinary checks are carried out to ensure that import conditions have been met.
The EU health certification does not require information to be provided on whether the product or genetic material is from a clone or the progeny of a clone. However, EU rules do not apply to imports of cloned embryos, which must be licensed under National legislation.
The Government are mindful of the concerns surrounding this emerging technology. EU Agriculture Ministers have collectively asked the European Commission to produce a detailed report on cloning by the end of 2010 and this will provide a proper basis for evidence-based decision making at EU level. We will be looking carefully at the Commission's report as we consider this issue further.
Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mechanism her Department has put in place to record and trace cloned cattle and their descendants. 
Mr Paice: Cattle identification and traceability requirements are harmonised and defined by EU law and are designed to protect human and animal health. There are no requirements to identify cattle as clones or descendants of clones.
However, the Government are mindful of the concerns surrounding this emerging technology. EU Agriculture Ministers have collectively asked the European Commission to produce a detailed report on cloning by the end of 2010 and this will provide a proper basis for evidence-based decision making at EU level. We will be looking carefully at the Commission's report as we consider this issue further.
Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what regulations her Department has put in place in respect of cattle clone embryo and sperm imports. 
The rules governing the importation of bovine genetic material (embryos and semen) are laid down in EU legislation. Each consignment must come from an approved collection centre in an approved third country, be accompanied by animal health certification and enter the EU through a Border Inspection Post where veterinary checks are carried out to ensure that
import conditions have been met. The EU health certification does not require information to be provided on whether the genetic material is from a clone or the progeny of a clone.
EU rules do not apply to imports of cloned embryos, which continue to require a licence under The Importation of Embryos, Ova and Semen Order 1980 as amended.
However, the Government are mindful of the concerns surrounding this emerging technology. EU Agriculture Ministers have collectively asked the European Commission to produce a detailed report on cloning by the end of 2010 and this will provide a proper basis for evidence-based decision making at EU level. We will be looking carefully at the Commission's report as we consider this issue further.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment she has made of the responses to her Department's consultation on the use of wild animals in circuses; 
(2) when her Department plans to respond to its consultation on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. 
Mr Paice: My noble Friend Lord Henley is currently considering the large number of responses (over 12,000) to the previous Administration's public consultation exercise on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. As part of this exercise, he has recently met representatives of animal welfare organisations and the circus industry. Once all the different aspects of this issue have been considered within this Department, we will need to consult within Whitehall. We hope to be in a position to make an announcement on our proposed way forward later in the autumn.
Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what requirement there is on her Department to make payments for the whole period of an entry level stewardship or higher level stewardship agreement once it has been signed; and what the standard length of such agreements is. 
Mr Paice: Provided that the conditions for payment are respected by the agreement-holder, the Department is obliged by contract law to make payments for the whole period of an Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) or Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreement. Agreements that run beyond 2015 are subject to review in 2012 because under the current legal framework, the EU Commission (which part funds the payments) does not have legal authority to make payments beyond that point. The standard length of ELS agreements is FIVE years. The standard length of HLS agreements is 10 years.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she plans to take in discussions at EU level to address the future sustainability of the fisheries industry in fishing communities in Scotland. 
Richard Benyon: The specific management of fisheries in Scotland is a devolved matter. However, the UK shares the Commission's ambition for radical reform of the common fisheries policy to achieve healthy fish stocks, a prosperous fishing industry and a healthy marine environment.
The priorities for reform are for simplified and de-centralised decision making, moving away from the micro-management of fishermen's activities; a properly designed system of rights-based management that will give fishermen the freedom to engage in rational economic activity and applied to all, with safeguards for certain parts of the fleet where necessary; greater integration of fisheries with other marine policies, with fisheries no longer isolated from other marine users; and an end to the wasteful practice of discarding fish, with reform providing the incentives and regulatory framework to enable us to catch less but land more of it, for example replacing landing based quota with catch quotas.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for which functions of the Food Standards Agency she has responsibility. 
Mr Paice: On 20 July 2010 the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs took over responsibility for policy on food labelling and composition in England, when this is not related to food safety or nutrition, from the Food Standards Agency in England. Responsibility for these policy areas in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland remain the responsibility of the Food Standards Agency in those countries, but arrangements are being considered separately by the devolved Administrations.
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's policy is on proposals at EU level to include the provision of information on food labelling about methods of animal slaughter. 
Mr Paice: The Government are still considering its position on this and the other amendments to EU food labelling regulations proposed by the European Parliament.
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had on the effects on faith communities in the UK of proposals at EU level on the requirement of labelling of food from animals which have not been stunned prior to slaughter. 
Mr Paice: No discussions have taken place to date on this specific requirement proposed by the European Parliament.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she last met the Secretary of State for Health to discuss food safety matters. 
Mr Paice: Food safety matters remain the responsibility of the Food Standards Agency. The Secretary of State would therefore discuss these with the agency's chair or chief executive.
The Secretary of State and I met the chair, deputy chair and chief executive of the Food Standards Agency on 8 July.
Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the running costs for the Gangmasters Licensing Authority were in each of the last five years. 
Mr Paice: The running costs for the Gangmasters Licensing Authority in each of the last five years is set out in the following table.
|Expenditure||Income from fees||Net running costs( 1)|
|(1) Net running costs compiled from expenditure less income from fees. Source: Gangmasters Licensing Authority Annual Report and Accounts.|
Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has for the future of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority. 
Mr Paice: DEFRA is examining its network of arm's length bodies, including the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, in line with the Government's commitment to making substantial reforms, increasing accountability and reducing cost. Further announcements will be made in due course.
Mr Spencer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has for the future operation and efficiency of the Rural Payments Agency. 
Mr Paice: In my written statement of 20 July, Official Report, column 9WS, I reported on the findings of an independent review of the Rural Payments Agency. That statement also set out my priorities for future action in meeting the agency's key challenge, namely to deliver a better quality of service, while reducing operating costs so that both farmers and taxpayers get a better deal. Subsequently, an interim chief executive (Richard Judge) has been appointed and he attended the first meeting of the new Agency Oversight Board that I chaired on 9 August. Through that Board I will be working to ensure that the independent review recommendations are carefully considered and action is taken.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what timetable she has set for the implementation in the UK of the EU Due Diligence Regulation on timber. 
Mr Paice: Informal agreement was reached on the EU Timber Due Diligence Regulation in July; the regulation will now be formally adopted at a Council in the autumn. Once formal agreement has been reached, member states will then have 27 months to implement the regulation. We will seek to implement the regulation efficiently, in consultation with a wide range of interested parties and non-governmental organisations, whilst ensuring that we put in place an effective, robust and proportional enforcement regime which will send a strong message that illegal timber has no place on the UK market.
David Miliband: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 20 July 2010, Official Report, column 189W, on Afghanistan: international assistance, what the evidential basis is for his statement that ISAF has no allocated funds for microgrants. 
Mr Hague: Although there has been reporting which indicates that International Security Assistance Force money has been used as micro-grants, this refers to US funds. The US embassy in London has confirmed that the micro-grants of $92,394 were US Commander Emergency Response Projects funded and so my original reply stands.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Burma on the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Lidington: The continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spent 15 of the last 21 years as a prisoner, is a deliberate policy by the military regime to isolate her from her supporters and to prevent a legitimate expression of the will of the people of Burma. Her sham trial in 2009, which extended her house arrest by a further 18 months, highlights the regime's fear of her influence as a credible political leader. The Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton Dean (Jeremy Browne) raised Burma at the EU-ASEAN meeting on 26 May 2010, at which the Burmese Foreign Minister was present. He made clear that the continued detention of political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi is unacceptable. Our ambassador in Rangoon repeatedly raises the need for the release of all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, with ministers in the Burmese military government and will continue to do so.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has had with the Government of China on the case of Chen Guangcheng since July 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: We have regularly raised Chen Guangcheng's case with the Chinese authorities. We last raised the case at the EU/China human rights dialogue on 29 June as part of an individual case list. We continue to monitor this case closely, and are in regular contact with his lawyer.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who the members are of the UK Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; when he expects a new UK delegation to be appointed; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Lidington: The current members of the UK delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) are as follows:
Mr John Austin
Mr Tim Boswell
Mr Christopher Chope
Mr James Clappison
Ms Ann Clwyd
Mrs Claire Curtis-Thomas
Mr Nigel Dodds
Earl of Alexander Dundee
Mr Bill Etherington
Mr Nigel Evans
Mr Paul Flynn
Mr John Greenway
Mr Michael Hancock
Mr Oliver Heald
Mr Doug Henderson
Mr Jim Hood
Mr Bob Laxton
Mr Denis MacShane
Mr Khalid Mahmood
Mr Humfrey Malins
Mrs Christine McCafferty
Mr Alan Meale
Mr Mark Oaten
Mr Edward O'Hara
Mr Paul Rowen
Mr Robert Walter
Mrs Betty Williams
Mr David Wilshire
"Following parliamentary elections, the national parliament concerned ... shall make appointments to the Assembly within six months of the election. If the national parliament cannot make all such appointments in time for the opening of a new ordinary session of the Assembly, it may decide, for a period of not more than six months after the election, to be represented in the Assembly by members of the existing delegation."
A new delegation will be named when the Government receive names from the Labour party.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's position is on (a) Albania, (b) Kosovo, (c) Serbia and (d) Macedonia joining the European Union. 
Mr Lidington: The Government firmly support EU membership for all the countries of the Western Balkans region, once they meet the EU's robust membership criteria. Enlargement of the EU will help to create stability, security and prosperity across Europe on a firm foundation of democracy, the rule of law and shared values. The prospect of EU membership is an opportunity for the governments and citizens of the Western Balkans to entrench stability and prosperity and turn the page on the difficult chapters of the past. It requires concrete steps to meet the criteria set by the EU in a genuine merit-based process.
This autumn, the European Commission will publish its opinion on Albania's application for EU membership. It will also issue progress reports for Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo, detailing the progress made in their relationship with the EU and where further reform is still required. The Government will continue to encourage all countries of the Western Balkans to show sustained effort and political leadership in overcoming problems and implementing the reforms required to meet the criteria for membership.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent assessment is of UK relations with Indonesia; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: UK relations with Indonesia across a range of shared priorities are strong bilaterally, through the EU and in our partnership in multilateral forums such as the G20 and UN. We are determined to strengthen relations yet further as part of our initiative to enhance engagement with the world's emerging powers. As the fourth most populous country in the world, with strong democratic institutions and a fast growing economy, Indonesia is taking a larger role on the world stage. The UK is the third largest investor in Indonesia. There is a regular flow of ministerial and senior official visitors in both directions. There were six UK ministerial level visits to Indonesia in 2009, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa visited London for the Afghanistan Conference in January 2010 and I met senior Ministers in Jakarta in July 2010.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent assessment is of the development of Iran's nuclear programme. 
Alistair Burt: We continue to be greatly concerned about Iran's nuclear programme. The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has issued a number of reports on Iran, all making clear that Iran had shown no sign of suspending its enrichment-related activities and continued to stockpile uranium, as required by six UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) and numerous IAEA resolutions. The estimates in his May 2010 report showed Iran had produced 2,427 kg of low enriched uranium since the start of operations in February 2007, and that Iran had also produced a total of 5.7 kg of uranium enriched to nearly 20%, a significant step towards weapons grade enrichment.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent progress has been made on arrangements for the visit to the UK of Pope Benedict XVI; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Bellingham: The Government have been working closely with the Catholic Bishops' Conferences of England and Wales and of Scotland on arrangements for Pope Benedict XVl's visit, which are now well in hand.
We greatly look forward to Pope Benedict's visit. The Holy See is a valuable partner on many of the foreign policy and international development issues that most affect citizens worldwide. These include tackling poverty, tackling climate change, and preventing and resolving conflict. This visit offers an important opportunity to strengthen ties between the UK and the Holy See on these issues.
Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the prospects for Serbia's accession to the EU; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Lidington: The Government fully support EU accession for all the countries of the Western Balkans region, including Serbia, once they meet the robust criteria set by the EU for membership. Serbia has the capacity and potential to make good progress towards meeting these criteria, if it chooses to do so.
Following the latest report of the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in June 2010, EU member states noted that Serbia had maintained the level of its co-operation with the tribunal and agreed to submit Serbia's Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU to their Parliaments for ratification. The Government continue to urge the Serbian authorities to maintain maximum effort and commitment in their ICTY co-operation, and will assess this at each stage of Serbia's accession process.
More broadly, in order for Serbia to progress along the path to EU accession, the Government will need to be confident that it is committed to all aspects of the conditions-based accession process-including the requirements of regional co- operation-in a way which would allow all countries in the region, including Kosovo, to realise their own European perspectives.
Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the surrender of Ratko Mladic to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia as a precondition for the commencement of accession negotiations between the EU and Serbia. 
Mr Lidington: The UK, along with all other EU member states, has consistently made clear that achieving and maintaining full co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is essential for Serbia's progress towards EU membership. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary underlined this during his visit to Belgrade on 31 August.
Following the latest report of the Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY in June 2010, EU member states noted that Serbia had maintained its co-operation with the Tribunal and agreed to submit Serbia's Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU to their Parliaments for ratification.
The Government will continue to keep Serbia's co-operation with ICTY under review, including at each stage of its EU accession process, in order to ensure that it continues to co-operate fully with the Tribunal.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on EU trade with Syria. 
Alistair Burt: We welcome the steps that have been made towards finalising the EU-Syria Association Agreement. The EU high representative is currently leading on discussions with Syria about signing the agreement.
The agreement will allow us to use the EU's dialogue with Syria to pursue issues of concern, which include human rights and counter-proliferation.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent assessment is of UK relations with Syria; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: The UK has full diplomatic relations with Syria and we assess that Syria is an important player in the region. We will work to continue our firm, frank and frequent dialogue with the Government in Damascus. However, we remain concerned about the human rights situation in Syria, and about reports of Syrian facilitation of weapons to Hezbollah. I have made these concerns known to my Syrian counterpart during my visit to the region in July.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is within the International Atomic Energy Agency on inspection of Syria's nuclear programme. 
Alistair Burt: The UK strongly supports the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) investigations on Syria and welcomes the latest report by the director general. It is important that Syria co-operates fully with this international body and ensures that the IAEA can complete its investigations.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much office space per employee his Department occupied in each year since 1997. 
Mr O'Brien: The following figures indicate the average density per employee for the combined net internal area (NIA) of our London and East Kilbride offices. We are not able to provide this information prior to our move to 1 Palace street in 2001.
|NIA per head|
Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the (a) average and (b) highest daily rate paid to consultants by his Department was in each of the last five years. 
Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development does not hold consultancy rates on a central register. To gather this information would incur disproportionate cost.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many chairs his Department has purchased in each year since 1997; how much it spent in each such year; and what the five most expensive chairs purchased in each such year were. 
Mr O'Brien: We are unable to provide this information without incurring disproportionate cost.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department spent on wine in each year since 1997. 
Mr O'Brien: It is not possible to provide the requested information without incurring disproportionate cost.
Any such expenditure is incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.
Stephen McPartland: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the likely effects on employers of the EU Agency Workers Directive coming into force. 
Mr Davey: I have been asked to reply.
An impact assessment (IA) on the agency workers regulations was published when they were laid by the previous Government in January 2010. This considered a range of possible dynamic and financial effects on business. The IA noted that higher costs associated with hiring temporary agency workers may manifest themselves in terms of price (wages) and/or quantity (number of agency workers hired) adjustments, and that the nature of the effect is likely to vary by sector or occupation.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department has forecast the effect of the proposals in the 2010 Budget on levels of (a) child and (b) pensioner poverty in (i) Wales and (ii) the Bridgend County Borough Council area in each of the next five years. 
Justine Greening: I have been asked to reply.
The Budget announced a package of reforms to tackle unaffordable spending and support the most vulnerable as set out on page 34 of the Red Book. Measures announced at Budget will have no measurable impact on child poverty over the next two years.
Estimates of the impact of Budget tax and benefit measures on the number of children in relative poverty are only available at the UK level, as lower geographical disaggregations do not provide sufficiently robust results. Estimates post 2012-13 are not available due to greater uncertainty surrounding longer term economic forecasts underpinning the modelling.
The Budget announced reforms to the uprating rules for the basic state pension. The earnings link for the basic state pension will be restored from April 2011, with a triple guarantee that it will increase by the highest of earnings, prices or 2.5%, benefiting 11 million pensioners in the UK. CPI will be used as the measure of prices, but the Government will increase the basic state pension in April 2011 by at least the equivalent of RPI. In 2011, in the event that the basic state pension is increased by more than earnings, under the terms of the
triple guarantee, the Government's intention is that, as a minimum, single pension credit recipients will benefit from the full cash value of this increase. These changes will have a positive impact on pensioners' incomes.
Mr David: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions he had with the First Minister of Wales on the date of the referendum on the alternative vote prior to 5 July 2010. 
Mr Wallace: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received from the devolved Administrations on the timing of the referendum on the alternative vote system. 
Mr Harper: My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister and I have held no direct discussions with the First Minister of Wales on the date of the proposed referendum on the parliamentary voting system. However, the Secretary of State for Wales and the First Minister of Wales have had discussions on this issue.
The First Minister for Scotland, the right hon. Alex Salmond MSP, wrote to the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister on 9 July regarding the proposed date for the referendum. A response was sent in July.
The First Minister of Wales, the right hon. Carwyn Jones AM, wrote to the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister on 7 July and 12 July. Mr Jones wrote again to the Secretary of State for Wales and the Deputy Prime Minister on 13 July and 5 August. Responses to these letters were sent on 21 July and 28 August.
The First Minister and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, the right hon. Peter Robinson MLA and Martin McGuinness MP MLA, wrote to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Deputy Prime Minister on 28 July. A response was sent on 24 August.
Copies of all of these letters are being placed in the Library.
It was right that we announced the Government's proposals for the referendum to Parliament first. Following that announcement, we have been working and will continue to work closely with the Electoral Commission and others to make sure that the devolved elections, the local elections in England and the referendum are run effectively on 5 May next year.
Rehman Chishti: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what elections are planned to be held on 7 May 2015 in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland. 
Mr Harper: The Fixed-term Parliaments Bill, introduced to Parliament on 22 July 2010, would provide for the next parliamentary general election to be held on 7 May 2015. Existing legislation provides that elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales are scheduled to be held on that day.
In addition there are elections scheduled in 36 Metropolitan Districts, 194 Shire Districts and 49 Single Tier (Unitary) Districts in England. A list of all the relevant Districts has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. Four Mayoral elections are also scheduled.
Rehman Chishti: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to increase levels of voter registration. 
Mr Harper: The Electoral Commission reported in March 2010 that the completeness of Great Britain's electoral registers remains broadly similar to the levels achieved internationally. However, we are committed to taking steps to improve levels of registration. As part of the Government's commitment to speed up the introduction of individual electoral registration we are investigating allowing electoral registration officers to compare their electoral registers against existing public authority databases to identify individuals who are not on the register and to encourage them to register.
Elizabeth Truss: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what environmental effects his Department has identified from the use of bioliquids in (a) electricity generation and (b) combined heat and power; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the merits of bioliquids produced from wastes and residues compared to those produced from virgin crops in improving sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 
Charles Hendry [holding answer 8 September 2010]: DECC commissioned a report into the comparative life cycle analysis of a number of liquid feedstocks that can be used as bioliquids. This can be found on the website of the National Non-Food Crops Centre:
This indicates that high greenhouse gas savings can be achieved in heat, electricity and transport from fuels derived from used cooking oil and we consider that these provide a more sustainable way to make renewable energy than virgin oils, offering higher greenhouse gas savings.
The Department is conducting further work to consider how best to support technologies such as those using wastes and residues through the renewables incentives and has already held discussions with industry in order to further work and seek further evidence.
We have launched a consultation on amendments to the renewables obligation
and will be engaging with stakeholders on changes to the renewable transport fuel obligation to ensure our incentives meet the requirements of the renewable energy directive, including the sustainability criteria for biofuels and bioliquids.
We are working closely with other Government Departments to achieve a co-ordinated approach to the use of bioliquids across the sectors in which used cooking oil is a feedstock.
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will take steps to ensure that local councils involve local people in implementing their carbon reduction plans. 
Gregory Barker: Local authorities need to show strong leadership and accountability in cutting emissions from their own estates and operations and those arising within their areas.
The coalition Government are currently running a programme of low carbon framework pilots to explore ways of building capacity in local authorities in support of this objective. It is important to understand what the barriers to action are and how we are best placed to overcome these together as part of the Big Society. Behavioural change and the role of individuals and communities are an inherent part of this.
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will provide additional financial and technical support for local councils to meet local carbon reduction targets. 
Gregory Barker: The coalition Government are aiding local action by taking forward the local carbon framework pilots programme (LCFs) until the end of this financial year.
The LCF programme will enable baseline work on emissions data to be undertaken, enable innovative approaches to carbon reduction to be trialled, and technical and practical expertise to be shared between central and local government, business and communities.
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will encourage each local council to set a cap on carbon dioxide emissions taking into account (a) scientific evidence on the level of reductions required to avoid dangerous climate change and (b) local circumstances. 
Gregory Barker: We expect the local carbon frameworks pilot programme to encourage local initiatives to reduce emissions without imposing central burdens on local authorities. We expect and will encourage local authorities to develop stretching ambitions on CO2 emissions. Local circumstances greatly influence what it is possible to achieve and make it inappropriate to impose rigid top down targets, though it is important to ensure there are the right governance structures in place to ensure accountability.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his policy is on the European Commission proposal to phase out subsidies for hard-coal industries in the EU by 2014. 
Charles Hendry: The Government's main policy objective in relation to the coal industry is to ensure that the United Kingdom and the European Union are enabled to make best use of a valuable natural resource which continues to make an important contribution to security of energy supplies, where it is economically viable and environmentally acceptable to do so.
Coal production was subject to an industry-specific state aid regime under the European Coal and Steel Community Treaty. This expired in July 2002 and was replaced by Regulation 1407/2002, which expires on 31 December 2010. The Regulation has continued to permit closure, operating and mining legacy aid. It also introduced investment aid to support qualifying projects to maintain access to reserves at potentially viable mines; such projects remain ineligible for support under the general state aid regime.
UK coal producers received around £162 million of operating aid during 2000-02 and £53 million of investment aid during 2003-08, but the Government are not currently paying any subsidy for coal production.
In 2009 the European Commission consulted on the post-2010 regime, stating its preference for bringing the coal mining industry within the general state aid regime. This would mean an end to operating, closure and legacy aid, while mining and other coal-related projects would become eligible in principle to receive other state aid products.
The UK Government broadly support this objective, but also recognises the need to provide limited transitional arrangements from 1 January 2011, subject to strict closure timetables and progressive reductions in payments, for member states which have already given commitments to provide closure aid after that date.
Closure aid is an economic and social policy measure designed to help former miners and their communities through orderly management of mine closures with support for retraining, local economic diversification, etc. It has no effect on-total coal use or related emissions levels in either the relevant member state or the EU as a whole. This is because, in broad terms, coal produced by mines receiving closure aid merely displaces coal which would otherwise be imported to meet overall demand; and because emissions from coal used for energy production, industrial processes, etc., whatever its origin, are subject to existing EU legislation (e.g. LCPD) and the EU Emissions-Trading System.
Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what estimate he has made of the minimum number of days stock of (a) natural gas, (b) oil, (c) petrol and (d) diesel required for the UK to maintain an acceptable level of energy security; 
(2) how many days stock of (a) natural gas, (b) oil, (c) petrol and (d) diesel are routinely stored within the UK. 
Charles Hendry: The information is as follows:
The Government do not provide estimates of minimum stock levels of natural gas needed to maintain security of supply.
Moreover, the UK does not have a "routine" level of gas in stock; stock levels are determined by the market. Gas companies typically build stocks progressively from around April until October/November and then draw on their stocks during winter. From 1 October 2009 to 5 September 2010, the period available, the UK held average stocks equivalent to about 10 days of consumption, with a peak of about 22 days in summer 2009, and a minimum of about one days in winter.
Under EU Council directive 2006/67/EC, member states of the European Union (EU) are required to hold stocks of oil and oil products equivalent to 90 days of national inland consumption. However, because the UK is a producer of crude oil its obligation is reduced by 25% to 67.5 days.
In June 2010, the latest period for which data are available, the UK held about 91 days worth of oil and oil products.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of the implications for the UK of a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. 
Gregory Barker: Given that the Kyoto Protocol is an already-established legally-binding framework, the EU, and therefore the UK, has already adopted all the requirements in EU law for the next commitment period of the Protocol. Continuing with the KP approach for a second commitment period would therefore not have any implications for the UK. However, certain elements of the KP are likely to change as the current round of United Nations Framework convention on Climate Change negotiations progresses. Particularly, the mitigation target to which the UK is subject is likely to be higher than in the first commitment period, though ultimately the level will depend on the outcome of the negotiations.
Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what incentives his Department provides to members of the public to generate their own electricity. 
Charles Hendry: The Feed-in Tariff Scheme incentivises small-scale, low-carbon electricity generation of up to 5MW incapacity.
The scheme aims to deliver rates of return of approximately 5-8% for investors with both the generation tariffs and export tariffs linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI). Additionally, householders who use renewable technologies to generate electricity mainly for their own use will not be subject to income tax on their FITs revenue.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the policy of his Department is on the provision of subsidies for the construction of new nuclear power stations. 
Charles Hendry: The coalition agreement makes it clear that there will be no public subsidy for new nuclear power stations.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether an assessment has been made of the merits of creating a special administration regime for a nuclear plant operator which becomes insolvent and is unable to maintain its nuclear plants; and whether his Department has discussed the matter with the Insolvency Service. 
Charles Hendry: The Department has had discussions with the Insolvency Service over whether, in addition to the relevant provisions of the Energy Act 2008, a special administration regime for nuclear operators is required. It has concluded, for existing nuclear operators, that such a regime is not required but will keep the matter under review given the potential for new nuclear build.
Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of the contribution of the Scottish nuclear energy industry to (a) energy security and (b) carbon dioxide reduction targets. 
Charles Hendry [holding answer 8 September 2010]: The Department does not assess the contribution of nuclear power to energy security and carbon dioxide reduction on a sub-national basis.
Sub-national electricity statistics, including nuclear generation in Scotland, are published annually in Energy Trends. The latest figures are available at:
These show that in 2008, nuclear stations in Scotland generated 15.1 TWh of electricity (around 4% of total UK generation).
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment his Department has made of the use of thorium-based nuclear reactors. 
Charles Hendry [holding answer 8 September 2010]: DECC officials maintain an oversight of developments in future reactor designs and thorium continues to be a possibility for use as a fuel in nuclear power reactors. This involves the Department working with technical experts both from industry and academia and in this respect I am making arrangements to host a meeting with Professor Ian Fells to explore topics of this nature.
Ultimately it is for the industry to propose what type of fuel to use in any future nuclear reactors, the designs of which would be subject to independent regulatory assessment and acceptance. At present the UK safety and environment regulators are undertaking a generic design assessment process on two new nuclear reactor designs that use uranium oxide fuel. No proposals have been made for reactor designs using thorium-based nuclear fuel, but we would of course consider a proposal if one was to come forward.
Neil Parish: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what progress his Department is making in establishing a full system of feed-in tariffs for small-scale low-carbon electricity technologies. 
Gregory Barker: The feed-in tariff scheme (FITs) for small scale low carbon electricity (up to 5MW) has been in place since April 2010. As we set out in the Coalition programme for government, we are committed to establishing a full system of FITs in electricity. As part of this, we are currently looking at features of the FITs scheme to see what changes we may need to make.
Chris Heaton-Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will bring forward proposals for the support of renewables from funds raised by means other than taxation. 
Charles Hendry: The Renewables Obligation (RO) and Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) for the support of renewable electricity generation are already funded direct by electricity suppliers, rather than from taxation. However, it is important to note that these mechanisms impact on consumers' bills, so we need to make sure that we deliver value for money in supporting renewables by whatever means.
Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what expressions of interest he has received from local authorities following the removal of restrictions on local authorities selling renewable electricity to the grid; and whether there will be any restriction on how such revenue can be spent. 
Charles Hendry: Seven local authorities have sent emails to the address provided in the Secretary of State's recent letter announcing the removal of restrictions on their sale of electricity from renewable sources.
There will be no restriction on how local authorities may spend the resulting revenue, as long as it fits within their remit as authorities.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how the NHS Commissioning Board will differ from existing strategic health authorities in their healthcare commissioning role. 
Mr Simon Burns: Strategic health authorities (SHAs) are currently responsible for commissioning some highly specialised services. However, the majority of national health service health care is commissioned by primary care trusts (PCTs). The role of SHAs has primarily been one of system and performance management, supporting PCTs in their commissioning capacity, promoting choice and competition as well as monitoring NHS provider trusts.
As set out in the White Paper "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS" the Government intend to create a more autonomous and accountable NHS-with greater clarity about the roles and responsibilities of different organisations for provision and commissioning. The proposed NHS Commissioning Board will therefore be responsible for ensuring an effective and transparent system of NHS commissioning which drives improvements in quality of patient care and health outcomes, maximises opportunities for patients to exercise choice and is underpinned by effective patient and public engagement.
The majority of NHS health care will in future be commissioned by consortia of general practitioner (GP) practices. The Commissioning Board would hold GP commissioners to account for outcomes and financial management rather than for delivering top-down, process-driven targets.
The Commissioning Board will also have direct responsibility for commissioning those services which it would be less appropriate for GP consortia to commission. We propose that this will include all specialised services, including those currently commissioned by PCTs, as well as primary care, prison health and maternity services. It would have no responsibilities in relation to NHS providers (such as hospital trusts), other than in relation to those services it is directly responsible for commissioning.
Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost to the Great Western Ambulance Service of the relocation of its headquarters to Chippenham has been. 
Mr Simon Burns: The information requested is not collected centrally.
However, the hon. Member may wish to contact the Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust direct for more information.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the time taken for people diagnosed with eye cancer to be seen by a consultant; what steps he is taking to reduce the time; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Burstow: No estimate has been made of the time taken for people with eye cancer to be seen by a consultant. The statistics held centrally do not distinguish between different types of head and neck cancer as a result. In the last period for which statistics are available (Quarter 1 2010-11), 96.1% of patients with suspected head and neck cancer, including cancers of the eye, were seen within two weeks of referral from primary care.
As part of the of the Cancer Reform Strategy (CRS) review, we are examining the cancer waiting times commitments put forward in the Cancer Plan (2000) and the CRS (2007). This is to ensure they remain clinically appropriate and focus on what is most important to patients and their families. We aim to publish an updated strategy in the winter.
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to increase the involvement of young members of the public in the making of decisions that effect them by (a) Ministers in his Department, (b) officials in his Department and (c) public bodies which fall within his Department's area of responsibility. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department is committed to ensuring that the public have the opportunity to participate in shaping and developing policy, and always undertakes to seek the views of those who are likely to be affected by changes of policy and groups representing them.
As part of this commitment, the Department subscribes to the Government Code of Practice on consultations. This makes clear that consultation exercises should be designed to be accessible and effectively targeted. Where relevant this would include younger people and thought is always given to whether alternative versions of consultation documents should be produced which could be used to reach a wider audience.
A copy of the Code of Practice has already been placed in the Library and is available online at:
We have engaged and continue to engage with children and young people on a range of issues in a number of ways. For example, the Department is in regular contact with YoungMinds, a voluntary sector organisation that deals specifically with the mental health issues of children and young people. YoungMinds have established a group called Very Important Kids who contribute their views through their regional networks into how mental health services for young people can be improved.
Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons the recommendation of the Commission on Human Medicines on the diabetes medication Avandia was not implemented throughout the NHS; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: Avandia (rosiglitazone) is licensed on a Europe-wide basis by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), not directly by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). In response to emerging evidence, it has been necessary to review the balance of risks and benefits of this medicine throughout Europe.
To inform its input into the European debate the MHRA has conducted its own assessment of the safety of rosiglitazone and sought the advice of the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM). The CHM advised in July 2010 that the risks of rosiglitazone outweigh its benefits and that it no longer has a place on the United Kingdom market. In addition, the CHM considered action should be taken promptly and ideally within the appropriate European Union framework.
Emerging data on rosiglitazone have been evaluated, and updated advice, including new restrictions on use and warnings, has been issued to prescribers, via the Drug Safety Update bulletin. Following the CHM advice in July, the MHRA contacted health care professionals
to provide clear advice on the need to closely follow the current prescribing advice regarding the use of rosiglitazone and to consider alternative treatments where appropriate.
The MHRA is contributing to the current European assessment of the balance of risks and benefits of rosiglitazone, which is anticipated to conclude this month.
Mr David: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when his Department will publish its response to the consultation on proposals to implement generic substitution in primary care further to the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme 2009; 
(2) how many responses to his Department's consultation on proposals to implement generic substitution in primary care further to the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme 2009 were in favour of Option 1 of the three options presented. 
Mr Simon Burns: Responses to the consultation are currently being considered. In accordance with the 'Code of Practice on Consultation', a summary of responses and the Department's response to the consultation, including next steps, will be published soon. The summary of responses will specifically address how many responses were in favour of the three options presented.
Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many specialist epilepsy nurses (a) left the NHS and have not been replaced, (b) were reassigned to other inpatient duties and (c) were in positions which are under review since 22 June 2010. 
Mr Burstow: Information on the number of specialist epilepsy nurses that have left the national health service and not been replaced, were reassigned to other in-patient duties, and were in positions which are under review, are not collected centrally. Local health bodies have responsibility for commissioning services to meet the needs of those living with epilepsy. This includes the recruitment of specialist nurses.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the choice of treatment and provider in some mental health services referred to on page 52 of the White Paper, Equity and Excellence: liberating the NHS, will apply to gender identity services; and whether commissioning for gender identity services will fall under the responsibility of the new NHS Commissioning Board. 
Mr Burstow: The introduction of choice of treatment and provider in some mental health services will begin from April 2011, and this will be extended wherever practicable. As set out in the White Paper, the NHS Commissioning Board will have responsibility for commissioning specialised services, which will include gender identity services.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to his Department's proposals for GP commissioning, who will be responsible for the funding of GP-led health centres. 
Mr Simon Burns: Our overarching principle is that commissioning decisions should, wherever possible, reflect the views of local clinicians and the local public. Under the proposals set out, our NHS White Paper: "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS", an NHS Commissioning Board will be responsible for commissioning primary care services for registered patients, whilst general practitioner (GP) consortia will be responsible for commissioning urgent care. The responses to the consultation on Commissioning for Patients, as part of the wider proposed changes in the White Paper, will enable us to proceed to set out the full details of how GP-led commissioning will work. We urge anyone who has any concerns to respond to the consultation by 11 October.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to his Department's proposals for GP commissioning, what penalties practices will be required to pay in year (a) one and (b) two of actual budgets if they overspend. 
Mr Simon Burns: Under the proposals in the White Paper, the responsibility for managing commissioning budgets will rest with general practitioner (GP) commissioning consortia, rather than with the individual practices that make up a consortium. The White Paper and the consultation document on 'Commissioning for Patients' seek views on the proposal that a proportion of GP practice reward should, however, be linked to the performance of its consortium, both in terms of the outcomes that the consortium achieves for patients and in terms of its financial performance. These arrangements will be developed following discussion with the British Medical Association in the light of consultation responses.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether GP practices will be reimbursed for rent under his Department's plans for GP commissioning; and what his policy is on the funding of primary care premises. 
Mr Simon Burns: The arrangements for reimbursement of general practitioner premises costs are set out in "The NHS Premises Costs Directions 2004". This document has been placed in the Library, and the move to NHS Commissioning Board responsibility for contracting with primary care would not alter these arrangements.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether GP practices will be permitted to dispense prescriptions under the new arrangements for GP commissioning. 
Mr Simon Burns: General practitioner practices currently provide dispensing services to their patients under arrangements set out in the NHS (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2005.
The proposed reforms in the White Paper, "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS", would not in themselves affect dispensing practices any differently from non-dispensing practices.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the terms of reference are for the programme of bi-annual meetings between his Department and the Haemophilia Alliance; and if he will make a statement. 
Anne Milton: The terms of reference for the bi-annual meetings between the Department and the Haemophilia Alliance are as follows:
to share information between the United Kingdom Health Departments and the Haemophilia Alliance and consult on all aspects of treatment and care relating to inherited bleeding disorders;
to ensure there is effective communication between patient representatives, health and social care professionals, and policy officials on health and social care matters of mutual interest and concern;
to ensure links are developed between this group and other groups responsible for advising Government on blood safety issues; and
in fulfilling the above, the group recognises that health is a devolved matter, and therefore policy and practice may vary in different parts of the UK.
Two meetings have been held so far and the next one will be held in November 2010.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to be in a position to respond to the Finlay Scott Review on indemnity insurance as a condition of registration for health care professionals. 
Mr Simon Burns: Finlay Scott has delivered his report "Independent review of requirement to have insurance or indemnity as a condition of registration as a healthcare professional" to the Secretary of State and other United Kingdom Health Ministers. This was published on the Department's website on 14 July, at:
The Government welcome the report which contains a comprehensive appraisal of the issues and clear recommendations. The report requires careful consideration and we intend to publish a substantive response in due course, after Ministers in all four UK countries have had the opportunity to consider its content.
Mr Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps his Department is taking to improve standards of health of people with a learning disability; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what steps his Department is taking to improve the training of NHS healthcare professionals for interacting with patients with a learning disability; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) how many people with a learning disability received an annual health check in each year since 2008; 
(4) when his Department plans to respond to Professor Jim Mansell's report Raising our Sights; and if he will make a statement; 
(5) what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of learning disability liaison nurses; and if he will make a statement; 
(6) whether the new NHS Commissioning Board referred to in the Health White Paper will require GP consortiums to provide annual health checks for people with a learning disability; 
(7) what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that GP consortiums are able effectively to commission services for people with a learning disability; 
(8) what progress has been made in extending the use of patients passports for people with a learning disability in the NHS; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Burstow: This Government are committed to supporting people with learning disabilities and in particular to improving health outcomes of people with learning disabilities. As our White Paper for the national health service makes clear, this Government's ambition is for health outcomes-and quality health services-as good as any in the world. And that means we are committed to providing a high quality service for everyone-especially those who are more disadvantaged and have experienced real inequity in the past.
Like all other patients, people with learning disabilities will be at the heart of everything. They will have more choice and control to shape health services around them, enabled by easy access to the information they need and want. They (or their families and advocates) will be involved in decisions about their care and we expect NHS professionals to ensure that they fully involve people with learning disabilities and their family carers and enable them to be part of that decision-making process.
We are pressing ahead with action to address the health inequalities which people with learning disabilities experience, especially a new confidential inquiry and Public Health Observatory. Representatives from Mencap, the National Forum for people with learning difficulties, and the National Valuing Families forum are on the group scrutinising progress on these.
Annual health check figures are now on the Improving Health and Lives: Learning Disabilities Observatory website at
In 2008-09 27,011 people with learning disabilities were reported to have received a health check (23% of those people with learning disabilities known to services). In 2009-10 the number more than doubled to 58,919, (43% of those known to services). There is, though, wide variation between primary care trusts and there is still more to do. The functions of the new NHS Commissioning Board have still to be finalised pending
the outcome of the consultation which closes on 11 October. But we expect that the NHS Commissioning Board will commission the family health services that general practitioners (GPs) provide.
"Liberating the NHS: Commissioning for patients" sets out further details on the intended arrangements for GP commissioning, providing the basis for fuller consultation and engagement with primary care professionals, patients and the public. We intend that GP consortia will be responsible for commissioning the majority of NHS services, including elective hospital care and rehabilitative care, urgent and emergency care (including out-of hours services), most community health services and mental health and specialist learning disability services. Consortia will be responsible for meeting prescribing and associated costs. It will be for consortia to decide on a case-by- case basis whether to commission services themselves, or to make appropriate arrangements with another commissioning organisation (for instance a lead consortium). The NHS Commissioning Board will develop a commissioning outcomes framework which measures health outcomes. The Government are considering how the outcomes framework will measure improved health outcomes, including for people with learning disabilities.
The Department is working through strategic health authorities (SHAs) to review and improve training for healthcare staff to ensure that they give appropriate support to people with learning disabilities. SHA Education Commissioners are taking action to review the training provision for healthcare staff and people with learning disabilities. Staff in all GP practices delivering annual health checks have had training in meeting the needs of people with learning disabilities. The Royal College of General Practitioners is due to publish additional training materials for GPs later this autumn on getting health checks right for people with learning disabilities.
The Department is looking very carefully at the detailed recommendations set out in this report and how these support our objectives to improve outcomes for people with learning disabilities who have complex needs and their families. The elements of good service and good practice examples included in this report sit very clearly within the programme of work which government is leading to support independent living for people with learning disabilities and to support local service planning and commissioning to meet identified needs in their locality.
The Department has encouraged NHS bodies and local authorities (LAs) to set up these posts and promoted examples of good practice in involving learning disability acute hospital liaison nurses such as the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton. We have also encouraged NHS bodies to use patient passports for people with learning disabilities as an important way of ensuring that their health needs are all in one place. The Learning Disability Partnership Boards have reported some good progress on improving health outcomes for people with learning disabilities.
The national director for learning disabilities has written to all NHS and LA chief executives in July to remind them of the recommendations in the ombudsman's report "Six lives: the provision of public services to people with learning disabilities" and to ask them to
report on progress in meeting those recommendations. We will shortly publish a response on progress against those recommendations.
Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment his Department has made of (a) trends in numbers of adults with learning disabilities and (b) the effects of such trends on future funding requirements for services for such people; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) if he will meet representatives of the learning disability sector to discuss future funding of services for people with a learning disability; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what steps the Government plans to take to improve care and support services for people with a learning disability in (a) Blaydon, (b) the North East of England and (c) England; and if he will make a statement; 
(4) how much and what proportion of the (a) adult social care and (b) NHS budget was spent on people with a learning disability in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement; 
(5) how much the NHS spent on each category of its services for adults with learning disabilities in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Burstow: The Centre for Disability Research (2008) predicted a sustained increase in the number of people with learning disabilities known to services, from 2009 to 2026. The research detailed a number of scenarios, based on expected levels of need and anticipated levels of eligibility criteria in local authorities. All scenarios suggest sustained growth in the need for social care services for adults with learning disabilities over the full time period. However, average estimated annual increases vary from 1.04% (lower estimate, services are only provided to new entrants with critical or substantial needs) to 7.94% (upper estimate, services are provided to new entrants with critical, substantial or moderate needs).
The impact of these increases upon future funding requirements will depend on the ability of the social care system to deliver efficiency savings through a range of measures-including a renewed focus on preventing needs from escalating, greater personalisation, and improved community-based services to keep people independent. Future funding requirements will also depend upon decisions taken at a local level around charging policies and eligibility criteria.
Plans to improve care and support services for people with a learning disability within Blaydon and in the North East region are a matter for local decision. We have made clear our commitment to drive forward action to improve support and outcomes for people with learning disabilities across England and to support independent living. For this year, our priorities are to improve health outcomes and support people into jobs and homes of their own.
Gross expenditure on problems of Learning Disability from the NHS Programme Budgeting data, from 2003-04 onwards is shown as follows; we do not have data for previous years.
NHS Programme Budgeting data
Data on local authority expenditure on state funded care are collected and published by the NHS Information Centre for health and social care.
Table 1 following shows the gross expenditure for councils in England with Adult Social Services Responsibilities on adults aged 18 to 64 with learning disabilities as their primary client group between 2000-01 and 2008-09.
|Table 1: Gross current expenditure for clients with a learning disability from 2000-01 to 2008-09, England( 1)|
|Total gross current expenditure for adults aged under 65 with a learning disability||Total gross current expenditure for adult services||Percentage of total gross current expenditure for adults aged under 65 with a learning disability|
|(1) Expenditure figures have not been adjusted for inflation.|
(2) 2000-01 to 2006-07 figures include estimated Service Strategy and Asylum Seekers Assessment and Care Management apportioned to Adult Services and Children and Families Services using proportions calculated using 2007-08 data. Since 2007-08 this information has been collected separately.
(3) Includes expenditure funded from the Supporting People grant that councils have classified as Social Services expenditure rather than housing expenditure.
I have already agreed to meet with the Learning Disability Coalition to discuss future the funding of services for people with learning disability.
Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what information his Department holds on the effectiveness of the nursery milk scheme as a measure available to all children; 
(2) what recent assessment he has made of the value for money of the nursery milk scheme; 
(3) what discussions he has had with the Minister for Public Health on proposals to terminate the nursery milk scheme; and on what dates such discussions took place. 
Anne Milton: Milk is a source of important nutrients (such as calcium) as part of a balanced varied diet for young children.
The Department is unaware of any external studies undertaken on the value for money of the nursery milk scheme.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have regular discussions on a range of matters.
Mr Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will arrange for the chief executive of University Hospital Birmingham to send a substantive reply to the letter of 6 July 2010 from the hon. Member for Walsall North, on a constituent, reference JM/CC/3223. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Secretary of State for Health has no powers to direct national health service foundation trusts. We have brought the hon. Member's question to the attention of the chairman of Monitor (the statutory name of which is the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts) from whom we understand that the chief executive of University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust has sent a further response to your letter which you should receive shortly, and that your complaint is being processed in line with the trust's complaints policy.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has made a recent assessment of the level of confidence of general practitioners in the quality of secondary mental health services. 
Mr Burstow: No such assessment has been made.
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many consultants are working in child and adolescent mental health services in each primary care trust; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Burstow: The number of consultants working in child and adolescent mental health services in each primary care trust (PCT) is not collected centrally.
However, information on the various sub specialties, which may be involved in providing psychiatric services to children and adolescents, can be found in the following table showing a breakdown by PCT.
|Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS): Consultants in each psychiatry specialty by primary care trust-England at 30 September 2009|
|Child and adolescent psychiatry||Forensic psychiatry||General psychiatry||Learning disabilities||Psychotherapy|
| Data quality :|
The NHS Information Centre for health and social care seeks to minimise inaccuracies and the effect of missing and invalid data but responsibility for data accuracy lies with the organisations providing the data. Methods are continually being updated to improve data quality. Where changes impact on figures already published, this is assessed but unless it is significant at national level figures are not changed. Impact at detailed or local level is footnoted in relevant analyses.
The NHS Information Centre for health and social care Medical and Dental Workforce Census
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