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Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average cost to his Department was of processing the payment of an invoice in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proportion of invoices settled in that period his Department paid (a) electronically and (b) by cheque. 
Mr Simon Burns: The latest available costing data are provided by the 2008-09 UK audit agencies benchmarking exercise. This shows a cost of £6.27 per invoice processed by the accounts payable function. The results are not in the public domain but are used internally to measure, compare and improve the value for money of support services across the public sector.
Analysis of payments made in the period 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010 indicates that a total of 55,166 payments were made, of which 38,047 (69%) were made electronically and 17,119 (31%) by HM Paymaster Payable Order (a cheque equivalent). All the Payable Order payments were made by the Department of Work and Pensions on behalf of the Department of Health in respect of payments for medical treatment received overseas. Payment systems are being revised so that all payments will be made electronically by the end of the current financial year.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Christchurch (Mr Chope) of 13 July 2010, Official Report, column 706W, on lobbying, which organisations in receipt of public funds from his Department have made representations (a) directly and (b) indirectly to his Department on policy issues in each of the last five years; and how much each received from his Department in each such year. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department's library service is responsible for central purchasing of newspapers, magazines and periodicals for library use and for retention by individual units. Total expenditure for the financial years 1997-08 to 2009-10 was:
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if his Department will take steps to assess the effects on (a) equality of outcomes, (b) equality of assets and (c) equality of access to services of measures relating to its expenditure under consideration in the Spending Review. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department will ensure the relevant equality considerations are taken into account in the context of expenditure under consideration in the Spending Review, in compliance with our obligations under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff his Department has appointed on secondment since 7 May 2010; and from what organisation each such member of staff has been seconded. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department has appointed fewer than five secondees to established civil service posts since 7 May 2010. The names of the organisations from which the individuals are seconded are being withheld in order to protect confidentiality.
Mr Simon Burns: No. The statutory restrictions have been agreed under European law for the protection of public health. They are designed to ensure that the public are protected from misleading advertising and that health professionals are not offered inappropriate inducements to prescribe or supply medicines.
Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in the Peterborough City Council area used the needle exchange facilities offered by Peterborough Primary Care Trust in each quarter since 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
Safer Peterborough Partnership, the local partnership responsible for commissioning a system of local drug treatment services, including the provision of sterile needles and syringes to injecting drug users, may be able to provide more detailed information.
Safer Peterborough Partnership
Peterborough City Council
Diana R. Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) for what reason his Department has decided not to proceed with the proposed comparative study between a hospital (a) with and (b) without an epilepsy specialist nurse to be undertaken by its long-term conditions team; 
(2) if he will require NHS trusts to collect data on the (a) costs and benefits and (b) outcomes for patients of the use of (i) epilepsy specialist nurses and (ii) specialist consultants treating epilepsy patients. 
Department officials met with epilepsy stakeholders on 1 April 2010. It was agreed that there was already good evidence about the role of Epilepsy Specialist Nurses (ESNs), as well as specialist nurses as a whole. It was also felt that effort should instead be focused on developing a business case template for commissioners to use to make the case for improving epilepsy services (including the provision of ESNs) as this would have more impact than a comparative study.
In future, outcomes, which the national health service will be expected to achieve, will be set via the NHS Outcomes Framework, and the NHS Commissioning Board will hold GP commissioners to account for delivery through the Framework.
Data on the costs and benefits, and outcomes for patients, of the use of epilepsy specialist nurses and consultants are not collected centrally. However, existing guidance published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence emphasises the role of epilepsy specialist nurses in providing quality care.
It is the responsibility of local health bodies to ensure that they commission and provide effective services, and to look at the effective use of their work force, especially under their Quality, Innovation Productivity and Prevention programme.
Anne Milton: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has provided printed materials and targeted financial grants to local authorities to ensure food business operators are complying with their responsibilities under the food hygiene regulations.
In direct relation to catering establishments, the FSA is working with local authorities to introduce a national food hygiene rating scheme that will provide consumers with consistent information about the hygiene standards in catering establishments. Providing information to consumers in this way will empower consumers to make informed choices and encourage caterers to raise hygiene standards.
Safer food, better business (SFBB) will provide support for small catering businesses when the FSA's food hygiene rating scheme is launched. SFBB was developed by the FSA as a practical approach to allow small catering businesses to understand food safety, put in place a simple food safety management system which should improve standards, better protect consumers and allow the business to comply with the law.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 9 September 2010, Official Report, column 656W, on gender recognition, what criteria will be used to decide when it is practicable to extend choice of treatment and provider. 
Mr Simon Burns: The White Paper "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS" and subsequent engagement document "Liberating the NHS: Commissioning for Patients" set out our intention to devolve power and responsibility for commissioning services to local consortia of general practitioner (GP) practices. To support GP consortia in their commissioning decisions, we will also create an independent NHS Commissioning Board.
Under our proposed model, GP practices will jointly form consortia to commission the vast majority of health care required for their local population. However, GP practices will remain independent contractors and therefore able to choose who they work with locally in providing primary medical care to their registered population. Nevertheless, we believe, most practices will see the benefits from working closely within their local community to both commission and provide the best care and appropriate services for the people they serve. That is why practices will have flexibility within the new legislative framework to form commissioning consortia in ways they think will secure the best health care and health outcomes for their patients and locality.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure that general practitioner practices based in areas with high levels of deprivation continue to have access to adequate funding. 
Mr Simon Burns: The White Paper "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS", sets out the Government's intention that the NHS Commissioning Board will be responsible for allocating national health service revenue resources to general practitioner consortia on the basis of seeking to secure equivalent access to NHS services relative to the burden of disease and disability, and managing an overall NHS commissioner revenue limit. The Board will have an explicit duty to promote equality and tackle inequalities in access to health care.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that patients in rural areas where there is only one general practitioner practice in reasonable travelling distance are provided with greater choice. 
Mr Simon Burns:
The White Paper "Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS" gave a firm commitment that every patient should have a clear right to register with a general practitioner (GP) practice of their choice. Our proposals are not intended to suggest that many patients will want to choose a practice a long way from where they live. In many cases, it will make sense for patients to choose a nearby practice within a reasonable travelling distance. What we wish to end are the current
arrangements that prevent people from registering with a more distant GP practice, for instance one near where they work, where they have made an informed decision that this will provide the best and most responsive service for them.
In areas where there is a particularly sparse population some patients may find they have to travel further if they wish to exercise their choice. In future, the NHS Commissioning Board will need to consider whether additional local primary care services should be commissioned where local patients are dissatisfied with access to primary care services, or to work with existing local national health service organisations to improve or reshape provision to meet the needs of the local population.
Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to recognise and encourage the role of trade unions in providing private health provision for their members; and if he will make a statement. 
It is a matter for trade unions to decide what services, including the provision of private health care, they should provide their members. The Government do not wish to influence such internal union affairs.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Dudley South (Chris Kelly) of 10 June 2010, Official Report, column 220W, what recent discussions his Department has had with hospital trusts on the effect of car parking charges on people requiring regular outpatient treatment; whether his Department has issued guidance to trusts on their responsibilities in this respect; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department has considered a wide range of views provided in contributions to the recent consultation on national health service car parking, including many hospital trusts. The Government have now published their response, which makes clear that hospitals are responsible for setting their own policy on car parking, taking into account local operational circumstances and local community interests. It also makes clear that local policies should include fair concessions for all patients whose health care needs require extended or frequent access to hospital. The response also highlights best practice guidance provided by the NHS Confederation.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to (a) ensure that patients have greater access to their medical records and (b) make it easier for patients to change to another general practitioner practice. 
Mr Simon Burns: As we made clear in "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS", published in July 2010, we will enable patients to have control of their health records. This will start with access to the records held by their general practitioner (GP) and over time this will extend to health records held by all providers. The patient will determine who else can access their records and will easily be able to see changes when they are made to their records. We will consult on arrangements, including appropriate confidentiality safeguards, later this year.
We have also given a commitment that every patient should have a clear right to choose to register with any GP practice with an open list, without being restricted by where they live; that people should be able to change their GP quickly and straightforwardly if, and when, it is right for them, but equally that they can stay with their GP if they wish when they move house.
Mr Simon Burns: The White Paper, "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS", makes clear that we will ensure better access for patients to effective drugs and innovative treatments at a price that secures value for the national health service by moving to a system of value-based medicines pricing when the current pharmaceutical price regulation scheme expires at the end of 2013.
Paul Burstow: The Government are developing a new strategy for mental health and well-being in England that is based on an alliance of government departments, local government, the independent sector, professions, communities and individuals. It will address services, outcomes from services and wider public health issues. The strategy will support the aims of "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS" and forthcoming policy on public health and social care. It will also recognise the needs of people with mental health problems as a whole, specifically the links between mental and physical health and the role of social services.
Rather than stipulating how services should be delivered at local level, our focus will be on making services
patient-led, based on the best clinical evidence, responsive both to patients' choice, and their wish to manage their own care. We want the national health service to deal with the full parameters of a patient's recovery, including helping them return to work and get their life back after illness.
Our confirmation of the final £70 million instalment of growth funding from the current spending round for the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme is enabling primary care trusts to broaden the geographical coverage of services, meaning more people can get help, and to increase the range of therapies available, giving people more choice and access to the right psychological support.
Mental health matters for all of us, and we know that mental well-being is linked to physical health outcomes, and people's life expectancy, productivity, educational achievement and to potential reductions in violence and crime. The Government will set out their programme for public health in a White Paper on public health later this year, closely co-ordinated with the strategy on mental health. The forthcoming Health Bill will support the creation of a new Public Health Service (PHS), to integrate and streamline existing health improvement and protection bodies and functions. The PHS will aim to secure improvements in the health of the population as a whole, including, of course, the health of people with mental health problems.
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his most recent assessment is of the incidence of racial inequality in the provision of mental health services; and whether he plans to take further steps to reduce that incidence. 
Paul Burstow: The figures in the "Count Me In" census for 2009, carried out in March each year by the Care Quality Commission, provide the most recent published statistics on the ethnicity of the mental health in-patient population. We have recently announced that, in the months ahead, we will publish a revised mental health strategy. Reducing inequality is part of that strategy.
However, numbers are available for nurse consultants in maternity services. Consultant midwives are included in the nurse consultants staff group but we cannot identify the precise numbers of consultant midwives within this staff group.
|National health service hospital and community health services: Nurse consultants in maternity services and registered midwives by strategic health authority areas as at 30 September each year- England|
|Nurse consultants||Registered midwives|
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 Non-Medical Workforce Census.
John Glen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to increase the provision of ongoing physiotherapy and hydrotherapy for people with muscular dystrophy and related neuromuscular conditions in Salisbury and the South West. 
Paul Burstow: The national service framework for long-term (neurological) conditions sets standards for care for people with neurological and neuromuscular conditions, including muscular dystrophy. It sets out 11 quality requirements of evidence-based markers of good practice in delivering services. It is a matter for the local national health service to commission services to meet the needs of its local population.
John Glen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has had discussions with (a) the South West Specialised Commissioning Group and (b) the South West Strategic Health Authority on the implementation of the South West Neuromuscular Strategy. 
Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to deliver local control of health services; and what steps he plans to take to ensure that such local control is economically efficient. 
Mr Simon Burns: The White Paper and subsequent engagement document "Liberating the NHS: Commissioning for Patients" set out our intention to devolve power and responsibility for commissioning services to local consortia of general practitioner (GP) practices. To support GP consortia in their commissioning decisions, we will also create an independent NHS Commissioning Board.
Under our proposed model, GP practices will jointly form consortia to commission the vast majority of health care required for their local population. This will bring together responsibility for management of care with the management of resources.
GP consortia will have a high level of freedom and more responsibility and control over commissioning budgets, but in return they will be accountable to the NHS Commissioning Board for managing public funds. The NHS Commissioning Board will hold consortia to account for both the stewardship of national health service resources and for the outcomes they achieve as commissioners.
In addition, to ensure that local services work together effectively the Government propose to establish new statutory arrangements to strengthen the role of local authorities. Local authorities will have greater responsibility in four areas:
leading joint strategic needs assessments to ensure coherent and co-ordinated commissioning strategies;
supporting local voice, and the exercise of patient choice;
promoting joined up commissioning of local NHS services, social care and health improvement; and
leading on local health improvement and prevention activity.
Under the proposals set out in "Local democratic legitimacy in health", local government will have an enhanced responsibility and a statutory duty for promoting partnership working and integrated delivery of public services across the NHS, social care, public health and other services.
Mr Simon Burns: This Government are determined that health care professionals are empowered to use their skill and judgment to provide the best care and outcomes for their patients from the individual clinical interaction through to design and commissioning of services.
The White Paper and subsequent engagement document "Liberating the NHS: Commissioning for Patients" set out our intention to devolve power and responsibility for commissioning services to local consortia of general practitioner (GP) practices. To support GP consortia in their commissioning decisions, we will also create an independent NHS Commissioning Board, which will also be directly responsible for commissioning specialist
secondary care services and primary care services which would not be appropriate to be delegated to consortia.
In addition, we published the "Revision to the Operating Framework for the NHS in England 2010-11" on 21 June 2010 setting out our intention to review the clinical relevance of all existing indicators with the removal of those that have little or no clinical relevance.
Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the resources in the NHS consumed but not required in the most recent period for which information is available. 
Mr Simon Burns: "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS" set out our aim to release national health service efficiency savings of up to £20 billion by 2014. This includes significant reductions to the cost of bureaucracy, including cutting NHS management costs by over 45%, and reducing the number and cost of health arm's length bodies.
However, while there is scope for improving the efficiency with which resources are consumed in the NHS, this does not mean that those resources are not required. The Government have pledged that health spending will rise in real terms in each year of this Parliament and delivery of the envisaged efficiency improvements and reductions in bureaucracy will free resources to reinvest in order for the NHS to meet rapidly rising demands and to improve quality and outcomes.
Mr Simon Burns: Managers' views and experiences of working in the national health service are currently being obtained through the national NHS staff survey, run in all trusts. The survey asks questions about a wide range of issues fundamental to the delivery of quality health services, including aspects related to the management of jobs and individual NHS organisations as a whole.
In addition, NHS managers are represented on the Social Partnership Forum, which exists to bring together NHS Employers, trade unions and the Department of Health to discuss, debate and involve partners in the development and implementation of the work force implications of policy.
The Department is also running a full public consultation on components of the NHS White Paper, "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS", which spells out the long-term vision for the future of the NHS. The views of those who work in the NHS, including managers, will form much of the feedback the Department receives as a result of this major consultative exercise.
Toby Perkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect on the standards of medical service delivered by NHS Direct of a reduction in the number of qualified nurses answering calls. 
Mr Simon Burns: The proposals set out in the White Paper, "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS", set out that commissioners will not be expected to provide additional funding for failing providers. If a provider becomes financially unsustainable, Monitor (as the economic regulator) will be able to step in and keep essential services running.
These proposals are subject to an on-going consultation (which closes on 11 October 2010) and further details are set out in the consultation document, "Liberating the NHS: Regulating Healthcare Providers". A copy has already been placed in the Library.
Mr Simon Burns: The White Paper, "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS" makes clear our commitment to the fair and efficient allocation of resources. The remit of the NHS Commissioning Board will be to make allocations on the basis of securing equivalent access to national health service services in all areas relative to the prospective burden of disease and disability.
The distribution of revenue funding to primary care trusts is based on a funding formula overseen by the independent Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA), comprising general practitioners, academics and NHS managers. During the transition to the NHS Commissioning Board, ACRA will continue to provide independent advice to the Secretary of State on the equitable distribution of revenue funding. Further details of allocations after 2010-11 will be announced after the spending review has concluded.
Mr Simon Burns: Chapter 6 of the White Paper, "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS", sets out the proposed timetable for our reforms. Where the reforms require legislation, this will be subject to parliamentary approval. The Department is currently consulting on the implementation of the White Paper and on the four consultation documents that followed the White Paper ("Transparency in outcomes-a framework for the NHS"; "Commissioning for patients"; "Local democratic legitimacy in health" and "Regulating healthcare providers").
Paul Burstow: The Department has received representations, from individual members of the public and on behalf of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomylitis stakeholder groups, on research proposals associated with the Lightning Process.
Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what restrictions his Department plans to place on primary care trusts in respect of their ability to enter into contracts during the period leading up to their abolition. 
Jonathan Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make an assessment of the performance in making commissioning decisions of employees of primary care trusts whose posts are sponsored by private enterprises; and if he will make a statement. 
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what peer-reviewed research studies his Department has evaluated on the extent of high-risk sexual activity by (a) young homosexual men and (b) young heterosexual men and women; 
(2) whether the Health Protection Agency is undertaking research into the degree of high-risk sexual activity by (a) young homosexual men and (b) young heterosexual men and women; and if he will make a statement. 
Anne Milton: In November 2009, the Department and the then Department for Children, Schools and Families published "Teenage Pregnancy and Sexual Health Marketing Strategy", a copy of which has already been placed in the Library. The document sets out the evidence from risk factors and a number of research studies to identify the groups most at risk of teenage pregnancy and poor sexual health.
The Department has also commissioned the Central Office of Information to carry out a review of the existing evidence on the factors that positively or negatively affect sexual health and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) outcomes in the United Kingdom. In addition, the Department made a funding contribution in 2008-09 to the 2010 National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles. This is the third decade in a row that such a study has been completed across the UK and it includes 15,000 men and women aged 16-74. The work outlined will help to inform and evaluate interventions designed to improve sexual health status of all people regardless of their age or sexual orientation.
The Health Protection Agency undertakes surveillance of and supports research on the acquisition of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), the results of which contribute to the development of policies for HIV and STI prevention. In many of these projects, young people are part of a wider study population. Study data are usually presented stratified by age and sexual orientation. These data have highlighted the high burden of infection, the risk of re-infection subsequent to being diagnosed with an STI and the degree of high risk sexual behaviour among young people.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information his Department holds on the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections affecting (a) young homosexual men and (b) young heterosexual men and women in the geographical area closest to the area of Brighton Pavilion constituency for which information is available; and if he will make a statement. 
Anne Milton: Data from genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinics on sexually transmitted infections are collected by gender and not sexual orientation. Diagnostic rates per 100,000 population for men and women in the 15-24 year group within Brighton and Hove City Primary Care Trust (PCT) in 2009 are given in the following table.
|Gender||Rate of acute STIs( 1) per 100,000 population|
|(1)Acute STIs: Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, genital herpes (first episode), genital warts (first episode), non-specific genital infection, chancroid, lymphogranuloma vererum, donavanosis, molluscum, trichomoniasis, scabies and pubic lice. Notes: 1. Numbers of diagnoses used to compile the rates are not adjusted for missing clinic data. 2. 2008 population estimates have been used to calculate 2009 STI rates 3. Some data reported have unknown PCT of patient residence and are not included. 4. Acute STI data presented include diagnoses made in GUM clinics and in community-based settings testing for chlamydia. Source: Health Protection Agency, genito-urinary medicine clinic activity dataset returns, National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) returns, and non-NCSP and non-GUM returns from laboratories.|
In 2008, the diagnosed HIV prevalence among all individuals aged 15-24 years resident in Brighton and Hove PCT was 0.04%. It is not possible to estimate the diagnosed HIV prevalence among young people in Brighton by sexual orientation, since the number of young men who are homosexual in this PCT is not known.
In 2009, there were 1,381 individuals with diagnosed HIV infection resident in Brighton and Hove City PCT of whom 84% (1,159/1,381) acquired their infection through sex between men. Of all individuals with diagnosed HIV infection in Brighton and Hove City PCT in 2009, 2.5% (34/1,381) were aged 15-24 years. The diagnosed prevalence for 2009 will be released later in 2010.
Paul Burstow: Announced levels of grant funding from the Department to local authorities for the provision of social care have been maintained for 2010-11. Details of funding for 2011-12 will be announced as part of the spending review.
Jim Dowd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps (a) his Department has taken and (b) he plans to take to implement the recommendations of the March 2010 report, "Raising Our Sights: Services for adults with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities", commissioned by his Department. 
Paul Burstow: Departmental officials are currently 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 are 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.
Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received on the potential contribution to healthcare provision of trade union mutuality; and if he will make a statement. 
However, the Government have made a commitment to supporting the creation and expansion of mutualism and the greater involvement of mutuals, co-operatives, charities and social enterprises in the delivery of public services.
Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has made an assessment of the merits of the use of electronic language translation devices by British soldiers serving in Afghanistan. 
Nick Harvey: An informal assessment has been conducted on the possible use of electronic language translation devices by British forces serving in Afghanistan. The assessment found that the technology is not currently developed enough to be beneficial to British forces serving in Afghanistan.
|Number of days at sea|
|HMS Illustrious||HMS Ark Royal|
During nearly all their time spent at sea, the carriers are operationally deployed in contributing to a wide range of military tasks. This includes periods when they are exercising and training, but excludes the short time spent completing basic sea safety training and carrying out post refit trials. The tasks may include the integrity of UK waters, the defence and security of overseas territories, intelligence collection, defence diplomacy and support to British interests. They contribute to the standing commitments of the NATO reaction forces and provide platforms for wider maritime security operations.
Peter Luff: Two Invincible Class aircraft carriers currently remain in service with the Royal Navy, HM Ships Ark Royal and Illustrious. HMS Ark Royal is currently planned to be taken out of service in the third quarter of 2014, while HMS Illustrious will reach her out of service date in the second quarter of 2016.
The future of all major equipment projects is being considered as part of the Defence input to the Strategic Defence and Security Review, to ensure that the programme is coherent with future defence needs.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what expenditure his Department incurred on the provision of medical services for armed forces personnel in (a) the Falklands Islands, (b) Gibraltar, (c) Cyprus and (d) Germany in the latest period for which figures are available. 
The figures are updated fortnightly. In addition, we are committed to publishing on a quarterly basis the numbers of service personnel who have suffered limb amputations as a result of injuries sustained while on operational deployment, and Defence Analytical Services Agency published figures up to 30 June 2010 in July 2010. However, in order both to protect the identities of small numbers of patients, including those who have been blinded, and to maintain operational security for the effectiveness of our protective countermeasures, we
do not routinely publish very serious injury and serious injury sub-classified by other types of physical injury.
The Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals (the HD Committee), which advises Her Majesty the Queen on matters of honours policy, made the decision that the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal could be received but not worn in December 2005.
John Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to bring forward proposals to remove the inequality in pension provision for ex-servicemen and women who left the armed forces before 1975. 
Mr Robathan: No. It has been the policy of successive Governments not to change the provision of a pension scheme retrospectively. Any change cannot be isolated to a single scheme and would affect all of the other public sector pension schemes. It would therefore carry significant cost and simply be unaffordable.
Peter Luff: No contracts have been placed with Chinese manufacturers for military garments by the Ministry of Defence. It is, of course, open to MOD suppliers to place subcontracts with suitable companies, which may result in items of military clothing, in whole or in part, being manufactured overseas.
Peter Luff: There are approximately 6,000 specifications in the Ministry of Defence's defence clothing database. Clothing specifications are constantly being reviewed and updated to improve the performance and reliability of military clothing to ensure it is right for the armed forces.
Peter Luff: The defence clothing team is responsible for overseeing the development and acquisition of operational and non-operational military clothing, less flying clothing and associated equipment. The team seek constant feedback on operational clothing and equipment from the front line, which is used to improve the performance specifications with amendments being approved by representatives from the service user community. For non-operational clothing, the responsibility for specifying clothing standards is usually through uniform committees, which include service user representatives.
Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of the appropriateness of British Standard 7209 for assessing the breathability of waterproof clothing for military personnel. 
Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence regularly uses industry standards for measuring performance as part of its own specifications, including British Standard 7209. This is a consistent, repeatable and reproducible method of testing which is well understood by industry. This policy delivers clothing to the standard required by military personnel while at the same time ensuring best value for money for the Department.
Dr Fox: As part of the group accompanying the then Shadow Foreign Secretary and Shadow Chancellor on a fact-finding visit to Afghanistan in January 2010, Mr Myers attended some briefings with NATO and UK military and civilian staff, Afghan officials and a non-governmental organisation.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what level of security clearance was given to Christopher Myers for the purpose of his participation in a visit to Afghanistan in January 2010; 
Claire Perry: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the change in the number of jobs at the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency which will result from its proposed restructuring. 
Agency status was removed from the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency in July this year, when it became part of the joint support chain
within the Defence Equipment and Support organisation. We are currently reviewing provision of defence storage and distribution activities as part of the Future Defence Storage and Distribution Programme; and this work will of course be influenced by the outcome of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, which will be announced in the autumn, once the Government's spending review concludes.
Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what account he plans to take of the likely effects of defence spending reductions on (a) BAE Systems and (b) other companies in the defence industry in determining the outcomes of (i) the strategic defence and security review and (ii) his Department's contribution to the Government's spending review. 
Peter Luff: The priority for the Strategic Defence and Security Review is to ensure that the UK has at its disposal what it needs for its wider national security. In doing so, we are taking the industrial implications, among other key factors, into account. The Government recognise that the UK defence industry is a vital strategic asset, which is why I recently announced the publication of a Green Paper on defence industry and technology policy by the end of the year to follow on from the conclusion of the SDSR later this autumn. After a period of consultation, this will be followed by a White Paper in the spring, which will formally set out our approach to industry and technology through to the next SDSR.
Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make an estimate of the effects on the number of people employed in the defence manufacturing sector and the sector's supply chain likely to result from reductions in defence spending in (a) Hyndburn, (b) Burnley, (c) Blackburn, (d) Pendle, (e) Preston, (f) Chorley, (g) Fylde, (h) East Lancashire and (i) Lancashire and the North West. 
Peter Luff: We recognise the major contribution made to UK defence by industry throughout the north-west of England. The Department is examining a range of factors, including industrial issues, as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, which will conclude in the autumn in co-ordination with the Government's spending review. It would, therefore, be premature to speculate about the impact of future levels of defence expenditure.
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average cost to his Department was of processing the payment of an invoice in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proportion of invoices settled in that period his Department paid (a) electronically and (b) by cheque. 
Mr Robathan: Information regarding the average cost to pay an invoice by the Financial Management Shared Service Centre and the number of invoices settled electronically and by cheque could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence has an enabling contract with a supplier to provide newspapers and magazines at a discounted rate to units within the London area which came into force on 1 March 2002. MOD units outside London may purchase newspapers under local arrangements. Information on expenditure under these local arrangements is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
An enabling contract has also been in place since 1 June 1999 with a periodical supplier, which MOD business units can use to place orders directly with the supplier at discounted prices. There is no central record of units choosing not to use this enabling contract; information on expenditure under any other arrangements is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Prior to these enabling contracts being in place, MOD units made their own local arrangements for the supply of newspapers, magazines and periodicals. Information on such expenditure is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
|(1 )Figures include expenditure on periodicals only. No enabling contract was in place at this time for the supply of newspapers.|
Toby Perkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health on the vulnerability to suicide of servicemen and women leaving the armed forces. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence works closely with the Department of Health on issues relating to support to former service personnel with mental health needs, in particular through the Partnership Board which brings together the MOD and the four UK Health Departments. We are committed to creating effective, through-life, mental health services for our service personnel and veterans and will continue to look at ways in which the NHS, the MOD and the devolved administrations can work together with organisations such as Combat Stress to ensure that they receive the support they need.
Nick Harvey: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 13 September 2010, Official Report, columns 581-82, to the hon. Members for Finchley and Golders Green (Mike Freer) and for Battersea (Mrs Ellison).
Nick Harvey: Since 2003, UK pilots have not attended pilot training programmes in France. UK pilots have attended training courses in the US, where suitable training facilities exist, for the following aircraft types:
King Air 350ER
In addition, a small number of UK pilots are regularly posted on exchange tours with US and French forces and will normally spend part of their tour training and operating aircraft alongside their counterparts.
Nick Harvey: Yes. A number of Royal Navy and RAF qualified fast jet pilots are regularly posted on exchange tours with US forces to enhance inter-service co-operation and gain additional experience. They may spend part of their tours training with and operating on US aircraft carriers alongside their US counterparts. Additionally, a small number of Royal Navy trainee pilots conduct operational fast jet training in the US on F/A18 Hornet aircraft and the AV-8B Harrier aircraft and are trained to operate from aircraft carriers.
Damian Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the budget for the Royal Gurkha Rifles was from (a) his Department's budget and (b) other sources in the latest period for which figures are available. 
A battalion of the Royal Gurkha Rifles is based in Brunei under the Garrison Agreement Exchange of Notes between the UK MOD and the Sultan of Brunei. When the battalion is physically in Brunei, the Sultan of Brunei pays for all salary and almost all basing costs.
In addition some costs of the Royal Gurkha Rifles may be funded from the Treasury reserve if additional costs are incurred when preparing for or when on operations. This figure will vary between years dependent on the extent to which the Royal Gurkha Rifles Battalions are tasked for operations.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 13 September 2010, Official Report, columns 737-8W, on warships: deployment, what the (a) type and (b) mission is of each Royal Navy ship deployed on operations at sea. 
A continuous maritime capability for mine-countermeasures integration within NATO Response Force (NRF) operations, non NRF operations and other activities in peacetime and periods of crisis and conflict.
UK's maritime contribution to the Caribbean and North Atlantic area. Protection of UK interests, humanitarian role in response to the natural disasters, especially hurricanes, which are prevalent in this region. Additionally working alongside the US Coastguard and the Royal Netherlands Navy: a significant contribution to the UK's counter drugs operations.
The standing naval commitment to the South Atlantic and West African regions. Provide a maritime presence to protect the British sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, including South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and UK's interests in the region.
Survey operations throughout the world using the latest techniques to provide information for Admiralty charts and nautical publications and in particular updating the charts covering the waters around the United Kingdom.
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will take steps to ensure that local authorities encourage residents to participate in the implementation of local carbon reduction plans. 
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will take steps to provide financial and technical assistance for local authorities to meet local carbon reduction targets. 
Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to ensure other Government departments, agencies and non-departmental public bodies are reducing their carbon emissions and using energy more efficiently. 
On 14 May my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister set a challenging target of reducing central Government's emissions by 10% in 12 months and asked DECC and the Efficiency and Reform Group to lead this work. Since then, all Departments have submitted their plans for action, detailing how they will
contribute towards the target. All ministerial headquarters buildings are now also placing their real time energy use data on line.
In order to learn from private sector experience, I have established a cross-Whitehall 10% Working Group, which will hold Departments to account for their progress, and has created a network for sharing good practice and experiences between Departments and the private sector.
In addition, all Government Departments, and many other public sector bodies, are currently registering for the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, which will help to ensure that energy efficiency is prioritised in the public sector.
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the average cost to his Department was of processing the payment of an invoice in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proportion of invoices settled in that period his Department paid (a) electronically and (b) by cheque. 
Gregory Barker: Invoice processing is provided to the Department by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. In August 2010 the average cost of processing an invoice including staff costs and overheads was £4.29. All payments made in August were made electronically.
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on how many occasions each Minister in his Department has met his Department's Chief Scientific Officer since 6 May 2010. 
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the monetary value is of contracts his Department has awarded to each (a) management consultancy and (b) IT company since 7 May 2010. 
Gregory Barker: Central records indicate, that the monetary value of contracts awarded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change to management consultancy and IT companies since 7 May 2010 is as follows:
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the estimated monetary value is of each vacant (a) building and (b) parcel of land owned by his Department in each region. 
Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much his Department spent on hospitality for events hosted by each Minister in the Department in each of the last three years. 
2008-09 (from October 2008): £5,846;
2010-11 (as of 31 August): £6,436.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if his Department will take steps to assess the impacts on (a) equality of incomes, (b) equality of assets and (c) equality of access to services of measures relating to its expenditure under consideration in the Spending Review. 
Gregory Barker: DECC will ensure the relevant equality considerations are taken in to account in the context of expenditure under consideration in the Spending Review, in compliance with our obligations under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what severance payments have been paid to (a) Ministers and (b) special advisers in his Department who left office after the last general election. 
Gregory Barker [holding answer 16 September 2010]: Details of the total severance payments paid to DECC Ministers who left office after the last general election were given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office to the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) on 5 July 2010, Official Report , column 55W. However, DECC was not included in that report.
Severance payments for paid Government Ministers and other office holders are governed by legislation, specifically section 5 of the Ministerial and other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991. Those individuals who leave office under the age of 65 and who do not take up another relevant office within three weeks (six weeks for Opposition office holders at the time of the election) are entitled to receive one-quarter of their annual claimed salary as a severance payment. These are separate from resettlement grants available to members of Parliament upon leaving the House of Commons.
The Government publish annually the total cost of special advisers in the form of a written ministerial statement by the Prime Minister. The total cost of severance paid out to special advisers who left office after the last general election will be published in due course.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many staff his Department has appointed on secondment since 7 May 2010; and from what organisation each such member of staff has been seconded. 
|Organisation||Number of staff|
Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will make it his policy to target energy efficiency programmes at prepayment meter users in, or at risk of, fuel poverty. 
Government have a range of policies focused on improving the energy efficiency of households, including those in fuel poverty. We recently extended the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) to 2012 and increased significantly the amount of work to be carried out in the most vulnerable households.
Following the introduction of new rules to prevent unfair price differentials, Ofgem have recently reported that the differentials between customers paying by pre-payment meter (PPM) and standard credit have been completely eliminated.
Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will use his power under the Energy Act 2010 to oblige suppliers to provide social price support to (a) all groups that qualify for cold weather payments and (b) households in receipt of means-tested benefits with children under 16 years. 
Gregory Barker: The Green Deal should unlock billions of pounds of new investment in household energy efficiency. It has the potential to be particularly successful in the private rented sector because it will remove the up-front costs of making homes more energy efficient for tenants, which are currently a significant deterrent to landlords upgrading rented-out property.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many and what proportion of (a) private sector and (b) social sector dwellings have residents in fuel poverty in (a) England and (b) the geographical area most close to the area of Brighton Pavilion constituency for which information is available. 
Gregory Barker: In 2007 there were 2.8 million fuel poor households in England, representing around 13% of all households. 2.3 million of these were private sector households (13% of all private households) and 0.5 million were in the social sector (13% of all social households).
In 2006 the most recent year for which sub-regional figures are available, there were around 5,100 (12%) fuel poor households in the Brighton Pavilion constituency. A split by tenure is not available for this figure.
Toby Perkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much has been paid to miners in Chesterfield constituency under the Government's handling agreements for vibration white finger, bronchitis and emphysema since their inception. 
Charles Hendry: The amount the Department has paid to claimants in Chesterfield constituency for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and vibration white finger under the Coal Health Compensation Schemes is shown in the following table as at 31 August 2010.
|Total claims received||Total claims settled||Total claims outstanding||Total damages paid (£)|
Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions his Department has had with Magnox North Ltd and Magnox South Ltd on the formation of a single site licence company; and by what date he expects legal integration of the two to have been achieved. 
Charles Hendry: This is an operational matter for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which owns the Magnox sites. The NDA has been liaising with Magnox North-Ltd and Magnox South Ltd on their reintegration into a single-site licence company (SLC). Reintegration of the two SLCs is a key part of the overall plan of the parent body organisation, EnergySolutions, which owns the SLCs, to reduce the-costs of managing the sites on behalf of the NDA and to ensure that more money is spent on front-line activities. The programme aims for relicensing into a single SLC to be complete by the end of 2010.
Charles Hendry: The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority estimates that the total costs of separating Magnox Electric into two site licence companies (SLCs) were approximately £6.4 million. Reintegration of the two SLCs is a key part of the overall strategy of the parent body organisation, EnergySolutions, which owns the SLCs, to reduce the costs of managing the sites on behalf of the NDA. It is estimated that reintegration will deliver net savings of around £10 million per year.
Charles Hendry: Transmission charging zones do not correspond with local authority boundaries and therefore it is not possible to give an average figure for each local authority area. Details of the different charges for each generation and demand charging zone can be found on national grid's website at:
Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much has been raised in national grid transmission charges from generators in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales in each of the last five years. 
Charles Hendry: As set out in the Annual Energy Statement, we need more gas storage capacity, as well as more gas import capacity and greater assurance that our market will deliver gas when it is needed. The Department has already taken steps to encourage greater gas storage capacity for the UK.
Further, as set down in the recent written ministerial statement about planning reform by the Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tunbridge Wells (Greg Clark), the Government are reforming the planning system. Planning applications for major infrastructure projects will be decided by Ministers within a clear policy framework provided in national policy statements, on the basis of recommendations by the new major infrastructure planning unit. This will make major infrastructure decisions, such as for new gas storage facilities, faster and more transparent.
Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what consideration he has given to the merits of entitling the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to deal directly with site licence companies rather than through a parent body organisation; and if he will make a statement. 
Charles Hendry: The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority deals with both its site licence companies (SLC) and with their parent body organisations (PBO). Each of the sites under NDA ownership is operated for the NDA under a management and operations contract by a site licensee (SLC), which is responsible for the delivery of site programmes until all decommissioning and clean-up work has been completed. Each site licensee has a PBO, which owns the shares in that SLC and manages its activities for the period in which it has a parent body agreement with the NDA. These PBO contracts are competed. The relationship between the NDA and the SLC is long term and continues irrespective of who owns the SLC.
Charles Hendry: The Department closely monitors the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's (NDA) performance through regular reports and meetings, including between DECC Ministers and the NDA's chairman and chief executive officer. The NDA is required by the Energy Act 2004 to have a ministerial approved strategy and annual business plans. These, together with reports on its progress to date are available on the NDA's website.
Before the NDA was set up in 2005 there was little investment in the legacy infrastructure or progress with decommissioning. Starting from a zero base, in its first five years the NDA has made significant progress in tackling the unprecedented challenge that it faces. It has:
developed a detailed understanding of the legacy, introduced industry-wide procedures across its sites to plan on a consistent basis and completed the re-structuring of its estate to facilitate its competition programme;
successfully completed competitions for the management of the low level waste facility near Drigg; and for Sellafield-one of the largest and most complex procurements in the world. These have brought international capability to the UK and the new management teams are bringing significant improvements in operational efficiency, project management and cost control;
made significant headway in realising value from its commercial operations;
progressively prioritised funds towards highest hazards; delivered value for money by driving efficiency and performance across its estate and invested in skills to build the future capability of the UK's nuclear work force; and
made steady progress on decommissioning in line with its published business plans.
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