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6 Dec 2010 : Column 62Wcontinued
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether security functions carried out for his Department by TRANSEC will be affected by reductions to his Department's central administration budget; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Philip Hammond: TRANSEC does not form part of the Department's central administration budget as it is funded out of Programme expenditure.
During the spending review we carried out a thorough reassessment of the most cost-effective way of providing transport security in the future. This will result in internal efficiencies and other changes which will produce cost savings while maintaining essential security functions.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what expenditure (a) his Department and (b) its non-departmental public bodies incurred on sponsorship in each year since 1997 for which figures are available. 
Norman Baker: I am afraid that the information requested can be provided only at disproportionate cost. A marketing and communications freeze was introduced in May 2010.
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne East of 22 November 2010, Official Report, column 34W, whether the proposal from Dover People's Port to buy the assets of the Dover Harbour Board is also under consideration; and upon what basis his decision will be made. 
Mike Penning [holding answer 29 November 2010]: The Decision Minister, my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department for Transport (Mrs Villiers), is currently considering the proposed transfer scheme from Dover Harbour Board, as well as the representations received from third parties. The Decision Minister will make her decision having regard to the factors contained in the Department's guidance note on the procedure for the voluntary sale of trust ports, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
I have written to the Dover People's Port Trust Limited to explain that, until there has been a decision on the transfer scheme, it would be premature for any offers for the Port of Dover to be considered.
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what legal advice he has received from his Department on whether primary legislation is required before any sale of the assets of the Dover Harbour Board may proceed; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning [holding answer 29 November 2010]: The Government do not normally disclose their legal advice.
The Ports Act 1991 was used in the 1990s to achieve a transfer in ownership of several major trust ports.
The Act remains in force. The Department for Transport produced guidance earlier this year as to how it expects applications made under that Act by relevant harbour authorities to be brought forward and processed. A copy of the guidance is in the Library of the House.
Mr Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) material, (b) administrative and (c) postage costs the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency incurred in issuing tax discs in the latest year for which figures are available. 
Mike Penning: The latest figures for the cost of issuing tax discs this year (2010-11) are.
Mr Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what posts exist in the tax disc section of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency; and what salary is payable to holders of each such post. 
Mike Penning: Around 45 million tax discs are issued annually, raising £5.6 billion in vehicle excise duty for the Exchequer. Tax discs are sold through three channels. Post offices account for 57% of applications; the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's electronic vehicle licensing internet and telephone system accounts for around 41% of applications. The remaining 2% of tax disc applications are handled by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's local offices.
As well as staff employed in the local office network and supporting the electronic vehicle licensing system, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency also employs staff who are involved in the procurement, despatch and the refund of tax discs. None of these staff work solely on the issuing of tax discs. These staff are mainly at the administrative grades. DVLA's administrative pay structure is:
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which local authorities have been (a) banned and (b) suspended from accessing the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency database in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning [holding answer 12 November 2010]: No local authority has been banned from accessing the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's vehicle database within the last 12 months. The following authorities have been temporarily suspended during the last 12 months from requesting information from the database until they could demonstrate full compliance with the strict terms and conditions for access to data.
Ashfield District Council
Aylesbury Vale District Council
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
Bedford Borough Council
Birmingham City Council
Blackpool Borough Council
Blaenau Gwent Borough Council
Bournemouth Borough Council
Bracknell Forest Council
Bristol City Council
Broadlands District Council
Bromley L B
Buckingham County Council
Burnley Borough Council
Cambridge City Council
Cannock Chase Council
Carlisle City Council
Carmarthenshire County Council
Central Bedfordshire Council
Chiltern District Council
Chorley Borough Council
City of York
Cumbria County Council
Dacorum Borough Council
Durham County Council
East Dorset District Council
East Riding of Yorkshire Council
Erewash Borough Council
Fenland District Council
Forest Heath District Council
Gloucester City Council
Guildford Borough Council
Hampshire Council (East)
Hampshire County Council
Ipswich Borough Council
Kent County Council
Kirklees District Council
Leicester City Council
London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
London Borough Epping Forrest
London Borough Newham
Manchester City Council
Mendip District Council
Milton Keynes Council
N E Lincolnshire
New Forest District Council
Newcastle upon Tyne
North Kesteven District Council
Pendle Borough Council
Portsmouth City Council
Ribble Borough Council (South)
Ribble Valley Borough Council
Richmond on Thames
Salford County Council
Selby District Council
Somerset County Council
South Cambridgeshire Council
Southend on Sea Borough Council
St Albans City and District Council
St Helens Council
Stockton on Tees
Stroud District Council
Surrey Heath Borough Council
Three Rivers District Council
Warrington Borough Council
Warwick District Council
Watford Borough Council
Worcester County Council
Wychavon District Council
Wycombe District Council
Jack Lopresti: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to reduce the amount of time learner drivers have to wait to take a driving test. 
Mike Penning: Waiting times across the country are currently higher than expected. The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has a shortfall in the number of driving examiners required to deliver the demand for practical driving tests and this is being addressed through a programme of recruitment.
In addition, to help mitigate the impact of the current examiner shortfall, DSA has undertaken a number of actions to increase the number of tests it can deliver. These include:
(1) Offering out-of-hours tests (early mornings, evenings and weekends) at most locations;
(2) Having examiner managers do an increased amount of testing.
Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to raise awareness among drivers (a) of the risks inherent in driving with poor vision and (b) that driving with vision below the required standard is an offence; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: The Department for Transport takes appropriate opportunities to raise awareness of the risks inherent in driving with poor vision.
Driving licence application forms and associated leaflets remind drivers about the ongoing requirement to be able to meet the eyesight standard. Specific information is available on the DirectGov website. Advertisements also appear on the motoring pages reminding drivers that driving while unable to meet the appropriate eyesight standard is an offence. This advice is also included in the Highway Code that provides essential advice for all drivers. The driving test also requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to meet the required eyesight standard.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the extent of the use of alternative fuels in the river ferry sector. 
Mike Penning: The Government have not made an assessment of the extent to which alternative fuels are in use in the river ferry sector. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has some knowledge of the application of alternative fuels in connection with its role as regulator. Currently this information is limited to a very small number of vessels that could be considered to be experimental.
We know that compressed natural gas is being used on ferries in Canada and the Norwegian Government have introduced a number of programmes for their fleet of coastal and fjord vehicle ferries, after the successful experience with the prototype GLUTRA.
Liquid biofuels are now being used by a number of river ferry operators. These are diluted into fuel at low concentrations and reduce the demand for fossil fuels. These types of fuel will be increasingly adopted for use on inland waterway vessels in Europe in the future.
Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding his Department has allocated to the Freight Facilities Grant in each of the last five years. 
Mike Penning: The value of the Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) awards made by the Department in each of the last five years was as follows:
|Total value of awards( 1) (£ million)|
|(1) Figures do not include awards made which were later declined, expired or were withdrawn.|
(2) Includes awards made by the Department and the Strategic Rail Authority.
Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the outcome of the comprehensive spending review on the future of the Freight Facilities Grant. 
Mike Penning: No formal announcement on the future of the Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) scheme has yet been made by the Department for Transport. Following the spending review settlement, we are currently considering what budgets will be available across a number of the Department's smaller programmes (including FFG).
Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received on the Freight Facilities Grant scheme. 
Mike Penning: The organisation 'Freight on Rail' made a representation to me on Freight Facilitates Grants in May.
Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to make an announcement on the proposed electrification of the Great Western line to South Wales. 
Mrs Villiers: In his ministerial statement of 25 November 2010, Official Report, columns 52-54WS, the Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), confirmed that the Great Western main line between London and Didcot, Oxford and Newbury would be electrified. The extent of further electrification for intercity services on the Great Western main line is dependent on final decisions on the intercity train option that we choose.
My right hon. Friend also announced that the Department for Transport would be working with the Welsh Assembly Government to review the business case for electrification to Swansea.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to estimate the effect on levels of walking and cycling in respect of his Department's objectives of the implementation of the second round of local transport plans (LTPs); and what methodology he plans to use to evaluate the effectiveness of LTP3 delivery. 
The coalition Government have set out their commitment to localism and to ending the top-down performance management of local authorities
by Whitehall. In July I announced that central Government will no longer review local authorities' progress against their Local Transport plans.
In the interests of transparency, and to enable local communities and other stakeholders to hold local transport authorities to account, the Department intends to continue publishing relevant statistics at local authority level as set out in the Transparency section of its Business Plan.
The Department of Health is also developing an outcomes framework for directors of public health to monitor the health and well-being of the local population, and a consultation document on appropriate indicators will be announced shortly.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people his Department employs as part of the Motor Insurance Database's Continuous Insurance Enforcement Project Team. 
Mike Penning [holding answer 29 November 2010]: The Department for Transport currently employs in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency seven full-time equivalents in the Continuous Insurance Enforcement Project Team.
Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to align the timing of off-peak travel periods between different train operating companies. 
Mrs Villiers: There are no plans at present to harmonise the definition of 'off-peak' for all train operators.
The Franchise Agreement allows individual train operators the flexibility to define what is 'off-peak' according to local conditions. We do not consider it appropriate to require all train operators to have the same off-peak periods as this could lead to many passengers being subject to restrictions at times when it was not necessary.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which 20 rail routes are with the highest levels of congestion. 
Mrs Villiers: Information on rail overcrowding is currently published annually in aggregate form by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) within the National Rail Trends Yearbook, and is available on the ORR website:
The latest published data relate to passenger counts carried out by train operators in autumn 2009.
Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the evidential basis was for his Department's conclusion that the changes proposed to the resourcing of the search and rescue helicopter programme could be accommodated without initiating a new procurement process; 
(2) what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of fully funding a de-militarised search and rescue helicopter programme from his Department's departmental expenditure limit; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: The Government announced in June 2010 that the search and rescue helicopter project would be reviewed in the context of wider pressures on public spending. That review is still ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment on any specific aspects of the project until decisions have been made on the way forward.
Dr Poulter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress the Government are making on developing road safety measures to reduce the frequency of minor accidents. 
Existing policies and trends have already delivered the safest roads in the world, with significant falls in all casualties, as well as deaths and the most serious injuries. The Department for Transport is making progress on initiatives to continue to reduce the frequency
of both major and minor accidents, including work on a new strategic framework for road safety and related measures.
Most recently we have produced the "Safe Place to Cross" toolkit aimed at six to eleven-year-olds and the innovative partnership between the THINK! team and four major football clubs.
We have also announced in September the Local Sustainable Transport Fund that will challenge local transport authorities outside London to develop packages of measures that support economic growth and reduce carbon in their communities as well as delivering cleaner environments, improved safety and increased levels of physical activity.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) fatalities, (b) serious injuries and (c) other outcomes from road traffic accidents in (i) Cumbria and (ii) England were reported to his Department in each month of the last five years. 
Mike Penning: The following table shows the number of casualties who were (a) killed, (b) seriously injured or (c) slightly injured in reported personal injury road accidents in (i) Cumbria and (ii) England, in each month, between 2005 and 2009.
|Casualties in reported personal injury road accidents, by injury severity and month: Cumbria and England, 2005 - 09|
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the Highways Agency's Salt Stock Strategy document. 
Mike Penning: The Highways Agency's policy and standards for its winter service, including salt stock management, is detailed in its largely technical Network Management Manual (NMM). The relevant winter section, along with the full document, is available at the following website:
The Highways Agency constantly reviews and revises the NMM to confirm changes in standards to its contractors and to reflect lessons learned and developing best practice on all aspects of its maintenance activities. I understand that the Highways Agency will be updating the document highlighted by the previous link very shortly.
Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department plans to take steps to (a) amend the way in which speed limits for rural roads are set and (b) ensure that the mean speed for vehicles using rural roads is not taken into account in setting appropriate speed limits for those roads. 
Mike Penning: The Department for Transport has no plans to change the way in which speed limits for rural roads are set. Nor are there plans to move away from using mean speeds as the method of indicating an appropriate speed limit.
Local authorities are responsible for setting local speed limits. The Department provides them with guidance, "DfT Circular 01/2006-Setting Local Speed Limits", which ensures speed limits are appropriately and consistently set. The guidance recommends local authorities use mean speeds to determine the appropriate speed limit.
Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the merits of lengthening of the platforms at Twickenham rail station to facilitate crowd management at stadium events. 
Mrs Villiers: Platform lengthening at Twickenham station is being considered as part of a package of works to facilitate the operation of longer trains and more passenger capacity on the route to London Waterloo by 2014. The Department is in negotiation with Stagecoach South West Trains, the operator of Twickenham station for the delivery of this additional capacity.
Graham Jones: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent representations he has received on the effect of his proposals for constituency boundaries on the boundaries of constituencies serving mill towns in East Lancashire. 
Mr Harper: The Cabinet Office does not record correspondence in a way that would enable us to readily identify the specific content of correspondence to establish this.
Mr Spellar: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent estimate has his Department made of the number of owners of second homes who are registered as voters in more than one constituency. 
Mr Harper: The Government have made no such estimate. An individual may be registered at more than one address if it appears to the electoral registration officer in more than one local authority area that they meet the residence requirement in each area. However, it is an offence for a person to vote twice in a general election.
Nick Boles: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office on how many occasions Government Departments have required professional indemnity from a contractor to the level of £1 million or above in each of the last five years; and what the monetary value was of the contracts concerned. 
Mr Maude: This information is not held centrally.
In circumstances where it is appropriate to require professional indemnity insurance, the Cabinet Office advises Departments to set the level of required cover commensurate with the contract's value and associated risks. Setting the level too high could exclude many potential bidders including SMEs.
There are two contracts that have indemnity insurance over this level in the Cabinet Office; the Total Fm contract is £14 million, and the Fujitsu Flex contract is £5 million.
Stephen Mosley: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will take steps to enable national and multi-national companies on the Office of Government Commerce framework to subcontract to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their local areas for the purpose of helping SMEs obtain Government and local authority contracts. 
Mr Maude: There is no reason why suppliers to the public sector cannot advertise sub-contracting opportunities to regional suppliers. Government will be interested in bids which involve SMEs and voluntary organisations. The new “Contracts Finder” facility will give prime contractors to Government the ability to advertise their sub-contracting opportunities online.
Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans his Department has to adopt the one-in one-out system for regulation. 
Chris Grayling: The Department has already adopted the Government's one-in, one-out policy. All new DWP regulatory measures brought forward, and which are within scope of the policy, will be managed accordingly.
Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent estimate is of the number of people who will be affected by the implementation of his proposals to remove the mobility component of disability living allowance in 2014-15. 
Maria Miller: We estimate that approximately 80,000 people who claim disability living allowance and live in residential care will be affected by the measure to cease paying the mobility component in Great Britain from October 2012.
Accurate estimates of the number of people who claim disability living allowance and live in residential care are difficult to produce because before 1998 there was no requirement to record entry or exit dates in to residential care.
The available evidence has been updated in light of new information on the status of care home residents who entered residential care before 1998. We subsequently updated our estimate of the number of people affected by the measure.
Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of (a) women and (b) men in Wales who will be affected by the implementation of his proposed changes to housing benefit in the comprehensive spending review period. 
Steve Webb: Impact assessments will be completed for each proposed measure in the emergency Budget and the comprehensive spending review. These assessments will be published in the normal way, accompanying the relevant legislation when introduced in Parliament.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the running cost was of the Jobcentre Plus service in Deptford high street in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Chris Grayling: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Darra Singh. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the running cost was of the Jobcentre Plus service in Deptford High Street in the last 12 months for which figures are available. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The running cost of the Jobcentre in Deptford High Street over the 2009/10 financial year was £2.2 million, including £0.33 million of estate running costs. This includes both salary costs and associated discretionary spend.
Jobcentre Plus is an agency of the Department for Work and Pensions and many costs are only available for the whole of Jobcentre Plus and are not split down by individual sites. These costs therefore do not include centrally charged costs, such as information technology.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost per square metre was of the premises at 120-124 Deptford high street rented by Trillium on behalf of his Department in 2009-10. 
Chris Grayling: The cost per square metre for the Jobcentre Plus premises at 120-124 high street, Deptford for the year 2009-10 was £400.44. This includes rent (at £59.46 per square metre), business rates, and other components that make up the unitary charge paid by the Department to Telereal Trillium for the provision of fully fitted and serviced accommodation.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average cost was of running Jobcentre Plus services at Jobcentres in the South East in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Chris Grayling: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Darra Singh. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average cost of running Jobcentre Plus services at Jobcentres in the South East in the last 12 months for which figures are available. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The average running cost of running a Jobcentre in the South East region over the 2009/10 financial year was £2.19 million, including £0.54 million of estate running costs. This includes both salary costs and associated discretionary spend.
Jobcentre Plus is an agency of the Department for Work and Pensions and many costs are only available for the whole of Jobcentre Plus, and are not split down by individual sites. These costs therefore do not include centrally charged costs, such as information technology.
Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the Health and Safety Executive plans to publish its report into the collapse of a crane at Chandler's Wharf in Liverpool on 6 July 2009; and if he will make a statement. 
Chris Grayling: Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive have recently concluded their investigation into the incident and are now considering if legal action should be taken. Until a decision has been reached and if instituted, any legal action concluded, the Health and Safety Executive are not in a position to release a report.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has for uprating the state earnings-related pension scheme in the period to 2014-15. 
Steve Webb: Additional pension paid under the state earnings-related pension scheme (SERPS) will in future years continue to be increased in line with the growth in prices in the preceding year as measured by the consumer prices index.
David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to reduce incidences of ambulance stacking attributable to a shortage of nursing staff and beds in accident and emergency departments. 
Mr Simon Burns: Local health care organisations know the health care needs and priorities of their local populations. They are best placed to determine the workforce required to deliver safe patient care within their available resources.
The Department expects accident and emergency services and NHS ambulance services to be able to respond to varying workloads at different times and under varying pressures. The Department recommends that local health partners work closely together to draw up contingency arrangements to ensure that the national health service can cope efficiently and that trusts and strategic health authorities take urgent local action to ensure escalation plans include robust action to avoid ambulances queuing and therefore not to delay ambulance handover times.
David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received on changing the ambulance funding model from a block grant to a per call-out tariff; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: While we have not received direct representations on this matter, departmental officials and colleagues from the national health service have worked together to develop 'currencies' for ambulance services which could form the basis of a future tariff.
The use of these currencies in the collection of ambulance service activity and cost data will be mandatory for 2011-12, with the expectation being that currencies will be used for contracting in 2012-13 with prices agreed locally.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions his Department has held with representatives of the private ambulance industry on the likely effect on that sector of the introduction of regulations governing it in April 2011. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department undertook a consultation in March 2008 on the scope of registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the registration requirements. Details of the consultation, titled "a consultation on the framework for the registration of health and adult social care providers", and the Department's response have already been placed in the Library.
Departmental officials met representatives from the private ambulance sector in March 2009 to discuss proposed regulations on registration with CQC.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department plans to develop a strategy to reduce the risk posed by known and unknown pathogens to the security of the donated blood supply. 
Anne Milton: The United Kingdom blood services must comply with the Blood Safety and Quality Regulation (2005), as amended. The principal measure to protect patients against transfusion-transmitted infections is the careful selection of blood donors, supplemented by specific testing for transfusion-transmitted infections.
There are well established systems in place within the UK blood services to identify, assess and respond to threats to the UK blood supply posed by known and emerging pathogens that may be transmitted by transfusion. The independent expert Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs and the National Expert Panel on New and Emerging Infections also monitor developments nationally and internationally, and provide advice to the Department and to the blood services.
A number of safety measures are in place to reduce the risk of transmission of variant Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) as there is no specific test available for
screening of donors. These include lifetime deferral from donation by people who have been advised they may be at increased risk from vCJD and by those previously transfused; leucodepletion of all donated blood; the use of non-UK plasma for production of plasma products such as clotting factors; and importation of fresh frozen plasma for treatment of children under 16.
The introduction of bacterial screening of platelets provides an additional safety measure for these products.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to widen choice for patients undergoing cataract surgery in NHS facilities; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: We are committed to extending choice for all national health service patients and service users, including those who are referred for elective care such as cataract treatment. We are currently consulting on proposals for giving patients and service users greater choice and control over their care and we will publish our response along with more detailed policy proposals early next year.
Mr Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will encourage hospital trusts with high numbers of clostridium difficile infections to conduct trials of prebiotic supplements; and if he will make a statement. 
Anne Milton: Participation in trials is a local decision. Trials of suitable prebiotics or other adjuncts to treatment may be considered in addition to the implementation of best practice guidance on the diagnosis and treatment of clostridium difficile infection. This guidance stresses the role of isolation of cases, hand washing with soap and water, and the use of appropriated antibiotics for treatment, together with sound antibiotic stewardship policies. These measures, unlike the use of prebiotics, have been shown to reduce infections and improve patient outcomes.
Mr Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much each hospital trust in England spent on the prevention and treatment of clostridium difficile in 2009. 
Mr Simon Burns: This information is not collected centrally.
David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had on statutory regulation of acupuncturists, herbalists and practitioners of Chinese medicine; and if he will make a statement. 
Anne Milton: The Government are currently considering their overall strategy on professional regulation, including the possibility of establishing a registration scheme for practitioners of these traditional forms of medicine.
The Department has had discussions with the Health Professions Council, the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council and the General Pharmaceutical Council about the possibility of establishing a statutory register for herbal medicine practitioners. We are discussing policy options with the Devolved Administrations and we expect to make an announcement on the way forward shortly.
Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of the number of people not registered with a dentist in (a) Bradford East constituency and (b) England in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr Simon Burns: Information is not available in the format requested.
Under the dental contractual arrangements, introduced on 1 April 2006, patients do not have to be registered with a national health service dentist to receive NHS care. The closest equivalent measure to 'registration' is the number of patients receiving NHS dental services ('patients seen') over a 24 month period. However, this is not directly comparable to the registration data for earlier years.
Information on the number of patients seen in the previous 24 months, in England, is available in Table Dl of Annex 3 of the "NHS Dental Statistics for England-2010-11, First quarterly report". Information is available at quarterly intervals, from 31 March 2006 to 30 September 2010 and is provided by primary care trust and by strategic health authority but is not available by parliamentary constituency.
This report, published on 24 November 2010, has been already placed in the Library and is also available on the NHS Information Centre website at:
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department plans to take to encourage and support small and medium-sized enterprises and third sector organisations to compete
for departmental contracts in line with value-for-money policy, UK regulations and EU procurement directives. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department is fully committed to the coalition's pledge to promote small business procurement, as set out in section 2, page 10 of the document 'The Coalition: our programme for government'.
In the financial year 2009-10, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) accounted for more than 25% of the total of suppliers to the Department and it is anticipated that a similar level of business will be awarded by the Department to SME's in 2010-11.
In addition, to further encourage and support SMEs and third sector organisations to compete for contracts, the Department complies with the requirements of the coalition's transparency agenda by publishing online all new information and communications technology contracts and tender documents over £10,000. From January 2011, all new contracts will be published online. It is also the Department's intention to utilise an online 'contracts finder' application, which will give users greater visibility on procurement opportunities.
Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) names, (b) job titles and (c) qualifications are of the members of his Department's Steering Group of officials in respect of the review of prescription drug addiction. 
Mr Simon Burns: The membership of the Steering Group to oversee the policy on addiction to medicines takes account of all the relevant policy areas within the Department and its arm's length bodies. It includes officials and experts representing drugs policy, mental health, pharmacy issues, the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
In line with Freedom of Information rules the Department's policy is that the names of officials should be withheld from disclosure unless they are members of the senior civil service or have a high profile that would justify release. The names have therefore been edited accordingly.
Deputy National Clinical Director for Mental Health in England
There are six other members of the Steering Group below senior civil service level.
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department spent on press cuttings services in each year since 1997. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department sources its national press cuttings service via a framework agreement used by various Government Departments. Daily cuttings from the national press have been provided by Precise Media since 1 July 2007.
Prior to April 2010, regional press cuttings were sourced from Kantar Media Intelligence (formally known as TNS Media Intelligence) via a rolling agreement. Since April 2010, the regional press cuttings service has been provided by Precise Media.
The total amount the Department has spent on press cutting services (both national and regional cuttings) in each year since 2003-04 is provided in the following table:
|Department of Health|
|Financial year( 1)||Spend on press cuttings( 2 ) (£)|
|(1 )The legal requirement for the Department to hold financial data is seven years. We are therefore unable to provide any figures before 2003-04. (2) The figures provided are all inclusive of VAT and are based on payment date, rather than invoice date.|
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients with manic depression have committed suicide in each NHS trust in England in each of the last 10 years. 
Paul Burstow: We do not collect such data centrally. The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness team at Manchester University collects data on suicide cases in mental health patients but the inquiry does not provide data by trust. Rather it publishes national data through their National Confidential Inquiry reports.
I should also refer the hon. Member to the table I provided in the response of 25 November 2010, Official Report, column 424W, which shows a breakdown by year of the number of patients with a primary diagnosis of bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, who died by suicide in the most recent 10 years for which data is available.
Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether board meetings of GP consortia will be held in public under his proposals for re-organisation of the NHS. 
Anne Milton: General practitioner consortia will define their own governance processes within a broad legislative framework, which will be outlined in the forthcoming Health and Social Care Bill. Some consortia might choose to adopt public board meetings as part of their appropriate governance arrangements, but this will be up to them to decide.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether centres of excellence for the care of conditions such as diabetes will be retained after the implemention of the proposals in the Health White Paper. 
Mr Simon Burns:
We believe that patients should have access to high quality treatment, at the right place and at the right time. Services should be locally accessible wherever possible and centralised only where necessary,
but it is for the national health service to determine the design of local services. The reforms outlined in the White Paper Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS will therefore liberate professionals and providers from top-down control. This will secure the quality, innovation and productivity needed to improve outcomes.
We will give responsibility for commissioning and budgets to groups of general practitioner practices; and providers will be free to shape their services around the needs and choices of patients. Any decisions about the configuration of local health services should take full account of clinical evidence, public engagement, general practitioner commissioning and referral intentions, and the current and prospective pattern of patient choice.
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effects of the work of NHS Innovations South East on the quality of health services; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: Responsibility for reviewing and commissioning the services provided by the nine innovation hubs (NHS Innovations) and to promote innovation in the national health service currently rests with strategic health authorities (SHAs), which will continue until March 2012.
It is a matter for South East Coast and South Central SHAs following their review of NHS Innovations South East (NISE) to decide on the value of services provided by NISE in these challenging times.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what procedures are followed for testing herbal medicines before they are provided on the NHS. 
Anne Milton: Manufactured herbal medicines placed on the United Kingdom market are required to have either a marketing authorisation, based on evidence of safety, quality and efficacy, or a traditional herbal registration, based on evidence of safety, quality and traditional use. Certain unlicensed herbal remedies are not required to meet specific standards: those supplied following a face to face consultation under section 12(1) of the Medicines Act 1968, and those supplied under section 12(2) of the Act. Section 12(2) will no longer be available following the expiry at 30 April 2011 of the transitional protection afforded by the European Directive on traditional herbal medicinal products.
Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have had their medical records flagged under the (a) Nuclear Weapons Tests Participants (MR1185) and (b) National Registry for Radiation Workers (MR47) study. 
The success of these epidemiological studies depends on accurate and unbiased cause of death and cancer incidence data. This information is sourced, through the National Health Service Central
Registers (NHSCRs), from national registries such as cancer registries and mortality registers. The NHSCR records are flagged but medical records are neither flagged nor accessed for either of the studies. The most recent analysis reports for each study show the number of individuals in the study populations. All study members were submitted for flagging on the NHSCRs.
A total of 43,690 records (21,357 test participants and 22,333 controls) had been submitted for flagging on the NHSCRs and were reported in the 2003 Nuclear Weapons Test Participant Study analysis report. Follow up of mortality and incidence of cancer 1952-98 in men from the United Kingdom who participated in the UK's atmospheric nuclear weapon tests and experimental programmes. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 60, 165-172 (2003). Muirhead CR, Bingham D, Haylock RGE, O'Hagan JA, Goodill AA, Berridge GLC, English MA, Hunter N and Kendall GM.
A total of 174,541 records had been submitted for flagging on the NHSCRs and were reported in the 2009 National Registry for Radiation Workers analysis report. This study population is still increasing and additional records are being flagged over time. Mortality and cancer incidence following occupational radiation exposure: 3(rd) analysis of the National Registry for Radiation Workers. Br J Cancer, 100, 206-12 (2009). Muirhead CR, O'Hagan JA, Haylock RGE, Phillipson MA, Willcock T, Berridge GLC and Zhang W.
Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Nuclear Weapons Tests Participants medical research study MR1185 was first instigated; and what criteria were set for the flagging of medical records. 
Anne Milton: In 1983, scientists from the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB, now part of the Health Protection Agency) and from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) were commissioned by the Ministry of Defence to carry out an independent epidemiological study of participants in the United Kingdom atmospheric nuclear weapons tests, both in the Pacific and in Australia:
Epidemiological studies of UK test veterans: I General Description. Journal of Radiological Protection 24 199-217; Kendall G. M., Muirhead C. R., Darby S. C., Doll R., Arnold L., O'Hagan J. A.
The success of the study depends on accurate and unbiased cause of death and cancer incidence data. This is sourced, through the National Health Service Central Registers (NHSCRs), from national registries such as cancer registries and mortality registers. The NHSCR records are flagged but medical records are neither flagged nor accessed for the study. Every individual study member was submitted for flagging with the NHSCRs.
Dr Poulter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure that implementation of the (a) Toolkit for High Quality Neonatal Services and (b) NICE specialist neonatal care quality standard is made a local priority in the 2011-12 NHS Operating Framework. 
Anne Milton: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence 'Quality Standard for Specialist Neonatal Care' and the 'Toolkit for High Quality Neonatal Services' are tools to assist national health service commissioners and providers in the provision high quality care for babies and their families.
It is too early to say what is in or out of the NHS Operating Framework for 2011-12. We are currently developing the transitional arrangements for ensuring that the NHS can deliver on the spending review settlement while remaining focused on finance, quality, performance, work force and QIPP (Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention) in the light of the NHS White Paper.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the entry of meat and dairy products from cloned animals into the food chain. 
Anne Milton: Any food obtained from cloned animals is regulated as a "novel food" under Regulation (EC) No 258/97(1). According to this regulation, novel foods may not be marketed in the European Union without an authorisation. Applications for authorisation of novel foods are evaluated by national authorities against criteria of safety, nutritional quality and not misleading the consumer. The Food Standards Agency is the competent authority for novel foods in the United Kingdom and expert advice on applications is provided by the independent Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes. This advice would form the basis of the Agency's risk assessment which would be subject to review by all 26 other EU member states before an authorisation is issued. To date, the Agency has not received any applications for the authorisation of food produced from cloned animals.
(1) Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council concerning novel foods and novel food ingredients.
In October 2010 the European Commission published a report on animal cloning which recommended a temporary ban on the marketing of products obtained from cloned animals. The Government's view is that such a ban would be disproportionate in terms of food safety and animal welfare and insufficient evidence has been provided to justify it.
Any proposal should be supported by an impact assessment that demonstrates the need for and benefit of new regulation.
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the procedures of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in respect of the regulation of the sterility of medical containers. 
Mr Simon Burns:
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is the competent authority under European Union legislation for medical devices in the United Kingdom: it has responsibility for ensuring
that medical devices placed on the UK market meet the requirements of the Medical Devices Regulations including those relating to sterility.
If a medical device is placed on the market as being sterile then the manufacturer must meet the relevant regulatory requirements set out in the regulations. Any assessment required under the regulations is carried out by a third party independent certification organisation known as a notified body. The agency is not part of this certification process but does designate and audit UK notified bodies as being competent to undertake this task.
Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has had discussions with BioMarin on the provision of drugs for (a) Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome and (b) congenital myasthenic syndrome. 
Mr Simon Burns: Departmental officials have had discussions with BioMarin about the pricing and provision of Firdapse (amifampridine) for the treatment of Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. Firdapse is not licensed for the treatment of congenital myasthenic syndrome.
Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms will be in place to ensure that the funding held by primary care trusts for public health improvement will be transferred in full to local authorities when they take responsibility for that matter; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: Subject to Parliament, following the abolition of primary care trusts (PCTs), responsibilities for local health improvement, and some aspects of health protection, will transfer to local authorities. A ring-fenced grant of appropriate size will be made to upper tier and unitary local authorities for this purpose. The first such grant will be made for 2013-14.
The Department has made an initial assessment of baseline spend on the areas for which Public Health England will become responsible. This is the first step in determining the size of the future ring-fenced public health budget. The Department will shortly publish a consultation, following 'Healthy Lives, Healthy People', on the details of the proposed scope, funding and commissioning responsibilities in the new public health system, including the role of local authorities.
Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has made an estimate of the number of staff at South London Healthcare NHS Trust who earn over £100,000 per year. 
Mr Simon Burns: This information is not held centrally.
Information in relation to remuneration for South London Healthcare NHS Trust's executive directors can be found in the trust's annual report.
Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department has taken in preparation for anticipated severe weather to ensure that (a) older people and (b) other vulnerable groups are protected; and if he will make a statement. 
Paul Burstow: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer given to the hon. Member for Bolton West (Julie Hilling) on 22 November 2010, Official Report, column 168W.
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps he has taken since his appointment to reduce expenditure on conferences from budgets within his responsibility. 
John Penrose: Following the formation of the new Government and the resulting spending review, the Department announced an intention to reduce administration costs by 50% by 2014-15.
As part of this budget reduction all administration costs across the Department are subject to review, including those for hosting conferences, events and all other hospitality.
All proposals also continue to be subject to scrutiny to ensure value for money.
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