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Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what new (a) units and (b) teams have been established within his Department since May 2010; and what the (i) name, (ii) purpose, (iii) staffing level and (iv) annual running cost is in each case. 
Mr Robathan: Changes to units and teams within the Ministry of Defence (MOD), as in any large organisation, are made frequently to take account of changing requirements and priorities and the need to constantly improve effectiveness and efficiency.
Since May 2010, the following new units and teams with new remits and responsibilities headed by a senior civil servant, military one-star officer or above or equivalents have been established within the MOD:
To set the Defence-wide direction for the strategy, structures, governance and quality assurance for the co-ordination of those services that support Service children and young people, at home and overseas.
Programme direction for the implementation of the Capability Structures Review and subsequent change programmes within the Air HQ on behalf of Commander-in-Chief Air, following the Strategic Defence and Security Review.
To provide timely airworthiness support to Defence Equipment and Support teams to enable them to produce and support airworthy systems that can be operated safely through-life and to assure Chief of Materiel (Air) that airworthiness is being effectively managed.
To work collaboratively with the three Tier 1 Industrial Partners to transform the way the submarine enterprise is delivered and managed, following the Value for Money Review and the Strategic Defence and Security Review.
|(1) Including the Director who also acts as Chief Executive of The Service Children's Education Agency.|
(2) Three dedicated posts embedded within an existing programme team.
All of these posts have been filled by reprioritising staff from other tasks and teams. The budgets to cover the running costs of these units and teams are allocated as part of the MOD's annual planning round, which is not yet concluded. The establishment of these units and teams, however, has not required an increase in the overall Defence budget.
Mr Robathan: We are refining the estimated costs of redundancy and early release as we go through the Department's annual Planning Round. Compensation payments depend on a number of factors including salary, rank/grade and length of service. The precise drawdown of military and civilian staff is still being considered. Estimates are therefore subject to change. The Planning Round is expected to conclude in the spring at which point we will be prepared to set out the estimates for early release under the expected terms of the civilian and service schemes.
Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what grounds his Department is contesting the claims of atomic veterans in the War Pensions Tribunal; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan: All applications for war pensions are considered on their particular facts of the case. We do not comment on individual cases. Where a claim is rejected individuals have a right to appeal to an independent tribunal.
The Ministry of Defence has rejected some war pensions relating to nuclear test veterans and each appellant has been given reasons in writing. The veterans are now appealing those reasons to the tribunal and the Secretary of State is defending the reasons for rejection given in each case.
Mr Robathan: In accordance with the Public Records Acts, the Ministry of Defence withholds from release to the public at the National Archives files that are over 30 years old, or extracts from them, if and for so long as their contents are judged to be sensitive.
In relation to nuclear test veterans and recent legal proceedings, the Ministry of Defence has worked closely with the High Court and the War Pensions Tribunal with a view to ensuring that relevant material from classified documents can be used, subject to special security arrangements.
We currently have no plans to lease or purchase P-3 Orion, Airbus A319 MPA or P-8 Poseidon aircraft. However, following the decision not to bring
the Nimrod MRA4 into service we are keeping our future requirement for maritime patrol aircraft under review.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the suitability of the electronic equipment removed from the MR4A for installation on P-3 Orion aircraft. 
Peter Luff: Some elements of the Searchwater radar installed on the Nimrod MR2 aircraft have been retained as spares for use on the Royal Navy's Airborne Surveillance and Area Control Sea King helicopter which is fitted with a variant of the same radar.
Mr Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future use of armed forces pilots in search and rescue services under his proposals for the future of such services. 
Mr Robathan [holding answer 31 January 2011]: I refer the hon. Member to the written statement made by the Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond) on 16 December 2010, Official Report, column 133WS. It would be inappropriate to comment on any specific aspects of the project in advance of a further announcement on the way forward.
A copy of the terms of reference for the Future Reserves 2020 study, which is being led by the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff and my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Mr Brazier), has been placed in the Library of the House.
Ms Bagshawe: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what rates of travel and subsistence expenses can be claimed from the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency by war pensioners; when the current rates were implemented; and whether he has plans to review the rates in the light of increases in the cost of travel and subsistence. 
Mr Robathan: The rate payable to war disablement pensioners, for travel costs incurred when obtaining treatment for service related conditions, is 25 pence per mile, although 43 pence per mile may be paid for severely disabled war pensioners.
An escort allowance of three pence per mile can be claimed. Alternatively, war pensioners can claim the actual cost of public transport for them and an approved escort. Subsistence costs for the war pensioner and an approved escort can also be claimed. In 2007 the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) aligned the review process with that of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). HMRC have not changed their rates since 2007 and the war pensions rates have therefore remained constant. No reviews are planned before the next Budget.
Mr Djanogly: There are always a number of 'live' appeals in the First tier Tribunal-Social Security and Child Support (SSCS) progressing through the stages of receipt, decision and promulgation. These levels of 'work in hand' for the relevant benefits at the time points requested are set out in the following table.
|Number of ESA/IB appeals ' i n hand'|
|Quarter||Caseload for ESA/IB combined|
We are not able to provide information for incapacity benefit (IB) and employment support allowance (ESA) separately. The table shows the caseload for the 04 tribunal category, which consists of IB and ESA cases. However, it is possible that small numbers of these are captured in other tribunal categories.
The total level of work in hand cannot be described as a backlog. As the volumes of SSCS receipts increased significantly and rapidly beyond forecast, the capacity
of the Tribunals Service to deal with them has also increased in response; the number of employment support allowance and incapacity benefit cases disposed of in the second quarter of 2010-11 were more than double those cleared in the equivalent period the preceding year.
In September 2010, in respect of employment support allowance and incapacity benefit appeals, capacity increases meant that around a third of the work in hand was in excess of normal levels. As the Tribunals Service capacity continues to increase, it expects to return to normal levels of work in hand for employment support allowance and incapacity benefit cases by summer 2011.
Jon Cruddas: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will discuss with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions the reasons for recent trends in the volume of appeals against employment and support allowance decisions. 
To support this, officials in the Tribunals Service and the Department for Work and Pensions are working closely together through a joint Task Force. The Task Force aims both to reduce the level of appeals arising through improved initial decision making and to increase capacity within the Tribunals Service to deal with the additional workload.
Mr Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) which (a) individuals and (b) organisations have made representations to him advocating a delay in the implementation of the outstanding provisions of the Bribery Act 2010; 
Mr Djanogly: As regards representations to delay implementation, the recent consultation on the statutory guidance on the procedures that relevant commercial organisations can put in place focused on the content of the guidance not on the timing of implementation. Some respondents however also referred to issues of timing.
Subject to considering any particular requests for confidentiality, we intend to publish the written responses received, and the names of those who responded, to the consultation on guidance about commercial organisations preventing bribery. This will include any representations made either to delay implementation or to proceed as planned or more swiftly.
Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department has taken in respect of (a) Cartel Client Review and (b) its office holders since March 2010; what the status of the company is; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Djanogly: The authorisation of Cartel Client Review Ltd. to provide regulated Claims Management Services was cancelled on 18 June 2010. A business would be committing a criminal offence if it provided regulated claims management services without authorisation. Cartel Client Review Ltd. was taken into compulsory liquidation in the summer of 2010 on the petition of HM Customs and Excise and a liquidator was appointed on the 16 August 2010. The High Court considered the actions of Cartel Client Review Ltd., its directors and Consumer Credit Litigation Solicitors in Addis and Ors v. The Royal Bank of Scotland plc . EWHC 941 (QB) (29 April 2010).
Mr Djanogly: On 14 October 2010, Official Report, columns 36-38WS, I announced to Parliament the Government's intention to abolish the office of chief coroner and transfer certain functions to other suitable bodies. This decision was taken in the context of the current economic circumstances, and the need for Government to make substantial savings to deal with the budget deficit. Given, for example, the legal aid reforms and the programme of court closures that we have proposed as part of our efficiency savings, we do not believe that the new additional funding that the office of chief coroner would require is justifiable. I am confident that we can address the key requirements of coroner reform without the office of chief coroner.
The proposal is that the 10% reduction in the level of fees paid to legal aid providers, as set out in the Government's recent consultation "Proposals for the Reform of Legal Aid in England and Wales", will apply to all fees paid under the civil and family legal aid scheme, including work carried out under the Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme.
Conor Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the cost to the public purse was of the manufacture and distribution of Department branded drinks coasters in the last financial year for which figures are available. 
Mr Djanogly: There are no central records for expenditure on coasters for the financial year 2009-10. It would incur disproportionate costs to examine every transaction to see if coasters were involved.
Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the operational staffing requirement for (a) operational managers, (b) prison officer grades and (c) operational support grades at HM Prison Ford was on 31 March in each of the last 10 years. 
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he intends to answer the letter sent to him by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on 23 November 2010, with regard to Mr A Richards. 
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) whether his Department has conducted a review of the effectiveness of the use of In-Vision for staff rostering purposes in the Prison Service; and if he will make a statement; 
A post implementation review of the tool assessing both effectiveness and use has yet to be completed. However, in August/September 2010 the Departments My Detail central support team assessed the level of use
of the tool by each establishment. As a consequence of this review a national implementation plan was developed with each establishment placed in one of three categories identifying the level of support required for them to achieve efficient and effective use of the tool. Since late autumn the central team has been working with establishments in accordance with the implementation plan.
Delays in the full implementation of the system have meant that the focus of the Department has been in ensuring that it is fully deployed in all prison establishments. Once this is completed the system will be subject to on-going assessments to ensure that it meets the requirements of the prison service. A post-implementation review is planned to take place nine to 12 months after full deployment across the whole estate.
(2) My Detail (In-Vision staff roster tool) was installed in all public sector prisons in April 2010. The system is now actively used in 111 public sector jails, fully deployed in 92; with partial deployment in 19 establishments.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what cost savings have been achieved by the National Offender Management Service following the introduction of In-Vision for staff rostering purposes in the Prison Service; what savings to the public purse he estimates will arise from its use in each of the next three years; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what (a) development and (b) implementation costs were incurred by the National Offender Management Service in relation to the In-Vision self-rostering IT programme; and if he will make a statement; 
(1) The first tranche of savings from the project saw establishment budgets being reduced for the 2009-10 financial year onwards: this amounted to £3 million per annum. Over the course of the project life this budget reduction equates to £9 million.
The second tranche of savings will come from the post-implementation review of My Detail. Already evidence of significant savings has emerged where the tool has been fully deployed. For example one establishment has been able to significantly reduce the amount of 'time off in lieu' TOIL) since My Detail came in to use. This reduction (approximately 3000 hours per annum) is attributed to having a greater visibility over staff on duty leading to improved utilisation of those staff across the establishment and across the day.
(a) Total development costs (as at April 2010) were £14.4 million; this figure includes the cost of development, testing and maintenance.
(b) Implementation costs including cost of training and on-site implementation support to establishments were £1.7 million.
Mr Blunt: In-Vision (My Detail) is now in use in 111 public sector jails, fully deployed in 92; it has yet to be fully implemented in the remaining 18 establishments. It is anticipated that by the end of the current financial year 'My Detail' will be in use in all but nine establishments. For this group detailed local implementation plans are being prepared which will ensure that the system is fully deployed across the whole estate by the end of 2011.
Jon Cruddas: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice for what reasons the Tribunals Service has not published the number and outcomes of appeals concerning incapacity benefit and other social security benefits between the second quarter of 2006 and the fourth quarter of 2008-09; and if he will place such information in the Library. 
Mr Djanogly: Social Security and Child Support Appeals became the responsibility of the Tribunals Service on 1 April 2006. The introduction of a new computer system during 2006-07 meant that appeals information was not available for that year.
In 2009, the Code of Practice for Official Statistics was extended to include management information and administrative data. The Chief Statistician reviewed all non-financial information for the Ministry of Justice and arm's length bodies. In line with this code, in June 2010, the Tribunals Service started to publish Official Statistics on a quarterly basis, providing data for the fourth quarter of 2009-10 and for the annual 2009-10 period. These are available on the Tribunals Service website at:
Your Parliamentary Question has been passed to me to reply.
The Audit Commission has spent £21,757.40 on photography in the last three financial years as follows:
The costs include the purchase of digital images from online libraries in addition to the use of photographers.
The main reason for the increase in expenditure in 2009/10 was the extra photography work used for the launch and reporting of Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) in 2009.
The work on CAA was led by the Commission on behalf of the six partner inspectorates. Marketing costs for CAA and the Oneplace reporting website were supported by a grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government. Subsequently the new government announced the abolition of CAA in June 2010.
The Commission uses photographs for its printed publications and websites.
Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which commissioners on the Board of the Audit Commission who had expressed a willingness to serve a further term on the Board have not had their term renewed in the last three years; and which commissioners were subsequently appointed in their place. 
Robert Neill: The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced in August 2010 that the Audit Commission would be disbanded and the work of its audit practice transferred to the private sector. My right hon. Friend decided that the Commission Board needed additional private sector expertise to help steer the organisation as it addresses these changes. Accordingly he appointed three Commissioners (Janet Baker, Brian Landers and Tony Harris) with significant private sector expertise, and decided that Dame Denise Piatt and Jenny Watson would not be reappointed after their first terms expired on 31 August 2010. The Secretary of State wrote to both Dame Denise Piatt and Ms Watson to thank them for their service.
Andrew Stunell: The Government will not tolerate those who spread hate and seek to divide society and deliberately raise community tensions. The Government, working with police and other agencies, routinely assesses community tensions.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) freehold and (b) leasehold local authority-owned homes were sold in England and Wales in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
Andrew Stunell: Information on the number of local authority housing sales in England can be found in table 1 of "Social Housing Sales to Sitting Tenants, England 2009-10". However this information does not distinguish between freehold and leasehold sales.
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce its carbon emissions to meet the target of reducing central Government carbon emissions by 10 per cent. by June 2011. 
DCLG's strategy has centred on maximising low and no cost measures, including adopting lean building management techniques such as reducing operating hours of equipment, and switching off non-essential lighting. This approach allows for rapid implementation and immediate benefit in accruing emissions reductions without the need for capital investment.
The Department has also developed changes in behaviour to help encourage staff to reduce their direct energy use, such as by using stairs rather than lifts, reducing printing further, and reminding staff to switch of computers and monitors whenever not in use. Board-level commitment has also ensured that carbon reduction is suitably prioritised at all levels across the Department.
A number of modest capital projects, with short returns on investment, have also been undertaken, including installation of voltage reduction equipment, boiler optimisers, fan and motor controls, and automated meter readers.
Conor Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the cost to the public purse was of the manufacture and distribution of Department-branded drinks coasters in the last financial year for which figures are available. 
Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will list each overseas visit undertaken by Ministers in his Department in 2009-10; at which hotels those Ministers stayed at the public expense during such visits; and what the purpose was of each such visit. 
Date: 5-9 April 2009
Destination: Karachi, Islamabad and Mipur, Pakistan
Purpose of trip: Ministerial visit on Preventing Extremism
Date: 17-20 May 2009
Destination: Riyadh Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia
Purpose of trip: Ministerial visit on Preventing Extremism
Date: 3-7 January 2010
Destination: Dhaka and Sylhet, Bangladesh
Purpose of trip: Meeting with Bangladeshi Government and community representatives
Date: 18-21 March 2009
Destination: Pisa, Italy
Purpose of trip: Seminar on energy efficiency
Date: 30-31 March 2009
Destination: Paris, France
Purpose of trip: Participating in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Date: 16 November 2009
Destination: Utrecht, Netherlands
Purpose of trip: Attendance of the Council of European Ministers Conference
Date: 17 March 2010
Destination: Malaga, Spain
Purpose of trip: European Conference on Local and Regional Government
Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department spent on cut flowers under the Mitie Integrated Facilities Management Contract from the date on which the contract was initiated to the end of April 2010. 
In July 2004, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister signed a contract with Mitie for maintenance of internal plants in Eland House. The following table identifies how much that Department and subsequently the Department for Communities and Local Government spent on this:
|Contract year||Cost £|
The pot plants are owned by the Department, rather than leased, and following suggestions by staff in feedback on departmental cost savings, the plants will be looked after by departmental staff on a voluntary basis.
|May to December 2010 (£)|
Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many civil servants were appointed on fixed term contracts without open competition in his Department in (a) 2008-09 and (b) 2009-10; and what their job titles were in each case. 
Robert Neill: In the financial year 2008-09, 19 civil servants were employed on fixed term contracts in the Department for Communities and Local Government under limited competition, a further 24 were appointed in 2009-2010.
Four administrative officers
Seven executive officers
Five higher executive officers
Two senior executive officers
One Grade 7
Five administrative officers
10 executive officers
Three higher executive officers
One senior executive officer
Two Grade 7s
One Grade 6
One deputy director (SCS pay band 1)
One legal trainee
Your Parliamentary Question has been passed to me to reply.
The Audit Commission has given designated staff Government Procurement Cards (GPC) for small ad hoc business purchases as the most efficient way of dealing with low cost purchasing for items such as office stationary, travel and small items of IT equipment. We moved to .a new Commission-wide purchasing system in June 2010. This has enabled us to reduce the number of spending categories and the number of card holders to 32.
The Commission spent £505,907.62 on its GPC cards in the financial year 2009/2010. This was for 3,898 transactions, at an average cost of £129.46 and covered mainly stationery purchases, travel and accommodation, and IT equipment and supplies.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many empty dwelling management orders were (a) applied for by local authorities and (b) authorised by Residential Property Tribunals in each year since 2006. 
Andrew Stunell: A list of empty dwelling management orders (a) applied for by local authorities and (b) authorised by the Residential Property Tribunal Service in each year since 2006 is given as follows:
|EDMO applied for||EDMO authorised by RPTS|
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consultation his Department undertook with (a) local authorities and (b) other stakeholders before announcing his planned reforms to empty dwelling management orders. 
Andrew Stunell: Over the summer the Department gathered evidence from local authorities, housing associations and others on what further steps could be taken to bring empty homes back into use through a series of events held in London and Manchester. The Minister for Housing and Local Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps), also took part in the Homes and Communities Agency's online debate on maximising the use of empty homes. The online debate was visited 7,221 times and 138 comments were posted. 40% of participants were from the public sector, 25% were from the civic sector, 21% from the private sector.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding his Department has allocated to London borough councils to reduce the incidence of long-term empty dwellings. 
Andrew Stunell: £192.2 million Private Sector Renewal funding was allocated to London boroughs over the period 2008-11. While work to bring empty homes back into use is a key feature of private sector renewal work, this was an un-ringfenced funding stream, and the Department does not collect information on how funding has been used. However, the Mayor of London's Housing Strategy reports that £60 million of Private Sector Renewal funding has been allocated to bring empty homes in London back into use over this period.
Going forwards, we are proposing to give local authorities a powerful financial incentive to take action on empty homes by including them in the New Homes Bonus. And we intend to provide £100 million over the spending review period to bring over 3,000 empty homes nationally back into use as affordable rented housing.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations he has received from local authorities following his decision to retain empty dwelling management orders. 
Andrew Stunell: We have received a number of representations on our proposals to amend empty dwelling management orders including one from the Empty Homes Network whose membership consists of local authority empty homes practitioners.
Our proposals will allow local authorities to take action against genuinely derelict housing which blight neighbourhoods, while introducing new safeguards to respect the right of responsible home owners.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he expects to respond to the Fire Futures review of options for the future provision of fire and rescue services in England; and if he will make a statement. 
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average response time was for fire appliances in London attending (a) dwelling fires, (b) commercial building fires and (c) road traffic accidents in each of the last 12 months. 
Robert Neill: The average response times for fire appliances in London attending (a) dwelling fires, (b) commercial building fires and (c) road traffic collisions in each of the last 12 months for which data are available are shown in the following table.
|Response times( 1) in minutes to dwelling fires, commercial building fires and road traffic collisions in Greater London, October 2009 to September 2010( 2)|
|Period||Dwelling fires( 3)||Commercial buildings( 4)||Road traffic collisions|
|(1) As per previous figures, excludes fires where (i) there was heat and smoke damage only, (ii) the call was made after the fire was known to be extinguished, (iii) where the response time calculated gives an hour or more. This is to prevent any erroneous data or exceptional incidents from skewing the average figures.|
(2) Data are provisional.
(3) In order to be consistent with data source prior to April 2009, chimney fires not included in calculation.
(4) Commercial buildings are taken to be offices and call centres and buildings in the following sectors: retail, wholesale, hotels, holiday accommodation, food and drink, transport, vehicle repair and communications.
DCLG analysis of Incident Recording System data
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when Ministers in his Department last (a) met and (b) corresponded with (i) the Chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, (ii) employees of AssetCo and (iii) representatives of AssetCo; and if he will place in the Library (A) details of those discussions and (B) copies of such correspondence. 
Robert Neill: I last met with the Chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority on 18 January 2011 to discuss national functions in the Fire and Rescue Service. I last corresponded with the Chair, along with all other Fire and Rescue Authorities Chairs on 13 January 2011 to alert him to the consultation on the future of Fire and Rescue control services. I met employees of AssetCo on 11 October.
It is not our practice to place internal notes of confidential meetings between Ministers and other parties in the Library of the House. However, I have placed a copy of my last correspondence with the Chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority as requested.
Andrew Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what the Homes and Communities Agency's underspend was on Home Ownership for People with Long-Term Disabilities products (a) nationally and (b) in the North West Region in the latest period for which figures are available; 
(2) what funding was allocated to the Homes and Communities Agency for expenditure on Home Ownership for People Living with Long-Term Disabilities products in the North West region in the latest period for which figures are available; 
(4) what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health on the continuation of Home Ownership for People Living with Long-Term Disabilities products since the publication of Valuing people now. 
Andrew Stunell: Home Ownership for people with Long-Term Disabilities (HOLD) enables people who are unable to access the Government's mainstream new build low cost home ownership programme, due to the need to live in a specific location, to purchase a property on the open market suitable to their needs on shared ownership terms with a housing association.
My Department, through the Homes and Communities Agency, provides capital funding, to housing providers to assist them with the purchase of properties under HOLD. There is no separate funding for the scheme and registered housing providers can bid for funding from the Affordable Housing Programme at any time. As announced in the spending review, we are investing £4.5 billion to deliver 150,000 affordable homes. This will include support for the provision of shared ownership and the HOLD scheme where this is a local priority. My officials work closely with officials at the Department of Health regarding the HOLD scheme.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 13 January 2011, Official Report, column 438W, on housing revenue accounts, what the (a) amounts distributed to authorities in deficit, (b) amounts contributed by authorities in surplus and (c) net expenditure by the Exchequer were to date in the financial year 2010-11. 
|Housing revenue account subsidy 2010-11|
1. All assumed surpluses are captured and transferred to the Exchequer. Payments to authorities in deficit are net dependent on the amounts received from those in surplus.
2. Data are taken from the second advance subsidy claim for the year and are subject to adjustment.
Measures have been published in the Localism Bill to reform the housing revenue account finance regime and replace housing revenue account subsidy with a system of self-financing for local housing authorities.
Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will bring forward legislative proposals to make the Local Government Association subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 
Robert Neill: The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr Pickles), specifically indicated his intention that the Local Government Group should be formally subject to Freedom of Information requirements, as part of the agreement to continue paying Revenue Support Grant top-slice funding on behalf of the sector. The Ministry of Justice announced on 7 January that it intends to consult the Local Government Association regarding its possible inclusion in the Freedom of Information Act.
Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the change in the level of aggregate business rate revenue as a result of the increase in empty property business rates since 2008-09; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: From 1 April 2008, the liability of owners of empty non-industrial properties was raised to 100% (from 50%) of the occupied rate after a three month exemption period; and of empty industrial properties to 100% (previously exempt) of the occupied rate after a six months exemption period. The rateable value threshold below which empty properties were exempt from rates remained at £2,200.
For 2009-10, the threshold was raised from £2,200 to £15,000; and for 2010-11, was raised again to £18,000. This is due to revert to £2,600 for 2011-12. However, the Government will keep this matter under review.
|Table 1: Empty property rate relief since 2006-07|
|(1) Those for 2010-11 are budget estimates.|
Data for 2007-08 to 2009-10 are outturn figures
Although amendments to empty property relief policy explain part of the change in the amount of empty property relief awarded, factors such as the number of empty properties, and the length of time properties are left empty, can also contribute.
As I outlined in my answer of 22 October 2010, Official Report, column 929W, this illustrates the significant revenue costs of undoing the tax changes imposed by the last Government. The new Government's ability to tackle the last Government's tax changes is constrained by the overwhelming public policy objective of addressing the budget deficit we have inherited.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the practice of local authorities (a) withdrawing and (b) capping discretionary rate relief on sport and leisure facilities. 
Robert Neill: None. The granting of discretionary relief is entirely a matter for individual billing authorities. They must satisfy themselves that they are acting within relevant legislation and case law. Notwithstanding, the Localism Bill will increase the powers of local authorities to offer local business rate discounts.
Robert Neill: In the Department for Communities and Local Government business plan the Government indicated that we expect to have the framework available by April 2012. The Government will consult on a draft.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what files his Department holds on the Raoul Wallenberg (Memorial) Bill of Session 1989-90; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much the Homes and Communities Agency allocated to (a) Axiom Housing Association and (b) Minster Housing Association for (i) social rented housing and (ii) intermediate housing in Peterborough constituency in (1) 2010-11, (2) 2011-12 and (3) 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. 
The Homes and Communities Agency has not given any new allocations through the National Affordable Housing Programme to either Axiom or
Minster Housing Associations in 2010-11 for schemes being developed in Peterborough. Existing commitments for Axiom Housing Association schemes in Peterborough are forecast to spend a total of £993,000 in 2010-11, of these funds £955,500 is to deliver social rented homes and £37,500 is for affordable home ownership.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the potential savings to the public purse arising from the use of high dose corticosteroids for the treatment of asthma. 
Paul Burstow: The Department has made no such assessment. The goal of asthma treatment is to control symptoms so that people with asthma can lead lives unconstrained by their asthma. Patients whose asthma is well-controlled have fewer exacerbations and fewer hospitalisations, which is better for patients, and for the national health service.
Anne Milton: The Department is informing general practitioner (GPs) and other health care professionals through its regular bulletins, that if they have previously known a patient who had been infected with hepatitis C by national health service supplied blood or blood products and who died before 29 August 2003, they should contact the patient's representative(s) to advise them that they will be eligible to make a posthumous claim for an ex-gratia payment from the Skipton Fund.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence have also published guidance on the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. Generic guidance on the treatment of HIV has been published by the British HIV Association.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the monetary value is of the contract given to Care UK for the treatment of prisoners; and what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the award of the contract with his Department's procedures and guidance on tendering. 
However, the Department expects commissioners to adhere to guidance on the procurement of health services published in July 2010(1), which aims to ensure that contracts for NHS-funded health services are awarded to the provider(s) that best meet the needs of patients and delivers best value for taxpayers.
(1) Procurement guide for commissioners of NHS-funded services, Department of Health, July 2010.
Mr Simon Burns: Information on the number of complaints received by national health service organisations is collected by the NHS Information Centre (IC) and the published data are available on the NHS IC's website at:
Simon Danczuk: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much NHS funding was allocated to Rochdale for the treatment of (a) type-1 and (b) type-2 diabetes in the latest period for which figures are available; and what the average amount of NHS funding per parliamentary constituency was for the treatment of (i) type-1 and (ii) type-2 diabetes in that period. 
Diabetes is a complex condition that can affect every part of the body, which means that it is difficult to calculate how much money has been allocated for the treatment of diabetes. It is for national health service organisations to determine the healthcare needs of their local populations and to allocate resources appropriately to meet those needs.
However, the Association of Public Health Observatories' diabetes prevalence model for England provides estimates of the number of people aged 16 years and older who have diabetes (diagnosed and undiagnosed). The model estimates that for Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Trust, in 2010 prevalence of diabetes (both type 1 and type 2, diagnosed and undiagnosed) was 8.2% of the population. The same model estimates prevalence of diabetes in England as 7.3%. It also estimates that there are 800,000 people with undiagnosed diabetes.
Simon Danczuk: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many young people in Rochdale have been diagnosed with (a) type-1 and (b) type-2 diabetes; and what the average number of young people diagnosed with (i) type-1 and (ii) type-2 diabetes is per parliamentary constituency. 
Paul Burstow: This information is not collected centrally. However, the latest figures available from the National Diabetes Audit for the Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Trust (PCT) indicate that 5,605 people had a diagnosis of diabetes. Of these, 44 were below the age of 16, of which the majority had type 1 diabetes, with the remainder having type 2 diabetes. 21 practices out of 38 within the PCT area participated in the 2008-09 audit.
Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from hospitals on the route to success in end of life care paper published by his Department in June 2010. 
Paul Burstow: "The route to success in end of life care-achieving quality in acute hospitals" was published by the National End of Life Care Programme. The national programme, which is based in the national health service, is a key implementation driver, spreading and facilitating good practice in end of life care.
effective holistic assessment, advance care planning and rapid discharge arrangements to enable people to go home if they wish;
training in relevant tools, such as the Liverpool Care Pathway;
improved working together, training and support for staff; and
stronger board oversight and support.
Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has made an assessment of the effects on people with sensitive eye conditions of introducing low energy light bulbs under the EU directive; and whether it has made an assessment of the number of people who may be affected. 
Anne Milton: The Health Protection Agency (HPA) carried out a study on the emissions from commercially-available compact fluorescent light bulbs which included both visible light and ultraviolet (UV) emissions. The results have been published ("Optical Radiation Emissions from Compact Fluorescent Lamps" M Khazova and J B O'Hagan, Radiation Protection Dosimetry, 2008, 131(4):521-525; doi:10.1093/rpd/ncn234). This paper is available at:
The Department undertook a literature review on lighting and light sensitive and neurological conditions to inform Government discussions with the European Commission on non-directional lighting measures. The Department made the scientific references available to the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) for its Opinion on Light Sensitivity published on 23 September 2008, which is available at
"due to the lack of relevant data, the number of all light sensitive patients in the European Union, who might be at risk from the increased levels of UV/blue light generated by compact fluorescent lamps is difficult to estimate. However, a preliminary rough estimation of the worst case scenario yields a number of around 250,000 individuals (around 0.05 per cent. of the population) in the EU."
Firm figures for the United Kingdom are not available, but the SCENIHR statistics would equate to around 30,000 to 40,000 people that might be affected in the UK. SCENIHR is currently updating its 2008 Opinion.
Mr Simon Burns: The Government's response to the consultation "Liberating the NHS: Legislative framework and next steps" summarises the responses received to the consultation on the White Paper "Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS", and associated consultations, including "Commissioning for Patients". A list of organisations which responded to the consultation is available on the Department's website at:
Mr Simon Burns:
The Health and Social Care Bill 2011 will provide for general practitioner (GP) consortia to be established from April 2012, prior to taking on full statutory responsibilities from April 2013. The Department has established a rolling programme of GP consortia pathfinders to test the different elements involved
in GP-led commissioning and enable emerging GP consortia to get more rapidly involved in current commissioning decisions.
The shadow NHS Commissioning Board will produce and publish an analysis of the findings of the pathfinder programme and set out the lessons learned that will be applied as consortia become formally established during 2012-13.
Mr Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals for GP consortia his Department has received to date; and what criteria his Department is using to assess the merits of such proposals. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Health and Social Care Bill 2011 will provide for general practitioner (GP) consortia to be established from April 2012, prior to taking on full statutory responsibilities from April 2013. The Department has established a rolling programme of GP consortia pathfinders to test the different elements involved in GP-led commissioning and enable emerging GP consortia to get more rapidly involved in current commissioning decisions.
Groups of GP practices keen to participate in the pathfinder programme put themselves forward to their strategic health authority (SHA). SHAs will approve any group of practices to become a pathfinder if they can demonstrate clinical leadership, local authority engagement, and an ability to contribute to the delivery of the local Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention agenda in their locality. They will need to be able to operate in the context of the existing service and financial plans in the health communities they are working in.
The 52 pathfinders announced in December 2010 are already operational and assuming increased commissioning responsibilities from their primary care trusts under existing legislation. A further 89 groups were announced on 17 January 2011.
Mr Simon Burns: All consortiums will be required to have a constitution, which they will have to share with the NHS Commissioning Board as part of the establishment process. We are clear that consortiums should define their own governance processes within a broad framework set out in legislation. The constitution of a consortium will have to outline the process for making decisions, dealing with conflict of interest, and ensuring effective participation by all constituent practices. The Health and Social Care Bill will provide for the NHS Commissioning Board to issue guidance to consortiums on the form and content of their proposed constitution, drawing for example on the principles of good governance in public life.
In addition, all consortiums will also be required to have an accountable officer, who will play a key leadership role. Our legislative proposals give the accountable officer specific responsibilities for ensuring that a consortium complies with its financial duties, promotes continuous improvements in the quality of services it commissions and provides good value for money.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health who will be responsible for handling unresolved constituency complaints brought by hon. Members against GP consortia under his proposals for NHS reform. 
Mr Simon Burns: If a complainant or their representative is not satisfied with the outcome of a complaint at local level, we envisage that, subject to parliamentary approval, the complainant will have the right to take their complaint to the Health Service Commissioner.
Paul Maynard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many NHS trusts provided funding for transcatheter aortic valve implantation in the latest period for which figures are available; 
Simon Danczuk: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will assess the uptake of insulin pumps in the North West; and what steps he plans to take to increase the uptake of insulin pumps. 
Paul Burstow: The Department does not collect information on the uptake of insulin pumps at a local level. However, NHS Diabetes and the NHS Information Centre for health and social care recently published the findings of an audit to assess the provision of insulin pump services across England. The insulin pump audit is available via the National Diabetes Information Service.
Dr Rowan Hillson, the National Clinical Director for diabetes is currently chairing a working group considering the steps that need to be taken to increase uptake of insulin pumps. The recently published NHS Operating Framework for 2011-12 also highlights the need to do more to make these devices available.
Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on how many days intensive care beds in (a) Greater Manchester and (b) the North West were put under centralised gold control since 1 December 2010. 
Mr Simon Burns: NHS North West commenced strategic health authority 'command and control' across the region on 17 December 2010. NHS North West remained in 'command and control' for 32 days, until 17 January 2011.
Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans his Department has to collect data on (a) the number of people accessing child and adolescent mental health services and (b) the use of such services; 
(2) what steps his Department plans to take to collect information on the number of staff employed by (a) local authorities and (b) the NHS delivering child and adolescent mental health services after March 2011; for what reason he ended the Children's Services Mapping project; and if he will make a statement. 
Paul Burstow: Following extensive consultation with experts and key stakeholders, the Department is developing a new secondary uses dataset covering child health, maternity and child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) as a key driver to achieving better outcomes of care for mothers, babies and children. The dataset will provide comparative, linked data that can be used to plan and commission services. The dataset will cover such things as referrals to CAMHS, encounters, care planning, interventions, in-patient stays and outcome measures.
The Department is consulting on its proposals to establish a new framework for developing the health care work force, including the CAMHS work force and seeking views on the systems and processes that will be needed to support it.
Until now, data on the number of people accessing CAMHS, and the use of such services, have been collected as part of the Children's Services Mapping Project (CSM). The Department's contract with Durham University for this project expires on 31 March 2011. While the CSM project has done valuable work to develop new approaches to the gathering of information on child health and well-being, it no longer meets stakeholders' needs for robust and reliable benchmarking information that would inform service quality and value for money decisions in the current economic climate. The board of the Child and Maternal Health Observatory has concluded that the best course is to discontinue the service from the end of the current contract.
Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Defence on the effect of his proposed health reforms on members of the armed forces from (a) England and Wales and (b) Scotland receiving specialist medical treatment in the NHS in England as a result of injuries sustained in service. 
Mr Simon Burns: The care of armed forces personnel receiving specialist medical treatment as a result of injuries sustained in service will not be directly affected by the reforms planned for the national health service in England.
The NHS reforms and future commissioning of services in relation to the health of the armed forces their families and veterans is high on the agenda of the Ministry of Defence (MOD)/United Kingdom Departments of Health Partnership Board. This board, which is co-chaired at a senior level by the Department of Health and the MOD has, as board members, representatives from the devolved administrations. Through the work of the Partnership Board, the Department of Health, MOD and the devolved Administrations have agreed a protocol for seriously injured personnel. This protocol will ensure that those who are seriously injured as a result of their service in the armed forces are transitioned from Mod care to the NHS as smoothly as possible ensuring that ongoing health needs are appropriately met.
Paul Burstow: No such assessment has been made. However, there is considerable evidence on the different rates of mental health problems in men and women, particularly on how differently men and women express their problems and their willingness to seek help from services. The Government's new mental health strategy which we will soon be publishing highlights a number of examples of different problems across the two sexes and outlines effective interventions.
Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the likely change in the number of midwives employed in the NHS (a) by December 2011 and (b) in each subsequent year up to and including December 2014. 
Anne Milton: We are unable to provide this information at this moment. However, when the operating planning process is completed, plans and forecasts will be available. Strategic health authority plans will be signed off by 31 May 2011.
The planned number of midwives in training in 2010-11 is 2,493-a record level. We expect there will be a sustained increase in the number of new midwives available
to the service over the next few years. However, it is for local healthcare providers to decide how best to organise their work force to achieve better outcomes and value for money. Local managers and employers, while required to conform to national standards, must be free to manage their own maternity teams to meet the needs of the communities they serve.
Mr Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance (a) his Department and (b) the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence provides to clinicians on the treatment of age-related macular degeneration. 
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued technology appraisal and interventional procedures guidance to the national health service on the treatment of age-related macular degeneration. NICE's guidance can be found on its website at:
Fiona Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has plans to review and simplify the decision support tool document for people suffering from end stage neurological conditions who apply for continuing healthcare. 
Paul Burstow: We have published a Fast Track Pathway Tool for assessing national health service funded continuing health care for patients with rapidly progressing conditions, which may be entering a terminal phase. This is a simplified version of the decision support tool, and can be used by an appropriate clinician with detailed knowledge of the patient's needs.
1. It is difficult to interpret the data in a meaningful way purely because the data relates to payments made. The values cannot be attributed to claims made in that year, claims settled in that year, nor incidents that occurred in a given year. Payments made may relate to claims or incidents that occurred many years previously, especially where the claims may be complex.
2. It should be noted that in all years figures include repayments from previous years: for example where a payment was made into court as a settlement offer in one financial year and then received this could be received back the following year if the final settlement figure was lower. Occasionally, therefore, these figures may be less than zero.
3. In order to protect the confidentiality of individual patients, the NHSLA has not given precise figures where the number of claims/potential claims received in a year was fewer than five or the amounts paid out were lower than £5,000.
1. It is difficult to interpret the data in a meaningful way, purely because the data relate to payments made. The values cannot be attributed to claims made in that year, claims settled in that year, nor incidents that occurred in a given year. Payments made may relate to claims or incidents that occurred many years previously, especially where the claims may be complex.
2. In order to protect the confidentiality of individual patients, the NHSLA has not given precise figures where the number of claims/potential claims received in a year was fewer than five or the amounts paid out were lower than £5,000.
The data requested have been supplied by the National Health Service Litigation Authority (NHSLA).
Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will estimate the level of occupancy of children's intensive care beds in (a) Greater Manchester and (b) the North West since 1 December 2010; [R] 
(2) if he will estimate the number of cancellations of elective operations in (a) Greater Manchester and (b) the North West since 1 December 2010; and what the reasons for such cancellations were in each case. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department is currently undertaking a review to determine the best approach to publication of management information which allows the national health service locally and the Department to gauge individual health economy operational problems. This review is expected to be completed shortly.
Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with the Scottish Executive on the effect of his proposed reform of the NHS in England on the NHS in Scotland. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Secretary of State and his counterpart, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, have been in correspondence regarding the changes to the national health service in England and the provisions in the Health and Social Care Bill.
Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether GPs in England will be permitted to commission services for patients in England from the NHS in Scotland under his proposed reform of the NHS. 
Mr Simon Burns: Commissioners of national health service services will be free to commission from the best provider that meets the needs of their patients, as long as the provider is registered with the Care Quality Commission and licensed by Monitor where this would be required by law.
Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the 10 highest single payments are which have been made to an NHS employee in redundancy payment in trusts in the North East strategic health authority area in 2010-11. 
In December the Department published the revised Operating Framework setting out the priorities for the national health service over the next financial year and setting out the expectations against which their performance will be managed.
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