These figures have been drawn from live administrative data systems which may be amended at any time. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what arrangements are in place for the collection by his Department of reports of prison establishments which have (a) persistent breaches of security and (b) persistent areas of concern arising from the testing of security processes, procedures and equipment. [55560]

Mr Blunt: Governors of individual prisons have the primary responsibility for ensuring that security standards are maintained. This is monitored in a variety of ways including local audit and testing and formal audit of security procedures by the Agency's auditors.

Reports of serious failures of security are required to be reported to the centre with the most serious failures reported immediately by telephone. Less serious failures are logged locally and will be discussed routinely with the governor's manager and at regular security committee meetings held within each prison. The results of formal security audit reports are published internally and a follow up action plan must be produced by the prison to remedy any deficiencies. High priority recommendations are always followed up with individual prisons and a quarterly report, listing progress on implementation of recommendations, together with any patterns in security failures, is distributed to senior management. A NOMS Audit Committee, chaired by a non-executive director, will consider any underlying patterns, issues and specific areas of concern connected with both security and general matters.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many (a) shotgun cartridges, (b) mobile phones, (c) replica firearms, (d) blank rounds, (e) flick knives, (f) SIM cards, (g) mobile phone chargers, (h) cameras and (i) drugs were kept in each prison establishment for the purposes of testing or training in the last year for which figures are available; [55562]

(2) how many (a) shotgun cartridges, (b) mobile phones, (c) replica firearms, (d) blank rounds, (e) flick knives, (f) SIM cards, (g) mobile phone chargers, (h) cameras and (i) drugs used as training aids in prisons and designated to be stored in the security department or Governor's safe have been reported (i) missing, (ii) stolen or (iii) otherwise unaccountable at each prison establishment in each of the last five years. [55561]

Mr Blunt: Data relating to the number of items held in prisons for training or testing purposes are not held centrally. In order to provide this information, it would be necessary to contact each prison individually, which could be done only at disproportionate cost.

The loss or theft of official items, including bladed items, mobile phones, chargers and SIM cards is reported under the miscellaneous category on the Prison Service Incident Reporting System. The loss or theft of drugs used for training aids are recorded under a separate drugs category. Any incident relating to firearms and ammunition, including the loss or theft of items used for training would be held under a separate firearms category.

These incidents are held in a format that cannot readily be interrogated electronically. To provide the information requested would involve the manual inspection of more than 79,000 incident records for the five financial years involved which could be achieved only at disproportionate cost.

Prisons: Standards

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners he estimates are affected by bedding standards in respect of fire retardancy set out in Prison Service Instruction (PSI) 22/2011; and what the cost to the public purse was of complying with the requirements of PSI 22/2011 in the latest year for which figures are available. [55552]

16 May 2011 : Column 53W

Mr Blunt: The fire retardancy standards set out in Prison Service Instruction (PSI) 22/2011 apply to all bedding and furnishings used by prisoners.

PSI 22/2011 has had no impact on the standard or cost of bedding officially issued to prisoners as these items already meet the fire retardancy standards specified.

The main purpose of the PSI is to introduce equivalent standards for bedding and furnishing items purchased by some prisoners using their own funds. Therefore there is no additional cost to the public purse.

Public Expenditure

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether his Department plans to cease to fund any of its functions over the period of the comprehensive spending review. [55183]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: The Ministry’s function is to deliver a justice system that will punish the guilty, protect our liberties and the independence of the judiciary, and reduce the rate of reoffending by offenders. The Ministry will deliver these objectives throughout the period of the spending review.

I have developed plans that will enable the Ministry of Justice to deliver savings across the spending review period while continuing to deliver the Ministry’s services. These savings are a combination of administrative efficiencies, front-line efficiencies and policy reforms.

Communities and Local Government

Affordable Housing

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what definition of affordable housing his Department uses. [55202]

Grant Shapps: The definition of affordable housing for planning purposes is set out in annex B of planning policy statement 3: Planning for Housing. My Department has recently consulted on a technical change to annex B of planning policy statement 3. The consultation finished on 11 April and we intend to publish the Government response shortly.

Affordable Housing: Disability

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how much funding from the public purse he allocated to the HOLD scheme in the last 12 months; [55261]

(2) if he will estimate the number of completions under the HOLD scheme in (a) London and (b) the London borough of Newham in the next 12 months. [55264]

Grant Shapps: Home Ownership for people with Long-Term Disabilities (HOLD) helps people whose housing needs cannot be met through the Government's mainstream new build affordable home ownership programme, due to the need to live in a specific location. The scheme enables them to select a property on the open market suitable to their needs, and purchase on shared ownership terms with a housing association.

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My Department, through the Homes and Communities Agency, provides capital funding to housing providers to help them buy properties under HOLD. Registered housing providers can bid for funding from the Affordable Homes programme.

In 2010-11, the Homes and Communities Agency provided £5.7 million to registered providers for the HOLD scheme.

HOLD is a demand-led scheme and therefore we have not made an assessment of the number of likely completions in London or the London borough of Newham. As announced in the spending review, we are investing £4.5 billion to deliver 150,000 affordable homes between 2011-12 to 2014-15. This will include support for the provision of shared ownership and the HOLD scheme where this has the support of the local authority.

Council Tax Benefits

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has for the operation of the localised council tax benefit. [55773]

Robert Neill: The Government are committed to retaining council tax support for the most vulnerable in society and will be taking forward plans for councils to develop local rebate schemes. The detail of these plans will be developed following full consultation on the new system for local council tax rebate schemes in England, which will be undertaken in due course, led by my Department.

This reform will create stronger incentives for councils to get people back into work and so support the positive work incentives that will be introduced through the Government's plans on universal credit. Combined with other incentives—such as the New Homes Bonus and our proposals for the local retention of business rates—these changes will give councils a greater stake in the economic future of their local area, so supporting the Government's wider agenda to enable stronger, balanced economic growth across the country.

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what equality impact assessment he plans to undertake on his proposed changes to council tax benefit. [55774]

Robert Neill: In the development of the plans for local rebate schemes in England, the Department will comply fully with the relevant requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and is committed to retaining council tax support for the most vulnerable in society.

Departmental Responsibilities

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department plans to cease to fund any of its functions over the period of the comprehensive spending review. [55192]

Robert Neill: In terms of my Department's plans to cease any of its functions, four of the Department's arm’s length bodies have already been closed and a programme of reform is in place which will see another 12 either closed or their functions transferred by 2012.

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For details on estimated savings costs attached to this I refer the hon. Member to the departmental press notice of 16 March 2011, which can be found at the following link:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/newsroom/1865652

Most of the functions of the Government offices for the regions have been discontinued: a limited number of residual functions have been transferred to Departments, including this Department.

Housing: Learning Disability

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps his Department is taking to provide new housing stock for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities; and if he will make a statement. [55294]

Andrew Stunell: We are investing £4.5 billion over the next four years to deliver up to 150,000 new affordable homes in England. We are giving housing associations much more flexibility on rents and use of assets, so our aspiration is to deliver as many homes as possible through our investment and reforms.

As part of the Affordable Homes Programme, the Homes and Communities Agency is positively encouraging new supply of supported housing which would include housing for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities. They will focus on ensuring that local authorities are able to shape the Affordable Homes Programme to respond to the housing needs of their communities. Affordable housing for vulnerable people can also be met through a variety of methods including floating support services which provides housing-related support to vulnerable adults to enable them to maintain their independence in their own home.

Housing: Standards

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has to review the operational and enforcement guidance for the housing, health and safety rating system in the light of the recent decision by the Residential Property Service Tribunal in the case of Mr A H Kassim. [54540]

Andrew Stunell: There are no plans to review the operational and enforcement guidance for the Housing Health and Safety Rating System in light of the recent decision by the Residential Property Tribunal in the case of Mr A H Kassim.

The Residential Property Tribunal in the case of Mr A H Kassim concluded that there is no requirement under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System guidance that space heating should be affordable.

It is the view of the Department that the relative cost of operating a heating system is relevant to a Housing Health and Safety Rating System assessment. The operating guidance, page 27, sets this out under the heading ‘Thermal Efficiency’:

The dwelling should be provided with adequate thermal insulation and a suitable and effective means of space heating so that the space can be economically maintained at reasonable temperatures.

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Residential Property Tribunal cases are independent of the Department for Communities and Local Government and as the decision was based on the specific circumstances of the case it does not create a binding legal precedent.

Local Government

Penny Mordaunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he plans to announce the conclusions of his review of statutory duties placed on local government. [55584]

Robert Neill: The invitation to respond has now closed and we have received a high volume of responses—over 5,500. The review is as much about ensuring vital duties are retained as it is about removing unnecessary burdens.

The next step will be for the Department to analyse and review the representations. Any future work on whether to remove duties or associated guidance that only serve to create overly bureaucratic burdens on councils will be a separate process, and we will consult further where necessary.

We will continue to keep the House informed of progress.

Regional Planning and Development

Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance his Department is providing to private sector organisations on the abolition of regional spatial strategies. [50370]

Greg Clark: The Government set out information on the implications of their intention to abolish regional strategies in the Chief Planner's letter of 10 November 2010 to local authorities, and further in a press release issued on 7 February 2011. Both documents are available on the Department's website and private sector organisations can have regard to them. These documents make clear that pending abolition of regional strategies all planning decisions must be made in accordance with the “development plan”, including regional strategies, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The Government's intention to abolish regional strategies is a material consideration.

Rented Housing: Private Sector

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what data his Department collects on the activities of unscrupulous landlords in the private rented sector. [55407]

Andrew Stunell: The English Housing Survey and the linked Private Landlords Survey both contain extensive data about privately rented housing stock and private landlords. The most recent iterations of both surveys are due to be published in the summer.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has any plans to bring forward legislation to tackle unscrupulous landlords. [55474]

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Andrew Stunell: The current legislative framework already contains robust measures by which tenants can be protected from landlord abuses. The Government keeps the relevant legislation under constant review but has no plans for any immediate changes.

Travellers: Caravan Sites

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reason the Planning Inspectorate held a Gypsy and Traveller workshop in November 2009; who attended the workshop; what matters were discussed at the workshop; and what the outcomes were. [55253]

Robert Neill: Under the last Administration as part of a two day event, the Planning Inspectorate held a Gypsy and Traveller appeals workshop on Friday 13 November 2009. The aim of the workshop was to provide an opportunity for dialogue between the principal stakeholders engaged in Gypsy and Traveller appeals, to explore ways in which current appeal practice might be improved, for example, to help the smoother running of appeals, as Gypsy and Traveller casework tends to be more complex and can often result in delays and events overrunning. The workshop also addressed current issues and different perspectives. The discussions specifically did not address individual cases nor current or forthcoming appeals, being restricted to generic matters.

The matters discussed through round table discussions, were Gypsy status and consistency on application and acceptance of Gypsy status; Development Plan Matters; Procedural Matters and Personal Circumstances (eg confidentiality and sensitivity of personal data and educational and health needs).

The workshop was attended by around 50 inspectors and staff from the Planning Inspectorate and representatives from parties involved in appeals, namely a number of planning consultancies: (Anderson Planning and Dev Ltd, Green Planning Solutions, Heine Planning Consultancy, Philip Brown Associates), various legal chambers (Garden Court Chambers, 10 King's Bench Chambers, 2-3 Gray's Inn Square, Radcliffe Chambers, 1 Pump Court Chambers, Francis Taylor Buildings), a number of local authorities (Basildon, Brentwood, Bromley, Central Bedfordshire, Maidstone, Mendip, Sevenoaks, South Gloucestershire, South Somerset, and Wychavon) and DCLG. Participants were invited based on the amount of relevant casework they were involved in.

Since the workshop the Planning Inspectorate has made some minor procedural amendments, for example changes to durations, for gypsy and traveller cases. It has also trialled the use of a pre-inquiry or hearing note in some cases, but this has not been limited to just Gypsy and Traveller casework.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) workshops and (b) meetings were held by the Planning Inspectorate with representatives of Gypsy and Traveller groups in each of the last five years; and if he will place in the Library a copy of each document associated with such workshops and meetings. [55254]

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Robert Neill: The Planning Inspectorate has a record of two events involving representatives of the Gypsy and Traveller community within the last five years. Both took place under the last Administration.

On 12 November 2009, the Planning Inspectorate held a training event for inspectors specialising in Gypsy and Traveller casework. As part of the training, external stakeholders were invited to deliver presentations to the inspectors. These speakers included Siobhan Spencer, from the Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group, who delivered a presentation on Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group, Gypsy culture and planning issues for Gypsy groups and answered questions from inspectors. A copy of this presentation has been placed in the Library of the House.

The Planning Inspectorate’s Enforcement Procedural staff also met with Matthew Green of Green Planning Solutions on 24 February 2009 to discuss general planning, programming and procedural matters on cases as well as changes arising from the Planning Act 2008. No notes were made of this meeting.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what advice he received in advance of deciding not to proceed with option 2 of the planning for Traveller sites consultation; [55255]

(2) with reference to the publication of his planning for Traveller sites consultation, if he will consider the merits of withdrawing planning circulars 01/2006 and 04/2007 and (a) not replacing them and (b) incorporating policies for Traveller and Gypsy planning into general planning guidance. [55256]

Robert Neill: The Government recently published a consultation on their proposed planning policy for Traveller sites.

As Government do routinely with all policy development, we sought advice from officials and lawyers and considered views from a range of parties while writing our new planning policy. As this is a consultation, hon. Members are welcome to submit their views on these issues including the merits or demerits of the various options.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions his Department had with (a) the Equalities and Human Rights Commission and (b) representatives from Gypsy and Traveller groups in advance of the publication of the planning for Traveller sites consultation. [55257]

Robert Neill: As is routinely the case with all policy development, the Department has had discussions with people with an interest in its policy matters. This has included speaking to a range of representatives of Traveller groups. The Department also has regular meetings with the Equalities and Human Rights Commission on a variety of matters and these have included discussion of Traveller site provision, planning policy and planning enforcement in relation to Traveller sites and poor social outcomes for Travellers.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many planning appeals involving Gypsy and Traveller sites have been (a) upheld and (b) refused by the Planning Inspectorate in each of the last five years. [55258]

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Robert Neill: The total number of planning appeals, the number upheld and dismissed for each of the last five calendar years is detailed as follows.

Calendar year Total decisions Allowed Percentage Dismissed Percentage

2006

106

71

67

35

33

2007

131

84

64

47

36

2008

100

52

52

48

48

2009

128

71

55

57

45

2010

84

51

61

32

39

Health

Cancer: Drugs

Esther McVey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent steps he has taken to improve access to drugs subject to National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence funding for cancer patients in the NHS. [55246]

Mr Simon Burns: Primary care trusts are legally obliged to fund drugs and treatments recommended in National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence technology appraisal guidance, within three months of guidance being published, unless the requirement is waived in a specific case.

We made an additional £50 million available to strategic health authorities in 2010-11 which has already helped over 2,000 patients to access the cancer drugs their clinicians recommended. In addition, we launched the Cancer Drugs Fund in April 2011, which makes £200 million available per year for the next three years to help thousands more cancer patients access the drugs their clinicians believe will help them.

Care Homes

Penny Mordaunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what support and advice his Department gives to people who wish to plan for self-funded care in later life; and if he will make a statement. [55453]

Paul Burstow: Local authorities have a duty to provide a needs assessment for everyone who requests one—whether supported by a council or their own funds—and, as part of this process, to sign-post them to the information and advice they need.

The Government recognise that more can be done to help self-funders plan and prepare for the care costs that they may face in later life. We have set up the Commission on Funding of Care and Support and, in its terms of reference, have asked that it provides recommendations on ‘how people could choose to protect their assets, especially their homes, against the cost of care'.

We have asked the commission to report in July 2011, and will respond to its recommendations in a White Paper by the end of the year.

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Clostridium Difficile

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients contracted C. difficile while in hospital in Havering in the last five years. [55309]

Mr Simon Burns: The information is not collected in the format requested.

The figures presented are the ‘trust apportioned number’ referring to infections that are presumed to be to be acquired in that trust during that visit. Data apportioned to trust are only available from 2007 onwards for Clostridium difficile infection episodes.

Cases are trust apportioned if the location of the patient when the specimen was taken was reported as an acute hospital ‘in-patient’, ‘day patient’ or ‘Emergency assessment patient’ and the specimen date was on, or after, the fourth day of the admission where day of admission is equal to day one.

These data only show the number of reported C. difficile infections in patients aged two years and over, this does not reflect the number of different patients as one patient may have had more than one episode of infection reported. These data are reported by the acute trust.

Number of trust apportioned cases of infections caused by C. difficile in patients aged two years and over—Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals NHS Trust
April to March each year Number

2007-08

143

2008-09

121

2009-10-

81

2010-11(1)

111

(1) Figure is derived from monthly published data

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to protect the blood supply from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. [55158]

Anne Milton: The following precautionary measures have been implemented to protect the blood supply and products made by fractionating plasma:

From December 1997, blood components, plasma products or tissues obtained from any individual who later develops variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), have been withdrawn/recalled to prevent their use;

From October 1999, white blood cells (which may carry a risk of transmitting vCJD) have been reduced in all blood used for transfusion, a process known as leucodepletion or leucoreduction;

Following the report of the first possible case of transmission of vCJD by blood transfusion in December 2003, individuals who had themselves received a transfusion of blood components since January 1980 were excluded from donating blood. This took effect from April 2004, and in July 2004, this exclusion criterion for blood donation was extended to include two further groups, who had received transfusions of blood components since 1980:

Previously transfused platelet donors,

Donors who were unsure if they had previously had a blood transfusion. This now applies to donors who have been transfused anywhere in the world;

Since 1999, plasma for the manufacture of fractionated plasma products, such as clotting factors, has been obtained from non-United Kingdom sources;

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Since 2004, fresh frozen plasma for treating babies and young children born on or after 1 January 1996 has been obtained from non-UK sources, and from July 2005 its use was extended to all children up to the age of 16; and

Cryoprecipitate, for use in the under-16s, is now produced from imported methylene blue treated-plasma.

All of these measures were recommended or endorsed by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (which first met in January 2008) or its predecessor committees.

Additionally, considerable effort is being extended to promote appropriate use of blood throughout the national health service, to target blood use to where it is clinically essential, and for bleeding disorder patients (such as haemophiliacs) UK plasma has not been used for the manufacture of clotting factors since 1999 and recombinant clotting factors are now available for all patients for whom they are suitable.

Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the number of people who are considered to be at risk of contracting variant Creuztfeldt-Jakob disease; [55157]

(2) what estimate his Department has made of the number of people carrying the infective prions that cause variant Creuztfeldt-Jakob disease; and what proportion of such people he estimates are registered as blood donors. [55160]

Anne Milton: A study published in 2004 of stored appendix and tonsil tissue samples found abnormal prion protein in three appendices out of 12,674 samples. This suggested a population prevalence of about one in 4,000, though with very wide confidence interval of between one in 1,400 and one in 20,000. A further study of over 96,000 tonsils pairs is nearing completion, and a study of 30,000 appendix samples is due to be completed in 2012. Prevalence estimates are kept under active review by the relevant expert scientific advisory committees, who will review all the evidence on the completion of these ongoing studies.

In England about 4.4% of the population are blood donors, and the prevalence of potentially infective blood donors remains unknown. Not all of the individuals in the 2004 published study would be of an age eligible to donate blood, nor is it clear whether presence of abnormal prion protein in tissues such as the appendix or tonsils indicates that the blood of such a donor would transmit variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. All precautionary measures are assessed in the context of the fundamental uncertainties about prevalence.

Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of the number of people diagnosed with variant Creuztfeldt-Jakob disease. [55159]

Anne Milton: Since 1995 175 patients have been identified with definite or probable variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in the United Kingdom.

The National Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease Research and Surveillance Unit publishes monthly figures on all cases of human prion disease, including vCJD, on the website at:

www.cjd.ed.ac.uk/

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Dental Services

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many dentists' surgeries he has visited in an official capacity in the last 12 months. [55229]

Mr Simon Burns: In the last 12 months my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health has visited one community dental service in an official capacity. My noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State, Earl Howe, leads on dentistry within the ministerial team and has visited two dental practices in the last 12 months, one in Worcester and one in London. He has also visited dentists providing oral health promotion services for children provided in a children's centre in Preston.

Departmental Pensions

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of his Department's budget he expects to be spent on staff pensions in each of the next five years. [54565]

Mr Simon Burns: In 2010-11, the Department spent approximately 16% of total staff costs on employers' superannuation contributions. This proportion is unlikely to change much in 2011-12 but it is difficult to make forecasts beyond that timeframe as the Government are considering their response to the review of public sector pensions provision, recently carried out by the Independent Public Service Pensions Commission chaired by Lord Hutton.

Disability: Advocacy

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that local advocacy services meet the needs of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities; and if he will make a statement; [55141]

(2) what steps he is taking to (a) monitor and (b) assess the quality of local advocacy services for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities; and if he will make a statement; [55142]

(3) what steps he is taking to develop skills and training of advocates for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities; and if he will make a statement; [55143]

(4) what steps he is taking to assess the local advocacy needs of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities; and if he will make a statement; [55144]

(5) what steps he is taking to ensure that advocacy services for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities are included in individual packages of care; and if he will make a statement; [55145]

(6) what steps he is taking to ensure that the interests of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities are safeguarded via the provision of local advocacy services; and if he will make a statement; [55146]

(7) what steps he is taking to assist local authorities in providing people with profound and multiple learning disabilities with high quality local advocacy services; and if he will make a statement; [55147]

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(8) how much was spent from the public purse on the provision of advocacy services for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities in each year since 2000; and if he will make a statement. [55148]

Paul Burstow: It is up to local authorities to decide how much advocacy they commission for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, who they commission it from and how they make it available to their local populations. The role of the Department is to provide the framework for services—to be clear about social care law and about social care policy. Therefore, we are considering the report of the Law Commission and looking to modernise the legal framework in which social care is provided.

It is for local authorities and national health service commissioning staff to ensure that advocacy services meet the needs of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities through their commissioning arrangements. They also monitor and assess the quality of advocacy and local needs and make decisions about deployment of services.

Subject to the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill, local authorities and general practitioner commissioning consortia will be required to prepare a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). This is to ensure that each area develops a comprehensive analysis of the current and future needs of their area (including those relevant to health, social care and public health). Based on the JSNA, the members of the Health and Wellbeing Board will be required to develop a joint health and well-being strategy for their area.

In its ‘Vision for Adult Social Care, Capable Communities and Active Citizens’, the Government say that

“councils should focus on improving the range, quality and accessibility of information, advice and advocacy available for all people in their communities—regardless of how their care is paid for—to support their social care choices”.

Additionally, the Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA) Service was created under the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005. The MCA introduced a new duty to instruct advocates in certain conditions for people who lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves. The Department has funded this service by making £6 million available to local authorities to commission local services to provide the IMCA role. Nearly 10,000 people benefited from this last year and the Department published an annual report on the IMCA service in November 2010.

The Department has worked with the advocacy sector to develop a national qualification in advocacy, which is available to the sector and to commissioners. The national advocacy qualification has been part of the professionalising of advocacy and ensures that advocates are appropriately trained. The Department has also funded a ‘Quality Mark’ system, administered by Action for Advocacy, which enable advocacy organisations to demonstrate their services are of high quality.

The Department does not collect local information on advocacy provision and its costs.

Disability: Housing

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment his Department has made of the specific housing needs of people with profound

16 May 2011 : Column 64W

and multiple learning disabilities; and if he will make a statement; [55292]

(2) what representations his Department has received on improvements to the quality and provision of housing for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities; and if he will make a statement. [55293]

Paul Burstow: Valuing People Now (2009) said that independent supported living can be enjoyed by people with profound and multiple learning disabilities because the support is tailored to their particular requirements based on an assessment of individual needs and choices. Different types of housing and support, including home ownership and assured tenancies have to be matched and coordinated with a package of care specifically designed to support the particular individual in the home of their choice.

Professor Jim Mansell's report, ‘Raising our Sights’, published in March 2010 identified a need for adequate housing for adults with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities. The Government's response to Professor Mansell's report recognised that there is a continuing need for new affordable housing, including supported housing. The needs and aspirations of those with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities should be considered in the provision of general housing needs, as well as in specialist provision. We expect housing associations and local authorities to work closely to identify the type of provision that will most appropriately meet the locally identified needs. They will also have the best understanding of how any new provision will fit with, and complement, existing services and supported housing locally.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be issuing a consultation paper on the payment of housing costs for people living in supported and sheltered housing classified as exempt accommodation. DWP intend to publish this shortly.

Preventable Diseases: South Asian Communities

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he is taking to tackle preventable diseases in South Asian communities; [55305]

(2) what steps he is taking to provide information on diabetes to South Asian communities. [55306]

Paul Burstow: In the public health White Paper, “Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Our strategy for public health in England”, we announced radical reforms to how public health is managed in future. From April 2013, local authorities will be given responsibility, backed by a ring-fenced public health grant, and new freedoms, to make a major impact on improving people's health and tackling health inequalities in every community.

We remain fully committed to the NHS Health Check programme, which is aimed at everyone in England between the ages of 40-74. It is a risk assessment and risk management programme, which assesses people's risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes and supports people to reduce or manage that risk through individually tailored advice. In rolling out this programme, some primary care trusts targeted high-risk groups first such as South Asian populations who are at particularly high risk of diabetes.

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The recently published National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence guidance, “Preventing type 2 diabetes: population and community-level interventions in high-risk groups and the general population”, makes recommendations for the provision of culturally appropriate messages about preventing type 2 diabetes. The guidance underlines the action that we are already taking to improve public health and reduce the risk of people developing type 2 diabetes. It is for the national health service at a local level to determine the needs of their local population and to allocate resources appropriately to meet these needs.

To raise awareness of the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, the Government developed a national movement called “Change4life” to help parents make healthier food choices for their children and encourage more activity.

GP Surgeries

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many GP surgeries he has visited in an official capacity in the last 12 months. [55230]

Mr Simon Burns: In the last 12 months my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health visited eight general practitioner practices in an official capacity.

Health Centres: Greater London

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) nurses and (b) allied health professionals work in GP clinics in each London borough. [55224]

Mr Simon Burns: Information is not collected in the format requested.

The following table provides a headcount of general practitioner (GP) practice nurses and direct patient care staff in each primary care trust (PCT) area as at 30 September 2010.

GP practice nurses and direct patient care staff headcount in selected region, as at 30 September 2010
      Headcount


GP practice nurse Direct patient care

Q36

London strategic health authority

2,930

1,244

       

5A4

Havering PCT

67

22

5A5

Kingston PCT

109

10

5A7

Bromley PCT

126

44

5A8

Greenwich Teaching PCT

121

44

5A9

Barnet PCT

124

53

5AT

Hillingdon PCT

104

37

5C1

Enfield PCT

96

19

5C2

Barking and Dagenham PCT

77

16

5C3

City and Hackney Teaching PCT

72

70

5C4

Tower Hamlets PCT

76

34

5C5

Newham PCT

115

20

5C9

Haringey Teaching PCT

89

0

5H1

Hammersmith and Fulham PCT

47

36

5HX

Ealing PCT

135

71

5HY

Hounslow PCT

90

59

16 May 2011 : Column 66W

5K5

Brent Teaching PCT

103

54

5K6

Harrow PCT

93

20

5K7

Camden PCT

39

57

5K8

Islington PCT

61

32

5K9

Croydon PCT

154

51

5LA

Kensington and Chelsea PCT

54

16

5LC

Westminster PCT

71

58

5LD

Lambeth PCT

136

97

5LE

Southwark PCT

76

82

5LF

Lewisham PCT

182

16

5LG

Wandsworth PCT

108

57

5M6

Richmond and Twickenham PCT

58

34

5M7

Sutton and Merton PCT

128

74

5NA

Redbridge PCT

85

19

5NC

Waltham Forest PCT

99

28

TAK

Bexley Care Trust

35

14

Notes: 1. Data are not available for London boroughs. PCT boundaries correspond exactly to London boroughs. 2. In the 2010 GP practice census, headcount figures on direct patient care were reported for the first time. Direct patient care contains all qualified staff excluding general practitioners and practice nurses. Similarly to the staff group ‘Allied Health Professionals’ on the non-medical census, staff in the direct patient care category contain those such as physiotherapists, speech therapists, chiropodists etc. 3. Figures are for staff working in GP practices in London SHA. 4. Data Quality: The NHS Information Centre for health and social care seeks to minimise inaccuracies and the effect of missing and invalid data, but responsibility for data accuracy lies with the organisations providing the data. Methods are continually being updated to improve data quality where changes impact on figures already published. This is assessed, but unless it is significant at national level, figures are not changed. Impact at detailed or local level is footnoted in relevant analyses. Source: The NHS Information Centre for health and social care General and Personal Medical Services Statistics.

Health Centres: Greater London

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many GPs practise in each London borough. [55225]

Mr Simon Burns: Information is not collected in the format requested.

The following table provides a headcount of general practitioners (GPs) in each primary care trust area as at 30 September 2010.

GPs (excluding retainers and registrars) in selected region as at 30 September 2010
Headcount

Q36

London Strategic Health Authority

5,340

     

5A4

Havering PCT

130

5A5

Kingston PCT

119

5A7

Bromley PCT

215

5A8

Greenwich Teaching PCT

157

5A9

Barnet PCT

226

5AT

Hillingdon PCT

149

5C1

Enfield PCT

192

5C2

Barking and Dagenham PCT

110

5C3

City and Hackney Teaching PCT

200

5C4

Tower Hamlets PCT

198

16 May 2011 : Column 67W

5C5

Newham PCT

196

5C9

Haringey Teaching PCT

179

5H1

Hammersmith And Fulham PCT

128

5HX

Ealing PCT

213

5HY

Hounslow PCT

141

5K5

Brent Teaching PCT

207

5K6

Harrow PCT

152

5K7

Camden PCT

182

5K8

Islington PCT

152

5K9

Croydon PCT

224

5LA

Kensington and Chelsea PCT

108

5LC

Westminster PCT

146

5LD

Lambeth PCT

266

5LE

Southwark PCT

197

5LF

Lewisham PCT

194

5LG

Wandsworth PCT

252

5M6

Richmond and Twickenham PCT

121

5M7

Sutton and Merton PCT

256

5NA

Redbridge PCT

136

5NC

Waltham Forest PCT

157

TAK

Bexley Care Trust

118

Notes: 1. Data not available for London boroughs. PCT boundaries correspond exactly to London boroughs. 2. The new headcount methodology for 2010 data is not fully comparable with previous years' data due to improvements that make it a more stringent count of absolute staff numbers. Further information on the headcount methodology is available in the Census publication here: www.ic.nhs.uk/webfiles/publications/010_Workforce/nhsstaff0010/Census_Bulletin_March_2011_Final.pdf 3. Headcount totals are unlikely to equal the sum of components. 4. Data Quality: The NHS Information Centre for health and social care seeks to minimise inaccuracies and the effect of missing and invalid data but responsibility for data accuracy lies with the organisations providing the data. Methods are continually being updated to improve data quality where changes impact on figures already published, This is assessed but unless it is significant at national level figures are not changed. Impact at detailed or local level is footnoted in relevant analyses. Source: The NHS Information Centre for health and social care General and Personal Medical Services Statistics

Hospitals: Infectious Diseases

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients contracted MRSA while in hospitals in Havering in the last five years. [55310]

Mr Simon Burns: The information is not collected in the format requested.

The figures presented are the “trust apportioned number” referring to infections that are presumed to be acquired in that trust during that visit. Data apportioned to trust are only available from 2008 onwards for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteraemia episodes.

Cases are trust apportioned if the location of the patient when the specimen was taken was reported as an acute hospital “in-patient”, “day patient” or “emergency assessment patient” and the specimen date was on, or after, the third day of the admission where day of admission is equal to day 1.

These data only show the number of reported MRSA bloodstream infections, this does not reflect the number of different patients as one patient may have had more than one episode of infection reported.

16 May 2011 : Column 68W

These data are only available by financial year.

Trust apportioned cases of bloodstream infections caused by MRSA—Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals NHS Trust , April to March each year

Number

2008-09

20

2009-10

19

2010-11(1)

15

(1) Figure is derived from monthly published data.

Hospitals: Manpower

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS (a) doctors, (b) nurses, (c) paramedics and (d) dentists have been injured on duty by a patient in the last five years. [55210]

Mr Simon Burns: The information is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Information on the number of reported physical assaults against national health service staff is contained in tables as follows:

‘Tables showing number of reported physical assaults on NHS staff from 2004-05 to 2007-08, broken down by NHS trust/PCT’

‘Tables showing number of reported physical assaults on NHS staff in 2009-10, broken down by NHS trust/PCT’

‘Tables showing number of reported physical assaults on NHS staff in 2008-09, broken down by NHS trust/PCT’

The above tables have been placed in the Library.

The tables show the number of reported physical assaults, but do not specify professional categories, whether an injury was sustained, or whether the member of staff was on duty when the assault took place.

Hospitals: Parking

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many pieces of correspondence his Department received (a) in favour of and (b) against removing hospital car parking charges in England in the latest period for which figures are available. [55218]

Mr Simon Burns: On 16 September 2010, the Department published their response to the consultation carried out by the previous Government on national health service car parking charges. The response made clear that such charges are a matter for local decisions based on local circumstances but that patients have a fundamental right to fair and appropriate car parking concessions, where needed, and hospital trusts are expected to deliver them.

Since 6 May 2010, according to the Department’s central correspondence system, the Department has received 364 items about hospital car parking charges. Of those, 338 expressed concern about one or more aspects of how the NHS charged for car parking.

Hospitals: Security

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether his Department has plans to increase security in hospitals; [55208]

(2) what recent discussions he has had on security in hospitals. [55209]

16 May 2011 : Column 69W

Mr Simon Burns: Adequate levels of security provision are for national health service bodies to establish on a local basis, according to assessment of the security risks they face.

NHS Protect has national responsibility for leading work to protect NHS staff and resources from crime and provides advice and guidance to NHS bodies on assessing security risks and taking effective action. This includes support provided regionally by Area Security Management Specialists.

All NHS bodies are required to nominate an executive director with overall responsibility for security management and a non-executive director to support this work at board level. All NHS bodies must also nominate a Local Security Management Specialist to take forward security management work locally.

Hospitals: Visits

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospitals he has visited in an official capacity in the last year. [55334]

Mr Simon Burns: In the last 12 months my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health visited 33 hospitals in an official capacity.

John Radcliffe Hospital: Blood Transfusions

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the development of the electronic blood transfusion system at the John Radcliffe Hospital was first initiated. [55502]

Anne Milton: The information requested is not held centrally. The right hon. Member may wish to approach the trust directly to retrieve the information required.

Liverpool Primary Care Trust: Advertising

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much has been spent on (a) advertising promotions and (b) promotions by Liverpool primary care trust in each of the last five years; [55778]

(2) what the cost to the NHS was of advertising by Liverpool primary care trust (a) in the Liverpool Echo and (b) on radio related to (i) NHS Healthcheck, (ii) cancer symptoms and (iii) dentistry in the latest period for which figures are available. [55777]

Mr Simon Burns: It is for each primary care trust to determine how best to spend their allocated funding in the best interests of their local populations.

Medical Equipment

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what clinical studies are required in respect of new high risk implantable devices to be used in surgery; and if he will make a statement; [55903]

(2) what evidence of quality and reliability is required before new hip joints, stents and pacemakers are used in surgical procedures in the NHS. [55904]

16 May 2011 : Column 70W

Mr Simon Burns: Before a medical device can be placed on the market the manufacturer has to show that he has met the safety, quality and performance requirements laid down in the EC medical devices directives. This will include having clinical data to support any claims made for the device. For high risk devices, such as hip joints, stents and pacemakers, the clinical data is assessed by an independent conformity assessment organisation, known as a notified body, designated by the competent authority of the member state where they are located. On the basis of the notified body's conformity assessment the manufacturer can affix the CE marking (denoting compliance with the directive requirements) on the device.

Since March 2010, when the 2007 revision of the EC medical devices directive came fully into force, manufacturers of high risk devices have to justify, to the notified body, not conducting a specific clinical trial of their product to obtain the clinical data. Where this is because the manufacturer is relying on data relating to a similar device, the manufacturer has to demonstrate equivalency between the devices and thus the relevance and appropriateness of the data used.

Ophthalmology

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many opticians' premises he has visited in an official capacity in the last 12 months. [55228]

Mr Simon Burns: In the last 12 months the Secretary of State for Health, my right hon. Friend the Member for South Cambridgeshire has not visited any opticians’ premises in an official capacity.

Public Expenditure

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department plans to cease to fund any of its functions over the period of the comprehensive spending review. [55185]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department has not ceased to fund any of its functions since the beginning of the current spending round, as the functions of the Department have not changed. The Department continues, for example, to fulfil its Department of State functions of accountability to the public and Parliament; to provide strategic oversight of health and social care policy; and to be accountable for the funding of the national health service.

Subject to the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill, the Department's functions will change as a result of the modernisation process. We will be reviewing the Department's operating model to determine which functions the Department should continue to fulfil, and which should be moved. It is therefore likely that some functions will be transferred to other organisations and the Department will take on some new ones. The exact timing and nature of these changes will not be confirmed until the outcome of the listening exercise is known.

Ritalin

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have been prescribed Ritalin in England in each of the last five years. [55214]

16 May 2011 : Column 71W

Mr Simon Burns: Information on the number of people prescribed a medicine is not collected. The following table shows the number of prescription items dispensed for methylphenidate hydrochloride, of which Ritalin is a brand.

Number of methylphenidate hydrochloride prescription items written in the United Kingdom and dispensed in the community in England, 2006-2010

Methylphenidate Hydrochloride (thousand) Of which Ritalin (thousand)

2006

456.9

26.5

2007

535.3

25.5

2008

573.4

22.8

2009

610.2

20.2

2010

661.5

18.8

Source: Prescription Cost Analysis system

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received on seasonal affective disorder and the NHS. [55211]

Paul Burstow: We are not aware of any recent representations.

Smoking

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the predominant determinants of smoking initiation. [55077]

Anne Milton: There is a growing body of published, peer reviewed research evidence on the determinants of smoking initiation. The Department monitors all relevant evidence in this area because of the crucial need to reduce the take up of smoking by children.

The recently published Tobacco Control Plan for England includes references to some of this evidence such as Gervais, A. et al. (2006). “Milestones in the natural course of cigarette use among adolescents” in Canadian Medical Association Journal 175(3).

A copy of the plan has already been placed in the Library.

Surgery: Private Sector

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many operations on NHS patients were carried out by private sector organisations in each year since 2000. [55665]

Mr Simon Burns: The information requested is in the following table.

A count of finished consultant episodes (1) where a main operative procedure or intervention (2) was performed at independent sector providers; 2000-01 to 2009-10 (3)
  FCEs with an operative procedure

Carried out by independent sector providers Carried out by all organisations (including independent sector providers)

2000-01

11

6,509,425

2001-02

11

6,435,022

2002-03

438

6,612,582

2003-04

4,936

6,772,074

16 May 2011 : Column 72W

2004-05

13,109

6,847,589

2005-06

16,051

7,215,286

2006-07

61,125

7,888,074

2007-08

87,027

8,606,493

2008-09

159,249

9,274,423

2009-10

208,693

9,747,584

(1) Finished Consultant Episode (FCE) A finished consultant episode (FCE) is a continuous period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. FCEs are counted against the year in which they end. Figures do not represent the number of different patients, as a person may have more than one episode of care within the same stay in hospital or in different stays in the same year. (2) Main procedure or intervention The first recorded procedure or intervention in each episode, usually the most resource intensive procedure or intervention performed during the episode. It is appropriate to use main procedure when looking at admission details, (eg time waited), but a more complete count of episodes with a particular procedure is obtained by looking at the main and the secondary procedures. (3) Assessing growth through time Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) figures are available from 1989-90 onwards. Changes to the figures over time need to be interpreted in the context of improvements in data quality and coverage (particularly in earlier years), improvements in coverage of independent sector activity (particularly from 2006-07) and changes in national health service practice. For example, apparent reductions in activity may be due to a number of procedures which may now be undertaken in out-patient settings and so no longer include in admitted patient HES data. Note: Data quality HES are compiled from data sent by more than 300 NHS trusts and primary care trusts in England and from some independent sector organisations for activity commissioned by the English NHS. The NHS Information Centre for health and social care liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies. While this brings about improvement over time, some shortcomings remain. Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), The NHS Information Centre for health and social care.

Tobacco

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 9 March 2011, Official Report, columns 66-68WS, on the Tobacco Control Plan (England), what evidence his Department has examined on the targeting of tobacco promotion on young people; [55154]

(2) with reference to his Department's publication “Healthy Lives, Healthy People: a tobacco control plan for England”, what evidence his Department has examined to support the view that tobacco companies are seen to promote tobacco products through entertainment media. [55201]

Anne Milton: We have published six pages of Resources for Comprehensive Tobacco Control as an appendix to the Tobacco Control plan for England. This appendix includes links to the growing body of evidence of the targeting of tobacco promotion to young people and the promotion of tobacco products through entertainment media. Amongst the resources are:

“Preventing the uptake of smoking by children and young people” (NICE public health guidance 14) and “School based interventions to prevent smoking” (NICE public health guidance 23).

A copy of the plan has already been placed in the Library.

16 May 2011 : Column 73W

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with representatives from the tobacco industry in the last 12 months. [55216]

Anne Milton: We have had no discussions with the tobacco industry. We take very seriously the United Kingdom’s obligations as a party to the World Health Organisation's framework convention on tobacco control (FCTC). The FCTC places obligations on parties to protect the development of public health policy from the vested interests of the tobacco industry. We have made our commitment on this very clear in chapter 10 of the Tobacco Control Plan for England.

A copy of the plan has already been placed in the Library.

Tobacco: Regulations

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether he plans to make available the conclusions of the proposed consultation on plain packaging of tobacco products before the entry into force of regulations on the display of tobacco products; [55177]

(2) if he will commission an independent report on the effects of plain packaging of tobacco products in Australia before implementation of any such requirements in England. [55178]

Anne Milton: The Government have committed to consult on options to reduce the promotional impact of tobacco packaging, including plain packaging, before the end of 2011. A report on the consultation exercise will be published, including confirmation of the proposed way forward, following the consultation. The timing of publication of this report is unrelated to the commencement of the legislation ending displays of tobacco products in shops in England.

The Department's approach to plain packaging will be set out in the consultation document, including consideration of the available evidence about whether plain packaging would have an additional public health benefit.

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has to include a sunset clause in any amended regulations on the display of tobacco products in retail premises; [55179]

(2) whether he plans to submit for scrutiny amended draft regulations on the display of tobacco products to (a) the Regulatory Policy Committee and (b) the Reducing Regulation Committee. [55203]

Anne Milton: As with all new legislation that impacts on business, amended regulations on the display of tobacco products are subject to the Government's regulatory framework. This includes consideration by the Reducing Regulation Committee, as advised by the Regulatory Policy Committee, and consideration of the Government's policy on sunsetting.

Women and Equalities

Directors: Females

David Mowat: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities when she plans to respond to Lord Davies' recommendations on increasing the numbers of female directors; and if she will make a statement. [55822]

16 May 2011 : Column 74W

Lynne Featherstone: We strongly welcomed Lord Davies' report and his recommendations for a business-led strategy to improve the gender diversity of corporate boards. We do not plan to issue a formal response.

We are working with key stakeholders, including chair persons of companies, company secretaries, academics and business representative organisations to encourage companies to adopt the measures set out by Lord Davies, including publishing aspirational targets for the number of women on their boards in 2013 and 2015.

Defence

Strategic Defence and Security Review

18. Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the future capacity of the armed forces following the decisions made in the strategic defence and security review. [55372]

Dr Fox: As they are showing every day in Afghanistan, in Libya and in other operations as tasks around the world, our armed forces remain highly capable and flexible, able to carry out a wide range of operations at some distance from the UK. This will continue as we progress towards Future Force 2020.

Defence Equipment: Afghanistan

20. Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the equipment available to the armed forces in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [55374]

Peter Luff: The delivery of capability to our armed forces in Afghanistan is our top priority and equipment requirements are kept under constant review. As we have made clear on many occasions, this Government are determined to make sure that our service personnel have all the equipment and protection they need for the vital work they are undertaking in Afghanistan and that is exactly what we are doing.

Defence Exports

21. Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to increase UK defence exports. [55375]

Mr Gerald Howarth: As I reported to the House during questions on 31 January 2011, we are supporting defence exports through an active and innovative cross-Government defence diplomacy initiative, working closely with the UKTI Defence and Security Organisation. Exports help to build and enhance relations with allies, to support UK defence industry, and to reduce the cost of equipment for Britain’s armed forces. They are also an essential element of the Government’s export-led growth strategy.

Ministers and officials from across Government, including the Prime Minister, continue actively to promote British defence exports overseas.

16 May 2011 : Column 75W

Operation Ellamy

22. Mr Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future of the commitment to Operation Ellamy; and if he will make a statement. [55376]

Dr Fox: The UK remains committed to Operation Ellamy and the ongoing mission in support of UN Security Council resolution 1973. We are clear—we will end military action when the regime obeys international law and UN Security Council resolutions and lifts the threat to the Libyan people.

Franco-British Co-operation

23. Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made in developing a work programme for increased Franco-British co-operation on the acquisition of (a) submarine technologies and (b) unmanned aerial systems. [55377]

Peter Luff: We have made significant progress in these areas of Franco-British co-operation. We have, with our French colleagues, identified a number of potential areas for co-operation around submarine enterprise management and some specific equipments and technologies. Detailed proposals will be put to national authorities for consideration, taking into account extant international agreements and obligations. We are also taking forward joint work on some of the equipment and technologies on unmanned aerial systems, along with the other strands of co-operative work which we announced following the summit in November 2010.

Technical Training

24. Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future of defence technical training; and if he will make a statement. [55378]

Nick Harvey: The future location or locations of defence technical training are currently being considered as part of the Defence Technical Training Change Programme. This process is subject to full internal scrutiny and a final decision is expected before the end of this year.

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British-based private security companies were employed in operations in Afghanistan in the latest period for which information is available; and what regulations govern the conduct and use of such companies by commissioners other than the British Government. [53867]

Dr Fox: The British Government specifically the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, currently have three contracts with British-based private security companies in Afghanistan.

16 May 2011 : Column 76W

An international code of conduct for private security companies was signed in November 2010. Over 90 companies, many British-based, have signed up to observe this voluntary code. Signatory companies commit themselves to:

“responsible provision of security services so as to support the rule of law, respect human rights of all persons, and protect the interests of their clients.”

The Government are now working with others to establish an international mechanism to monitor compliance with the code.

RFA Largs Bay

Caroline Dinenage: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future of RFA Largs Bay. [55204]

Peter Luff: Following a competition to market RFA Largs Bay for continued military use, the Australian Government have been selected as the preferred bidder to buy the ship. Detailed discussions are now taking place with the Australian Department of Defence to complete the sale.

Prime Minister

Departmental Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Prime Minister (1) for what reason letters are sent from his office to hon. Members giving information which cannot be true; [55783]

(2) what responsibility he takes for replies sent to letters from hon. Members from his Office purportedly signed by individuals who do not exist. [55784]

The Prime Minister: Correspondence was handled under arrangements put in place in 2005 when on security advice, following an incident in which a member of staff was personally targeted and threatened, members of staff were advised not to use their names. After review this approach will no longer be used.

Ministers

Ian Lucas: To ask the Prime Minister on which occasions he has met the First Minister of (a) Wales, (b) Scotland and (c) Northern Ireland since his appointment. [50852]

The Prime Minister: I met the First Ministers of Wales, Scotland and the First and deputy First Ministers of Northern Ireland at Downing street on 8 June 2010. I also met the First Minister for Wales on 17 May 2010, the First Minister for Scotland on 14 May 2010 and 14 February 2011, and the First and deputy First Ministers for Northern Ireland on 20 May 2010. I, and Secretaries of State, are in regular communication with them. Following the 5 May elections I have spoken to the First Ministers of Wales and Scotland, and the First and deputy First Ministers of Northern Ireland.

16 May 2011 : Column 77W

Prime Minister: Meetings

Mr Amess: To ask the Prime Minister what matters were discussed during his meeting with the Prime Minister of Israel; who attended the meeting; what the duration of the meeting was; and if he will make a statement. [55251]

The Prime Minister: I refer my hon. Friend to the statement made by a No.10 spokesperson after my meeting with the Prime Minister of Israel. A copy of the statement can be found on the No. 10 website at:

http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/latest-news/2011/05/pm-welcomes-prime-minister-netanyahu-to-number-10-2-63463

Treasury

Business: Government Assistance

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to receive state aid approval from the European Commission for the proposed changes announced in the 2011 Budget to (a) research and development tax credits for small and medium-sized enterprises, (b) the Enterprise Investment Scheme and Venture Capital Trusts and (c) the climate change levy. [55707]

Justine Greening: The Government have submitted notifications to the European Commission regarding the changes proposed in the 2011 Budget to the research and development tax credits for small and medium-sized enterprises, the Enterprise Investment Scheme, Venture Capital Trusts and the climate change levy.

The Government expect to receive a response from the Commission in due course.

Credit Unions

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to support credit unions. [55572]

Mr Hoban: The Government are bringing forward detailed proposals to foster diversity, promote mutuals and create a more competitive banking industry.

On 12 April, the Treasury made the Mutual Societies (Electronic Communications) Order 2011. This allows credit unions and other mutuals to communicate with their members electronically.

On 3 March, the Department for Work and Pensions announced a £73 million Modernisation Fund to help credit unions expand their services.

The Legislative Reform (Industrial and Provident Societies and Credit Unions) Order 2011 will be re-laid before Parliament in due course and will present new opportunities for credit unions to develop their services and expand their membership.

The Government will then bring forward proposals to commence sections of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies and Credit Unions Act 2010.

16 May 2011 : Column 78W

EU Budget

Mr Carswell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the potential change to (a) the EU budget and (b) UK contributions to the EU budget arising from any sovereign defaults on loan payments by Greece. [55180]

Justine Greening: There are no contributions to the May 2010 international financial assistance package for Greece from the EU budget or from the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism, which is backed by the EU budget.

Financial Institutions: Redundancy

Richard Fuller: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been paid in redundancy or other severance compensation to each senior executive and director of a UK financial institution that has received financial support from the public purse since July 2007. [55496]

Mr Hoban: The terms and provisions of the remuneration contracts in place for individuals who were employed at Lloyds Banking Group, HBOS, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Northern Rock are a matter for the individuals and the banks’ management.

Quoted companies are required to produce a directors’ remuneration report containing information on the remuneration paid to their directors.

Income Tax

Mr Timpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the number of people resident in Crewe and Nantwich constituency who will no longer pay income tax consequent on the proposed increase in the personal allowance from April 2011. [55565]

Mr Gauke: The June 2010 Budget announced a £1,000 cash increase in the personal allowance for under 65s to £7,475 in 2011-12 (£820 above the previous Government's plans), with the benefits focused on individuals on low and middle incomes through accompanying changes to the basic rate limit and national insurance upper earnings and profit limits.

As a result of these measures, the Government estimate that 830,000 of the lowest income taxpayers will be removed from income tax altogether, of whom 100,000 are in the north-west and Merseyside region.

These estimates are based on the 2007-08 Survey of Personal Incomes, projected using economic assumptions consistent with the Office for Budget Responsibility's March 2011 economic and fiscal outlook.

Reliable estimates are not available at the parliamentary constituency level, due to greater uncertainties in projections for small geographical areas and small sample sizes.

Libya: Public Expenditure

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the size is of the Treasury reserve he plans to provide for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973. [54986]

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Danny Alexander [holding answer 10 May 2011]: The Treasury continues to work closely with the MoD to review expenditure associated with the UK commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 1973. Given the nature of the military operations, the additional costs are not fixed and will continue to be met from the Reserve. Current estimates of likely expenditure are within the range described by the Chancellor in the House on 22 March 2011, Official Report, column 850.

Loans: Portugal

Jonathan Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the potential effects of the EU financial rescue package for Portugal on the (a) integrity of the eurozone and (b) UK economy. [54835]

Mr Hoban: A strong and stable euro area is in the UK national interest—more than 40% of the UK’s exports are to the euro area. Further, we must also be alive to the risks that the current uncertainty poses, because of financial sector linkages, well beyond the euro area. Treasury officials closely monitor developments in Portugal and the rest of the euro area, as with all major economies, as part of the normal policy development process.

National Insurance Fund

Mr Reed: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the surplus of the National Insurance Fund was in each of the last five years; and what proportion of receipts of the National Insurance Fund was allocated to funding the mandatory state pension in each of the last five years. [55283]

Mr Gauke: The information requested is available in the published Great Britain National Insurance Fund Accounts and the Northern Ireland National Insurance Fund Accounts, 2006-07 to 2009-10, copies of which are in the House Library.

Smuggling: Northern Ireland

Mr Donaldson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when HM Revenue and Customs plans to complete its review of the use of vehicle stop and search powers in Northern Ireland. [55768]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs hope to complete the review by 30 June 2011.

Social Security Benefits: EU Nationals

Martin Vickers: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the Exchequer of social security payment transfers to be made under the provisions of EU Regulation 883/2004 in 2011-12. [54866]

Chris Grayling: I have been asked to reply.

There are two elements to the payments—social security benefits and healthcare claims.

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Social security benefit expenditure.

Under the EU rules that coordinate the social security rights of persons who move within the EEA and Switzerland, some benefits acquired in one member state must be paid to people who live outside that state but within the EEA or Switzerland. Generally the benefits are acquired because someone is, or has been, working in the United Kingdom and has paid the relevant national insurance contributions.

These regulations apply to benefits for old age, sickness and invalidity, unemployment, family responsibilities, death and survivors, and industrial injuries, and lay down the circumstances in which a person retains social security benefits when they move between EEA member states. Winter fuel payments are covered by these rules.

Figures for the cost to the Exchequer for social security payment transfers made under the provisions of EU Regulation 883/2004 for the year 2011-12 are not available.

Healthcare claims.

Health is a benefit in kind for the purpose of the regulations. Member states reimburse each other on an annual basis for care provided to each other's citizens. The costs are for claims for medical costs made under the European Health Insurance Card scheme, for healthcare provided to posted workers, for planned treatment and for healthcare costs relating to state pensioners. State pensioner costs account for around 80% of the total spend.

The UK pays out far more than it receives mainly due to the large number of UK state pensioners who retire overseas in comparison to the very low number of state pensioners from other EEA countries who retire to the UK.

Estimated totals for claims by and against the UK for healthcare benefits in kind made under the regulation for the year 2011-12 are £60 million and £952 million respectively.

Martin Vickers: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department has made of the amount transferred in social security payment transfers under the provisions of EU Regulation No 1408/71 in each of the last 10 years. [54867]

Chris Grayling: I have been asked to reply.

I will let the hon. Member have such information as is available as soon as possible.

Substantive answer from Chris Grayling to Martin Vickers:

There are two elements to the payments—social security benefits and health care claims.

Social security benefit expenditure

Under the EU rules that coordinate the social security rights of persons who move within the EEA and Switzerland, some benefits acquired in one member state must be paid to people who live outside that state but within the EEA or Switzerland. Generally the benefits are acquired because someone is, or has been, working in the United Kingdom and has paid the relevant national insurance contributions.

These regulations apply to benefits for old age, sickness and invalidity, unemployment, family responsibilities, death and survivors, and industrial injuries, and lay down the circumstances in which a

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person retains social security benefits when they move between EEA member states. Winter fuel payments are covered by these rules.

Health care expenditure

Health is a benefit in kind for the purpose of the regulations. Member states reimburse each other on an annual basis for care provided to each other's citizens. The costs are for claims for medical costs made under the European Health Insurance Card scheme, for health care provided to posted workers, for planned treatment and for health care costs relating to state pensioners. State pensioner costs account for around 80% of the total spend.

The UK pays out far more than it receives mainly due to the large number of UK state pensioners who retire overseas in comparison to the very low number of state pensioners from other EEA countries who retire to the UK.

The amounts transferred in respect of social security benefits and health care claims under the provisions of EU Regulation 1408/71 are shown in the following tables. The figures are rounded to the nearest £ million.

Social security payments
£ million

Total Of which state pension
     

2000-01

607

536

2001-02

667

592

2002-03

775

691

2003-04

844

755

2004-05

979

887

2005-06

1,073

977

2006-07

1,146

1,048

2007-08

1,261

1,158

2008-09

1,361

1,252

2009-10

1,485

1,373

Source: DWP statistical and accounting data.

Figures for family benefits (child benefit and child tax credit) are not available separately from overall expenditure.

EEA health care costs

Member states' claims against the UK Claims against member states

2002-03

250

32

2003-04

314

25

2004-05

382

31

2005-06

463

35

2006-07

526

38

2007-08

630

46

2008-09

710

47

2009-11

838

57

2010-11

925

58

Totals for claims by and against the UK for health care benefits in kind provided for years 2002-03 to 2010-11 are set out in the table given on 12 July 2010, Official Report, House of Lords, column WA100. Comparable data for years prior to 2002-03 are not available.

State pension could be paid in the EEA under domestic legislation but the amount payable would be different as it would not be uprated in all cases. Therefore the total amount of state retirement pension is ultimately paid as a result of the EU regulations

The figures for health care costs are already in the public domain. The Resource Outturn totals (which represent the total claims) that the Department of Health provided have in the past been used for the Health Select Committee and are reflected in

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the DH Resource Accounts that are published each year, and have been used in several parliamentary questions (Commons and Lords).

The most recent PQ containing this information was asked by Lord Laird on 12 July 2010, Official Report, House of Lords, column WA100 (reference HL952).