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Prison: Drug Seizures

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Executive on procedures for seizure of illicit drugs in prisons using (a) sniffer dogs, (b) closed-circuit television, (c) strip searches, (d) intimate searches, (e) searches of prison cells and (f) police intelligence. [58821]

Mr Blunt: NOMS officials regularly hold discussions with the Scottish Prison Service on a wide range of matters related to prison security, including the detection of drugs and the exchange of intelligence.

Prisoners: Peterborough

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the likely number of short-term prisoners participating in the Peterborough payment by results pilot during the first two years of that pilot. [58775]

Mr Blunt: The Social Impact Bond at Peterborough prison will target three cohorts of short sentence prisoners, one after the other. Each cohort will contain around 1,000 offenders (the length of each cohort will be dependent on the length of time required for 1,000 unique individuals to be released from Peterborough prison, up to a maximum of 24 months). In the first two years of the pilot, we expect that around 1,000 eligible offenders will be released from Peterborough prison.

The Ministry of Justice will measure the outcome of the programme in relation to the entire cohort of offenders eligible, and does not collect data on participation.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the duration of the Peterborough payment by results pilot will be. [58776]

Mr Blunt: The Ministry of Justice has commissioned Social Finance Ltd to run the Social Impact Bond at Peterborough prison for a maximum period of six years from September 2010. It will target three cohorts of short sentence prisoners, each containing around 1,000 offenders, one after the other. The length of each cohort will be dependent on the length of time required for 1,000 unique individuals to be released from Peterborough prison, up to a maximum of 24 months.

The results from the final cohort are expected to be published in 2018, as a time-lag is required to assess the reconvictions of the offender cohorts.

Prisons: Arts

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has for the future funding of the Writers in Prison network; and if he will make a statement. [59178]

Mr Blunt: The Writers in Prison network have a full year of Arts Council regular funding remaining and the Arts Council will be working with them during that time to explore how they can sustain their work in the future.

In addition the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) have awarded the Writers in Prison network a grant of £80,000 for the current financial year. It will be possible for them to apply for a grant in subsequent years. Officials in NOMS have ongoing contact with the Writers in Prison network to ensure that they are aware of any grant and contract opportunities relevant to the services they deliver.

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Prisons: Visits

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will assess the merits of establishing visitor centres in each prison to allow work with prisoners, their children and families on prisoner rehabilitation to take place; and if he will make a statement. [58926]

Mr Blunt: We recognise the important role that family support can play in the rehabilitation of offenders. Prisons vary greatly in the type of facilities from which services to visitors are provided, and we have no plans to assess the merits of establishing visitor centres in each prison. However, NOMS have issued specifications and instructions to prisons in England and Wales which establish the minimum levels of service that should be provided to visitors whether or not a prison has a dedicated visitor centre.

Serco

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many contracts his Department holds with Serco; and what the (a) purpose and (b) monetary value of each such contract is. [58654]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: The Ministry of Justice holds seven contracts with Serco covering Prisons, Prisoner Escort Custody Services (PECS) and Electronic Monitoring. The monetary value for these contracts is provided in the following table:

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Contractor Contract description Total contract value (£ million)

Serco

Prisoner Escort Custody Services—London and South East Area

338.00

Serco

Electronic Monitoring

324.90

Serco

HMP Doncaster

338.70

Serco

Lowdham Grange

484.20

Serco

Dovegate

782.40

Serco

Ashfield

657.70

Serco

Belmarsh West

931.20

Theft: Sentencing

Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what the average length of custodial sentence for (a) armed robbery and (b) shoplifting was in the latest period for which figures are available; [58439]

(2) how many convictions for shoplifting there were in (a) Staffordshire and (b) England and Wales in each year since 2005. [58436]

Mr Blunt: Defendants sentenced and the average custodial sentence length for shoplifting and robbery offences in England and Wales, 2010 can be viewed in table 1. Data held centrally on the Court Proceedings Database do not include information about the circumstances behind each case other than that which may be identified from a statute. It is therefore not possible to identify from robbery offences where the defendant was sentenced for armed robbery.

Defendants found guilty of shoplifting in Staffordshire courts and England and Wales, 2005 to 2010 can be viewed in table 2.

Table 1: Defendants sentenced and the average custodial sentence length (months) for shoplifting and robbery at all courts, England and Wales, 2010 (1, 2)
Offence Sentenced Other sentences Immediate custody Average custodial sentence length (3)

Shoplifting(4)

78,867

65,272

13,595

1.9

Robbery(5)

8,514

3,568

4,946

34.5

(1) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. (3) Excludes life and indeterminate sentences. (4) Stealing from shops and stalls (shoplifting)—Theft Act 1968. (5) Robbery and assaults with intent to rob—Theft Act 1968. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services in the Ministry of Justice.
Table 2: Defendants found guilty of shoplifting (1) in Staffordshire courts and England and Wales, 2005-10 (2, 3)

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

Staffordshire

1,073

1,024

1,131

1,198

1,123

1,132

England and Wales

64,076

58,536

62,563

68,335

72,909

79,165

(1 )Stealing from shops and stalls (shoplifting)—Theft Act 1968. (2) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services in the Ministry of Justice.

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Victim Support Schemes: Voluntary Organisations

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what funding his Department provided for voluntary sector groups supporting victims and witnesses of crime in the latest period for which figures are available. [58415]

Mr Blunt: In 2010-11 the Ministry of Justice provided funding of £48,242,836 to voluntary sector groups supporting victims and witnesses of crime, as follows:


£

Trafficking

1,352,362

Victims Fund—Hate Crime

250,000

Victims Fund—Sexual Violence

1,250,000

Contribution to Independent Sexual Violence Advisers

20,000

Homicide Fund

270,474

Court-based Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (voluntary sector only)

660,000

Victim Support

44,250,000

Brake

50,000

Support After Murder and Manslaughter National

140,000

In the same year the Home Office provided funding of £4,125,307 as follows:


£

Independent Domestic Violence Advisers

2,300,000

Independent Sexual Violence Advisers

860,000

Contribution to Victims Fund—Hate Crime

15,307

Contribution to Poppy Project

950,000

International Development

Crown Relocations

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many contracts his Department holds with Crown Relocations; and what the (a) purpose and (b) monetary value is of each such contract. [58642]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) currently hold no centrally let contracts with Crown Relocations.

To provide information relating to contracts which may have been awarded to Crown Relocations by our delegated procurement officers based in overseas locations would incur disproportionate costs.

Developing Countries: Abortion

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will commission research on the proportion of aid disbursed to each recipient country to (a) promote, (b) facilitate and (b) perform abortions. [58184]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Government have no such plans. It is not possible to disaggregate UK aid spending for safe abortion from wider expenditure on areas such as reproductive health care, maternal and neonatal health and health personnel development. This is because the Department for International Development (DFID) works to improve access to effective and integrated health services.

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It is a major priority for the UK Government to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights, including access to modern family planning methods and promoting women's choice, in the developing world. Safe abortion reduces recourse to unsafe abortion and saves maternal lives. Each year 65-70,000 women die following unsafe abortion. DFID's policy position on safe abortion is set out in the practice paper "Safe and unsafe abortion", which will be placed in the Library of the House.

Developing Countries: Climate Change

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will ask the Independent Commission for Aid Impact to assess the Government's international climate finance plan. [58201]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) decides independently what aspects of the UK aid programme it will review. ICAI developed its current work plan following extensive consultation. The plan includes an evaluation of climate change financing across Government Departments and a separate evaluation of the Department for International Development's (DFID's) climate change programme in Bangladesh.

Developing Countries: Food

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effects of food commodity prices on access to staple foods in developing countries. [58739]

Mr O'Brien: International food prices have increased significantly over the past nine months, reaching their highest levels since 1990, but the recent picture has been mixed. The Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO's) Food Price Index (FFPI) showed that a sharp increase in international grain prices in April more than offset declines in dairy, sugar and rice, while oils and meat prices were mostly unchanged.

Local food prices follow global food markets, albeit with a slight time lag. Analysis of the domestic prices of staples in developing countries again shows a mixed picture. In Nigeria, prices of sorghum and maize in Kano, the main market of the country, rose by about 11% in March from the previous month. However, in Mozambique, prices of main staple maize declined markedly between March and April in all monitored markets reflecting the start of the 2011 harvest. In Malawi, prices of maize rose in March but are 50% below the levels of the previous year following the 2010 bumper crop and expectation of another good harvest in 2011.

G4S

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many contracts his Department holds with G4S; and what the (a) purpose and (b) monetary value is of each such contract. [58673]

Mr Duncan: The following table details the centrally let contracts the Department for International Development (DFID) holds with G4S.

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13 Jun 2011 : Column 620W

Start date End d ate Contract for Consultant's name Contract value (£)

1 March 2007

31 July 2011

Providing security services for DFID India office and expat residential properties in Delhi

G4S Security Services (India) Pvt. Ltd.

638,920

1 April 2011

31 March 2013

Providing outsourced driver services to BHC, New Delhi and DFID India

G4S Facility Services (India) Pvt. Ltd

(1)80,705

(1)Amount paid by DFID. This is a joint DFID FCO contract with a total value of £183,632.

To provide information relating to contracts which may have been awarded to G4S by our delegated procurement officers based in overseas locations would incur disproportionate costs.

IBM

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many contracts his Department holds with IBM; and what the (a) purpose and (b) monetary value is of each such contract. [58685]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) currently hold no centrally let contracts with IBM.

To provide information relating to contracts which may have been awarded to IBM by our delegated procurement officers based in overseas locations would incur disproportionate costs.

Overseas Aid: Private Sector

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department's paper, The Engine of Development: The private sector and prosperity for poor people, constitutes the primary strategy document of its Private Sector Department. [58696]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development's (DFID's) private sector paper is not a strategy, but rather sets out our new approach to working with the private sector. The paper gives examples of activities outlined in the Operational Plans of DFID country, regional and central teams. It is not intended as a blueprint for our future activities, since our approach will remain flexible to allow for the dynamism of private enterprise.

Serco

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many contracts his Department holds with Serco; and what the (a) purpose and (b) monetary value is of each such contract. [58663]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) currently hold no centrally let contracts with Serco.

To provide information relating to contracts which may have been awarded to Serco by our delegated procurement officers based in overseas locations would incur disproportionate costs.

Treasury

Carbon Emissions

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason the announced final proposals on a carbon floor price differ from those modelled in his Department's consultation. [58310]

Justine Greening: The consultation asked for views on how best to implement a carbon price floor, including how the Government should determine future market prices of carbon upon which to base carbon price support rates. For illustrative purposes the consultation used the Government's long-term carbon price forecast as modelled by DECC,

The Government response to the consultation confirmed that a market-based approach would be used to determine carbon price support rates as this was the option preferred by respondents. The Finance Bill reflects this approach.

The Government's response is available online at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/carbon_price_floor _consultation_govt_response.pdf

Child Care Tax Credit

Lyn Brown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the effects on the annual level of payments to a family with one child entitled to the full amount of implementation of the proposals to reduce the child care element of working tax credit. [58732]

Mr Gauke: No estimate has been made.

The reduction in the child care element is part of a range of reforms to the tax credits system announced at the spending review.

Estimating the impact of an individual measure does not give a clear indication of the full monetary impact on an individual household.

The Government published estimates of the distributional impact of the whole package of announced tax and benefit measures which can be found at:

http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/sr2010_annexb.pdf

Commodity Markets

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what his policy is on the proposals by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development for an international commodities trading tax; [58735]

(2) what estimate his Department has made of the value of holdings in commodity index funds traded in the UK in (a) 2007, (b) 2008, (c) 2009, (d) 2010 and (e) 2011 to date; [58736]

(3) what his policy is on the regulation of derivative markets in foodstuffs; [58737]

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(4) what discussions he has had in the G20 on the regulation of derivative markets in foodstuffs. [58738]

Mr Hoban: The causes of volatility in international agricultural markets, and the appropriate policy response, are the subject of ongoing discussion across the different G20 formations.

It is difficult to be definitive about the role of speculation in agricultural price spikes. Food supply and prices are affected by a number of factors including global energy prices, global stock levels, the size of harvests, changes in exchange rates and national agricultural trade and marketing policies. On balance we are sceptical about the degree to which speculation has played a significant causal role. The Government continues to monitor relevant research in this area with interest.

It is also important to note that trading in commodities markets plays an important role in providing liquidity (the volume of trades being made in a market) in these markets and that liquidity is essential to the effective functioning of these markets. Against the backdrop of climate change, and the possibility that international agricultural prices may become more volatile over time, the role of agricultural futures and options markets, and the liquidity they rely on, become more important.

Before any regulations are introduced it is important that there is a clear understanding of the associated costs and benefits. The Government would need to see a more detailed proposal from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development before they could comment.

Information on the value of holdings in commodity index funds traded in the UK is not centrally collected.

Crown Relocations

Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many contracts his Department holds with Crown Relocations; and what the (a) purpose and (b) monetary value of each such contract is. [58639]

Justine Greening: HM Treasury do not currently hold any contracts with Crown Relocations.

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

Maria Eagle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) on what date special advisers in his Department last used the Government car pool to travel in an official capacity; and on how many occasions a special adviser in his Department has travelled to their home address using the Government car pool since May 2010; [56089]

(2) how much his Department spent on special advisers' travel by (a) Government car, (b) private hire car, (c) train, (d) bus, (e) commercial aircraft and (f) private aircraft since May 2010; [56105]

Justine Greening: The use of official cars and taxis by civil servants, including special advisers, is governed by the requirements of the Civil Service Management Code.

G4S

Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many contracts his Department holds with G4S; and what the (a) purpose and (b) monetary value of each such contract is. [58675]

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Justine Greening: HM Treasury do not currently hold any contracts with G4S.

IBM

Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many contracts his Department holds with IBM; and what the (a) purpose and (b) monetary value of each such contract is. [58689]

Justine Greening: HM Treasury do not currently hold any contracts with IBM.

Public Sector Debt: Greece

Chris Leslie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will assess the exposure to Greek government debt of banks with a majority UK financial investments shareholding. [59382]

Mr Hoban: The Government do not comment on the exposures of specific firms.

However Royal Bank of Scotland has published information on country risk in their Q1 2011 Interim Management Statement, which can be found on their website at:

http://www.investors.rbs.com/results_presentations

Chris Leslie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will assess the exposure of the Bank of England to Greek government debt. [59383]

Mr Hoban: The Court of Directors at the Bank of England are responsible for decisions related to the Bank's activities in this area. The Bank reviews its risk management and business management activities in its Annual Report, along with its other activities.

Taxation: Aviation

Henry Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the grounds in international law are for his decision not to proceed with a per plane tax. [59124]

Justine Greening: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 23 May 2011, Official Report, columns 359-60W.

Taxation: Environment Protection

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what advice he has received from the Office of Tax Simplification on the simplification of environmental taxes. [58269]

Justine Greening: As part of the Office of Tax Simplification's (OTS) report on the review of tax reliefs the OTS suggested that both landfill tax and the aggregates levy should be reviewed, as both regimes contain basic charging provisions with numerous exemptions and it may be more appropriate to define what is included rather than what is excluded. The full OTS report can be found at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/ots_review_tax_reliefs_ final_report.pdf

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Taxation: International Co-operation

Toby Perkins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with his G20 counterparts on developing a system for the automatic exchange of information between tax jurisdictions. [58285]

Mr Gauke: The focus of discussions in the G20 on tax is on ensuring that all jurisdictions implement the internationally agreed standard for exchange of information on request. Automatic exchange of information is particularly important within the EU, where discussions have focused on strengthening relevant directives, notably the savings directive which provides for automatic exchange of information on savings income.

Taxation: Offshore Industry

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 23 May 2011, Official Report, column 360W, on taxation: offshore industry, if he will request the Office for National Statistics to determine whether the Energy Company Obligation is to be considered levy-funded spending before the Energy Bill [Lords] is considered in Public Bill Committee. [58283]

Justine Greening: The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has not yet considered the classification of the proposed Energy Company Obligation. Final classification decisions would be issued by ONS after the policy is announced by the Government.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the potential effects on levels of North sea oil and gas production of the changes proposed to the tax regime in the 2011 Budget [58359]

Justine Greening: As set out in Budget tax information and impact note which can be found at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2011/tiin6133.htm

the Government do not expect a significant impact on investment or production in the forecast period as a consequence of this measure.

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will asses the effects of the increase in the supplementary charge on oil and gas companies registered in the UK on energy security. [58424]

Justine Greening: The Government, in the Budget tax information and impact note which can be found at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2011/tiin6133.htm

have already made an assessment of the impact of the supplementary charge increase. The Government do not expect a significant impact on investment or production (and thus on the UK's energy security) in the forecast period as a consequence of this measure.

Taxation: Self-assessment

Jason McCartney: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many HM Revenue and Customs telephone advisers were available to deal with taxpayer queries related to self-assessment tax returns on average in each day of the latest period for which figures are available. [58276]

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Mr Gauke: The majority of calls to HMRC from customers with self-assessment queries are routed through a virtual network of centrally managed contact centres to advisers who are able to deal with a wide range of both self-assessment and PAYE queries. Consequently HMRC is unable to disaggregate the number of advisers available to deal specifically with queries related to self-assessment tax returns from those available to deal with other inquiries.

Vehicle Excise Duty

George Eustice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the annual cost to the Exchequer of restoring the exemption from vehicle excise duty for 25-year-old vehicles. [58836]

David Morris: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what criteria apply to the exemption from road tax for classic vehicles registered for more than 25 years. [59238]

Justine Greening: The criterion for a classic vehicle to be exempt from vehicle excise duty is that the vehicle must have been built or registered prior to 1 January 1973. The cost of change has not been estimated as the Government have no plans to change the exemption against the current backdrop of fiscal consolidation.

Deputy Prime Minister

Electoral Register

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much each local authority spent on electoral registration per elector in the latest period for which figures are available. [58280]

Mr Harper: The Electoral Commission has published financial data for each local authority in Great Britain, covering the 2007-08 and 2008-09 financial years. Information on the 2009-10 financial year will be published on its website in July 2011.

The information requested can be found on the Commission's website:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/performance-standards/financial-information

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 6 September 2010, Official Report, column 296W, on constituencies, (1) by what means he expects the implementation of individual voter registration to increase levels of voter registration; [58300]

(2) pursuant to the answers of 6 September 2011, Official Report, columns 298-303W, on the electoral register, when he plans to set out his approach to raising rates of electoral registration among groups identified as currently under-registered. [58371]

Mr Harper: The introduction of individual electoral registration will allow steps to be taken to improve the completeness of the electoral register.

13 Jun 2011 : Column 625W

We will make a full announcement about the Government's plans for the implementation of individual electoral registration shortly.

We are already this year running data matching pilot schemes to compare the electoral register against other public databases to find people missing from the electoral register to invite them to register. These are due to begin shortly and will run until the end of November 2011. Based on the outcome of these pilots we will decide whether to roll this out more widely.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 6 September 2010, Official Report, column 301W, on the electoral register, if he will consider the merits of collecting information on the (a) number, (b) location and (c) performance of electoral registration working groups. [58302]

Mr Harper: The Government have no current plans to collect such information.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 6 September 2010, Official Report, columns 303-04W, on the electoral register, what information he holds on any local authority which has not implemented the provisions of section 96 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 in respect of the number of house to house inquiries to be carried out. [58370]

Mr Harper: The Department does not hold any information in addition to the information collected and published by the Electoral Commission. Information on performance by electoral registration officers in each local authority is collected by the Electoral Commission as part of its work on monitoring performance standards. The Electoral Commission's Third Report on Performance Standards was published in April 2011 and can be found at:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/116444/ERO-Performance-Report-Final.pdf

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 6 September 2010, Official Report, columns 300-01W, on the electoral register, which local authorities applied for funding from the £2.5 million set aside by the Ministry of Justice to encourage participation in electoral registration. [58448]

Mr Harper: I refer the hon. Member to my reply given on 6 September 2010, Official Report, columns 300-01W, in which I undertook to provide a breakdown of the amounts which were provided to individual local authorities to encourage participation in electoral registration in each of the financial years 2007-08 to 2009-10 to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. I provided this on 19 January 2011.

I will arrange for an updated breakdown of the amounts which were provided to individual local authorities in the financial year 2009-10 and for 2010-11 to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 22 July 2010, Official Report, columns 584-5W, on the electoral register, on what date it was decided to end the Participation Fund. [58450]

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Mr Harper: I refer the hon. Member to my reply given on 22 July 2010, Official Report, columns 584-5W, in which I advised that a decision to end the Participation Fund was taken as part of the Emergency Budget which was published on 22 June 2010.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 6 September 2010, Official Report, column 304W, on the electoral register, what assessment he has made of (a) the current self-assessment procedure for Electoral Registration Officers and (b) the effectiveness of the Electoral Commission in monitoring that procedure. [58452]

Mr Harper: The Electoral Commission asks electoral registration officers (EROs) to report their performance in line with legislation and then carries out a verification process on a sample of returns to assess quality and accuracy.

I understand that the commission has scrutinised evidence (by means of hard copy submission or face to face meetings) with over three quarters of local authorities (covering both EROs and returning officers) over a three-year period.

The commission will be refining the standards over the coming year in consultation with external stakeholders (electoral administrators, the Association of Electoral Administrators, DCLG and Cabinet Office) to build on the work carried out over the last three years, and more recently on the referendums held in March and May 2011.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to improve electoral registration rates in areas with large numbers of residents who are functionally illiterate. [58556]

Mr Harper: Electoral registration officers (EROs) are under a duty to take all necessary steps to ensure an accurate and comprehensive register. The Electoral Commission is responsible for providing guidance to EROs. The Commission recommends that the electoral registration office and contact staff are trained to deal with inquiries from people who have low level reading and writing skills and suggests that EROs may want to produce easy-read literature to enable greater understanding of the registration process.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister for what reasons he proposes to change the date for the introduction of individual voter registration from 2015 to 2014. [58594]

Mr Harper: The coalition agreement published in May last year promised to speed up the implementation of individual electoral registration to tackle election fraud. I then announced in the House in September last year that we proposed to drop the previous Government's plans for a voluntary phase of individual registration and move directly to make it compulsory from 2014, with special transitional arrangements to “carry forward” any electors already on the register who do not register under the new system that year.

The introduction of individual electoral registration will allow steps to be taken to tackle electoral fraud to restore voters' confidence in the system by improving

13 Jun 2011 : Column 627W

the accuracy and security of the register, but they will also allow the Government to take steps to improve the completeness of the register.

We will make a full announcement about the Government's plans for the implementation of individual electoral registration shortly.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the effects of the introduction of individual voter registration on levels of electoral registration. [58595]

Mr Harper: The introduction of individual electoral registration will allow the Government to take steps to improve the completeness of the electoral register.

We will make a full announcement about the Government's plans for the implementation of individual electoral registration shortly. We are working with the Electoral Commission to ensure that the move towards individual electoral registration is informed by appropriate evidence. For example, this year we are funding the Electoral Commission to carry out research to provide a robust national measure of completeness and accuracy of the registers. This is because the current data we have on completeness and accuracy are either incomplete or out of date. Further research will be conducted to measure completeness and accuracy both before and after the move to individual electoral registration.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will consider the merits of (a) reviewing levels of fines for electoral non-registration, (b) fixed penalty notices for electoral non-registration. [58596]

Mr Harper: As I announced in September last year, the Government have no plans to make electoral registration compulsory or to impose fines for non-registration.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will meet representatives of private sector credit reference agencies to discuss research into levels of unregistered voters and private sector involvement in increasing levels of voter registration. [58597]

Mr Harper: The Government are committed to tackling under-registration. The introduction of individual electoral registration will allow us to take steps to improve the completeness of the register, and the Government will publish draft legislation shortly.

My Department will be working with a range of stakeholders to develop the detailed operational policy for individual electoral registration, including ways in which we can tackle under-registration. As part of this work, the Electoral Commission is conducting research into electoral registration levels in a project funded by the Cabinet Office, which will provide a robust estimate of completeness and accuracy.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what information he holds on the electoral registration rates for (a) 17 to 24-year-olds, (b) private sector tenants and (c) members of black and other minority ethnic groups in each of the last five years; and what steps he is taking to improve electoral registration rates in these groups. [58598]

13 Jun 2011 : Column 628W

Mr Harper: The Government do not hold this information. The Electoral Commission's March 2010 report on the ‘Completeness and Accuracy of Electoral Registers in Great Britain’ estimated that under-registration was higher than average among 17 to 24-years-olds (56% not registered); private sector tenants (49%); and black and minority ethnic British residents (31%).

However, the report makes clear that the process of estimating registration rates is an “imprecise science” and says that “all current approaches to estimating the completeness and accuracy of the electoral registers at a national level are imperfect”.

The introduction of individual electoral registration will allow the Government to take steps to improve the completeness of the electoral register. This includes funding the Electoral Commission to carry out research to provide a robust national measure of completeness and accuracy of the registers. Further research will be conducted to measure completeness and accuracy both before and after the move to individual electoral registration.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will take steps to engage with hon. Members to increase electoral registration in their constituencies. [58599]

Mr Harper: The Government are committed to doing all they can to improve registration rates in the context of the implementation of individual electoral registration (IER) in Great Britain. We would welcome any input from hon. Members to determine what more can be done to tackle under-registration. We are about to commence pilot schemes in some 22 electoral registration areas to test the effectiveness of data matching in improving the accuracy and completeness of the electoral register. I recently wrote to those hon. Members whose constituencies draw on registers held by those areas to explain in detail what we are doing and why, and to encourage their support, in Parliament and locally, for the pilot scheme that will be running in their constituency.

As we implement IER, we will, of course, work with MPs to ensure they are in a position to encourage electoral registration in their constituencies.

Steve Field

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he has had recent discussions with Professor Steve Field. [59388]

The Deputy Prime Minister: In his capacity as Chair of the NHS Future Forum, I have had a number of recent discussions with Professor Steve Field. Details of my external meetings are published quarterly and can be found on:

www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Cabinet Office

Steve Field

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what recent meetings officials in his Department have had with Professor Steve Field; [59387]

13 Jun 2011 : Column 629W

(2) whether his Department has provided support to Professor Steve Field for the listening exercise. [59389]

Mr Maude: The Cabinet Office has not provided any support to Professor Steve Field in relation to the NHS listening exercise, and no Cabinet Office officials have met with Professor Steve Field.

Taxation: Offshore Industry

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office whether the Energy Company Obligation is classified by the Office for National Statistics as tax and spending for national accounts purposes. [58569]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated June 2011:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking whether the Energy Company Obligation has been classified by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as tax and spending for national accounts purposes. (58569).

ONS makes classification decisions in line with a published protocol that is available on our website at:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/about/national_statistics/cop/downloads/NAclassification.pdf

DECC states (see

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/What%20we%20do/Supporting%20consumers/green_deal/1732-extra-help-where-it-is-needed-a-new-energy-compan.pdf

that the “Energy Company Obligation” is envisaged as a successor to the CERT energy efficiency obligation which finishes at the end of 2012. We understand that the existing legislative basis is being supplemented in the Energy Bill currently before Parliament.

As such, the ECO is a proposed policy, rather than an existing scheme. Paragraphs 31-37 of the classification protocol sets out how ONS deals with policy proposals such as this. ONS does not usually classify proposed schemes unless asked to do so by Government, such requests do not usually arise until a scheme is well developed.

To date ONS has not been asked to provide an indicative classification of the Energy Company Obligation.

Unemployment: Greater London

Lyn Brown: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many people were registered as actively seeking work in jobcentres in (a) London and (b) Newham between January and April (i) 2010 and (ii) 2011. [58731]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated June 2011:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking how many people were registered as actively seeking work in jobcentres in (a) London and (b) Newham between January and April (i) 2010 and (ii) 2011. (58731)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) compiles the number of claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) from the Jobcentre Plus administrative system.

Table 1 shows the number of people resident in (a) London and (b) Newham claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, for each month between January and April for 2010 and 2011.

13 Jun 2011 : Column 630W

National and local area estimates for many labour market statistics, including employment, unemployment and claimant count are available on the NOMIS website at:

http://www.nomisweb.co.uk

Table 1: Number of persons claiming jobseeker’s allowance resident in (a) London and (b) Newham

London Newham

2010

   

January

225,965

10,229

February

229,114

10,455

March

227,226

10,267

April

222,626

10,171

     

2011

   

January

214,613

10,479

February

219,958

10,642

March

220,857

10,802

April

226,182

11,284

Source: Jobcentre Plus administrative system.

Health

Abortion

Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many repeat abortions there were in women aged (a) under 20, (b) 20 to 24, (c) 25 to 29, (d) 30 to 34 and (e) 35 years old and over resident in each primary care trust area in England in the latest period for which figures are available. [58530]

Anne Milton: The information requested has been placed in the Library.

Ambulance Services: Cumbria

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of NHS ambulances serving the South Lakeland district in each of the last five years. [59327]

Mr Simon Burns: No assessment has been made of the number of national health service ambulances serving the South Lakeland district. The geographical provision of ambulances is a matter for the local NHS to determine in accordance with local demand.

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of the average ambulance response time in (a) Cumbria and (b) South Lakeland district in each of the last five years. [59394]

Mr Simon Burns: Information on average ambulance response times is not collected centrally. Data on performance against ambulance response time targets are collected at ambulance trust level only and are published annually by the NHS Information Centre for health and social care in the statistical bulletin “Ambulance Services England”. These documents are available on the NHS Information Centre for health and social care website at:

www.ic.nhs.uk/statistics-and-data-collections/audits-and-performance/ambulance

13 Jun 2011 : Column 631W

Cancer: Drugs

Mr Brine: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the support which patients with rarer cancers are receiving through the Cancer Drugs Fund. [58536]

Mr Simon Burns: We made an additional £50 million available to strategic health authorities in 2010-11 which has already helped over 2,400 cancer patients, including those with rarer cancers, to access treatments not previously available to them on the national health service. The Cancer Drugs Fund, launched on 1 April 2011 will help thousands more cancer patients access the drugs their clinicians believe will help them.

Mr Brine: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms are in place to prevent regional variation in the operation of the Cancer Drugs Fund. [58537]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department published “Guidance to support operation of the Cancer Drugs Fund in 2011-12” on 23 March 2011. The guidance is intended primarily for strategic health authorities and their clinically-led panels.

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

Cancer: Health Services

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the estimated total expenditure from the public purse was on (a) cancer care and (b) lung cancer care in (i) each primary care trust area, (ii) each cancer network area and (iii) nationally, in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and how much of such spending was on (A) in-patient costs excluding those relating to surgery, (B) surgery including daycare and in-patient stays, (C) drugs, cost of medicine preparation and administration, (D) out-patients, diagnostics, first and follow-up appointments, (E) radiotherapy, (F) specialist palliative care, excluding voluntary sector, and (G) other, calculated using the same method as that used to calculate the chart on page 119 of the Department of Health's Cancer Reform Strategy of 3 December 2007. [58708]

Paul Burstow: Tables showing estimated expenditure on cancer care and lung cancer care in England, by each cancer network area and by each primary care trust (PCT), have been placed in the Library.

Information on cancer care has been provided for England and PCTs for the last five years. Information on cancer care has been provided for cancer networks from 2004-05, as this is the first year that the information became available. Information for lung cancer has been provided from 2006-07 as this is the first year that data were collected at sub-category level for a number of tumour types.

The information requested at A to G is not routinely available. The estimated total national health service spend on cancer care represented in the graph on page 119 of the “Cancer Reform Strategy” was an analysis commissioned specifically for inclusion in the Strategy. It was based on a wide range of data from 2005-06, and the sources of these data are quoted in the Strategy. An estimated NHS spend on cancer care under the same

13 Jun 2011 : Column 632W

categories of that graph is not available for any other years, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Care Homes

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the number of (a) residential care places provided by Southern Cross and (b) vacant places in other provision in each local authority area. [59391]

Paul Burstow: The Care Quality Commission (CQC) collects data on the total numbers of care home places as part of its work to register all care homes in England.

A table showing total numbers of care home places and numbers of places in Southern Cross homes in each local authority area has been placed in the Library.

Neither the Department nor the CQC collects occupancy or vacancy information. However, the health and social care analysts, Laing and Buisson, report that vacancy levels in care homes average 10-11% in England.

Care Homes: Standards

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many vulnerable people with learning disabilities were placed in locked wards in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement; [58281]

(2) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Care Quality Commission's response to information given to it about the care of patients at Winterbourne View; [58602]

(3) what steps he plans to take to ensure that care homes and hospitals are more open to public scrutiny; [58603]

(4) what steps he plans to take to ensure that the staff in care homes and hospitals have a positive attitude towards people with learning disabilities and complex needs; [58604]

(5) if he will take steps to ensure the high quality care of vulnerable people in privately-run homes and hospitals; [58605]

(6) what steps he plans to take to prevent a recurrence of events at Winterbourne View; [58606]

(7) what steps he plans to take to ensure that the Care Quality Commission effectively monitors care quality for learning disabled and other vulnerable groups; [58607]

(8) what steps he plans to take in relation to the company responsible for the operation of Winterbourne View. [58608]

Paul Burstow: The Government keep information about the total number of patients detained under the Mental Health Act but this information is not disaggregated according to condition or placement. The NHS Information Centre routinely collects information about people who are deprived of liberty under the Mental Capacity Act but this information is not disaggregated according to specific condition or placement. This information can be accessed at:

www.ic.nhs.uk/statistics-and-data-collections/mental-health/mental-health-act

13 Jun 2011 : Column 633W

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will shortly start a three-month inspection of the 150 hospitals which care for people with learning disabilities, and this will include unannounced inspections. That is in addition the CQC inspection of the other 22 hospitals run by Castlebeck.

I also refer the hon. Member to the comprehensive written ministerial statement issued on 7 June 2011, Official Report, columns 13-15WS. This sets out the facts of the case and the actions that have been taken by all agencies including the Department.

Cervical Cancer: Screening

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure GP surgeries offer more flexible opening hours for the purposes of increasing the take-up of cervical screening. [59140]

Mr Simon Burns: From April this year, in agreement with the General Practitioners Committee of the British Medical Association, we have amended the existing Directed Enhanced Service arrangements to provide practices with additional flexibilities for them to offer patients appointments at more convenient times to see a general practitioner or nurse within their practice. It is therefore now a matter for practices to consider and respond to meet their patients' expectations to be able to see a health care professional in their practice outside of normal opening hours.

Crown Relocations

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many contracts his Department holds with Crown Relocations; and what the (a) purpose and (b) monetary value is of each such contract. [58643]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department does not currently hold any contracts with Crown Relocations.

Dental Services: Conditions of Employment

Caroline Dinenage: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department plans to take to ensure dentists comply with the terms of their NHS contracts. [59266]

Mr Simon Burns: Primary care dentistry is commissioned by primary care trusts (PCTs) to meet the needs of the local population. PCTs commission dental contract holders to provide services as required. Those who choose to hold national health service dental contracts are, together with anyone else working on the contract; legally obliged to comply with its terms. Should a breach of contract occur there are sanctions open to the commissioner including, in certain circumstances, termination of the contract.

Departmental Manpower

Chris Skidmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) special advisers and (b) press officers were employed by his Department in each financial year from 1997-98 to 2010-11; and what the cost to the public purse was of such appointments in (i) cash and (ii) real terms in each year. [59468]

13 Jun 2011 : Column 634W

Mr Simon Burns: The Government are committed to publishing, on a quarterly basis, details of special advisers and their cost. The most recent information was published on 10 March 2011 and can be accessed on the Cabinet Office website at:

www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/special-adviser-data-releases

along with information published on 10 June and 28 October 2010.

From 2004-09 the numbers and cost of special advisers were published annually in the form of a written ministerial statement by the Prime Minister.

Information for press officer numbers from 1997-98 to 2010-11 can be found in the following table:

Financial year Number of staff Cost (£ million)

2010-11

33.73

1.371

2009-10

36.2

1.308

2008-09

31

1.300

2007-08

28

1.369

2006-07

26

1.765

2005-06

30

1.772

2004-05

30

1.471

2003-04

26

1.284

2002-03

24

1.077

2001-02

22

1.279

2000-01

22

1.233

1999-2000

21

1.253

1998-99

15

1.122

1997-98

15

1.062

Departmental Procurement Cards

Jesse Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many Government Procurement Cards were used by his Department in each financial year from 1997-98 to 2010-11; and what transactions were made on Government Procurement Cards used by his Department including (a) the name of the supplier, (b) the date of each transaction and (c) the value of each transaction in each such year. [59384]

Mr Simon Burns: The information requested is contained in the document entitled ‘Information on the number of Government Procurement Cards used by the Department of Health since May 2008 and the date, value and supplier for each transaction’. A copy has been placed in the Library.

The information is not available prior to May 2008 because this is when the Department's reporting database tool used to extract the information was set up. Attempting to provide information prior to May 2008 would mean sifting through individual cardholder paper files and extracting the information manually, which would incur disproportionate costs.

Departmental Research

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 24 May 2011, Official Report, columns 674-78W, on research, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the termination of collection of certain datasets on the ability of Ministers and officials in his Department to (a) respond to questions for oral and written answer and (b) meet the

13 Jun 2011 : Column 635W

requirements of other forms of parliamentary scrutiny; and whether any savings have accrued from the termination of collection of such data. [58311]

Mr Simon Burns: The collection of data from the national health service is regulated by the process called review of central returns (ROCR) administered on behalf of the Department by the NHS Information Centre. This process was started by the previous Administration and continues under this Government. The ROCR process supports Government policy to minimise the burden to the NHS of central data collections. It ensures that collections fit with national health policies in England, requests for the same information are not repeated and NHS organisations can complete returns in as little time as possible. Information is collected for a number of purposes, notably accountability to Parliament, performance management of the NHS and informing policy developments.

Proposed new collections are subject to ROCR approval, and it is equally important to review all existing data collections to ensure the overall burden is minimised.

The Government made a commitment in the White Paper “Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS” to

“...initiate a fundamental review of data returns, with the aim of culling returns of limited value. This will ensure that the NHS information revolution...is fuelled by data that are meaningful to patients and clinicians when making decisions about care, rather than by what has been collected historically.”

This review has taken place and detailed findings will shortly be presented in a full public consultation that will lay out the recommendations for the data returns covered by the review, together with an impact assessment. Responses to the consultation will be incorporated into a full Government response.

Total estimated annual costs of the data collections that were discontinued during the period May 2010 to April 2011 were £5.8 million.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 24 May 2011, Official Report, columns 674-8W, on research, for what reason data collection on (a) three-year funding for third sector organisations, (b) 18-week referral to treatment, (c) swine flu vaccine uptake from GP-registered patients, (d) NHS staff engagement and attitudes towards the NHS, (e) National Children's Health Service mapping, (f) monitoring of extended GP practice opening hours, (g) GP premises data and (h) junior doctors' hours has been terminated; whom he consulted on the termination of data collection in each case; and whether any savings have accrued from each such termination. [58312]

Mr Simon Burns: As part of the Department's arrangements to keep the burden of data collection under control, all these returns were due for routine review or renewal in the period and no strong case could be made for retention. For some this reflected the intrinsically temporary nature of the original case. Others had been needed to monitor specific targets and policies that were no longer relevant. In the case of 18-week referral to treatment, the main return on which published national statistics are based has been retained but a subsidiary Patient Tracking List return designed to support detailed performance management is no longer centrally needed.

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None of these data collections were needed to support national statistics or other high profile official statistics publications so no formal consultation was undertaken, but they will be included in the forthcoming consultation on the Department's Fundamental Review of Data Returns for completeness. In one case (National Children's Health Service mapping) the decision to discontinue followed an independent review involving stakeholders.

Estimated annual collection costs to the national health service of these eight collections were £4.6 million.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 24 May 2011, Official Report, columns 674-8W, on research, for what reason data collection on practices' engagement in practice-based commissioning has been terminated. [58314]

Mr Simon Burns: The policy of practice-based commissioning was established under the previous Government and is being discontinued. The monitoring of practice engagement with this policy is therefore no longer appropriate.

Diabetes: Eyesight

Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent representations his Department has received on patient access to appropriate treatment for diabetic macular oedema; [58723]

(2) what policies his Department has in place to encourage (a) public awareness, (b) detection and (c) appropriate treatment of diabetic macular oedema. [58724]

Mr Simon Burns: We are not aware of any such representations being received.

Diabetic macular oedema is a complication of diabetic retinopathy. All people with diabetes should be offered annual screening for diabetic retinopathy. Patients thought to have diabetic retinopathy will be referred to a specialist ophthalmologist for confirmation of the presence of the disease and treatment offered, if it is appropriate to do so.

Primary care trusts are responsible for commissioning health services in their areas to meet the needs of their local populations.

Disease Control

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. [59112]

Mr Simon Burns: There is no simple solution to controlling antibiotic resistance. Appropriate prescribing to slow the emergence of resistant strains, good microbiological practice and surveillance to ensure detection and high standards of infection prevention and control practice, are all key steps to prevent the spread of these bacteria.

“The Health and Social Care Act 2008 Code of Practice on the prevention and control of infections and related guidance” provides guidance. A copy has already been placed in the Library.

13 Jun 2011 : Column 637W

All organisations, including primary care, will use a number of specific measures to tackle antibiotic resistance. These measures include the use of antibiotic stewardship programmes to minimise the unnecessary use of antibiotics and thus reduce the selection pressure for resistance to develop accurate and prompt detection of resistant strains of bacteria and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus screening to reduce the risk of onwards transmission in hospitals and other settings. The Department's expert Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection (ARHAI) undertakes ongoing horizon scanning and advises on emerging problems: for example the committee recently issued guidance with the Health Protection Agency on the control of newer highly resistant carbapenemase producing bacteria such as those with New Delhi Metallo Beta Lactamase. The Department and ARHAI also actively promote good antibiotic prescribing.

Drugs: Misuse

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many officials in his Department were working on implementing the 2010 Drugs Strategy in each month since January 2011; and how many officials he expects to be working on implementing the strategy in each year to 2013. [58546]

Anne Milton: The structure chart for the Department for June 2010 is available at:

www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_120567.pdf

An updated structure chart is currently being prepared for publication.

Under the deputy director for alcohol and drugs, there are currently 7.4 whole time equivalent posts allocated to drugs issues. Additional staff elsewhere in the Department are working on FRANK, the creation of Public Health England and international collaboration.

E. coli

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with the UK Border Agency on the screening of imports of fruit and vegetables in the light of the recent E.coli outbreak in Germany. [59476]

Anne Milton: We are advised by the Food Standards Agency that the UK Border Agency does not have responsibility for the screening of fruit and vegetables for food safety purposes.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is closely monitoring the E. coli outbreak that is centred in Germany to assess and deal with any risks to United Kingdom consumers. There is no evidence that contaminated products related to the outbreak have entered the UK food chain. The cases of illness reported in the UK and linked to this outbreak involve people who have recently travelled to Germany. The Health Protection Agency has advised clinicians to be alert to the symptoms of E. coli infection.

Should the FSA suspect that contaminated products associated with this outbreak have entered the UK, immediate action would be taken to alert consumers, withdraw food from the shops and ban further shipments.

13 Jun 2011 : Column 638W

Food: Genetically Modified Organisms

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent reports he has received on the discovery in the human blood stream of Bt pesticide derived from genetically-modified components attributable to the consumption of meat and dairy from animals fed on genetically-modified feed. [58618]

Anne Milton: In the European Union, genetically modified (GM) foods undergo a rigorous pre-market evaluation that includes the safety of components introduced into GM crops, such as Bt proteins. The safety of Bt proteins has also been assessed during the authorisation of pesticides that contain the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. The assessment of the Bt proteins that are present in authorised GM foods is based on tests in animals and does not include human trials to examine whether the proteins pass into the blood supply. However, the available data from in vitro tests have shown that Bt proteins are rapidly broken down by digestive enzymes in the same way as most other proteins in the diet.

A Canadian publication has recently suggested that small amounts of one Bt protein may be present in human blood, at around one part per billion, although it is not clear whether the analytical methods that were used in this study were suitable for identifying and quantifying such low levels in human samples. If the finding is correct, the design of this study did not provide any evidence of the source of the protein, which is present in commercial pesticide preparations as well as in some GM crop varieties. The detection of trace levels of Bt proteins in people does not necessarily imply any risk to health.

G4S

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many contracts his Department holds with G4S; and what the (a) purpose and (b) monetary value is of each such contract. [58674]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department does not currently hold any contracts with G4S.

Health Services: Older People

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what response his Department has made to the findings of the report of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, on Care and Compassion, HC 778. [59097]

Paul Burstow: We asked the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to implement a series of unannounced nurse led inspections into elderly care on national health service wards. The findings of the first 12 reports of the inspections into dignity and nutrition for older people were published on 26 May 2011 and a further 14 reports were also published on 9 June 2011. A national report into the findings of the programme will be published in September.

On 15 February 2011, the chief executive of the NHS and the National Clinical Director for Older People wrote to all NHS Boards highlighting the Ombudsman's report and urging them to assure themselves that these events are not happening in their own organisations.

13 Jun 2011 : Column 639W

Subject to parliamentary approval, the Health and Social Care Bill will also provide for the creation of local HealthWatch organisations to hold services to account, and enable the CQC to use its enforcement powers to ensure that real improvements are made.

Health Services: Overseas Visitors

John Glen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost to the NHS was of NHS treatments administered to visitors from overseas in the last year for which figures are available. [58244]

Anne Milton: The total audited figures on total losses, bad debt and claims abandoned for overseas visitors who were charged for national health service hospital treatment for 2009-10, for which figures are available for England, are shown in the following table. However, data are not available on the cost to the NHS of administering hospital treatment to overseas visitors who are exempt from charge under the NHS (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 1989, as amended.

Bad debts and claims abandoned in respect of overseas patients

£

2009-10

6,967,780

Note: We do not collect data from NHS foundation trusts so figures exclude these sites. Source: NHS Trust Audited Summarisation Schedules.

Health Services: Sign Language

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the merits of providing (a) interpreters and (b) video relay services for users of British Sign Language to access health services. [58249]

Paul Burstow: It is for local national health service organisations to make appropriate assessment and provision for users of British Sign Language to access health services appropriately.

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what provision the NHS makes for users of British Sign Language to contact local NHS services. [58250]

Paul Burstow: National health service organisations must assure themselves that they have complied with the Equality Act 2010. This includes advancing equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic, including a disability such as hearing loss, and those who do not. Advancing equality involves, for example, taking steps to meet the needs of people from protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people.

It would be for local NHS organisations to make appropriate provision for users of British Sign Language such as establishing contacts with interpreters and voluntary organisations as needed and ensuring that such interpreters have the necessary qualifications and expertise for the purpose they are required.

13 Jun 2011 : Column 640W

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what provision his Department makes for users of British Sign Language to access health services. [58251]

Paul Burstow: The Department is committed to making sure that all the information we publish uses language that is appropriate to the intended audience, and to making sure that information is available in accessible formats, and via accessible methods.

It is up to individual national health service organisations to decide how they comply with the Equality Act 2010. However, the NHS Equality and Diversity Council, chaired by Sir David Nicholson, NHS chief executive, has a strategic role to support the NHS to deliver better outcomes for patients, comply with the Equality Act 2010 and ensure services and work places are personal, fair and diverse with equality of opportunity and treatment for all.

Hospitals: Crimes of Violence

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health in how many recorded incidents of violence against hospital staff irresponsible alcohol consumption was a contributory factor in each of the last five years. [59025]

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

IBM

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many contracts his Department holds with IBM; and what the (a) purpose and (b) monetary value is of each such contract. [58687]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department currently holds one contract with IBM for software licensing support and maintenance. The total contract value is £2,834,346.

Leukaemia: Medical Treatments

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the availability of treatments for chronic myeloid leukaemia; and what discussions his Department has had with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence about the clinical effectiveness of dasatinib and nilotinib. [58288]

Paul Burstow: A number of treatments are available for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is an independent body and we have had no discussions with the institute about its appraisals of dasatinib and nilotinib for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia.

Lung Cancer

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients aged (a) 49 years and under, (b) 50 to 59 years, (c) 60 to 69 years, (d) 70 to 79 years and (e) 80 years and over have received (i) chemotherapy, (ii) radiotherapy and (iii) surgery for lung cancer (A) by

13 Jun 2011 : Column 641W

each provider, (B) from each primary care trust, (C) in each cancer network and (D) in total in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [58709]

Paul Burstow: Tables showing the number of patients aged 49 years and under, 50 to 59 years, 60 to 69 years, 70 to 79 years and 80 years and over who have received surgery for lung cancer, presented by each provider, each primary care trust (PCT) and in total have been placed in the Library. It should be noted that these data should not be described as a count of people as the same person may have been admitted on more than one occasion.

This information is not available at cancer network level. This information has been provided for the period 2005-06 to 2009-10, and PCT data have been presented separately for 2005-06 due to the re-configuration of PCTs in 2006-07.

Hospital episode statistics (HES) are unable to provide chemotherapy data for lung cancer treatment. It is not possible to classify chemotherapy for specific cancers without being provided with exact chemotherapy regimen names. A chemotherapy dataset is in development that will provide a more detailed picture of chemotherapy treatments in the national health service in the future.

HES are unable to provide radiotherapy data in the format requested. The vast majority of radiotherapy treatment is delivered in an out-patient setting, and the collection of out-patient procedure data are not currently mandated. The National Radiotherapy Dataset project team is working with providers to improve collection of radiotherapy data. A report on the development of the dataset is expected shortly.

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of bed occupancy for patients with lung cancer as a proportion of all cancers in (a) England, (b) each cancer network and (c) each primary care trust area in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [58710]

Paul Burstow: Tables showing bed occupancy for patients with lung cancer as a proportion of all cancers in England and in each primary care trust (PCT) area have been placed in the Library.

This information is not available at cancer network level. This information has been provided for the period 2005-06 to 2009-10, and PCT data have been presented separately for 2005-06 due to the re-configuration of PCTs in 2006-07.

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) elective and (b) emergency bed days were accounted for by lung cancer patients in England in each (i) primary care trust area in each financial year since 1997-98 and (ii) cancer network area; and what the overall cost to the public purse of such treatment was in each such year. [58711]

Paul Burstow: Tables showing the count of finished consultant episode (FCE) bed days where the primary diagnosis was lung cancer, separated into emergency and elective admissions and split by primary care trust responsibility, for the years 1997-08 to 2009-10 have been placed in the Library.

13 Jun 2011 : Column 642W

FCE bed day data are not available at cancer network level. Information on the cost of bed days is not available centrally.

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average length of stay was for patients admitted with a diagnosis of lung cancer for (a) elective admissions and (b) emergency admissions in each (i) primary care trust area, (ii) cancer network area and (iii) in England in each year since 1997-98. [58712]

Paul Burstow: Tables showing the average length of stay for patients admitted with a diagnosis of lung cancer by elective admission and emergency admission in each primary care trust area and in England in each year since 1997-98 have been placed in the Library. This information is not available at cancer network level.

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what proportion of lung cancer cases were diagnosed through the (a) non-urgent referral route and (b) urgent referral route in (i) England, (ii) each cancer network area and (iii) each primary care trust area in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [58713]

Paul Burstow: These data are not available in the format requested. For the most recent period for which statistics are available (Quarter 4 2010-11) 61,197 persons received first definitive treatment for cancer. Of these, 25,834 or 42.2% were urgently referred for suspected cancer by their general practitioner (GP).

In the same period, there were 10,445 urgent GP referrals for suspected lung cancer, and 97.7% of these patients were seen by a specialist within 14 days.

Medical Equipment: Counterfeit Manufacturing

David T. C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) pursuant to the answer of 4 May 2011, Official Report, column 853W, on medical equipment: counterfeit manufacturing, if he will place in the Library a copy of the medical devices alert issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency requesting the withdrawal of the counterfeit devices in question; and by what means the alert was transmitted to all NHS trusts; [58297]

(2) pursuant to the answer of 4 May 2011, Official Report, column 853W, on medical equipment: counterfeit manufacturing, how many of the high volume consumable devices found to have reached the NHS supply chain in 2009 were distributed; [58298]

(3) pursuant to the answer of 4 May 2011, Official Report, column 853W, on medical equipment: counterfeit manufacturing, what the (a) type and (b) make is of each counterfeit medical device found to have reached the NHS supply chain in (i) 2009 and (ii) 2011; [58299]

(4) whether the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency received information in (a) January and (b) March 2011 about the safety of a counterfeit pulse oximeter sensor found in use in a hospital; [58440]

(5) what progress has been made in the investigation into the counterfeit pulse oximeter sensors found in hospitals within the last year. [58441]

13 Jun 2011 : Column 643W

Mr Simon Burns: A copy of the medical devices alert on counterfeit pulse oximeter sensors has been placed in the Library. This alert was originally disseminated to national health service trusts through the NHS central alerting system which brings together the chief medical officer’s public health link and the safety alert broadcast system. The central alerting system enables alerts and patient safety specific guidance issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the National Patient Safety Agency to be accessed at any time.

All of the counterfeit high volume consumable devices found in the NHS supply chain in 2009 were distributed.

The 110,000 counterfeit devices found in 2009 were single use needles for the delivery of insulin. In 2011, 300 counterfeit pulse oximeter sensors and six packs of counterfeit condoms were found in the NHS supply chain.

MHRA received information in January and March 2011 about the safety of a counterfeit pulse oximeter sensor found in use in a hospital. I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave him on 4 March 2011, Official Report, column 666W, for details of the subsequent investigation which is still continuing and the action taken.

NHS: Drugs

Margot James: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what procedures are in place for the monitoring by his Department of the supply to pharmacies of medicines by pharmaceutical wholesalers; [58291]

(2) pursuant to the answer of 12 May 2011, Official Report, column 1305W, on NHS: drugs, what data his Department uses to monitor the supply of medicines; [58398]

(3) pursuant to the answer of 12 May 2011, Official Report, column 1305W, on NHS: drugs, by what means his Department analyses data to assess whether patients are harmed by delays in the supply of medicines. [58399]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department receives regular reports of supply problems from wholesalers, manufacturers, pharmacy organisations and patients. These reports are assessed on the basis of appropriate expert advice. Through the Medicines Supply Chain Group, the Department encourages feedback about shortages that could be causing harm to patients.

Mr Brine: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to issue the Government's response to the Value Based Pricing consultation. [58535]

Mr Simon Burns: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave the right hon. Member for Oxford East (Mr Smith) on 17 May 2011, Official Report, columns 173-74W.

NHS: Finance

Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the level of additional resources which would be required in order to increase the NHS budget in line with the most recent Bank of England median consumer prices index inflation forecast for 2011-12. [59381]

13 Jun 2011 : Column 644W

Mr Simon Burns: It is not appropriate to calculate growth in national health service spending using Bank of England mean consumer prices index (CPI). CPI measures only consumer prices.

NHS spending comprises a significant proportion of gross domestic product (GDP). Hence, the GDP deflator is used to calculate growth in NHS spending, since the GDP deflator reflects the prices of all domestically-produced goods and services in the economy.

This approach is consistent with that taken by the previous Administration.

NHS: Working Hours

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the European Working Time Directive on NHS acute and medical services; and if he will make a statement. [58284]

Mr Simon Burns: It is the responsibility of individual national health service trusts to ensure service rotas are compliant and assess the effects of the Working Time Directive's (WTD) implementation.

In line with the Government's coalition agreement to reduce duplication and resources spent on administration, the Department reduced bureaucracy for the service by removing the burden of central monitoring of compliance, leaving this role to organisations at a local level.

This Government committed in the coalition agreement to limit the application of the WTD in the UK.

The Department of Health and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills are working closely together to achieve greater flexibility in the application of the WTD to the health care sector. This Government are committed to the retention of the opt-out. The opt-out gives people flexibility and choice over their working hours.

Palliative Care

Harriett Baldwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of how many NHS hospital trusts use the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient for end of life care. [58592]

Paul Burstow: The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) was developed by the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute in Liverpool. The Department does not collect information centrally on the number of hospitals or the number of wards in those hospitals who use the LCP as a possible option for treating patients. The latest information, published in December 2009, is available from the LCP website at:

www.mcpcil.org.uk/liverpool-care-pathway/index.htm

Patients: Nutrition

Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he plans to include questions on a patient's nutritional status in future surveys intended to measure progress on the patient experience domain of the NHS Outcomes Framework. [59143]

13 Jun 2011 : Column 645W

Mr Simon Burns: The national patient survey programme exists to gain feedback on experience of national health service services from the point of view of patients, rather than to audit hospital processes. The recent adult in-patient survey contained questions on how patients rated hospital food, whether they were offered a choice of food and if they got enough help from staff to eat meals. However it would not be an appropriate mechanism to collect data on patients' actual nutritional status.

One of the most effective ways of tracking nutritional status in patients at risk is to measure their weight. Data on whether patients were weighed, changes in weight and any action taken are recorded in patient records, and are not collected nationally.

Pharmacy

Margot James: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what procedures the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency follows to monitor pharmaceutical wholesalers. [58292]

Mr Simon Burns: Persons that supply medicines for human use, by way of wholesale distribution for use in the United Kingdom or another member state of the European economic area, are required to hold a wholesale distribution authorisation.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) routinely conducts inspections of the facilities of holders of such authorisations following a risk-based approach, to confirm compliance with United Kingdom medicines regulations and the European Commission’s guideline on good distribution practice.

Holders of wholesale distribution authorisations who fail to comply with statutory requirements may be subject to formal action by the MHRA in order to protect public health. This can include suspension or revocation of their wholesale distribution authorisations.

Prostate Cancer: Health Services

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress his Department has made in implementing the national clinical audit of prostate cancer. [58554]

Mr Brine: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in implementing the national clinical audit of prostate cancer. [58717]

Paul Burstow: We are committed to extending national clinical audit to a wider range of conditions to stimulate local improvements in the quality and outcomes of care and we will make an announcement about new topics shortly.

Mr Brine: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has made in developing a prostate cancer quality standard; and if he will make a statement. [58719]

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence plans to develop a prostate cancer quality standard. [58296]

13 Jun 2011 : Column 646W

Mr Simon Burns: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has been commissioned to produce a quality standard for prostate cancer during the period 2011-12. NICE provides progress updates on its quality standard programme on its website:

www.nice.org.uk/aboutnice/qualitystandards/qualitystandards.jsp

Sativex

Ben Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what information he holds on the number of primary care trusts that consider Sativex to be a low priority for funding; [58403]

(2) how many primary care trusts have prescribed Sativex since August 2010; and in what quantity in each case. [58404]

Mr Simon Burns: Local funding priorities are a matter for individual primary care trusts (PCTs), and information on PCT policies on Sativex is not held centrally.

Between August 2010 and March 2011, 128 out of 152 PCTs issued prescriptions for Sativex or its single generic alternative, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, that were dispensed in the community in the United Kingdom. The issuing PCTs and associated number of prescription items are shown in the table.

Number of prescription items for Sativex or its generic alternative that were prescribed in England and dispensed in the community in the UK by PCT—August 2010 to March 2011
PCT Number of items

Ashton, Leigh and Wigan

(1)

Barking and Dagenham

(1)

Barnet

(1)

Bath and North East Somerset

(1)

Bedfordshire

11

Berkshire East

13

Berkshire West

51

Bexley Care Trust

25

Birmingham East and North

(1)

Blackburn with Darwen CTP

(1)

Blackpool

9

Bolton

(1)

Bournemouth and Poole Teaching

8

Brighton and Hove City

18

Bristol

(1)

Bromley

(1)

Buckinghamshire

27

Bury

(1)

Calderdale

20

Cambridgeshire

18

Camden

(1)

Central and Eastern Cheshire

11

Central Lancashire

22

City and Hackney Teaching

(1)

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

8

County Durham

34

Coventry Teaching

9

Croydon

18

Cumbria Teaching

68

Derby City

(1)

Derbyshire County

9

Devon

42

Dorset

25

Dudley

9

Ealing

12

13 Jun 2011 : Column 647W

East Lancashire Teaching

6

East Riding of Yorkshire

23

East Sussex Downs and Weald

10

Eastern and Coastal Kent

33

Enfield

(1)

Gloucestershire

16

Great Yarmouth and Waveney

21

Greenwich Teaching

17

Halton and St Helens

(1)

Hammersmith and Fulham

8

Hampshire

70

Haringey Teaching

6

Hastings and Rother

10

Heart of Birmingham

(1)

Herefordshire

19

Hertfordshire

26

Hillingdon

(1)

Hounslow

(1)

Hull Teaching

6

Isle of Wight NHS

(1)

Islington

22

Kensington and Chelsea

18

Kingston

(1)

Knowsley

6

Lambeth

10

Leeds

6

Leicester City

(1)

Leicestershire County and Rutland

(1)

Lewisham

(1)

Lincolnshire

28

Liverpool

(1)

Luton

13

Manchester

22

Mid Essex

11

Milton Keynes

6

Newcastle

(1)

Newham

(1)

Norfolk

26

North East Essex

9

North East Lincolnshire Care Trust Plus

(1)

North Lancashire Teaching

47

North Lincolnshire

7

North Staffordshire

12

North Tyneside

(1)

North Yorkshire and York

19

Northamptonshire Teaching

62

Northumberland Care Trust

36

Nottingham City

11

Nottinghamshire County Teaching

22

Oldham

(1)

Oxfordshire

16

Plymouth Teaching

(1)

Portsmouth City Teaching

18

Red bridge

(1)

Redcar and Cleveland

(1)

Richmond and Twickenham

(1)

Sandwell

17

Sefton

4

Sheffield

12

Shropshire County

9

Solihull

6

Somerset

(1)

13 Jun 2011 : Column 648W

South Birmingham

22

South East Essex

26

South Gloucestershire

(1)

South Staffordshire

30

South Tyneside

12

South West Essex

13

Southampton City

(1)

Southwark

(1)

Stockport

(1)

Stoke on Trent

(1)

Suffolk

28

Sunderland Teaching

(1)

Surrey

82

Sutton and Merton

6

Telford and Wrekin

17

Torbay Care Trust

9

Tower Hamlets

6

Trafford

(1)

Walsall Teaching

7

Waltham Forest

(1)

Wandsworth Teaching

(1)

Warrington

(1)

Warwickshire

11

West Essex

(1)

West Kent

81

West Sussex

61

Western Cheshire

(1)

Wiltshire

8

Wirral

16

Wolverhampton City

15

Worcestershire

12

England Total

1,798

(1) Five or fewer prescription items dispensed. Source: Prescribing Analysis and CosT tool (PACT) system.