15 May 2012 : Column 49W

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the forthcoming judicial review of the Government's proposed badger cull will result in a delay to the issuing of licences to kill badgers to landowners by Natural England. [106549]

Mr Paice: The judicial review does not prevent us from continuing to plan for an autumn start to the piloting of our badger control policy. Natural England will process any licence applications but do not plan to issue any licences until the outcome of the judicial review is confirmed.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how the size of the badger population will be calculated in areas which will have pilot culls of badgers to control bovine tuberculosis. [106915]

Mr Paice: Natural England will estimate the badger population in an area based on information provided by the applicants and other available evidence, such as relevant data from the Independent Scientific Group (ISG) Report—“Bovine TB: The Scientific Evidence. Final Report of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB”. DEFRA has confirmed that it is to conduct a national survey of the badger population. This coupled with Natural England's own survey work and the survey work being undertaken on behalf of the farmers in the pilot areas will provide useful information of the state of the population.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what risk assessment her Department has conducted in respect of the effect on public safety of controlled shooting of badgers in piloted areas. [106994]

Mr Paice: In order to obtain a licence, operators will be required to attend an approved training course and demonstrate competence. Safety and security are key elements of these training courses, and evidence of successful completion of the course will be necessary before any person can carry out badger control under a badger culling licence. They will also need to adhere to the Best Practice Guidance for the controlled shooting of free-ranging badgers in the field. Compliance with this guidance will be a condition of a licence and those acting under licence must ensure that all licence conditions are complied with. DEFRA are working closely with the Association of Chief Police Officers to discuss the role the police can play in ensuring public and operator safety. Local police forces will be fully involved in planning and coordinating culling in the two pilot areas.

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Attorney-General

Crown Prosecution Service: Closures

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Attorney-General if he will make an assessment of the implications of the closure of the Crown Prosecution Service office at Athena House, York, for the administration of justice and of its potential effect on victims of crime. [106589]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Yorkshire and Humberside is currently considering consolidating most of its operations in the counties of West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire into its office in Leeds. In relation to North Yorkshire, the proposal is to retain a CPS office in central York.

The proposal will enable the quality of service to be maintained and bring increased resilience at a time when staff numbers are reducing considerably across the area, particularly in York, the smallest of the three offices in North and West Yorkshire. In addition digital working will complement the consolidation of the area's operations as more files will be served more quickly by electronic means.

Wide consultation has taken place with the key local criminal justice system partners, staff and management, including trade unions. The informal consultation period closed on 3 May 2012. A formal assessment of the proposal is still under consideration and no final decision has been made.

Drugs: Crime

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Attorney-General how many residents of (a) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency, (b) Middlesbrough Local Authority and (c) Redcar and Cleveland Local Authority were prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service for (i) possession of, (ii) possession with intent to supply of, (iii) supplying and (iv) producing a (A) class A drug, (B) class B drug and (C) class C drug in each year since 2007. [106454]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not maintain a central record of the place of residence of the defendants they prosecute. These data could only be obtained by examining all of the CPS's files, which would incur a disproportionate cost.

Transport

Blue Badge Scheme: Berkshire

Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many Blue Badge permits for disabled drivers were issued in (a) Reading borough council and (b) West Berkshire council area in each of the last five years. [107570]

Norman Baker: Figures are available at local authority level on a financial year basis from 2008/09 onwards. The following table shows:

(i) the number of disabled parking badges (blue badges) issued during each year, and

(ii) the number of valid blue badges on issue at the end of each year.

  2008-09 2009-10 2010-11

(i) Blue badges issued during year in

     

(a) Reading

1,964

1,774

1,833

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(b) West Berkshire

1,993

2,191

2,109

       

(ii) Total blue badges on issue at end of year in

     

(a) Reading

4,617

5,220

4,655

(b) West Berkshire

5,752

6,034

6,277

Source: DFT Disabled Parking Badge Survey, table DIS0108: http://assets.dft.gov.uk/statistics/tables/dis0108.xls

Figures for the 2011/12 financial year are currently being compiled and are scheduled for publication in November 2012.

Departmental Staff

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many jobs formerly in her Department and its agencies and non-departmental bodies were transferred to the private sector in 2011-12. [106998]

Norman Baker: There are no jobs in the Department for Transport, its agencies or non-departmental public bodies which were transferred to the private sector in 2011-12.

Mobility Scooters

Michael Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she plans to license mobility scooters. [106544]

Norman Baker: There are no plans to require users of mobility scooters to hold the equivalent of a driving licence. However, both new and second-hand Class 3 vehicles are required to be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

Michael Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road accidents involved mobility scooters in each of the last three years for which figures are available. [106545]

Norman Baker: Road casualty statistics do not currently include mobility scooters as a separate vehicle category. However, I am pleased that from 2013, the police will be able to record whether an accident on the public highway has involved a mobility vehicle.

In 2010, the Department commissioned an Office of National Statistics Opinions omnibus survey of public attitudes towards mobility scooter users. It included a question about the extent to which their use may have caused injuries to people. The survey found that 17% of those interviewed either had been injured or knew someone who had been injured by a mobility scooter.

Motor Vehicles: Excise Duties

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many registered vehicle owners paid their vehicle road fund licence (a) six monthly and (b) annually in the last year for which figures are available; and how much additional revenue was generated for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency by people paying for six monthly licences. [106857]

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Norman Baker: Information is only available about the number of six and 12-month vehicle licences issued. In the financial year 2011-12, the DVLA issued 20,585,767 six-month vehicle licences and 25,501,639 12-month licences. The DVLA does not hold information on how much additional revenue was generated by people purchasing six-month vehicle licences.

Roads: Accidents

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information her Department holds on the number of road traffic accidents which were due to a driver being distracted by smoking in the last 12 months. [106654]

Norman Baker: The information requested is not available.

However, Table RAS50001, in the DfT publication “Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: annual report 2010” shows the number and proportion of reported personal injury road accidents which had “Distraction in vehicle” recorded as a contributory factor, in Great Britain in 2010. Table RAS50001 can be found using the following link:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/statistics/tables/ras50001/

Note that Contributory factors are reported only for injury road accidents where a police officer attended the scene and reported at least one contributory factor. These factors are largely subjective, reflecting the attending officer's opinion at the time of reporting. It is recognised that subsequent enquires could lead to the reporting officer changing their opinion.

Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many cyclist fatalities there were in road traffic accidents in Reading West constituency in each of the last 10 years. [106793]

Norman Baker: There were no cyclists killed in reported personal injury road accidents in Reading West constituency in the last 10 years for which data are available.

Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road traffic accidents there were in Reading West constituency in each of the last 10 years; and how many of those accidents involved (a) cyclists and (b) motorbikes. [106794]

Norman Baker: The information requested is given in following table:

Number of personal injury road accidents in Reading West constituency (1) , 2001-10
    Number of accidents involving
  All accidents (a) Pedal cyclists (b) Motorcyclists

2001

299

28

57

2002

321

37

64

2003

310

39

48

2004

262

37

47

2005

268

28

34

2006

248

27

35

2007

239

31

39

2008

215

32

23

2009

238

44

24

2010

205

36

32

(1 )Based on 2010 parliamentary boundaries.

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Transport: Disability

Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of provisions for disabled access to transport in Reading West constituency; and what steps she is taking to improve access. [106683]

Norman Baker: The Secretary of State for Transport, the right hon. Member for Putney (Justine Greening), has made no recent assessment of the adequacy of provisions for disabled access to transport in Reading. Reading, like other towns, will benefit from the increase in the number of accessible buses and trains that are required by regulation. In addition, a number of access improvements have been made at Pangbourne, Theale and Tilehurst stations.

Defence

Army

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what proportion of regular army units are stationed permanently in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland, (d) Northern Ireland and (e) overseas countries. [106755]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 14 May 2012]: As at 10 May 2012, there are a total of 148 major regular army units stationed permanently in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and overseas countries. A breakdown, by location, is shown in the following table:

Location Number of units Proportion (Percentage)

England

99

66.9

Wales

3

2.0

Scotland

4

2.7

Northern Ireland

6

4.1

Overseas countries

36

24.3

These figures incorporate three units currently located in Northern Ireland that are planned to disband during the course of 2012.

Falkland Islands

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much the Government spent on defence of the Falkland Islands in each of the past five years; and how much it plans to spend in each of the next three years. [106495]

Nick Harvey [holding answer 14 May 2012]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 14 March 2012, Official Report, columns 324-25W, to the right hon. Member for East Renfrewshire (Mr Murphy).

Departmental Staff

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many jobs formerly in his Department and its agencies and non-departmental bodies were transferred to the private sector in 2011-12. [106698]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 14 May 2012]: The number of Ministry of Defence civil servants who transferred with their work to private sector organisations due to the application of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 during the period 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 was 850.

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Military Aircraft

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what types of fixed-wing aircraft are used by the Royal Navy; and how many of each type are in use. [106493]

Peter Luff [holding answer 14 May 2012]: The Royal Navy operates 10 Hawk T1 aircraft. In addition, the Royal Navy currently uses five Grob Tutor and four King Air aircraft supplied under a commercial agreement.

Communities and Local Government

Affordable Housing: Reading

Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many affordable homes have been (a) started and (b) completed in Reading West constituency since May 2010. [106667]

Grant Shapps: Data are not available by constituency area. There were 161 affordable homes started and 128 completed in Reading borough council between April 2010 and September 2011, the latest period for which data are available, as reported in the Homes and Communities Agency's six-monthly National Housing Statistics.

These statistics only cover affordable housing that is delivered through the Homes and Communities Agency's affordable housing programmes; affordable housing delivered outside these programmes is not included. Housing starts cover new build starts only while completions include both new build and acquisitions.

Total affordable completions, including those delivered outside the Homes and Communities Agency's programmes, are published annually in the Department's Affordable Housing Supply statistics available on the Department's website at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/affordablehousingsupply/livetables/

Civil Disorder

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when the Government plans to publish its response to the final report of the Riots Communities and Victims Panel. [106692]

Robert Neill: We are looking seriously at all the panel's findings and will respond on those actions aimed at Government in due course.

Local Government: Debt Collection

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department has estimated the potential change in the level of work for firms of bailiffs commissioned from local authorities in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13 and (c) 2013-14 compared to 2010-11; and if he will make a statement. [107048]

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Grant Shapps: This information is not held centrally.

No assessment has been made on this, as it is for local authorities to decide the level of work they contract out to bailiff companies.

That notwithstanding, the use of bailiffs should be a last resort, they should not be commissioned disproportionately and councils should take direct responsibility for ensuring they abide by acceptable practices.

Public Houses: Regulation

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made in reducing the regulatory burden on community pubs; and what recent discussions or other communications he has had with pub companies or their representatives on this issue. [106483]

Robert Neill: The Government is, through the Red Tape Challenge, removing or amending a number of burdensome and unnecessary rules, which will directly benefit pubs. These include simplifying alcohol licensing forms, decentralising temporary event notices, revoking smoke-free sign regulations and rationalising the rules around weights and measures. In addition, Lord Clement Jones' Live Music Bill will make it easier for pubs to host live music performances.

The Localism Act is making it easier for small firms, including pubs, to claim small business rate relief, and gives councils new powers to levy discretionary business rate discounts—which could, for example, be used to support local pubs.

In my capacity as Minister for Community Pubs, I have had discussions with the majority of the major pub companies and their representative organisations over the course of the last year.

Risk Assessment

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what strategic or transitional risk registers in each area of policy are held by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [107483]

Robert Neill: All public bodies for which my Department is responsible have and maintain risk registers including, for example, board-level registers, sub-committee level registers and registers for those bodies undergoing significant reform. A list of all registers held could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Wind Power: Planning Permission

Mr David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he plans to issue new guidance to the Planning Inspectorate on onshore wind farms; and what will be included in any such guidance. [107248]

Robert Neill: The National Planning Policy Framework sets out the Government's planning policies for England, including for renewable energy, and how these are expected to be applied. Having published the Framework, we will now consider what underpinning guidance continues to be needed.

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Mr David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government at what point a wind farm development is considered to be in planning stage. [107507]

Robert Neill: The term ‘planning stage’ does not have a statutory definition and can have a number of meanings. To be considered by the decision-making body, development proposals including those for wind farms must have been formally submitted and accepted as valid.

Treasury

Business: Loans

Mr Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to require banks to publish anonymised data showing the (a) amount and (b) geographical location of lending; and if he will make a statement. [106972]

Mr Hoban: Banks already provide a range of information on lending and the geographical location of such lending. For example, as part of the British Banker Association (BBA) Better Finance Taskforce, the BBA committed to publishing an enhanced SME lending dataset that would include a regional breakdown. The first dataset was published on 20 March 2012 and will be published on a quarterly basis. The data include value of overdraft and loan balances, number and value of approved applications for new or increased loan and overdraft facilities, value of new or increased loans drawn down and value of loan repayments. These data can be found on the BBA website:

http://www.bba.org.uk/statistics/article/banks-support-for-smes-july-to-december-2011

Dogs

Mr Blunkett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department defines guide dogs and other assistance dogs to be working dogs; and for what reason dogs are defined as working dogs based on the food they consume rather than the role they do. [107253]

Mr Gauke: HMRC does not specify a definition of working dogs for the purpose of determining the VAT treatment of their food. It is the type of food which determines the VAT treatment. Dog food which is suitable for all types of dogs is standard rated as pet food. However, specially formulated dog food (other than biscuit or meal) which is held out for sale exclusively for any type of working dog, is not treated as pet food and is therefore zero-rated for VAT. If this specially formulated food is suitable for guide dogs and other assistance dogs, it will already benefit from the zero-rate.

Gangmasters

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many gangmasters have been convicted of offences related to abuses of (a) VAT and (b) PAYE in each of the last three years. [106878]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs does not hold the information requested. Its records of convictions for offences related to VAT and PAYE are not broken down to show the types of businesses involved.

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Income Tax

Harriett Baldwin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the income tax paid in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12 by the 1,000 richest individuals; and what percentage this represented of total UK income tax paid in those years. [106489]

Mr Gauke: Estimates of the income tax liabilities of individuals at different income levels are published on the HMRC website in Table 2.5 ‘Income tax liabilities, by Income Range, 2009-10 to 2012-13’:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/income_tax/table2-5.xls

These estimates are based on the 2009-10 Survey of Personal Incomes data projected in line with the Office for Budget Responsibility's March 2012 economic forecast. Figures are included for those with an annual income of £2 million or more.

Attention is drawn to the publication accompanying these statistics, specifically pages 53-54, which focuses on the projection of incomes of very high earners beyond 2009-10 and the allowances made for behavioural responses to changes in the income tax system that came into effect during the projection period:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/income_tax/liabilities-april2012.pdf

Harriett Baldwin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the income tax revenues lost as a result of the relocation of British citizens working in the IT, consulting and banking sectors to Switzerland in 2010. [106490]

Mr Gauke: There are no data available on the amount of income tax lost as a result of the relocation of British citizens to other countries.

Tax Allowances: Charitable Donations

Ms Harman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the likely revenue to the Exchequer from the cap on tax relief for philanthropic activity as a result of his proposal; [106988]

(2) whether he has made an assessment of the effect of his proposed cap on tax relief for philanthropic activity on arts organisations (a) nationally, (b) in London, (c) in England outside of London and (d) in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. [106989]

Mr Gauke: The Government announced at Budget 2012 a proposal to introduce a limit on all previously uncapped income tax reliefs from April 2013. This included the charitable reliefs for Gift Aid, Payroll Giving and gifts of land and shares.

Costings approved by the Office for Budget Responsibility were published in the budget in table 2.1 (page 50) at the following link:

http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/budget2012_complete.pdf

We estimate the philanthropic element of this to be £50 million to £100 million. The Government has clearly stated its intention that those charities which rely on large donations are not significantly affected. To this end discussions with stakeholders from the charity sector are currently taking place to better understand any impacts. This will inform a formal consultation on the delivery of the measure over the summer.

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VAT

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what discussions he had with (a) the Secretary of State for Health, (b) the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport and (c) Ministers in the devolved administrations on the likely effect of introducing VAT on sports nutrition drinks; [106843]

(2) what assessment he has made of the potential effect of introducing VAT on sports nutrition drinks on participation levels in healthy and sporting activities; [106844]

(3) what assessment he has made of the potential effect of introducing VAT on sports nutrition drinks on the sales of such drinks and the supply chain of such products. [106845]

Mr Gauke: Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

As was the case with previous Administrations it is not the Government's policy to release details of all such meetings.

Annex B—Tables of Impact for Individual Measures—in HM Revenue and Customs consultation document ‘VAT: Addressing Borderline Anomalies’, published at Budget 2012, sets out estimates for VAT which will be raised from sports nutrition drinks and a summary of impacts upon which comments are invited:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2012/vat-con-4801.pdf

Ms Harman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has made an assessment of the effect of his proposed changes to VAT charged on approved alterations on (a) listed buildings that are places of worship and (b) other listed buildings. [106987]

Mr Gauke: Annex B—Tables of Impact for Individual Measures in HM Revenue and Customs consultation document “VAT: Addressing Borderline Anomalies”, published at Budget 2012, sets out estimates for VAT which will be raised from approved alterations to listed buildings.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2012/vat-con-4801.pdf

The Government is committed to ensuring that listed places of worship are not adversely affected by the Budget proposal. We are currently involved in constructive discussions with the church authorities about how to achieve this. We have already committed to expanding the listed place of worship scheme that in part refunds churches for the VAT they already pay on repairs, and if needed we will go further in order to address the impact on churches and other places of worship.

Women and Equalities

Risk Assessment

Mr Thomas: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what strategic or transitional risk registers in each area of policy are held by the Government Equalities Office; and if she will make a statement. [107465]

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Lynne Featherstone: As of 1 April 2011, the Government Equalities Office has been part of the Home Office and is no longer a separate Government Department. The information requested will be provided by the Minister for Immigration, the hon. Member for Ashford (Damian Green), in response to the hon. Gentleman’s question to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May).

Trade Unions

Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities (1) how many trade union representatives in the Government Equalities Office had (a) part-time and (b) full-time paid facility time arrangements in 2011-12; [107411]

(2) how many days were utilised for paid facility time by each trade union representative in the Government Equalities Office in 2011-12; and at what cost to the public purse; [107412]

(3) how many days were utilised for paid facility time by each trade union representative in the Government Equalities Office for trade union (a) duties and (b) activities in 2011-12; [107413]

(4) if she will place in the Library copies of the facility time agreements between trade unions and the Government Equalities Office. [107414]

(5) how many trade union representatives in the Government Equalities Office have faced disciplinary action for abusing paid facility time or public resources in each of the last five years; [107415]

(6) how many meetings have taken place between the Government Equalities Office and trade union representatives utilising paid facility time in each of the last five years to discuss (a) collective bargaining, (b) redundancies, (c) negotiations relating to employment, pay and conditions and (d) other trade union and industrial relations duties; and what the dates and times were of each meeting; [107416]

(7) on how many occasions trade union representatives from the Government Equalities Office have utilised paid facility time to represent an employee at a meeting or other industrial relations matter in each of the last five years. [107417]

Lynne Featherstone: As of 1 April 2011, the Government Equalities Office has been part of the Home Office and is no longer a separate Government Department. The information requested will be provided by the Minister for Immigration, the hon. Member for Ashford (Damian Green), in response to the hon. Lady’s question to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May).

Culture, Media and Sport

Broadband

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many people he has allocated to work on the (a) super-connected and (b) local broadband plans. [107514]

Mr Vaizey: There are currently 3.5 full-time equivalent people working on super-connected cities. Local broadband plans are prepared by local authorities with support

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from the Broadband Delivery UK projects team. There are 10 full-time equivalent people in Broadband Delivery UK carrying out this role.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what support he is offering to super-connected cities on state aid issues. [107515]

Mr Vaizey: Broadband Delivery UK will work with super-connected cities on state aid issues once they have undertaken further work to define their proposed project outputs and routes for procurement and delivery.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what correspondence Broadband Delivery UK has had with Newcastle City Council; and on what dates. [107516]

Mr Vaizey: Broadband Delivery UK has been in regular communication with Newcastle city council throughout their bid to become a super-connected city, including correspondence surrounding their bid, feedback on their bid and subsequent support to achieve super-connected city status.

Broadcasting

Mr MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether Ofcom (a) has the power and (b) is under any obligation to report to the devolved administrations within the UK on the state of investment for infrastructure, coverage and service within the devolved nations. [106807]

Mr Vaizey: The Digital Economy Act 2010 gave Ofcom a new duty to report to the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport every three years on the state of the UK's communications infrastructure. The report considers the coverage, capacity and resilience of the main public networks and services available in the UK, which includes fixed line and mobile telephony, and broadband, digital radio and digital terrestrial TV. The report considers them from both a UK-wide perspective and at the level of county/unitary authority. The UK Communications Infrastructure Report 2011 was published for the first time last November.

Apart from the UK Communications Infrastructure Report, for the last eight years Ofcom has published an annual Communications Market Report containing statistics and analysis of the UK communications sector, The report is published to support Ofcom's regulatory goal to research markets constantly and to remain at the forefront of technological understanding. It also fulfils the requirements on Ofcom under Section 358 of the Communications Act 2003 to publish an annual factual and statistical report, and addresses the requirement to undertake and make public Ofcom's consumer research as set out in Sections 14 and 15 of the same Act. For the last six years companion reports for each of the UK's nations have been published alongside the UK Communications Market Report.

Mr MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps he plans to take to ensure that broadcasters in the devolved nations within the UK meet their coverage obligations within those territories. [106808]

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Mr Vaizey: The public service terrestrial television broadcasters are required to substantially match their historic analogue coverage levels in digital form following the completion of digital switchover. This requirement is contained in the BBC Agreement with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in the case of the BBC's principal television services, and through licence conditions in the case of other services which are licensed by Ofcom. Detailed technical coverage plans (including required transmitter locations and power levels) have been developed by Ofcom in conjunction with the broadcasters in order to meet this objective.

The switchover process is now complete in Scotland and Wales, where the broadcasters have adopted all of their required digital transmitter sites. Switchover will take place in a similar manner in Northern Ireland during October of this year. Estimated digital terrestrial coverage levels in each UK nation have been published by Ofcom in their “Fact sheet on coverage No. 3”, which is available at:

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/other/tv-research/dsoind/factsheets/>

Direct Selling

Gordon Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether unsolicited international calls can be covered by the Telephone Preference Service. [106458]

Mr Vaizey: Unsolicited marketing calls, which are made from abroad on behalf of UK companies, are already covered by the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has responsibility for enforcement of the TPS and is able to issue a fine of up to £500,000 for the most serious breaches of the PECR. Unsolicited international calls not made on behalf of UK companies would be outside any UK jurisdiction.

Radio Frequencies: Mobile Phones

Mr MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what information his Department holds on Ofcom's policy on 4G bidder obligations in (a) the UK and (b) the devolved nations in respect of (i) population and (ii) geographic coverage. [106809]

Mr Vaizey: The matter raised is an operational one for the independent regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom).

In its recent consultation on the award of the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum, Ofcom invited stakeholder views and evidence on the merits of requiring any 800MHz licensee with a coverage obligation to provide a certain minimum level of coverage in each nation of the UK, as well as across the UK as a whole. Ofcom suggested that the appropriate level for such an obligation might be to cover an area within which 95% of the population of each nation lives. Ofcom also consulted on two options for an extended UK-wide coverage obligation. The first would require the licensee to provide a 4G mobile data service to an area within which at least 98% of the UK population lives. The second would require the licensee to provide the specified mobile data service with coverage

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comparable to the combined mobile voice coverage of today's 2G networks and in addition to provide the same service with coverage comparable to that of the additional mobile voice coverage achieved through the mobile infrastructure project (MIP), in those areas where MIP infrastructure is capable of supporting a 4G mobile data service.

Ofcom has received over 40 responses to this consultation which it is currently analysing. Ofcom intends to decide on these issues and publish a statement in the summer.

Telephone Services

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many call centres provide services for his Department and the bodies for which he is responsible; and how many such call centres are based abroad. [107020]

John Penrose: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) does not use call centre services.

DCMS does not hold this information for its arm's length bodies (ALBs). Accordingly, I have asked the chief executives of our ALBs to write directly to the right hon. Member for Warley with this information.

Home Department

Antisocial Behaviour Orders: Temporary Accommodation

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what powers the police and other agencies have to prevent antisocial behaviour caused by homeless people who have been temporarily housed in hotels. [106847]

James Brokenshire: The police and other agencies have access to numerous formal and informal powers to tackle antisocial behaviour by individuals, wherever they are housed, including acceptable behaviour contracts and antisocial behaviour orders. The Home Office has consulted on proposals to streamline these powers, making them less bureaucratic and more effective. We will publish the Government's response to the consultation in due course.

British Nationality: Families

Chris Heaton-Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what further provisions of the Schengen acquis the UK has adopted since the adoption of Council Decision 2000/365/EC; and what conditions were imposed on the UK in respect of each such measure; [106639]

(2) on how many occasions the Council has required the UK to meet certain conditions before admitting it to provisions of the Schengen acquis under Council Decision 2000/365/EC; and what conditions were imposed in each such case. [106640]

James Brokenshire: Since the 2000 Council Decision determining the UK's initial participation in elements of the Schengen Acquis, the UK has made only one application under Article 4 of Protocol 19 on the Schengen Acquis integrated into the framework of the EU (the Schengen Protocol) to join further provisions of Schengen. That application was granted by Council Decision 2010/779/EU, which facilitated the UK's participation in the

15 May 2012 : Column 63W

regulation establishing a European agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice.

The Schengen Protocol does not provide for conditions to be imposed where a request is made by the UK, or Ireland, to take part in provisions of the Schengen Acquis. However, the UK will have to undergo an evaluation process before connecting to the second generation of the Schengen Information System (SIS II) to ensure that we meet the necessary data protection and security standards; that evaluation is applicable to any state wishing to join SIS.

Deportation

Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much the UK Border Agency spent on flights for the deportation of immigrants in each of the last five years. [106877]

Damian Green: The following table shows the expenditure for public expense removals in each of the last five financial years.

Financial year NET total (£)

2007-08

20,295,271

2008-09

26,789,716

2009-10

29,290,204

2010-11

29,034,845

2011-12

28,442,081

Net total

133,852,116

Where a removal is cancelled after a ticket has been issued, we always seek a refund from the carrier where the ticket type allows. The three most significant reasons for cancellation are where a person makes a late application for asylum, launches a last-minute appeal to the courts (e.g. a judicial review) or where the detainee becomes so disruptive that the airline refuses to carry the person. The figures provided for 2010-11 and 2011-12 exclude the value of refunds which are yet to be received.

The data are taken from internal management information, which is provisional and has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols. It is subject to change and does not form part of national statistics.

Fraud

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will place in the Library a diagrammatic representation of the relationships between the (a) bodies and (b) strategies for tackling fraud in Government including (i) Fighting Fraud Together: the strategic plan to reduce fraud, (ii) the Counter Fraud Taskforce, (iii) the Cabinet Office Taskforce on Fraud, Error and Debt, (iv) the National Fraud Agency, (v) Action Fraud, (vi) the Serious Fraud Office, (vii) the Serious Organised Crime Agency, (viii) any relevant central Government department, (ix) any relevant non-departmental public body and (x) any other relevant body or strategy. [106772]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 14 May 2012]: I have placed a copy of the material requested by my hon. Friend in the Library. The Government are committed to fighting fraud and the harm it causes to the economy

15 May 2012 : Column 64W

and the public’s wellbeing. Fighting Fraud Together is the national strategic plan for combating fraud and is based on three objectives: awareness, prevention and enforcement. Fighting Fraud Together is not owned by the Government and is a collaborative exercise between the public sector, private sector companies, law enforcement organisations and the voluntary sector. This response is overseen by the Economic Crime Coordination Board as a precursor to the Economic Crime Command of the National Crime Agency. Allied to this the Government have established a fraud error and debt taskforce to tackle the estimated £20 billion losses to fraud in the public sector. We will continue to work side by side with partners across all sectors to ensure the best possible response to fraud.

Immigration Controls: Skilled Workers

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the cap on non-EU migrant workers. [106777]

Damian Green: The Government commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to provide advice on the level of the migration limit for 2012-13 and whether further changes were needed to the rules for entry of non-EEA skilled workers to the UK in light of the impact of the limit and associated policies to reduce net migration. The MAC's report, published on 28 February 2012, recommended no change to the annual limit of 20,700, and the Government has accepted the MAC's recommendation.

The limit, together with other changes we have made, has delivered a far more selective migration system which allows employers access to highly skilled migrants who will help promote economic growth, while keeping numbers at a sustainable level and eliminating abuse.

Licensed Premises: Security

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer of 25 April 2012, Official Report, column 894W, on licensed premises: security, if she will place in the Library the existing written guidance on false identification documents for door supervisors. [106858]

James Brokenshire: The previously published guidance has been withdrawn while it is being updated to reflect revised legislation. Revised guidance will be available shortly.

Licensing Laws: Reading

Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many alcohol licences have been revoked in Reading West constituency due to the sale of alcohol to children since the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003. [106669]

James Brokenshire: The Home Office's collection of Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing statistics covers the number of licences revoked, but does not indicate why they were revoked. Licences may be revoked following a review by a licensing authority for a number of reasons, including for the offence of

15 May 2012 : Column 65W

persistently selling of alcohol to children. The collection also covers the numbers of licences suspended by the courts.

Alcohol licensing statistics are not collected by parliamentary constituency. However, Reading West constituency is covered by the combined unitary licensing authorities of Reading and West Berkshire. 2006-07 was the first year of collection after the Licensing Act 2003 came into force in 2005. Table 1 includes information on the numbers of premises licences revoked and the numbers of club premises certificates withdrawn from 2006-07 to 2009-10 for these authorities. Table 2 shows that from 2007-08 to 2009-10, no premises licences were suspended by a court within Reading and West Berkshire.

Neither licensing authority provided information for the year 2006-07 to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which was then responsible for the collection of licensing data.

Table 1:Premises licences revoked or club premises certificates withdrawn (1) following a completed review, Reading and West Berkshire Licensing authorities, 2006-07 to 2009-10
  Licensing authority
Financial year Reading West Berkshire

2006-07

(2)

(2)

2007-08

2

1

2008-09

0

2

2009-10

0

0

(1) Where a club premises certificate is withdrawn under section 90 of the Licensing Act 2003. (2) Non response or unknown.
Table 2: Premises licences suspended by a court (1) , Reading and West Berkshire Licensing authorities, 2006-07 to 2009-10
  Licensing authority
Financial year Reading West Berkshire

2006-07(2)

(3)

(3)

2007-08

0

0

2008-09

0

0

2009-10

0

0

(1) Where a premises licence is suspended by a court, under section 147B(1) of the Licensing Act 2003 (as amended by the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006) for the sale or supply of alcohol, following an offence of persistently selling to underage children. (2) Prior to 6 April 2007 premises licence could be suspended following a review. From 6 April 2007, a premises licence could be suspended by a court, under section 147B(1) of the Licensing act 2003 (as amended by the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006) for the sale or supply of alcohol, following an offence of persistently selling to underage children. (3) Non response or unknown.

Departmental Staff

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many jobs formerly in her Department and its agencies and non-departmental bodies were transferred to the private sector in 2011-12. [106996]

Damian Green: The response relates to the Home Office, its Executive Agencies and NDPBs.

In 2011-12, 17 roles (eight people), transferred to the private sector:

14 administrative roles (eight people) from the Home Office Mail and Messenger Service to ETDE which provides facilities services to the main office in Marsham street; and

Three IT helpdesk roles (No people) transferred from Home Office IT to Fujitsu.

15 May 2012 : Column 66W

Members: Correspondence

Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when her Department plans to respond to the letters from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay of 12 December 2011 and 25 January 2012 transferred to her Department from the Cabinet Office in February 2012, regarding Tetra Scene of Crime Limited. [106696]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 14 May 2012]:I wrote to my hon. Friend on 10 May 2012.

Proceeds of Crime

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the value of assets recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 was in each police authority area in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12. [106463]

James Brokenshire: Full year figures are not yet available for 2011-12. The information for 2010-11 is as follows:

Total value of assets recovered in each police authority area in the period April 2010 to March 2011
Police force £

Avon and Somerset Constabulary

1,615,880.64

Bedfordshire Police

1,457,875.42

British Transport Police

593,589.25

Cambridgeshire Constabulary

339,889.69

Cheshire Constabulary

1,138,667.25

City of London Police

303,108.38

Cleveland Police

819,520.72

Cumbria Constabulary

894,697.16

Derbyshire Constabulary

1,033,856.86

Devon and Cornwall Constabulary

1,216,996.45

Dorset Police

631,378.18

Durham Constabulary

586,582.08

Dyfed-Powys Police

199,897.82

Essex Police

542,589.97

Gloucestershire Constabulary

635,697.62

Greater Manchester Police

4,040,977.42

Gwent Police

816,305.00

Hampshire Constabulary

1,212,368.99

Hertfordshire Constabulary

658,046.14

Humberside Police

1,725,038.86

Kent Police

4,235,416.46

Lancashire Constabulary

3,143,439.30

Leicestershire Constabulary

2,739,270.24

Lincolnshire Police

533,808.74

Merseyside Police

3,153,547.67

Metropolitan Police Service

28,126,048.08

Norfolk Constabulary

601,733.80

North Wales Police

1,503,391.49

North Yorkshire Police

930,995.43

Northamptonshire Police

1,095,671.23

Northumbria Police

1,562,054.92

Nottinghamshire Police

1,692,534.34

South Wales Police

1,760,598.51

South Yorkshire Police

1,139,947.93

Staffordshire Police

1,233,822.74

Suffolk Constabulary

1,065,393.35

Surrey Police

708,854,75

Sussex Police

1,988,717.88

Thames Valley Police

1,342,934.89

Warwickshire Police

273,069.56

15 May 2012 : Column 67W

West Mercia Constabulary

864,763.40

West Midlands Police

4,145,844.42

West Yorkshire Police

3,397,264.15

Wiltshire Constabulary

907,822.67

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what value of assets was recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and how much was provided to each public service which received funds so recovered. [106504]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 14 May 2012]: The value of assets recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002) in 2010-11 was £157.63 million and the sums provided to relevant bodies is set out in the following table. Full year figures are not yet available for 2011-12.

Agency Amount in 2010-11 (£ million)

Home Office

77.95

Police Service

28.4

HM Courts and Tribunal Service

11.8

Crown Prosecution Service

14.7

Serious Organised Crime Agency

5.8

HM Revenue and Customs/UK Border Agency

8.6

Other Government Departments

6.4

Local authorities

2.4

Treaties: European Union

Chris Heaton-Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether conventions agreed under Title VI of the Treaty on European Union prior to the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty would cease to bind the United Kingdom if it gave the notification to the Council permitted by Article 10(4) of the Protocol on Transitional Provisions annexed to the EU treaties. [106641]

James Brokenshire: The full list of measures, including any conventions agreed under Title VI of the Treaty of the European Union, which would cease to bind the United Kingdom if it gave the notification to the Council permitted by Article 10(4) of the Protocol (number 36) on Transitional Provisions annexed to the EU Treaties was provided to Parliament on 21 December. The list was annexed to letters to William Cash MP, Chair of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee and Lord Roper, Chair of the Lords European Union Committee. The letter to William Cash and the annex will be placed in the House Library.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 26 April 2012, Official Report, columns 1021-2W, on Afghanistan, when he anticipates the pre-Chicago event in Kabul will take place; and who will represent the UK Government. [107251]

15 May 2012 : Column 68W

Alistair Burt: The pre-Chicago event on women, peace and security, took place in Kabul on 6 May. Facilitated by the Finns and UN Women, this was an Afghan-led event, attended by Afghan civil society, with members of the international community invited as observers. The UK and some other international partners did not to attend for security reasons. We continue to work with the Finns and other international and Afghan counterparts on this agenda ahead of the Chicago NATO summit.

Civil Proceedings

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to reduce the number of vexatious claims brought before employment tribunals. [106597]

Norman Lamb: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

We have already increased the maximum limit for cost awards and deposit orders to £20,000 and £1,000 respectively, and will bring forward legislation, as part of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, to introduce early conciliation and increase the use of compromise agreements to support parties to resolve disputes outside the employment tribunal system. The Ministry of Justice has also consulted on introducing fees for employment tribunal claims.

The Fundamental Review of the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure is well underway, and has a clear emphasis on dealing robustly and consistently with cases where they appear to have little or no reasonable prospect of success. We are expecting to receive Mr Justice Underhill's report in the near future. The Government will consider his recommendations and will consult on those to be taken forward later this year.

European Union

Chris Heaton-Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of provisions under the Lisbon Treaty for the EU to conclude international agreements with the UK. [106638]

Mr Lidington: It may be possible under the EU Treaties for the EU to enter into international agreements with the UK in respect of areas such as the Schengen acquis or the area of freedom, security and justice under Part 3, Title V TFEU in respect of matters in which the UK has not chosen to participate. However, this situation has not arisen to date.

International Law: Overseas Companies

Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost to the public purse has been of the Government's decision to intervene in the case of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum. [106595]

Alistair Burt: The legal fees associated with the HMG's amicus brief in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch and Shell amounted to £8,212.07.

15 May 2012 : Column 69W

Palestinians

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Egyptian counterpart on the full opening of the Rafah crossing into Gaza. [107449]

Alistair Burt: During his visit to Egypt in May 2011, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), discussed the relaxation of the Rafah crossing controls with the then Egyptian Foreign Minister, Nabil al-Arabi. Following these discussions, the UK welcomed the decision by Egypt on 27 May 2011 to partially ease restrictions on the movement of people through the Rafah crossing. However, Rafah is not suitable for commercial goods or large amounts of humanitarian aid.

We are clear that the key to the economic regeneration of Gaza is easing of restrictions at the Israeli crossings into Gaza, including for exports, construction material imports and the movement of people.

Health

Accountancy

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff in his Department had (a) a recognised accountancy qualification and (b) the Associate Chartered Accountant qualification in each of the last three years; and how many staff in his Department were working towards a recognised accountancy qualification in each such year. [106909]

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

  2010 2011

Total number of staff with a recognised accountancy qualification

92

123

Total number of staff with the Associate Chartered Accountant qualification

8

8

Total number of staff working towards a recognised accountancy qualification

27

31

Notes: 1. 2011 is the latest year for which data are available. The Department did not collect these data centrally before 2010. 2. Information relating to Connecting for Health staff holding, or working towards, a recognised accountancy qualification was collected for the first time in 2011.

Alcoholic Drinks

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of under 18-year-olds in alcohol treatment programmes in the Tees Valley. [106433]

Anne Milton: The national alcohol treatment monitoring system (NATMS) records data on the numbers of young people (under 18) in contact with specialist drug and alcohol services in England. Figures from the NATMS show that 211 young people received a specialist intervention for a primary alcohol problem in Tees Valley in 2010-11.

15 May 2012 : Column 70W

Cancer

Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he will take to ensure that the difference between cancer survival rates in England and those in other countries continues to be measured. [106875]

Paul Burstow: Cancer survival rates in England will continue to be assessed alongside cancer survival rates in other countries, for example through the European cancer registry-based study on the survival and care of cancer patients (EUROCARE) research project. We have been able to make very useful, up-to-date comparisons through the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP), which we have been running with Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Wales and Northern Ireland, but we have yet to determine the future for the ICBP.

Childbirth

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he is taking to improve the outcomes of babies born prematurely or sick in England; and if he will make a statement; [106827]

(2) if he will make care for premature or sick babies a priority for the NHS Commissioning Board; and if he will make a statement. [106828]

Anne Milton: The Government are committed to the provision of high quality, safe neonatal services founded on evidence-based good practice and outcomes. We have made “reducing deaths in babies and young children” and “improving the safety of maternity services” areas for improvement in the NHS Outcomes Framework for 2012-13.

To assist national health service commissioners and providers in the delivery of safe, high quality neonatal services, the Department published the evidence based “Toolkit for High Quality Neonatal Services” in 2009.

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_107845

The Toolkit is supported by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's “Quality Standard for specialist neonatal care” published in 2010.

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qualitystandards/specialistneonatalcare/specialistneonatalcarequalitystandard.jsp

The NHS Commissioning Board will be held to account for its performance against outcomes in the NHS Outcomes Framework. By focusing on outcomes, the Government will hold the board to account for improved services for premature and sick babies, but allow clinicians the freedom to design services that are most effective for achieving better care.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Ian Swales: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the report by Action for ME, “Ignorance, Injustice and Neglect”, for what reason 53 out of 151 patient care trusts in England were able to provide full or partial information about their funding of services for people with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. [106990]

15 May 2012 : Column 71W

Paul Burstow: Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a complex long-term neurological condition with a range of symptoms, with each sufferer experiencing their own personal combination. Physical and/or mental fatigue is the most well-known symptom, but others include pain, disturbed sleep, and gastrointestinal problems. Information about actual numbers of people with CFS/ME—and the funding spent on services locally—is difficult to obtain because of the problems with producing a precise definition of the illness.

The World Health Organisation classes benign myalgic encephalomyelitis and post-viral fatigue syndrome under the same classification G93.3 “diseases of the nervous system”—subheading “other disorders of the brain”. The Chief Medical Officer's Independent Working Group on CFS/ME, which reported in 2002, recognised that that there were widely different views on how symptoms are described, defined and classified, and called for a consensus to be reached on terminology and definition. While awaiting this, the group recommended that the composite term CFS/ME should be used. While this will help with gathering information from the national health service, there is still only partial information available and some local variations.

Ian Swales: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) with reference to the report by Action for ME, “Ignorance, Injustice and Neglect”, for what reason more than a quarter of patient care trusts in England do not commission specialist secondary care for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome; [106991]

(2) for what reason 37 out of 151 patient care trusts in England provide domiciliary care for people with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome; [106992]

(3) with reference to the recommendation by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence that patient care trusts (PCTs) should provide a designated myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome pathway, for what reason fewer than a third of PCTs in England provide such a pathway. [106993]

Paul Burstow: In 2007, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued a clinical guideline on the management of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).

The guideline recommends the use of cognitive behaviour therapy and graded exercise in patients mildly or moderately affected by CFS/ME on the basis that these were the interventions for which there was the clearest research evidence of benefit. A number of other treatments, including particular drugs, vitamin supplements and complementary therapies, were not recommended because there was not enough evidence to suggest that they were effective. The guideline acknowledges that there is no one form of treatment to suit every patient, and that treatment and care should take into account the personal needs and preferences of the patient.

It is important to emphasise that NICE clinical guidelines are just that—guidelines for health care professionals. Government policy is for the national health service locally to set its own priorities in response to local need and local circumstances and commission services accordingly.

15 May 2012 : Column 72W

Improving quality and delivering better health outcomes for patients is the primary purpose of the NHS. Accountability throughout the system needs to be focused on the outcomes of care, rather than the processes. This focus on outcomes will start at a national level with the 2012-13 NHS Outcomes Framework, which defines and will enable measurement of the key outcomes that matter to patients.

All five domains within the NHS Outcomes Framework have relevance for people living with CFS/ME and other neurological conditions. Domain two—enhancing the quality of life for people with long-term conditions as a whole—is the most immediately relevant. This reflects the fact that increasing numbers of people have multiple long-term conditions, and it is not always helpful to see their care from the perspective of a single clinical pathway. Domain two seeks to capture how successfully the NHS is supporting people with long-term conditions to live as normal a life as possible and will be measured using three outcomes:

(i) feeling supported to manage their condition—this measures how well the NHS as a whole is doing in supporting people to look after themselves and handle the consequences of their conditions;

(ii) functional ability—this measures how well the person is able to live as normal a life as possible, and by looking at employment ties in well with the Department for Work and Pensions and the Government’s wider policies about getting people back to work; and

(iii) reduced time spent in hospital—this measures how successfully the NHS manages the condition(s) by looking at unnecessary hospital admissions and excessive length of stay.

It will be the responsibility of the NHS Commissioning Board to determine how to deliver the outcomes in the NHS Outcomes Framework. The board will use the Outcomes Framework and NICE Quality Standards to develop a Commissioning Outcomes Framework and together these will be the basis for clinical commissioning groups to be held to account. The board will also support commissioning by developing detailed commissioning guidance and tools such as standard contracts and tariffs.

Clinical Trials

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of (a) group sequential trials and (b) continual reassessment method trials in (i) increasing efficiency and (ii) decreasing the cost of drug development. [107436]

Mr Simon Burns: Group sequential trials are in widespread use. Trials with this type of design are proposed and conducted by the pharmaceutical industry and by academic groups, and are endorsed and accepted by regulatory agencies worldwide. For example, all clinical trial sponsors designing Phase III confirmatory clinical trials in oncology would consider a group sequential design with the possibility of early stopping for efficacy. A group sequential trial that meets stopping criteria at an interim analysis (for “efficacy” representing a success, or for “futility” representing a failure) will, in many circumstances, represent a more efficient and less costly way to achieve a result than a fixed sample-size design. This is recognised by sponsors of clinical trials, who have primary responsibility for the choice of design, and by regulators.

15 May 2012 : Column 73W

Continual reassessment method (CRM) trials offer improvements in relation to “standard” dose-escalation trials in terms of the manner in which patients are allocated to dose levels leading to a more efficient trial e.g. more relevant information obtained per patient exposed. This is well documented in published literature relating to clinical trials.

Regulators advising sponsors on the adequacy of drug development programmes to support marketing authorisation application also recognise the benefits of the CRM approach, though this is somewhat specialist methodology and is rarely “pivotal” to licensing decisions. CRM may not decrease costs compared to a standard design, but for each unit of “cost”, in particular if measured by patient exposure, the CRM will, on average, give more information than the standard 3+3 design, enabling better decisions about which drugs and which doses to pursue—hence improved efficiency and lower likelihood of wasting money on futile or poorly informed development programmes.

Cosmetic Surgery

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has any plans to introduce new regulations for the private cosmetic surgery industry up to 2015. [107038]

Mr Simon Burns: As announced by the Secretary of State for Health, my right hon. Friend the Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr Lansley), in the House on 11 January 2012, Official Report, columns 181-98W, Sir Bruce Keogh has been asked to bring together experts to advise on how the safety of patients considering cosmetic interventions can be better ensured in the future. We expect that regulation of the cosmetic surgery industry will be considered as part of this review.

Depressive Illnesses

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what proportion of the population were

15 May 2012 : Column 74W

affected by depression in the last year for which figures are available. [106820]

Paul Burstow: From figures obtained through the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey in England 2007, 9% of people meet the criteria for the diagnosis of mixed anxiety and depression, with 2.3% meeting the criteria for the diagnosis of a depressive episode.

The Government are investing around £400 million in talking therapies over the four years to 2014-15, which will mean that an extra 1.2 million people are able to get treatment for depression and anxiety.

Eyesight: Testing

Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many free eye tests have been given to people aged 60 years and over since 2001; and whether he plans to review the current eye test scheme. [106786]

Mr Simon Burns: The following tables show the number of national health service sight tests for persons aged 60 and over, in England from 1999-2000 to 2010-2011. This information has been extracted from the report, “General Ophthalmic Services: Activity Statistics for England, Year ending 31 March 2011”. This report is also available on the NHS Information Centre website at:

www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/gosactivity1011

Patients may qualify for an NHS sight test on more than one criterion. However, they would only be recorded against one criterion on the form. Patients are more likely to be recorded according to their clinical need rather than their age. For example, a patient aged over 60 with glaucoma is likely to be recorded in the glaucoma category only. The count by eligibility is therefore approximate. Patients may also have had more than one sight test in the specified time period.

There are currently no plans to review the arrangements for NHS sight tests.

Annex C, Table A1: NHS sight tests, by patient eligibility, in England, as at the specified financial years
  1996 - 97 1997 - 98 1998 - 99 1999 -20 00 2000- 01 2001- 02 2002- 03

Aged 60 and over

0

0

0

3,301,412

3,753,315

4,012,946

4,135,615

Children 0-15

2,353,696

2,385,520

2,458,944

2,425,666

2,404,037

2,374,943

2,284,368

Students 16-18

515,321

507,983

477,013

468,221

454,319

487,882

468,735

Adults receiving income support(1)

1,905,505

1,975,057

1,781,740

1,359,767

1,158,854

1,082,048

963,281

Adults receiving tax credits

358,073

335,711

341,887

328,471

360,033

450,475

412,478

Adults receiving JSA(2)

28,983

66,068

176,562

219,654

211,827

230,050

207,703

Low income certificate holders (HC2)

331,134

316,700

301,784

226,694

189,899

164,262

166,784

Registered blind/partially sighted

36,380

40,810

40,914

21,783

19,604

18,948

17,850

Diabetics/Glaucoma sufferers

604,841

644,345

685,107

469,375

451,601

432,819

448,147

Need complex lenses

84,409

86,276

80,498

66,029

67,462

61,129

66,268

Close relatives 40 and over of Glaucoma sufferers

589,347

632,740

647,857

512,341

496,182

491,898

490,820

Prisoner on Leave

(3)

(3)

(3)

(3)

(3)

(3)

(3)

Unallocated

22

45

28

0

0

0

0

Total

6,807,711

6,991,255

6,992,334

9,399,416

9,567,135

9,807,403

9,662,052

  2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11

Aged 60 and over

4,308,889

4,303,128

4,450,007

4,518,672

4,860,912

5,015,536

5,191,773

5,305,177

Children 0-15

2,236,329

2,206,853

2,168,542

2,113,479

2,299,159

2,313,500

2,460,089

2,449,831

Students 16-18

456,614

463,568

467,487

490,762

507,918

516,837

528,512

543,199

Adults receiving income support(1)

953,325

1,091,019

1,085,424

1,170,055

1,119,650

1,107,692

1,085,346

1,085,496

15 May 2012 : Column 75W

15 May 2012 : Column 76W

Adults receiving tax credits

474,541

528,409

538,779

569,833

660,736

675,514

689,091

696,757

Adults receiving JSA(2)

201,487

195,783

218,689

236,126

225,782

239,556

313,205

309,283

Low income certificate holders (HC2)

149,033

152,534

142,796

133,580

127,542

119,667

104,549

91,599

Registered blind/partially sighted

19,834

22,227

22,304

28,431

18,764

21,275

21,929

14,385

Diabetics/Glaucoma sufferers

474,385

589,465

646,628

597,773

591,954

605,302

708,631

723,921

Need complex lenses

71,418

72,312

70,295

86,816

82,476

75,122

62,732

73,297

Close relatives 40 and over of Glaucoma sufferers

499,404

523,680

543,605

539,345

552,997

588,114

644,244

644,450

Prisoner on Leave

(3)

(3)

(3)

(3)

(3)

360

1,550

1,134

Unallocated

0

0

122

50

0

0

0

0

Total

9,845,259

10,148,978

10,354,682

10,484,922

11,047,890

11,278,474

11,811,651

11,938,529

(1) Income support includes patients receiving pension credit guarantee credit (PCGC) as well as income-related employment and support allowance (ESA), which was introduced in October 2008. (2) Job seekers allowance. (3) Not applicable. Prisoner on leave was introduced in October 2008. Notes: 1. From 1 April 1999, eligibility for an NHS sight test was extended to everyone aged 60 or over. 2. Patients may qualify for an NHS sight test on more than one criterion. However, they would only be recorded against one criterion on the form. Patients are more likely to be recorded according to their clinical need rather than their age. For example, a patient aged over 60, with glaucoma is likely to be recorded in the glaucoma category only. The count by eligibility is therefore approximate. Source: The NHS Information Centre for health and social care.

Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health in what circumstances children of school age are entitled to free eye tests; and whether he plans to alter these arrangements. [106787]

Mr Simon Burns: All children aged under 16 are entitled to free national health service funded sight tests.

There are currently no plans to change these arrangements.

The following tables show the number of NHS sight tests provided to children aged under 16, in England from 1999-2000 to 2010-11. This information has been extracted from the report, “General Ophthalmic Services: Activity Statistics for England, Year ending 31 March 2011”. This report is also available on the NHS Information Centre website at:

www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/gosactivity1011

Annex C, Table A1: NHS sight tests, by patient eligibility, in England, as at the specified financial years
  1996 - 97 1997 - 98 1998 - 99 1999 -20 00 2000- 01 2001- 02 2002- 03

Aged 60 and over

0

0

0

3,301,412

3,753,315

4,012,946

4,135,615

Children 0-15

2,353,696

2,385,520

2,458,944

2,425,666

2,404,037

2,374,943

2,284,368

Students 16-18

515,321

507,983

477,013

468,221

454,319

487,882

468,735

Adults receiving income support(1)

1,905,505

1,975,057

1,781,740

1,359,767

1,158,854

1,082,048

963,281

Adults receiving tax credits

358,073

335,711

341,887

328,471

360,033

450,475

412,478

Adults receiving JSA(2)

28,983

66,068

176,562

219,654

211,827

230,050

207,703

Low income certificate holders (HC2)

331,134

316,700

301,784

226,694

189,899

164,262

166,784

Registered blind/partially sighted

36,380

40,810

40,914

21,783

19,604

18,948

17,850

Diabetics/Glaucoma sufferers

604,841

644,345

685,107

469,375

451,601

432,819

448,147

Need complex lenses

84,409

86,276

80,498

66,029

67,462

61,129

66,268

Close relatives 40 and over of Glaucoma sufferers

589,347

632,740

647,857

512,341

496,182

491,898

490,820

Prisoner on Leave

(3)

(3)

(3)

(3)

(3)

(3)

(3)

Unallocated

22

45

28

0

0

0

0

Total

6,807,711

6,991,255

6,992,334

9,399,416

9,567,135

9,807,403

9,662,052

  2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11

Aged 60 and over

4,308,889

4,303,128

4,450,007

4,518,672

4,860,912

5,015,536

5,191,773

5,305,177

Children 0-15

2,236,329

2,206,853

2,168,542

2,113,479

2,299,159

2,313,500

2,460,089

2,449,831

Students 16-18

456,614

463,568

467,487

490,762

507,918

516,837

528,512

543,199

Adults receiving income support(1)

953,325

1,091,019

1,085,424

1,170,055

1,119,650

1,107,692

1,085,346

1,085,496

Adults receiving tax credits

474,541

528,409

538,779

569,833

660,736

675,514

689,091

696,757

Adults receiving JSA(2)

201,487

195,783

218,689

236,126

225,782

239,556

313,205

309,283

Low income certificate holders (HC2)

149,033

152,534

142,796

133,580

127,542

119,667

104,549

91,599

Registered blind/partially sighted

19,834

22,227

22,304

28,431

18,764

21,275

21,929

14,385

15 May 2012 : Column 77W

15 May 2012 : Column 78W

Diabetics/Glaucoma sufferers

474,385

589,465

646,628

597,773

591,954

605,302

708,631

723,921

Need complex lenses

71,418

72,312

70,295

86,816

82,476

75,122

62,732

73,297

Close relatives 40 and over of Glaucoma sufferers

499,404

523,680

543,605

539,345

552,997

588,114

644,244

644,450

Prisoner on Leave

(3)

(3)

(3)

(3)

(3)

360

1,550

1,134

Unallocated

0

0

122

50

0

0

0

0

Total

9,845,259

10,148,978

10,354,682

10,484,922

11,047,890

11,278,474

11,811,651

11,938,529

(1) Income support includes patients receiving pension credit guarantee credit (PCGC) as well as income-related employment and support allowance (ESA), which was introduced in October 2008. (2) Job seekers allowance. (3) Not applicable. Prisoner on leave was introduced in October 2008. Notes: 1. From 1 April 1999, eligibility for an NHS sight test was extended to everyone aged 60 or over. 2. Patients may qualify for an NHS sight test on more than one criterion. However, they would only be recorded against one criterion on the form. Patients are more likely to be recorded according to their clinical need rather than their age. For example, a patient aged over 60, with glaucoma is likely to be recorded in the glaucoma category only. The count by eligibility is therefore approximate. Source: The NHS Information Centre for health and social care.