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Market Town Initiative: Alnwick

Lord Vinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The Market Town initiative, announced in the Rural White Paper in 2000, continues to make progress, even if in some areas slower than in others. In Alnwick the main limitation on fund availability has been the time taken to put forward its action plans and projects. However, the long-term benefit and the effectiveness of local plans are what matter most.

One North East, the Development Agency for the north east region, has set aside £2.6 million for the initiative in Northumberland over the three years 2001–02 to 2003–04. This will be allocated to the eight towns in the regional programme—including Alnwick—according to the quality of the projects put forward to the Northumberland Strategic Partnership by the individual town partnerships. One North East's single programme has been allocated sufficient funds for the initiative to continue indefinitely after 2004.

Horticulture Research International

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to ensure that Horticulture Research International remains financially viable.[HL188]

Lord Whitty: Horticulture Research International (HRI) is the subject of a quinquennial review which is examining its performance and organisational status. The report of the independent review team was published on 23 September for public consultation. The department is currently considering stakeholder comments and we expect to announce the way forward shortly. We are seeking to work closely with HRI and its stakeholders to ensure that the organisation has a viable future.

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether Ministers or officials played any part in bringing about the reopening of Stockbridge House Experimental Station following its closure in 2000.[HL192]

Lord Whitty: On 11 September 2000 Horticulture Research International (HRI) announced the closure of its operation at Stockbridge House, North Yorkshire as part of a restructuring of its business agreed with the then Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF).

MAFF, as owner of the site, subsequently made arrangements to sell the land on the open market. This was in accordance with Treasury rules which require departments to dispose of surplus assets at the best price reasonably obtainable in the market. Following HRI's withdrawal from the site on 31 March 2001, MAFF allowed Stockbridge Technology Centre to

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lease some facilities and to look after the agricultural land under a temporary management agreement pending sale.

The land was subsequently sold to Stockbridge Technology Centre, which made the best offer. The district valuer considered that its offer was fair and reasonable. The sale was handled by professional agents acting on behalf of the department.

Ministers and officials were involved in a number of discussions with HRI and others concerning the events described above. However, they did not "bring about" the sale of the land to the current owner. As explained, the land was sold in accordance with Treasury procedures for the disposal of surplus assets.

Disabled Children

Baroness Howe of Idlicote asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many disabled children live with their families; and how many in residential care; and[HL7]

    What is the number of disabled children in the United Kingdom.[HL6]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Office of Population Censuses and Surveys research published in 1989 estimated that overall there were 360,000 children under the age of 16 in Great Britain who had one or more disabilities.

Of these, the survey estimated that 91.2 per cent of these children lived with their parents, 0.6 per cent with other relatives, 2.4 per cent in foster homes and 4.4 per cent attending boarding schools either as termly or weekly boarders, while 1.5 per cent lived in communal establishments. (NB. Does not add to 100 per cent owing to rounding.)

The Children's National Service Framework (NSF)External Working Group developing standards for disabled children is considering as part of its work how best to improve the statistical information available on disabled children.

Baroness Howe of Idlicote asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What support services and financial help are provided for families with disabled children living at home; whether these services take account of the extra cost of caring for a disabled child; and whether these services are available uniformly throughout the United Kingdom.[HL10]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: A wide range of family support services is provided by the local authorities and the health service. Services include advice, guidance and counselling; short-term breaks; day care; home help; domiciliary care; nursing and medical support; social events and outings for parents and children; child care and family centres. The Government, through various programmes, including implementation of the NHS Plan and Quality

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Protects, are working to tackle inequalities and reduce unacceptable variations in NHS and social services provision. We are also increasing funding specifically for families of disabled children. Through the Quality Protects programme we have earmarked funding of £60 million over three years for services to disabled children. Next year this funding doubles from £15 million to £30 million.

There is also a range of welfare benefits available to families to help with the additional costs of caring for disabled children, depending on their individual circumstances. These include disability living allowance and invalid care allowance. In addition, the Government fund the Family Fund Trust (FFT) which supports families of severely disabled children under 16 with grants for items such as holidays and leisure breaks, washing machines and tumble dryers, bedding and clothing. The FFT operates throughout the United Kingdom. The Government are funding the charity Contact a Family to run a free national telephone help and advice line for disabled children, parents and carers.


Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is their intention to withdraw from the European Convention on Adoption in view of the Adoption and Children Act 2002.[HL15]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The United Kingdom is a signatory to the 1967 European Convention on the Adoption of Children, which restricts joint adoption to married couples. In the light of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, it is the Government's intention to denounce this outdated convention.

NHS: Delayed Discharge and Emergency Re-admission

Baroness Greengross asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the statistics collected by the Department of Health on delayed discharge and emergency re-admission are publicly available on the Department of Health website; and, if they are not, for what reasons.[HL20]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Quarterly national emergency re-admission and delayed discharge headline figures are made available on the Department of Health's website. The address is

National Committees: Manufacturer Representatives

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 14 October (WA 36–37), whether

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    they consider it would be appropriate for manufacturer representatives to be given the opportunity to sit on or present evidence to the various national committees.[HL23]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: It is for individual national committees to decide, in the context of the issues under discussion, whether representatives from commercial manufacturers should be invited to address a committee or take part in a review.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Consultants and School Nurses

Lord Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many (1) child and adolescent psychiatrists and (2) paediatricians with expertise in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder there are in (a) England and (b) Wales; and[HL34]

    How many extra (1) consultants and (2) school nurses have been recruited in (a) England and (b) Wales to tackle attention deficit hyperactivity disorder cases.[HL37]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Figures are not available concerning consultants and school nurses who have expertise in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The figures that are available for England are shown in the table and show an increase in the number of child and adolescent psychiatrists to date of 40 (9 per cent) since 1997.

Information for Wales is a matter for the devolved administration.

Child and adolescent psychiatry445485
Paediatric cardiology1654
Paediatric neurology2330

Source: Department of Health Medical and Dental Workforce Census.

Notes: Figures refer to staff in post on 31 March 2002 in the hospital, public health and community health service sectors in England.

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