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Health: Training

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Under current arrangements, strategic health authorities (SHAs) receive an indicative allocation of funding for the multiprofessional education and training budget (MPET),

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as part of a “bundle” of funding. SHAs are free to vary spend between different priority areas within the bundle, subject to the achievement of necessary performance objectives. In some cases, SHAs may use local flexibility to vary MPET spend between financial years in line with local priorities.

The extent to which SHA expenditure from the MPET budget, including carry-forward from 2006-07 budget and other local adjustments, varied in 2007-08, and the proposed SHA carry-forward into the 2008-09 budget is set out in the following table.

SHAVariation from 2007-08 SHA budget £000'sProposed SHA carry-forward from 2007-08 to 2008-09 included in previous column

East Midlands

-12,337

12,337

East of England

-34,598

-

London

-16,804

-

North East

-12

12

North West

-7,102

7,102

South Central

-29,775

3,775

South East Coast

-8,507

-

South West SHA

-11,912

-

West Midlands

-6,000

5,598

Yorkshire and Humberside

-5,598

-

England Total

-132,645

28,824

Identity Cards

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Identity Cards Scheme Cost Report published in May 2008 sets out the expected costs for the delivery of the scheme as a whole, which includes identity cards and passports. In many cases, the same application will result in the issue of both a passport and an ID card. The full cost of registering individuals for passports and ID cards is included in common costs because the same technology infrastructure and business processes will be used, thus costs cannot be separated for identity cards only.

The delivery of the national identity scheme will mainly be via private sector contracts. The majority of these will be procured using the recently awarded Strategic Supplier Group framework. Royal Mail Group expressed an interest in this procurement and was one of 46 firms that attended a briefing session at the start of this procurement.

The five suppliers appointed following this procurement (CSC, EDS, Fujitsu, IBM and Thales) may propose other organisations as subcontractors to deliver capabilities. In addition to the Strategic Supplier Group framework, the Identity and Passport Service will use other procurement mechanisms to achieve value for money such as that recently launched procurement for passport production.



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International Narcotics Control Board

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): No. A country's estimate is based, to a very large extent, on actual utilisation but can also take account of any likely future increases.

Local Area Agreements

Baroness Sharp of Guildford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Information on how many targets within local area agreements (LAAs) that relate to the well-being of or services for (a) older people, and (b) children can be found on the local priorities website at www.localpriorities.communities.gov.uk.

In addition, an at-a-glance list of all targets within LAAs, together with a tracker tool that allows more detailed analysis of how many areas have agreed targets on different indicators, can be found on the IDeA website at www.idea.gov.uk/idk/core/page.do?page ld=8399555.

National Lottery

Lord Jones of Cheltenham asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Were any change to be made to National Lottery legislation that enabled citizens of the British Overseas Territories to (i) purchase tickets for and (ii) receive winnings from the National Lottery, the operator would need to seek legal, regulatory, commercial, logistical and marketing advice in respect of each of the overseas territories. That advice could

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then be used to: estimate the costs of making tickets available for sale either via terminals or online; decide the viability of so doing (which is a commercial matter for the operator, subject to the requirements of its licence and other legal obligations); and hence estimate any potential impact for HM Treasury.

However, the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Non-governmental Organisations

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Information on the number of appointments made to non-departmental public bodies is published by the Cabinet Office in the annual Public Bodies publication. Copies can be downloaded from the Civil Service website at www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/public/bodies.asp. Summary information on the political activity of individuals appointed to posts regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments is published each year in the commissioner's annual report. Reports can be downloaded from the commissioner's website at www.ocpa.gov.uk. Copies of public bodies and of the commissioner's annual reports have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Planning: Eco-towns

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: A transport assessment of the impact of the proposed eco-town at Elsenham is being carried out. This will look at how development would impact on surrounding road and public transport networks and how modal shift and reductions in travel could be achieved. At present, no final estimate can be made of the effect of an eco-town development on the roads in question, although an initial assessment is available on the Department for Communities and Local Government website.

Post Offices: Benefits

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:



10 July 2008 : Column WA99

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): It is government policy, announced in May 2007 in response to the national public consultation on the post office network, to ensure national coverage and reasonable access to post office services with particular regard to vulnerable consumers and to rural and remote areas. Access criteria have been introduced to achieve this and in developing its closure proposals Post Office Ltd has also to take into account a range of factors relating to accessibility of service provision and the local impact of changes to it.

Under the 35 area plan proposals (out of a total of 41) which had been published by Post Office Ltd to 8 July, on average 91 per cent of the population covered will see no change in the branch they currently use and 99.1 per cent will see either no change or still be within 1 mile by road of their nearest post office.

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Vadera: The Government expect that paying customers into an account rather than by order book or giro cheque will save the taxpayer around £1 billion between 2003 and 2010. The use of order books was phased out in May 2005, but customers have continued to access pensions and benefits through the post office by means of the Post Office card account and giro cheque, or through one of the 25 bank accounts available at the post office. The Government remain committed to allowing people to access their pension and benefit in cash at the post office if they choose to do so.

Post Offices: Outreach Services

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): This is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd (POL). I have therefore asked Alan Cook, managing director of POL, to reply direct to the noble Baroness. Copies of the letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.



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Railways: Channel Tunnel

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Channel Tunnel Rail Link, now known as High Speed 1, is open to any train operator that satisfies the requirements of its network statement issued in accordance with the Railways Infrastructure (Access and Management) Regulations 2005. Continental train operators wishing to access High Speed 1 would also have to meet the requirements of Eurotunnel as owner and operator of the Channel Tunnel.

The regulatory framework for international passenger services is set at the European level by the directives of the first, second and third rail packages. These ensure transparent and non-discriminatory conditions of access for all operators whose proposed services meet the requirements of the safety and interoperability directives. The European Commission reviews the implementation of these directives; the Government have no plans to carry out any separate review.


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