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NHS: Channel Islands

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Thornton: As part of a significant awareness campaign prior to the ending of the bilateral healthcare agreement with the Channel Islands, every National Health Service trust was informed that Channel Islands

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visitors requiring treatment other than that provided in accident and emergency should be charged as an overseas visitor from 1 April 2009. In addition, a local and national media campaign in online and printed press was undertaken. The travel industry was targeted as part of that campaign. A similar campaign in relation to the Isle of Man will start soon working closely with the Isle of Man Government.

NHS: Training

Questions

Asked by Lord MacKenzie of Culkein

Baroness Thornton: Proposals are being developed to introduce dedicated funding for selected clinical placements as part of the review of the Multi-Professional Education and Training (MPET) budget, which was commissioned following Lord Darzi's Next Stage Review. Implementation has been delayed at the request of stakeholders who have asked the department to ensure that any changes are carefully considered and, where appropriate, piloted before implementation, so as to avoid any unforeseen consequences such as destabilising clinical education, or organisations providing National Health Service services. The department supports this prudent approach and currently plans to start implementation in April 2011.

Currently, the cost of supporting clinical placements for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals is included within general service prices. These costs are fully funded but the total costs are not identified or funded separately.

Cost data collected from a sample of NHS organisations (as part of the MPET Review), to inform possible future placement rates, suggested that the aggregate sum invested in clinical placements for undergraduate medical students exceeds estimated costs by around £100 million per annum. The cost of clinical placements for pre-registration non-medical students proved more difficult to assess, because of the wide range of courses, settings and support provided in respect of different clinical placements. The review therefore concluded that it was not possible to establish a single, simple, universal non-medical clinical placement rate from such a limited costing exercise.

Proposals have therefore been developed to use the placement rate that is used successfully for undergraduate training in social care, pending more accurate identification of the non-medical clinical placement costs through the annual reference costing exercise that is undertaken by all NHS trusts. These proposals are currently being considered with the NHS.



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Northern Rock

Question

Asked by Lord Barnett

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Lord Davies has written to Baroness Noakes clarifying the answer he provided about the position of creditors in Northern Rock (Asset Management) plc. A copy of that letter has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

When Lord Davies referred to "all creditors would be paid in full" he was referring to individuals and organisations that are covered by the Government's wholesale guarantee arrangements in respect of Northern Rock (Asset Management) plc that were restated on 8 December 2009. Such persons are all:

unsecured and un-subordinated borrowings of Northern Rock (Asset Management);

amounts owing by Northern Rock Covered Bond LLP; and

unsecured wholesale depositors.

The guarantees arrangements are subject to various exclusions from scope, including exclusions for securities issued pursuant to Northern Rock (Asset Management) plc's "Granite" securitisation programme. The guarantee arrangements in respect of covered bonds are currently under review. Otherwise, the guarantee arrangements will continue until the wind down of Northern Rock (Asset Management) plc is completed. The Government has provided a working capital loan facility to Northern Rock (Asset Management) plc, currently up to £2.5 billion, to ensure the orderly wind-down of the Company and that it meets its contractual liabilities. A copy of the full terms of the guarantee arrangements are available from the Treasury website.

The Government's present intention is that Northern Rock (Asset Management) plc will be sufficiently capitalised to meet its FSA regulatory capital requirements. To this end, the Government has provided a commitment to the FSA that up to £1.6 billion in additional capital support will be provided to Northern Rock (Asset Management) plc should the need arise. Beyond that, its position will be kept under review in the light of its financial performance.

Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley



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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary and his ministerial team were unable to attend the annual Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) ministerial meeting in Athens on 1 and 2 December 2009. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary, my honourable friend Ivan Lewis and my honourable friend Chris Bryant were answering Foreign Office Questions. I was returning from the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Foreign Secretary attended the OSCE Ministerial Council in Helsinki in 2008 and the Informal Ministerial in Corfu in June 2009.

Personal Care at Home Bill

Questions

Asked by Lord Warner

Baroness Thornton: The costs associated with increasing numbers of assessments have been included in the administrative component of table 2 in the impact assessment for the Personal Care at Home Bill. The costs of assessment for those already receiving free care or partially funding their care are in the system already. A copy of the impact assessment has already been placed in the Library.

In the absence of firm data at this stage, we have assumed that the average cost of an assessment is £200 and that 135,000 extra individuals will be assessed per year, giving an overall cost estimate of £27 million per year, as shown in the impact assessment. This has been included in the estimated overall annual costs of £670 million per year for 2011-12.

Councils that are not currently differentiating between people in the Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) Critical band and those in the Substantial band are not following the current FACS guidance, which makes it clear that councils should be doing this already.

There would clearly be some additional assessments for people who are self-funders, or those with previously unmet needs and these are reflected in the estimates. For those in the FACS Critical band, who will need a further assessment of their personal care needs, we will be developing a simple, national tool to determine people's personal care needs which will ease the burden on authorities and ensure a consistent national approach.



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No separate estimate has been made of the numbers of additional staff who may be required to carry out assessments. It is for councils to decide how best to use the additional funding they will receive to manage services. In some cases, this may involve the redeployment of existing staff.

The cost of implementing the Personal Care at Home Bill will be reviewed after 12 to 18 months. Any decisions on funding allocations to councils will be made in light of the review findings.

The funding of £670 million available for the proposed measures requires councils to make significant efficiency savings (of £250 million in a full year) and this pressure, along with the scope for further efficiency gains, will be considered as part of the normal Spending Review process.

Planning: Disability Equality

Question

Asked by Baroness Wilkins

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Communities and Local Government did not establish an external sounding board specifically to advise on diversity issues and planning. Instead relevant organisations have been added to the list of external consultees on planning policy.

Ports: Business Rates

Questions

Asked by Lord Bates

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The Valuation Office Agency is responsible for assessing all non-domestic property in England and Wales and for giving each one a rateable value. The local authority is responsible for using the rateable value to calculate the rates bill for applying any discounts or reliefs and collecting the money. The Government have had no discussions with the VOA concerning a possible payment holiday.

The Government have listened to the concerns of businesses with significant and unexpected backdated bills, including some businesses within ports. It has legislated to enable such bills to be repaid over an unprecedented eight years rather than in a single

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instalment, helping affected businesses to manage the impact on their cash flows during the downturn by reducing the amount they are required to pay now by 87.5%.

Asked by Lord Bates

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The Department for Communities and Local Government has received correspondence from six MPs, concerning the issues arising from the rating review of ports, since 1 September 2009.

Asked by Lord Bates

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The Government have listened to the concerns of businesses with significant and unexpected backdated bills, including some within ports. It has legislated to enable such bills to be repaid over an unprecedented eight years rather than in a single instalment, helping affected businesses to manage the impact on their cash flows during the downturn by reducing the amount they are required to pay now by 87.5%.

As at 8 October 8 2009, local authorities reported that ratepayers occupying 221 properties within ports had fully discharged their backdated liability and ratepayers occupying a further 200 business properties within ports had been granted a schedule of payments.

Prisoners: Foreign Nationals

Question

Asked by Baroness Warsi

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The requested information is not available. The Ministry of Justice uses an extract of data taken from the police national computer (PNC) to analyse the criminal history of offenders in England and Wales.

However, the recording by the police on the PNC of the nationality of offenders is optional as there is no legislative obligation on individuals to provide this information. For this reason reliable statistics on the nationality of offenders and their criminal history cannot be compiled.



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Public Bodies

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

Baroness Crawley: The information requested is not held centrally.

Questions for Written and Oral Answer

Question

Asked by Lord Forsyth of Drumlean

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): Section 1 of the Ministerial Code, which incorporates the Resolution of both Houses, makes clear that Ministers have a duty to Parliament to account and be held to account for the policies, decisions and actions of their departments and agencies. This includes answers to parliamentary questions.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary

Questions

Asked by Lord MacKenzie of Culkein



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The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): These issues will be considered as part of the review of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, which is ongoing.

Royal Navy: Atlantic Patrol Task

Question

Asked by Lord Watson of Richmond

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The primary purpose of the Atlantic Patrol Task (North) is the promotion of British interests in the region and the security of the overseas territories. The Royal Navy has a task to maintain a presence in the Caribbean during the hurricane season. As part of a package of savings measures identified to enable the MoD to remain within 2009-10 budgets, cover outside the hurricane period has been temporarily withdrawn. We expect the task to resume in time for the forthcoming hurricane season.


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