Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page



8 Apr 2010 : Column WA455

reforming the criminal justice system and legal aid, saving £360 million in total: a rigorous process of setting benchmarks and costed service specifications for prisons and probation will save £40 million, with inefficient prisons put out to competition. Five competitions were launched in November. Further savings will be made by improving the management of cases through the system and making better use of the court estate. Twenty magistrates' courts will be closed in the first phase of this work. Reforms to legal aid will include means-testing for Crown Court cases from April 2010, and proposals to restructure the criminal legal aid market by consolidating the number of providers and increasing competition, as set out in Restructuring the Delivery of Criminal Defence Services;improved targeting of housing growth and regeneration funding, saving £340 million: including £40 million by concluding the New Deal for Communities, and a further £300 million from rationalising regional development agency regeneration spending and programmes, including the Working Neighbourhoods Fund, the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative, and the Housing and Planning Delivery Grant;reducing a range of budgets across the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), saving £350 million: for example, £25 million from the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA), £40 million from the Training and Development Agency, £71 million from the end of extended schools start-up funding and £10.5 million from central administration and communications budgets;improving the concessionary travel scheme, saving £180 million: legislation has been laid to move responsibility for administering the scheme to county councils from April 2011 and to re-establish the link between eligibility for concessionary fares and the state pension from April 2010;reforming or eliminating allowances that are no longer relevant for staff posted overseas: for example by ending the use of business class air travel for journeys lasting less than five hours, saving a total of £13 million; andreducing unlawful occupation of social housing, saving at least £35 million in housing benefit costs; ending smaller Communities and Local Government (CLG) funded time-limited communities programmes, saving £25 million; and rationalising other smaller CLG programmes, saving a total of £160 million.

Haiti: Reconstruction

Question

Asked by Lord Judd

Lord Brett: International agencies in Haiti continue to provide humanitarian relief. The UK has significantly

8 Apr 2010 : Column WA456

supported this, including sending a UK search and rescue team and a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship which has delivered equipment, vehicles and other food and non-food items. The UK has provided £20 million for humanitarian support and a UK team remains in Port-au-Prince to oversee delivery of this aid, which has already helped support more than 380,000 people.

In anticipation of the reconstruction of Haiti, the UK: provided a humanitarian expert for the team which has produced a draft post-disaster needs assessment; has earmarked a further £2 million for future disaster risk reduction interventions; and, through the Stabilisation Unit, is assisting the Haitian Ministry of Justice to reconstruct three prisons. Several multilateral organisations have already announced support to Haiti's reconstruction. This includes €200 million from the European Commission, $100 million from the World Bank, and $120 million from the Inter-American Development Bank. The UK's share of the reconstruction funding announced by these organisations amounts to approximately $50 million.

Health: Contaminated Blood Products

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Conwy

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Thornton): The Government carefully considered Lord Archer of Sandwell's recommendations before issuing their response, Government's response to Lord Archer's Independent report on NHS supplied contaminated blood and blood products, in May 2009 (a copy of which has already been placed in the Library). The majority of the recommendations were either already in place or will be put in place in one form or another. The actions we set out in that response have now been taken forward.

The then Secretary of State for Health (Alan Johnson) and Minister of State for Public Health (Dawn Primarolo) met Lord Archer on 11 March 2009 to discuss his report.

Health: Stroke Victims

Questions

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick



8 Apr 2010 : Column WA457

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Thornton): In the last spending review, we successfully secured additional funding in primary care trust allocations and central funding to implement the National Stroke Strategy, aimed at improving stroke services across the country. Further funding for implementation of the strategy is a matter for the next spending review and it is not possible at this stage to comment on its conclusions.

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

Baroness Thornton:NHS 2010-2015: from good to great, a copy of which has been placed in the Library, makes clear that the department is committed to ensuring that all patients get the best treatment and one of these commitments is to further improve access to a dedicated stroke unit for stroke patients. Stroke, therefore, continues to be a high priority for the National Health Service as demonstrated by its tier 1 status in the vital signs in the NHS Operating Framework for 2010-11. This requires that 80 per cent of patients spend 90 per cent or more of their time on a stroke unit by 2011. Primary care trusts' performance in improving stroke services will be measured against this. The Stroke Improvement Programme provides support to the NHS in improving stroke services. Over the next year, it will work with the NHS to go further and faster in achieving improvements in stroke services, including ensuring the timely admission of stroke patients to a dedicated stroke unit, that the strategy seeks to achieve.

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

Baroness Thornton: The stroke strategy set out a 10-year plan to improve and deliver world-class stroke services from prevention through to life long support. It encourages the effective assessment and management of vascular risk factors, and improvements in the information and advice given to people on lifestyle so that they have a better understanding of how to reduce their own risk of having a stroke. The NHS Health Check programme is a systematic programme for everyone between the ages of 40 and 74 to assess their risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease and will support people to reduce or manage their risk through individually tailored advice. Phased implementation of the programme began in April 2009. It has the potential to prevent at least 1,600 heart attacks and strokes each year when fully implemented.

The Stroke Improvement Programme, which provides support to the National Health Service in improving stroke services, is also working on prevention projects. For example, it is working with the Heart Improvement Programme, which similarly provides support to the NHS to improve heart services, and has developed commissioning guidance for stroke prevention in primary

8 Apr 2010 : Column WA458

care, focusing on the role of atrial fibrillation. We estimate that earlier detection and better management of atrial fibrillation could prevent 4,500 strokes per year.

More generally, the department has run a series of campaigns to raise both public and professional awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle in reducing the risk of a number of diseases, including stroke. These include Change4Life; Smokefree marketing to motivate people to stop smoking and direct them to NHS information and support; and a campaign on the unseen damage that drinking can cause to long-term health where the link between alcohol and stroke was one of its key messages.

Health: Venous Thromboembolism

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Thornton): The figure of £192,000 represents the central budget held by the department to support the National Health Service to improve the treatment of venous thromboembolism (VTE). In addition, primary care trust (PCT) revenue allocations will total £84 billion in 2010-11. The department does not break down PCT allocations by policies, at either the national or local level. It is for PCTs to decide their priorities for investment locally, taking into account both local priorities and the NHS Operating Framework. We do not collect information centrally on expenditure by the NHS on preventing VTE.

Indonesia

Questions

Asked by Lord Avebury

Lord Brett: It has not proved possible to respond to Lord Avebury in the time available before Prorogation.

Asked by Lord Avebury

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): It has not proved possible to respond to the noble Lord in the time available before Prorogation.



8 Apr 2010 : Column WA459

International Planned Parenthood Federation and UN Population Fund

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Lord Brett: It has not proved possible to respond to Lord Alton of Liverpool's Written Question in the time available before Prorogation. However, as agreed in Oral Questions of 8 April 2010, I will send a letter to the noble Lord with a full response.

Israel

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The UK recognises Israel's right to protect its people from attack. However we are also very clear that its actions must adhere with international law. We make frequent representations and statements where we see actions by either party that cause us concern.

I made this clear in debate on 6 April, where, in addition to confirming the representations made on illegal settlements, I confirmed "that on a range of issues-from the route of the barrier, to the operation of military courts, to the operation of the permit system which gives Palestinians the right to visit or live in Jerusalem-we are active and we are vocal".

Asked by Baroness Tonge

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: We are in regular dialogue with our key partners from the EU and the UN along with the US on the Middle East peace process and related issues. We support the quartet's statement following its conference in Moscow on 19 March which, amongst other things, called "on Israel and the Palestinians to act on the basis of international law, and on their previous agreements and obligations, in particular adherence to the Roadmap, irrespective of reciprocity".



8 Apr 2010 : Column WA460

Israel and Palestine

Questions

Asked by Lord Ahmed

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The UK is in regular dialogue with the US Administration on the Middle East peace process and related issues. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary spoke to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on 29 March. We and the US are both clear in our opposition to settlement-building.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: The UK is extremely concerned at the recent incidents of violence in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. We deeply regret the loss of life and we are given to understand that the Israeli Military Police will be carrying out an investigation into the death of the two teenagers. We will await the results of the investigation.

Libya: Abdelbaset al-Megrahi

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has not asked for copies of the monthly medical reports on Abdelbaset al-Megrahi sent to East Renfrewshire Council. It would not be appropriate for the FCO to ask the council for confidential medical reports. The FCO have no plans to monitor the location of Megrahi or to ask the Scottish Executive to do so.

East Renfrewshire was designated as the local authority responsible for monitoring Megrahi because his family lived in Newton Mearns during his imprisonment in Greenock Prison. It is for the devolved Administration in Scotland to decide how the location and health of Megrahi is monitored and it would therefore not be appropriate for the FCO to ask the Scottish Executive to monitor his location.



8 Apr 2010 : Column WA461

Mutual Societies

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Over 8,000 mutual societies are registered with the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Each of these societies is required to place copies of rules, annual accounts and lists of committee members with the FSA. These are public documents, although the FSA charges a search fee for access.

National Insurance

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): HM Revenue and Customs estimates that 1.25 million European Union and 983,000 non- European Union adult overseas nationals who have registered since January 2002 paid national insurance contributions in the 2008-09 tax year. This is based on a 2 per cent sample of national insurance records. It does not include class 4 contributions.

Northern Ireland Prison Service

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The challenges facing the Prison Service are kept under constant review by the Prisons Minister and Prison Management. The

8 Apr 2010 : Column WA462

key challenge facing the Prison Service is the move away from an environment focused on security concerns to one that seeks to engage with inmates to address effectively the causes of offending behaviour. This requires a new approach by prison officers that is being developed as part of a comprehensive programme of workforce reform. Much has already been achieved with the introduction of new sentencing arrangements with the emphasis on risk assessment and the delivery of appropriate programmes.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page