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Written Answers

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 11 July 2006

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 10 July 2006

Constitutional Affairs

Departmental Emissions

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what recent estimate she has made of the carbon emissions of her Department; what commitment she has made to reducing such emissions; and if she will make a statement. (81336)

My Department’s last published statement on carbon emissions is 14,900 tonnes of carbon equivalent (tC) for the 2004-05 reporting year. The DCA is fully committed to reducing carbon emissions and invests in a programme of energy surveys to identify areas of potential energy savings. In addition to this the Department has also opened discussions with the Carbon Trust to look at further methods of reducing emissions including further reduction in usage and self generation.

Dr. David Kelly

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to her answer of 14 June 2006, Official Report, column 1267W, on Dr. David Kelly, on what date she expects the original documents supplied to the Hutton inquiry, currently held at the National Archives, to be made available for public inspection. (81166)

The inquiry papers are at the National Archives for cataloguing in accordance with archival standards. No date has been set for completion of this work.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what matters were discussed when officials met the Oxfordshire coroner on 11 August 2003; and whether they included consideration of the issuing of a death certificate for Dr. Kelly. (83739)

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs who requested the meeting between officials and the Oxfordshire coroner on 11 August 2003; and who was at the meeting. (83740)

The meeting was requested by the Oxfordshire coroner. The Worcestershire coroner and Honorary Secretary of the Coroners Society, a senior lawyer and the Head of Tribunals Strategy Branch of the then Lord Chancellor's Department, were also present.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to her answer of 26 June 2006, Official Report, column 304W, on Dr. David Kelly, under what authority the Oxfordshire coroner conducted a resumed hearing of the inquest into the death of Dr. Kelly on 14 August 2003; and for what purpose. (83742)

The coroner resumed the inquest on 14 August 2003 in accordance with the authority he has under section 17A(2) of the Coroners Act 1988. The purpose of the resumed hearing was to take evidence as to the interim cause of death thus enabling the coroner to fulfil his duty of sending the Registrar of Deaths the necessary particulars concerning the death.

Elections

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what steps she is taking to increase (a) voter registration and (b) electoral turnout in areas of deprivation. (83665)

The Government have embarked on a number of initiatives to promote participation in democracy. It does not directly promote voter turnout in elections; that is the role of political parties, the candidates and the Electoral Commission.

The Electoral Administration Bill makes a number of changes to improve the registration process. These include a new duty setting out the minimum steps that the electoral registration officer will be expected to take to ensure a comprehensive register and enabling people to register after an election has been called. The Bill also provides a new power for returning officers to promote participation at elections, and the Government have made available £2.5 million to support the new power.

Family Proceedings

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many judges were involved in family proceedings in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06; (83253)

(2) how many vacancies for judges in family proceedings there were in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06;

(3) what plans he has to recruit judges in family proceedings.

This information is not available in the form requested. There are 19 Judges of the Family Division of the High Court, apart from its President, and 20 District Judges in the Principal Registry of the Family Division. A further 166 judges are authorised to hear High Court family cases as Deputy High Court Judges. Family cases might also be heard in the Court of Appeal by any of the five Heads of Division, or 37 Lords Justices of Appeal, or on appeal to the House of Lords by any of the 12 Lords of Appeal in Ordinary.

There are currently 446 judges below the High Court with authorisations to hear private law Children Act cases in the county courts (dealing, for example, with contact and residence orders) and 594 judges below the High Court with authorisations to hear public law Children Act cases in the county courts (such as care proceedings).

Not all judges with such authorisations will, however, sit in family proceedings in any particular year. Other judges may deal with other forms of family proceedings including divorce and ancillary relief. Family proceedings other than divorce and ancillary relief are also dealt with by District Judges (magistrates courts) when sitting in the family proceedings courts.

Apart from the Family Division of the High Court and the Principal Registry there has been no fixed number of judges dealing with family proceedings, and so the number of vacancies for judges in family proceedings is impossible to quantify. No posts have been left vacant in the Family Division or the Principal Registry. Judges at different levels are deployed according to the needs of the courts.

The Judicial Appointments Commission is running a selection exercise for the District Bench and this may include judges who will sit in family proceedings. In addition it will be possible to ask the JAC to run selection exercises to fill vacancies in the High Court Bench and Circuit Bench and this may include specific family posts.

Inquests

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will list the occasions on which an inquest has been adjourned under section 17A of the Coroners Act 1988; and how many deaths were involved in each case. (83735)

Inquests have been adjourned under section 17A of the Coroners Act 1988 on four occasions: (1) Ladbroke Grove Rail Crash—inquests involving 31 deaths adjourned in February 2000; (2) deaths connected with Dr. Harold Shipman—inquests totalling 311 were adjourned in May 2001 and July 2002; (3) Dr. David Kelly—inquest adjourned in August 2003; (4) the Gaul fishing vessel—inquests involving four deaths were adjourned in November 2003.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to her answer of 26 June 2006, Official Report, column 305W, on inquests, how many inquests have been adjourned since 1 January 1997 because of the creation of an inquiry; and how many of these were subsequently (a) resumed and (b) not resumed. (83774)

A total of 347 inquests have been adjourned under section 17A of the Coroners Act 1988 since 1 January 1997 following the setting up of an inquiry. None of these inquests has been resumed.

Judges (North-west)

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what proportion of judges in the north-west are themselves from the north-west; and if she will make a statement. (83552)

The northern circuit, which covers the north-west, includes 93 circuit judges, 70 district judges, 15 district judges (magistrates courts), 177 recorders, eight deputy circuit judges and 129 deputy district judges. Judges are required to live within reasonable travelling distance of their home courts, although this need not necessarily be within the boundaries of the circuit.

Four High Court judges are especially linked to the circuit and act as the two presiding judges of the circuit, the Family Division liaison judge and the Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster. They divide their time between London and the north-west. Other judges may also sit in the north-west as required.

The Department does not collect information about the place of origin of judicial office-holders.

Legal Profession (Complaints)

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) how many solicitors have refused to accept decisions of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in each of the last 10 years; (83900)

(2) what rights of redress are available to those who have won decisions at both the Law Society Adjudication Panel and the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal;

(3) what sanctions are available against solicitors who refuse to accept decisions of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal;

(4) what performance standards she has set for the length of time a consumer complaint to the Law Society takes to be resolved, including where the solicitors refuses to accept decisions of the Law Society Adjudication Panel and the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

Tynwald Day

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what representatives the Government will be sending to the Tynwald Day celebrations on the Isle of Man. (83112)

Her Majesty's Government was not represented at Tynwald Day on 5 July this year. Her Majesty the Queen was represented by the Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man, His Excellency Vice Admiral Sir Paul Haddacks KCB.

Voter Registration

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the net change in voter registration as a result of its 2006 local elections registration campaign. (82998)

The Government led a successful campaign using young urban artists to raise awareness of voter registration among 18 to 24-year-olds in London before the May 2006 local government elections. We are currently undertaking an evaluation of the campaign and the results will be available later this year.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the cost was of her Department's voter registration campaign for the 2006 local elections. (82999)

In London for the May 2006 local government elections, the Government spent £192,571 on the 1824 Collective campaign which promoted awareness of voter registration among London's urban youth using the creative concept of an urban music collective to appeal to 18 to 24-year-olds.

Health

Alcohol Detoxification Programmes

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will take steps to allow pastoral outreach workers assisting alcoholics without families engaged in detoxification programmes to be treated as next-of-kin for health information purposes. (81869)

[holding answer 3 July 2006]: Patients who have the capacity to consent to the release of their personal information may consent to its release to pastoral outreach workers.

In the case of those patients who do not have that capacity, healthcare professionals may release such information to pastoral outreach workers where they consider the release would be in the best interests of their patient and that it would be in accordance with the right to respect for private life which is guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights.

These provisions are designed to provide a balance between the protection of the privacy of personal healthcare information and the communication of that information where that is appropriate, whether to pastoral outreach workers or to others.

Clinical Trial Regulations

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she will bring forward the proposed amendment to the Clinical Trials Regulations of 2004 on consent; and what steps she is taking (a) to halt and (b) to reverse the reductions in emergency care research in the meantime. (83472)

The Government are committed to the support for emergency care research. Following detailed consultation with those involved in emergency research, a provision was included in the UK Clinical Trials Regulations1 which precludes incapacitated adults participating in trials without the prior consent of their legal representative. However, after the regulations came into force, researchers involved in a large trial requiring immediate administration of a clot busting drug to resuscitate patients following a heart attack found it was impracticable to obtain consent using the provisions of the regulations. This was because the patient had usually lost capacity to consent and the limited time available for administering the trial drug did not allow contact to be made with the legal representative.

The Government therefore consulted on a proposed amendment to the regulations which would enable incapacitated adults to be entered into trials prior to the consent of a legal representative having been obtained where the trial was of a medicine to be used in emergency situations. Consent would subsequently need to be obtained. The proposal received wide support.

However, the occurrence of serious adverse reactions in a drug trial in healthy volunteers in March has led to heightened scrutiny of all clinical trial regulation, including a re-examination of this proposal to ensure that it can be justified. That re-examination is ongoing.

1 The Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations 2004 [SI 20004/1031].

Clostridium Difficile

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many deaths have been caused by the bacterium Clostridium difficile in (a) Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS and (b) England in the last three years; and what guidance her Department has issued to (i) hospitals and (ii) primary care trusts on preventing such deaths. (83738)

The data requested is not available centrally. The Office for National Statistics published figures on the number of deaths where Clostridium difficile was mentioned on the death certificate from 1999 to 2004 in Health Statistics Quarterly 30 in May 2006. The number of deaths where Clostridium difficile was mentioned on the death certificate and the number where it was also the underlying cause of death are given in the following table. The full paper is available at www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_health/HS0 30.pdf. A copy has been placed in the Library.

Number of death certificates with Clostridium difficile mentioned and as the underlying cause, England, 2002-04

Mentioned

Underlying cause

2002

1,338

709

2003

1,702

912

2004

2,155

1,187

A joint professional letter from the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Nursing Officer went out to NHS trusts in December 2005 to remind them of the importance of this infection. This letter listed the key actions to control Clostridium difficle and highlighted the guidance available.1,2 The letter is available at www.dh.gov.uk/assetroot/04/12/55/23/04125523.pdf. A copy has been placed in the Library.

As part of our delivery programme “Saving lives: a delivery programme to reduce healthcare associated infections including MRSA” a high impact intervention that is a tool to help reduce Clostridium difficile infections was published in June 2006.

A simple guide to Clostridium difficile is also available on the Department’s website at www.dh.gov.uk/assetroot/04/ll/58/84/04115884.pdf. A copy has been placed in the Library.

1 Clostridium Difficile Infection, Prevention and Management A Report by a Department of Health/PHLS joint working group. 1994

2 Guidelines for optimal surveillance of Clostridium difficile infection in hospitals Brazier JS and Duerden BI. Guidelines for optimal surveillance of Clostridium difficile infection in hospitals. Comm.Dis.Pub.Health. 1998:1;(4) 229-230.

Contraception

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what types of contraceptive are available to (a) men and (b) women through family planning clinics; what the price of each item is; and what the cost of providing each contraceptive free of charge was in the last year for which figures are available. (83200)

The type of contraceptives available to men and women through community contraceptive services are shown in the following list. However, availability will vary between clinics.

Available contraception at family planning clinics

Available to men

Male condoms

Vasectomy (referral)

Contraception advice

Available to women

Oral contraceptive methods (pill)

Intrauterine devices (IUD)

Intrauterine system (IUS)

Implants

Intertable contraceptives

Male and female condoms (femidoms)

Female sterilisation (referral)

Contraception patch

Cap/diaphragm

Other chemicals/spermacides

Natural family planning awareness

The price of each item is available from the British National Formulary and is available on their website at www.bnf.org

The cost of providing each contraceptive free of charge via community contraceptive (family planning) clinics is not collected centrally.

Death Certificates

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans the Government have to audit death certificates. (81894)

The Government are considering what else might be done to strengthen the overall system within which deaths are certified and investigated, to complement the draft Bill on coroner reform published by the Department for Constitutional Affairs on 12 June 20061.

1 Coroner Reform: The Government’s draft Bill—Improving death investigation in England and Wales, June 2006, Cm 6849

Diet

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions the Government has had on plans to promote healthy eating; and with whom. (83750)

As part of the obesity prevention programme, the Government have a well developed stakeholder engagement process to promote healthy eating. The Department has been working closely with a development group of about 40 stakeholders drawn from the non-government organisations, physical activity, food manufacturing and food retailing sectors. The group also includes the frontline services within the national health service, local government, and the Departments for Culture, Media and Sports, for Education and Skills, for Transport and for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The work of the Department is well informed by an expert review group of leading experts from the fields of behavioural psychology, nutrition and physical activity.

Doctors

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government are taking to ensure the retention of junior doctors in NHS posts. (83634)

Training opportunities are agreed locally between service and educational representatives. However, it is likely that most doctors in training posts in England, and who therefore have a reasonable expectation of competing successfully for further training, will be able to do so. As always, some doctors may need to be flexible about the specialities or locations in which they work.

Fertility Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment she has made of fertility services in Shropshire. (81849)

NHS West Midlands reports that both Shropshire county primary care trust and Telford and Wrekin PCT provide two cycles of in vitro fertilisation treatment to couples in which the woman is aged 37.5 or under at the time of treatment. Their policy on eligibility for treatment was determined before the publication of the clinical guideline on the assessment and treatment for people with fertility problems produced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

The PCTs are currently reviewing their policies against the NICE guidelines and a paper will be produced for consideration by the respective boards in the autumn.

Healthcare-acquired Infections

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital patients have (a) contracted and (b) died from exposure to healthcare-acquired infections in the constituency of North-West Cambridgeshire since 1997. (82248)

[holding answer 5 July 2006]: The information requested is not available in the format requested. However, data for meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) blood stream infections, Clostridium difficile reports and glycopeptide resistant enterococci (GRE) blood stream infections have been set out in the following tables.

Meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Number of MRSA bacteraemias

April to March each year:

Trusts in North West Cambridgeshire constituency

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust

12

25

26

12

Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

12

10

10

16

Clostridium difficile reports and glycopeptide resistant enterococci (GRE) blood stream infections

Trusts in North West Cambridgeshire constituency

Number of Clostridium difficile reports for patients 65 and over January 2004 to December 2004

Number of Glycopeptide resistant enterococci (GRE) blood stream infections reports October 2003 to September 2004

Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust

73

1

Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

166

0

Notes:

Information on deaths due to hospital acquired infections is not available. The Office for National Statistics publishes statistics on deaths with Clostridium difficile1 or MRSA2 mentioned on the death certificate. However, no information is available on where these infections were acquired either in terms of hospital or community acquisition or of strategic health authority.

1 Deaths involving Clostridium difficile: England and Wales, 1999 to 2004 Health Statistics Quarterly 30, summer 2006, pp56-60

2 Deaths involving MRSA: England and Wales, 2000 to 2004 Health Statistics Quarterly 29, spring 2006, pp63-8.

Source:

Health Protection Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital patients have (a) contracted and (b) died from exposure to MRSA or similar infections in each year since 1997. (82454)

[holding answer 5 July 2006]: The information requested is not available. The best available information is from the mandatory surveillance system which provides data on the number of reports of meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) blood stream infections from April 2001 to 30 September 2005 as shown in the table. Figures from October 2005 to March 2006 will be published later this month.

MRSA blood stream infections in England from 1 April 2001 to 30 September 2005

Period

Number of MRS bloodstream infections

1 April 2001 to 30 March 2002

7,281

1 April 2002 to 30 March 2003

7,390

1 April 2003 to 30 March 2004

7,705

1 April 2004 to 30 March 2005

7,214

1 April 2005 to 30 September 2005

3,580

Source:

Health Protection Agency

The total number of reports of Clostridium difficile associated disease in England between January and December 2004 was 44,350 and the total number of reports of clinically significant glycopeptide resistant enterococci blood stream infections in England from October 2003 to September 2004 was 620.

A national prevalence survey of hospital acquired infection was carried out this spring and interim results will be published in the autumn.

Information on deaths due to hospital acquired infections is not available. The Office for National Statistics publish statistics on deaths with Clostridium difficile1 or MRSA2 mentioned on the death certificate. However, no information is available on where these infections were acquired, either in terms of hospital or community acquisition or of strategic health authority.

1 Deaths involving Clostridium difficile. England and Wales, 1999 to 2004 Health Statistics Quarterly 30, summer 2006, pp56-60

2 Deaths involving MRSA: England and Wales, 2000 to 2004 Health Statistics Quarterly 29, spring 2006, pp63-8.

Human Pappiloma Virus Vaccine

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the human pappilloma virus vaccines will be considered at the meeting of the joint council on vaccination and immunisation in February 2007. (82547)

A joint committee on vaccination and immunisation subgroup met in May 2006 to review all available information on human pappilloma virus vaccines and will hold further meetings during 2006, reporting to the main JCVI committee once they have all the relevant information.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress the Government have made on its plans to introduce the human pappilloma virus vaccine; and if she will make a statement. (82548)

The joint committee on vaccination and immunisation subgroup met in May 2006 to review all the available information on human pappilloma virus vaccines and will hold further meetings during 2006. Implementation plans will be based on the advice of JCVI as to the most effective immunisation schedule should HPV vaccine be judged to be beneficial.

Manor Hospital, Walsall

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects a decision to be announced on approval for the contracts for the major development at the NHS Manor hospital, Walsall. (83960)

The announcement of decisions following the private finance initiative revalidation exercise will be in two waves. It is anticipated that the announcement for schemes which are most advanced—generally those that have already appointed their preferred bidder—will be in late July. The remainder will be announced later in the year.

NHS Finances

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of the level of NHS trust deficits in areas with greater than average deprivation; and what steps she is taking to reduce differences in the level of deficits between areas of above and below average deprivation; (80946)

(2) what assessment she has made of the level of NHS trust deficits in (a) rural and (b) urban areas; and what steps she is taking to reduce the difference between the level of deficits in each type of area.

Our analysis of the 2005-06 financial positions of national health service organisations has shown that there is no strong relationship between financial performance and any single factor, including the level of deprivation and the extent to which areas are urban or rural.

A full report on 2005-06 NHS financial performance is available in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the values were of purchases of health care from non-NHS providers by (a) Rochdale, (b) Bury, (c) North Manchester and (d) Oldham primary care trust in each year since 2001. (83040)

The information requested is shown in the table.

Primary care trusts—total purchase of health care from non-national health service bodies

£000

PCT Name

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

Rochdale

n/a

n/a

9,081

5,422

5,166

Bury

n/a

n/a

214

287

5,913

North Manchester

615

1,999

31

6,001

1,472

Oldham

n/a

n/a

11,660

11,988

11,652

Source:

Annual financial returns of the named primary care trusts.

NHS Professionals

To ask the Secretary of State for Health who is responsible for auditing NHS Professionals. (83745)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage mark-up NHS Professionals adds in each region to the rates charged by private agencies for the supply of each category of temporary staff. (83746)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to change the structure of NHS Professionals. (83747)

The future organisational form of NHS Professionals is yet to be determined. My officials are working with NHS Professionals on its future structure.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when NHS Professionals is budgeted to break even in its annual running costs. (83748)

The Department is working closely with NHS Professionals to ensure it becomes self-financing from 2007-08.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what were the set-up costs of NHS Professionals; and what the annual running costs have been in each year since its establishment. (83749)

The Government initially invested £7 million in the pilot sites of St. Mary’s national health service Trust, Paddington; Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust; West Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service; John Radcliffe Hospital NHS Trust; East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust; North Bristol NHS Trust in 2001-02 and a further £24 million to roll out operations more widely in 2002-03. NHS Professionals became a special health authority on 1 January 2004 and details of its running costs are available in its annual accounts which are available in the Library.

Nurse Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent assessment she has made of the syllabus for nurse training; and if she will make a statement; (82869)

(2) whether there is a preliminary training school module in nurse training;

(3) in what module of nurse training discipline and courtesy is taught.

[holding answer 6 July 2006]: The Department is not responsible for setting curricula for nurse training. The Nursing and Midwifery Council sets the standards for registration as a qualified nurse or midwife. The education standards set by the NMC are at a broad level of principle and are used by higher education institutions to inform their curriculum development. The NMC closely monitors the standards of pre-registration education and quality assures courses to ensure that they are teaching the required skills and knowledge to the right standard. This includes the development of communication skills, both with patients and with other members of the health care team.

Palliative Care for the Terminally Ill

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations she has received about the Palliative Care for the Terminally Ill Bill; how many (a) supported and (b) opposed the Bill; and if she will make a statement. (73279)

We have received 20 letters concerning the Palliative Care for the Terminally Ill Bill forwarded by hon. Members on behalf of constituents, and one from a member of the public directly. All of these were supportive of the Bill.

The Government are still considering the Bill, and will make their position known in due course.

Performance Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures her Department has introduced to improve performance management and local delivery monitoring. (81521)

The Department has an established system of local delivery planning over the past decade that establishes trajectories for delivery of the key national targets set out in the planning and priorities framework ‘National Standards, Local Action’ (2005).

To support this, monthly and quarterly returns from the national health service are collected which report local progress against these plans. Under the performance regime established in ‘Shifting the Balance of Power’ (2001) and ‘The NHS Improvement Plan’ (2004), the Department performance manages strategic health authorities, and SHAs performance manage delivery by NHS trusts and primary care trusts.

The monthly and quarterly returns are routinely revised to ensure that the data tracks the most significant issues that drive delivery.

‘Health Reform in England’ (2005) signals developments in the performance regime over the next few years, especially an emphasis on early warning of potential poor performance.

Physiotherapists

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time was for physiotherapy in each year since 1997. (81805)

Reproductive Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many representations she has received about (a) death and (b) disability resulting from the contraceptive pill in the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement. (81284)

In the last year, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which is the Government agency responsible for evaluating the safety, quality and efficacy of all licensed medicines, has received eight reports of suspected adverse drug reactions in association with the use of a contraceptive pill that were considered to be disabling or incapacitating by the reporter.

The reporting of a suspected adverse reaction does not necessarily mean that the drug was responsible. It is possible that, in some cases, a new or underlying medical condition or concomitant medication may have been responsible. In two of these cases, (an)other medicine/medicines were also considered to be causally related to the reaction by the reporter. Furthermore, the coincidental occurrence of some adverse events in women taking hormonal contraceptives is inevitable given their widespread use.

Regarding the number of suspected reactions with a fatal outcome that have been reported, the MHRA is unable to release information when it relates to five or fewer cases of any suspected ADRs in order to prevent identification of the patients or the reporter. For this reason we are unable to disclose the exact number of reported cases.

Turnaround Teams

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been paid by (a) Yorkshire Wolds and Coast primary care trust and (b) other PCTs in turnaround to (i) Ernst and Young and (ii) other companies assisting with turnaround. (80714)

This information is being collected for the Health Select Committee and is not yet ready for release.

Vaccine Damage Payments

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many vaccine damage payments were made in respect of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in each of the last five years; and what proportion this represents of (a) all vaccine damage payments and (b) all doses of measles, mumps and rubella. (82325)

I have been asked to reply.

The Vaccine Damage Payments Unit (VDPU) do not hold information about specific vaccinations linked to successful claims. Claimants are asked to specify on the claim form all the vaccinations that the disabled person has received, not just the vaccine that is claimed to have caused the disablement. As a number of vaccinations are often given in close proximity, often on the same day, it is not always possible to state categorically which has caused the adverse reaction. It is therefore not possible to state how many vaccine damage payments have been made in respect of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

(a) The VDPU does however record details of all the vaccinations noted on the claim form. Out of 24 successful awards in the last five years, there have been two where the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine was among those listed on the claim form.

(b) If those two claims were awarded in respect of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine this would represent one per 4.3 million doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

Waiting Times

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time was for functional electrical stimulation treatment in (a) England and (b) Dorset in the last year for which figures are available. (84122)

The official figures on waiting times show the length of time that people currently on the list for treatment have been waiting. The data are collected at consultant-led speciality level, for example neurology and clinical neuro-physiology. It is not possible to split this data down to show waiting list data for specific operations and treatments such as functional electrical stimulation.

Treasury

Air Passenger Duty

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the case for (a) changes in the basis of air passenger duty from payment per passenger to payment per flight and (b) relating the level of such payments to the amount of carbon dioxide and other pollutants produced during the flight; and if he will make a statement. (82849)

A discussion paper published jointly by Her Majesty’s Treasury and the Department for Transport in March 2003, entitled “Aviation and the Environment: Using Economic Instruments”, considered the role of economic instruments and the environmental costs of aviation. This was also considered in the Air Transport White Paper, “The Future of Air Transport”, published on 16 December 2003 and in chapter 5 of “Aviation and Global Warming”, published by the Department for Transport on 10 February 2004.

The Air Transport White Paper set out the conclusions of the Government's analysis, including our view that aviation should be brought within the EU emissions trading scheme by 2008, as the most effective way of tackling the climate change impact. Along with other measures to tackle local environmental impacts, this will help to ensure that the air transport sector meets its environmental costs.

In the Financial Statement and Budget Report 2006 the Government stated that:

"the Government is aware that economic instruments, including APD, may provide a route through which improved environmental performance in the aviation sector can be incentivised and so will continue to explore options for developing further such measures."

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason transit flights are exempt from air passenger duty; and what estimate he has made of how much extra revenue would be raised per annum were such flights subject to this duty. (82850)

Not all transit flights are exempt from air passenger duty and in order to qualify specific criteria must be met. These are set out in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs' public notice 550, which gives details of the specific requirements of the exemption criteria. This notice can be obtained from the Revenue and Customs website at www.hmrc.gov.uk

Exempting connecting flights ensures that passengers are not taxed twice for a journey when making a connecting flight within the UK, or that if they are entering the UK in transit to an end destination outside the UK they are not taxed merely for the short stopover in the UK that is necessary to catch a connecting flight.

HMRC does not collect data on the number of transit passengers that pass through UK airports, and therefore we have not made any analysis on the extra revenue that charging APD on these passengers would raise.

Arms Imports

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 13 June 2006, Official Report, column 5767W, on AK-47s, what UK custom entry clearance has been issued to UK based companies for the importation of pallets of small arms from Bosnia since June 2003. (83921)

Since June 2003 UK Customs have issued no entry clearances to UK companies in respect of items that might be classed as small arms under commodity code 9302 or 9304.

Bank Notes

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the expected period of use is of the (a) £5, (b) £10, (c) £20 and (d) £50 note. (83456)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given by the then Financial Secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for East Ham (Mr. Timms), to my hon. Friend the Member for Pendle (Mr. Prentice) on 14 March 2005, Official Report, column 84W.

Barker Review

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the Barker review of land use planning policy to report. (83003)

The interim report of the Barker review of land use planning was published on 4 July 2006. The final report is due later in 2006.

Child Tax Credits

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of child tax credits on child poverty since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (83898)

Between 1998-99 and 2004-05, 700,000 children have been lifted out of relative poverty. Macroeconomic stability, active labour market policies such as the new deal, policies to make work pay such as the working tax credit, and financial support for families, including the child tax credit, have all contributed to this success.

Since 2002-03, the last year before child tax credit and working tax credit were introduced, 200,000 children have been lifted out of relative poverty.

As a result of the Government’s reforms to the tax and benefit system since 1997, by October 2006, in real terms, families with children will be, on average, £1,500 a year better off, while those in the poorest fifth will be, on average, £3,400 per year better off.

Civil Service, Wales

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures he plans to take to ensure that civil service job cuts in Wales do not adversely affect economic regeneration of Objective 1 areas. (83934)

The Government are committed to strengthening the Welsh economy and regenerating Objective 1 areas.

Following Sir Michael Lyons’ independent review of public sector relocation the Government undertook to relocate 20,000 posts out of London and the south-east by 2010. By April 2006 7,800 posts had moved to every country and region in the UK, including more than 1,600 to Wales.

Since 1997 employment in Wales has increased by more than 10 per cent., with an additional 123,000 jobs created.

In order to target resources into improving key front-line services, the Government are committed to reducing the number of civil servants engaged in non-frontline functions by 70,600 (net) by 2008. Departments are responsible for implementing their work force targets and HM Treasury does not hold data showing the location of each affected site.

Regeneration spending, including the Objective 1 programme, is a devolved matter for the Welsh Assembly Government.

Correspondence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 28 June 2006, Official Report, column 410W, on correspondence, what estimate he has made of the cost of answering the question; and if he will make a statement. (82678)

It is not possible to identify separately the average cost of officials’ time in replying to letters from hon. Members and members of the public. Such correspondence is often of a varied and complex nature. Therefore any exercise to determine the average cost in officials’ time in responding to letters would incur disproportionate cost.

It is not possible to identify separately stationery and postage costs for the Department when replying to correspondence from hon. Members and members of the public.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Chairman of HM Revenue and Customs will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Walsall, North of 18 May regarding a constituent; and what the reason is for the delay in replying. (83400)

I understand that HMRC wrote to the hon. Member on 6 July and that they will be writing again very shortly.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Tax Credit Office will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Walsall, North of 23 May; ref: 2006-05 008197. (83401)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will reply to the letter of 2 May 2006 from the hon. Member for Castle Point enclosing one from Mr. Layzell of 27 April 2006. (84144)

Double Taxation Agreements

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many requests from overseas tax authorities HM Revenue and Customs has received in the past three years pursuant to the operation of actual assistance provisions of UK double taxation agreements; from which countries these requests have been received; what amount of tax was claimed in each case; and what checks HMRC applied in pursuance of provisions corresponding to (a) article 27 para 2 and (b) other articles of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development mutual convention to satisfy itself that the tax they were asked to collect was properly due and payable. (83221)

At present the UK has no provisions in any of its double taxation agreements that correspond to article 27 of the OECD model convention nor has it ratified the Council of Europe/OECD convention on mutual administrative assistance in tax matters.

Draft Bills

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what draft Bills have been produced by his Department since October 2005; how many were (a) examined and (b) are planned to be examined by (i) a departmental Select Committee and (ii) a Joint Committee; what draft Bills are still to be produced by his Department; when each is to be published; how many clauses each has; and if he will make a statement; (81250)

(2) what his practice is regarding meeting, discussing and taking into account the views and opinions of (a) private individuals and (b) representatives of organisations when drawing up and framing legislation to be introduced by his Department; and if he will make a statement.

The Treasury has not introduced any Bills in draft in the period covered by the hon. Member’s question. Announcements on future legislation and future draft legislation that will be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny will be indicated in the Queen’s Speech.

The Treasury seeks a full range of views when drawing up and framing legislation. Consultation is a key part of the policy making process, both formal and informal. The Treasury holds regular meetings with representatives of the principal stakeholder groups for our policy areas and with relevant experts. Organisations and individuals can also contribute to the Treasury’s formal consultations that abide by the code of conduct on consultation. As required by the code, the Department then gives feedback on the responses received and on how the consultation process influenced the policy decision.

Economically Inactive Persons

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the ratio is of economically inactive persons to the number of persons engaged in manufacturing industry in (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Scotland. (83803)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 10 July 2006:

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question about the ratio of economically inactive persons to the number of persons employed in manufacturing in (a) England (b) Wales and (c) Scotland. I am replying in her absence. (83803)

The attached table gives the ratio of persons economically inactive to people employed in manufacturing for the 3 countries of Great Britain for the period three month ending March 2006.

Estimates are taken from the Office for National Statistics’ Labour Force Survey (LFS). As with any sample survey, estimates from the LFS are subject to a margin of uncertainty.

Economically inactive people and people employed in the manufacturing1 industry by country of residence for people of working age2 not seasonally adjusted

Three months ending March 2006

Economically inactive (Thousand)

Employed in manufacturing industry (Thousand)

Ratio3

England

6,455

3,008

2.1

Wales

446

183

2.4

Scotland

652

254

2.6

1 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC92) code D.

2 Men aged 16-64 or women 16-59.

3 Economically active people divided by the number of those in employment in manufacturing industry.

Source:

ONS Labour Force Survey

Education Capital Projects

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) which education capital projects are VAT exempt; (84183)

(2) what criteria are used to decide what type of education capital projects are VAT exempt;

(3) what representations he has received from the further education sector about the VAT status of further education capital projects;

(4) what assessment his Department has made of the impact of VAT on further education capital projects;

(5) if he will take steps to ensure that further education and schools capital projects receive the same treatment.

VAT is chargeable on the construction of all buildings in the education sector, except those that will be used at least 90 per cent. for a relevant charitable purpose, such as the provision of free-of-charge education by a charity. In such cases, construction of the building is VAT zero rated. VAT agreements with our European partners mean that, while we can maintain this relief for the construction of charitable buildings, it cannot be extended further.

However, where VAT is chargeable on capital projects, it can be reclaimed from HMRC to the extent that it relates to taxable business use of the facilities. In addition, local authorities can usually reclaim from HMRC all VAT costs relating to the educational institutions that they maintain.

Refund arrangements for local authorities reflect a commitment, made when VAT was first introduced, that VAT would not fall as a burden on local taxation. Accordingly, since 1997, bodies have been admitted to these refund arrangements only where they undertake a function ordinarily carried on by local government and have the power to draw their funding directly from local taxation. Unlike local authority maintained institutions, further education colleges do not meet the second of these conditions.

It is reasonable to expect that bids for public funding by further education colleges should take into account that they are not eligible for the VAT refund arrangements that apply for local authority maintained institutions. However, no detailed assessment has been made of the impact of VAT on further education capital projects.

Representations are regularly made to Treasury Ministers by MPs and stakeholders on a wide range of issues, including VAT and extended use of educational facilities.

Engagements

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many military establishments he has visited in each of the last five years. (65762)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave to the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth) on 13 January 2005, Official Report, column 595W.

Extradition

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has made to the Home Secretary on the taking of emergency measures to alter the Extradition Act 2003. (83041)

Treasury Ministers discuss a wide range of issues on a regular basis with their colleagues in the Home Office and other Departments.

Financial Capability

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which citizens advice bureaux are working in partnership with the personal finance education group on financial capability in schools; and what plans he has to expand this project. (81078)

I welcome the excellent work that citizens advice bureaux are doing with PFEG to improve the financial capability of students in schools, including the successful pilot they ran with independent financial advisers as part of the FSA-led national strategy for financial capability. In addition, I welcome the involvement of citizens advice bureaux in the £45 million financial inclusion fund project to deliver a significant increase in the capacity of free face-to-face debt advice for the financially excluded. I look forward to the outcome of these important projects with interest.

Financial Support (Pregnancy)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the merits of providing financial assistance to low-income families during pregnancy; and whether there are any plans to provide any such financial support. (82824)

Statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance and the Sure Start maternity grant provide financial support for low-income families during pregnancy. Statutory maternity pay and maternity allowance are worth £108.85 a week for up to 26 weeks, and may be taken from 11 weeks prior to the birth of the child. The Sure Start maternity grant is worth £500 per baby and may be claimed from the 29th week of pregnancy. The Government also run the welfare food scheme, which provides free milk, infant formula and vitamins to pregnant women on low incomes.

Health Statistics

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the rate was of (a) cancers and (b) stroke in West Suffolk in each of the past five years. (82729)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 10 July 2006:

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what the rate was of (a) cancers and (b) stroke in West Suffolk in each of the past five years. I am replying in her absence. [82729]

A: Cancers—incidence

The latest available rates for newly diagnosed cases of cancer (incidence) are for the year 2003. Incidence rates are not available centrally for parliamentary constituencies. Cancer incidence rates for all malignant cancers excluding non-melanoma skin cancer for the years 1999-2003 are given in Table 1 below for the Forest Heath and St. Edmundsbury local authorities.

B: Stroke—incidence

There is no complete register of stroke cases. Information is available centrally on emergency admission to hospital from the NHS Hospital Episode System (HES), and on death registrations.

Figures on emergency admissions to hospital for strokes can be found on the Clinical and Health Outcomes Knowledge Base website: http://www.nchod.nhs.uk/. (Table reference numbers: 10C_5281SR7CM_04-V2 (males) 10C_5281SR7CF_04-V2 (females)). Figures are available for England, Government Office Regions, Strategic Health Authorities, Local Authorities and Primary Care Organisations. The latest year for which data are available is for the financial year 2003/04.

C: Cancers and Stroke—mortality

Mortality rates for parliamentary constituencies cannot be provided because population estimates are not available for these areas. Figures in Table 2 below are provided for the local authorities making up the requested constituency. The figures for 2000 have been adjusted to take account of revisions to the International Classification of Diseases where appropriate.

The introduction of ICD-10 for coding cause of death in England and Wales in 2001 means that data for cancer are not completely comparable with data for years before this date. The effect of the change in classification in 2001 on deaths from these causes is described in a report published in May 2002: “Office for National Statistics. Results of the ICD-10 bridge coding study, England and Wales, 1999. Health Statistics Quarterly 14 (2002), 75-83”.

For cancer (malignant neoplasms) the introduction of ICD-10 caused an increase of 2.3 per cent. in the number of deaths coded to these conditions in England and Wales. Deaths in 2000 from these causes have been adjusted to provide rates which are comparable with those for 2001-2004.

The local authority of Forest Heath falls wholly within West Suffolk parliamentary constituency. The local authority of St. Edmundsbury comprises parts of West Suffolk, South Suffolk and Bury St. Edmunds parliamentary constituencies.

Table 1: Incidence rates1 per million population for all malignant cancers2, by sex, registered in the local authorities of Forest Heath and St. Edmundsbury, 1999-2003

All cancers excluding nmsc

Male

Female

1999

3,849

3,671

2000

3,611

3,432

2001

3,706

3,295

2002

4,040

3,500

2003

4,430

3,495

1 Rates per million population standardised to the European Standard Population.

2 “All malignant cancers” are defined by codes C00-C97 excluding non-melanoma skin cancer (nmsc) code C44 in the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD 10).

Source:

Office for National Statistics.

Table 2: Death rates1 for cancer and stroke2 for the local authorities of Forest Heath and St. Edmundsbury3, 2001-04

Death rates cancer

Death rates stroke

Forest Heath

St. Edmundsbury

Forest Heath

St. Edmundsbury

2000

1,961

1,590

510

601

2001

1,447

1,723

767

679

2002

2,145

1,676

610

664

2003

2,095

1,845

560

553

2004

1,609

1,815

541

464

1 Rates per 1,000,000 population standardised to the European Standard Population.

2 The cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9), 2000 and Tenth Revision (ICD-10), 2001-2004. The codes used are: Cancer ICD9 140-208, ICD10 C00-C97 and Stroke ICD9 430-438, ICD10 160-169. Deaths were selected using the original underlying cause.

3 Usual residents of this area.

4 Deaths registered in each calendar year..

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the rate of infant mortality was in West Suffolk in each of the past five years. (82730)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 10 July 2006:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the rate of infant mortality was in West Suffolk in each of the past five years. (82730)

The infant mortality rates for West Suffolk parliamentary constituency from 2000 to 2004 (the most recent year for which figures are available) are given in the table below.

Infant mortality rate1 for West Suffolk parliamentary constituency2, 2000-04

Number

2000

4.5

2001

5.9

2002

2.3

2003

5.2

2004

7.0

1 Deaths aged under one year per 1,000 live births.

2 West Suffolk parliamentary constituency boundary based on May 2006 All Fields Postcode File.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) perinatal and (b) infant mortality rates were in each health authority in England in each of the last five years for which figures are available. (83198)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 10 July 2006:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the (a) perinatal and (b) infant mortality rates were in each health authority in England in each of the last five years. (83198)

The perinatal and infant mortality rates for the health authorities in England from 2000 to 2004 (the most recent year for which figures are available) are given in the attached table.

Perinatal mortality ratel, England health authorities2, 2000-04

Strategic health authority

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

England

8.2

8.0

8.4

8.5

8.1

Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire

6.9

6.6

6.6

7.3

6.4

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire

7.0

8.3

7.8

7.5

8.4

Essex

7.2

6.0

8.5

7.1

8.1

North West London

8.6

8.8

9.4

8.3

8.6

North Central London

8.4

9.9

9.0

8.5

9.3

North East London

10.1

9.3

9.4

10.9

9.5

South East London

9.6

9.5

10.2

11.6

9.7

South West London

8.3

6.9

8.0

7.6

7.0

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear

7.8

7.8

8.5

7.6

7.3

County Durham and Tees Valley

9.2

8.0

7.8

7.9

8.0

North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire

8.2

6.0

7.7

7.0

7.6

West Yorkshire

10.6

8.4

10.3

10.1

9.4

Cumbria and Lancashire

8.6

8.4

7.8

9.4

7.2

Greater Manchester

9.1

9.4

8.8

9.7

8.9

Cheshire and Merseyside

7.9

8.2

8.5

8.1

8.2

Thames Valley

6.9

8.3

7.4

7.3

7.3

Hampshire and Isle of Wight

6.7

7.0

6.3

6.5

6.7

Kent and Medway

6.2

6.8

6.8

7.9

7.0

Surrey and Sussex

6.5

5.1

6.9

6.3

6.8

Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire

6.9

7.8

6.9

6.2

7.1

South West Peninsula

6.1

6.5

7.1

8.3

8.5

Dorset and Somerset

6.7

6.6

6.5

6.9

5.7

South Yorkshire

9.4

8.0

8.5

9.1

8.7

Trent

7.3

7.8

7.9

9.7

7.9

Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland

8.4

8.1

9.3

9.0

8.7

Shropshire and Staffordshire

9.2

9.2

8.3

9.3

7.6

Birmingham and the Black Country

10.8

10.0

11.8

12.1

11.3

Coventry, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire

8.1

7.1

8.6

7.2

7.9

1 Stillbirths and deaths aged under one week per 1,000 live and stillbirths.

2 Health authority boundaries based on May 2006 All Fields Postcode File.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the most recent infant mortality rate was in (a) Stoke-on-Trent, (b) the west midlands and (c) England. (80606)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 10 June 2006:

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the most recent infant mortality rate was in (a) Stoke-on-Trent, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England. I am replying in her absence. (80606)

The table below gives the infant mortality rate for the most recent year available.

Infant mortality rate1, Stoke-on-Trent, West Midlands and England, 2004

Rate

Stoke-on-Trent

7.7

West Midlands

6.3

England

5.0

1 Rate per 1,000 live births.

HM Customs and Excise

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many officials were employed by HM Customs and Excise in each year since 1997; and how many were front-line staff in each year. (83576)

The following table shows the full-time equivalent numbers of staff employed by HM Customs and Excise at 1 April 1997 to 1 April 2005, split between those in “front-line” work (i.e. dealing with traders and customers) and those in support and policy work.

Year at 1 April

Front line

Support and policy

Total

1997

19,236

4,256

23,492

1998

19,476

4,240

23,716

1999

18,704

4,171

22,875

2000

18,659

3,933

22,595

2001

18,723

3,822

22,545

2002

18,408

3,877

22,285

2003

18,042

4,497

22,539

2004

18,591

4,392

22,983

2005

19,219

4,138

23,353

HM Revenue and Customs Offices

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether local HM Revenue and Customs offices are meeting their targets for responding to postal enquiries; and if he will make a statement. (83380)

HMRC has a service standard which aims to deal with 80 per cent. of postal contact within 15 working days of receipt and 95 per cent. within 40 working days, against which the Department achieved cumulative results in 2005-06 of 79.2 per cent. and 91.7 per cent. respectively. Results for 2006-07 are not yet available.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the latest estimate is of the number of open cases at each HM Revenue and Customs office in each month since January 2005; and if he will make a statement. (83444)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people HM Revenue and Customs employs in collecting taxes; how many there were (a) 5, (b) 10 and (c) 20 years ago; what his estimate is of the cost of tax collection in 2006-07; and what it was (i) 5, (ii) 10 and (iii) 20 years ago. (83453)

The average number of HM Revenue and Customs staff employed in collecting taxes in 2005-06 was 93,574.

HM Revenue and Customs estimate for 2006-07 anticipates the cost of collecting taxes in that financial year to be £4,122 million.

The number of staff involved in collected taxes and the associated costs for 5, 10 and 20 years ago can be obtained from the annual reports of HM Customs and Excise and HM Inland Revenue for the financial years 1985-86, 1995-96 and 2000-01. These publications— Command Documents 9831, 5, 230, 3427, 3446, 5304 and 5309—can be obtained from the Library of the House.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on plans for the future of the HM Revenue and Customs offices in Yeovil. (82888)

Income Statistics (West Lancashire)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the income per head was in West Lancashire constituency in each of the last five years. (83549)

The latest estimates for the mean and median of total income (for taxpayers only) by constituency can be found in table 3.15 Income and tax by Parliamentary Constituency on HM Revenue and Customs website http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/income_distribution/menu-by-year.htm#315.

The information is based on the latest surveys of personal incomes (2003-04 and 2003-04).

Because sample sizes at constituency level are small and estimates can demonstrate a large variability from year to year, inference from the information in the table for 2003-04 should take into account the confidence intervals in table 3.15a Income and tax by Parliamentary Constituency, Confidence Intervals.

Similar information including non taxpayers is not available.

Income Tax

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the standard income tax reliefs are; and which attract relief at the (a) basic rate and (b) payer's marginal rates. (83801)

The standard income tax reliefs are the personal allowance, £5,035 in 2006-07, and the age related levels of the personal allowance, £7,280 in 2006-07 for people aged 65-74 and £7,420 for people aged 75 and over. All attract relief at the marginal rate.

Incomes (Tax Allowances)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the loss of revenue to the Exchequer would be if allowances against tax on incomes were raised by (a) £50, (b) £100, (c) £150, (d) £200, (e) £250 and (f) £300; (83799)

(2) what increase in tax revenue would follow from raising the standard rate of income tax by (a) two pence and (b) six pence at current levels of income and with no changes in the income tax allowances and rates.

The information requested can be calculated from the figures shown in table 1.6 "Direct effects of illustrative tax changes" on HM Revenue and Customs website at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/tax_expenditures/menu.htm.

The cost of changing the personal allowance or the basic income tax rate is proportional to the changes to allowances and rates provided in the table.

Inheritance Tax

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many residents in the West Lancashire constituency paid inheritance tax in each of the last five years. (83548)

Judicial Review

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what occasions an (a) individual and (b) organisation has applied for a judicial review against his Department in each year since 1997; and what the (i) reason for the review and (ii) outcome was of each. (80167)

Our records show that the number of occasions on which persons have written a letter before action or instituted a claim for judicial review against HM Treasury have been one each in 1997 and 1998, three in 1999, 0 in 2000, five in 2001, 0 in 2002, two in 2003, one in 2004 and four in 2005.

There were three applications for judicial review in 2005. Two of these were unsuccessful at permission stage and the other one was withdrawn on the basis of a settlement agreed between the parties. The former cases concerned the award of a waste management contract and a refusal to permit the payment of taxes into a separate fund out of which military expenditure is not paid. The latter case concerned the operating and financial review for public companies. It is not possible to provide similar information for cases in earlier years without incurring disproportionate cost.

The Treasury has been involved in other litigation since 1997 in addition to the cases mentioned but it is not possible to distinguish those further cases which were judicial reviews without incurring disproportionate cost.

Local Government Workers

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost to the UK economy of the local government workers strike on 28 March. (82497)

I have been asked to reply.

This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate costs.

Minimum Wage

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people aged (a) 22 years and over, (b) 18 to 21 years and (c) under 18 years are receiving the minimum wage in each (i) London borough and (ii) constituency; and if he will make a statement. (82934)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 10 July 2006:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question to ask how many people aged (a) 22 years and over, (b) 18 to 21 years and (c) under 18 years are receiving the minimum wage in each (i) London borough and (ii) national constituency. (82934)

Estimates for the number of jobs paid at the minimum wage for Parliamentary Constituencies and Local Authorities are not available. However the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates the number of jobs paid less than national minimum wage rates for the United Kingdom and Government Office Regions. A guide to measuring low pay and associated articles and data can be found on the National Statistics website at:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=5837 &Pos=1&ColRank=1&Rank=272

Named Day Questions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (a) how many named day written parliamentary questions his Department received in each of the last three years; (b) what percentage of named day written parliamentary questions his Department answered within the requested time limit; and (c) what the average delay was for those questions which were not answered within the requested time limit. (83214)

Information in respect of (a) and (b) for the 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 sessions is given in the following table:

Session

Questions tabled

Percentage answered on the named day

2003-04

518

74.7

2004-05

287

79.4

2005-06

762

72.6

The information sought at (c) could only be calculated and related to the pattern of sittings of the House of Commons at disproportionate cost.

National Insurance Contributions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people his Department calculated as being liable for payment of national insurance contributions in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (83590)

Information on the estimated number of individuals making national insurance contributions is shown in Table CQY 1.0 on the Department for Work and Pensions internet website http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/dsu/contsandqualify/Conts_and_Qual_Years_tables05.xls

Official Visit (Nigeria)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on which date the Prime Minister gave written approval for his trip to Nigeria on 22 May. (84093)

Orphan Funds

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his most recent estimate is of the total amount of money held in orphan funds in banks and financial institutions. (82979)

The term orphan funds can refer to unclaimed assets. The Government and the industry have agreed that the definition of an unclaimed asset should generally cover bank and building society accounts where there has been no customer activity for a period of 15 years as that will best identify those accounts that are genuinely unclaimed. On this basis, initial record searches by the industry suggest that several hundred million pounds may currently lie unclaimed.

Orphan funds may also refer to certain assets of insurance companies. The Treasury has made no official estimate of the value of these assets.

Pensions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what annual savings to 2012 he estimates would be made if the lifetime allowance for tax privileged pension savings was frozen at £1.5 million. (83071)

As announced in Budget 2004 the lifetime allowance on the amount of pension saving that can benefit from tax relief has been set for years to and including financial year 2010-11.

The revenue yield is very difficult to estimate and the figures provided are consequently uncertain. In particular there are consequences for transitional protection arrangements and scope for behavioural change. The estimate is based on the number of individuals constrained in their contributions to pension saving by the LTA.

If the LTA were fixed at £1.5 million for a further five years until 6 April 2012, we estimate reduced pension contributions would yield additional income tax of around £150 million, aggregated over five years. This estimate takes into account the estimated reduction in tax yields as a result of reduced pensions in payment these contributions would otherwise have funded.

Personal Finance Education

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the Treasury, the Financial Services Authority and the Department for Education and Skills will measure the effectiveness of personal finance education being introduced into the school curriculum. (83258)

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority will monitor the effectiveness of personal finance education in the curriculum to ensure it remains current and appropriate for the needs of individuals and the nation. The FSA recently conducted a benchmark survey measuring the extent to which personal finance education is being taught in schools and the confidence of teachers in delivering it. This survey will be repeated every four to five years.

Population Statistics

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the population of (a) the UK and (b) each region of the UK is (i) under 25, (ii) between 25 and 34, (iii) between 35 and 44, (iv) between 45 and 54, (v) between 55 and 64 and (vi) over 65 years of age. (82922)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 10 July 2006:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your question about what percentage of the population of (a) the UK and (b) each region of the UK is (i) under 25, (ii) between 25 and 34, (iii) between 35 and 44, (iv) between 45 and 54, (v) between 55 and 64 and (vi) over 65 years of age. (82922)

The latest available data, for mid-2004, are shown in the attached table.

Mid-2004 Population Estimates: Population, percentage in selected age groups, by countries and Government office regions (GOR) within the United Kingdom

Percentage of the population who are aged:

Country/GOR

Under 25

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65 and over

United Kingdom

31

13

15

13

12

16

England

31

13

15

13

12

16

North East

31

12

15

14

12

17

North West

32

13

15

13

12

16

Yorkshire and the Humber

32

12

15

13

12

16

East Midlands

31

12

15

13

12

16

West Midlands

32

13

15

13

12

16

East

30

13

15

13

12

17

London

32

20

17

11

9

12

South East

31

13

16

13

12

17

South West

29

12

15

13

13

19

Wales

31

12

14

13

13

18

Scotland

30

13

16

14

12

16

Northern Ireland

36

13

15

12

10

14

Note:

Percentages may not add due to rounding.

Source:

Office for National Statistics

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the population of (a) Southend-on-Sea and (b) Essex was in each year between 1976 and 2005; what it is estimated to be in 2006; and what assessment has been made of the future trend. (83457)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 10 July 2006:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your question about what the population of (a) Southend-on-Sea and (b) Essex was in each year between 1976 and 2005; what it is estimated to be in 2006; and what assessment has been made of the future trend. (83457)

Mid-2005 population estimates for England and Wales are due to be published on 24 August 2006. The attached table therefore provides the requested data for the years 1976 to 2004 and 2003-based projections for 2005 and 2006. In addition, projections for 2011, 2016, 2021, 2026, and 2028 are also shown to indicate future projected trend. These projections show a projected increase in population of 10.5 per cent for Southend and 13.7 per cent for Essex over the 25 years between 2003 and 2028.

Population estimates and projections for Essex1 and Southend-on-Sea

Essex1

Southend-on-Sea

Population Estimates

1976

1,140,600

159,600

1977

1,152,100

157,400

1978

1,163,700

157,300

1979

1,176,200

157,500

1980

1,189,100

157,700

1981

1,196,900

157,600

1982

1,199,700

157,000

1983

1,209,300

156,400

1984

1,216,500

155,500

1985

1,224,800

155,600

1986

1,231,900

156,600

1987

1,239,500

158,300

1988

1,245,100

160,400

1989

1,247,100

160,100

1990

1,247,500

160,600

1991

1,249,100

161,200

1992

1,253,600

162,400

1993

1,255,500

163,500

1994

1,261,600

164,400

1995

1,267,700

163,900

1996

1,273,300

163,300

1997

1,278,300

165,100

1998

1,284,200

163,800

1999

1,295,000

162,900

2000

1,304,400

161,600

2001

1,312,600

160,400

2002

1,318,100

160,400

2003

1,324,100

160,300

2004

1,330,400

159,600

Population Projections2

2005

1,337,700

161,000

2006

1,344,500

161,400

2011

1,379,100

164,000

2016

1,416,200

167,500

2021

1,455,100

171,600

2026

1,491,900

175,600

2028

1,505,400

177,100

1 All data are for current county of Essex which excludes Southend and Thurrock.

2 The population projections data shown in this table are taken from the 2003-based subnational population projections, the latest set of projections currently available. Therefore they may not be consistent with the 2004 mid-year estimate.

Note:

Data are rounded to the nearest 100.

Sources:

Office For National Statistics.

Poverty, Chester

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to reduce poverty in the City of Chester since 1997. (84046)

The Treasury has, in partnership with other Government Departments, tackled poverty and promoted economic opportunity through:

Promoting macro-economic stability

Supporting work for those who can and ensuring that work pays, through the new deals, a national minimum wage and the working tax credit

Providing financial support for groups at particular risk of poverty, such as child Benefit and the child tax for families, and the pension credit for pensioners.

Across the UK, these measures have helped lift more than a million people out of poverty since 1997. Tax credits are benefiting more than 550,000 families in the north west region, and in the City of Chester, claimant unemployment has fallen by 48 per cent. youth unemployment has fallen by 63 per cent. and long-term unemployment has fallen by 85 per cent.

Public Appointments

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many public appointments are within his patronage; what (a) salary and (b) other emoluments are attached to each; and what the comparable figures were in (i) 1976, (ii) 1986 and (iii) 1996. (83194)

Details of the public appointments to bodies sponsored by the Treasury can be found in “Public Bodies”, copies of which are in the Library. “Public Bodies” has been published annually since 1980 and the most recent edition provides figures for 2005. Each edition of “Public Bodies” contains details on the number of public appointments and remuneration details for that particular year. Comparable information for 1976 is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Seasonal Workers

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of seasonal workers in (a) rural areas and (b) non-rural areas in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (82031)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question about seasonal workers in employment in (a) rural areas and (b) non-rural areas in each year since 1997. (82031)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) compiles statistics of types of seasonal employment from the annual Local area Labour Force Survey (LLFS) and Annual Population Survey (APS). The urban and rural identifier is not available on the annual datasets.

The table overleaf shows the available data for the 12 month periods ending from 1999-2005.

These estimates, as with any from sample surveys, are subject to a margin of uncertainty.

Employees in seasonal work, 1999 to 2005, March to February each year, United Kingdom

12 months ending

Thousand

February 1999

106

February 2000

95

February 2001

102

February 2002

87

February 2003

90

February 2004

89

December 2004

93

December 2005

80

Note:

Changes in the estimates from year-to-year should be treated with caution.

Source:

Annual datasets

Sickness Absence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many days work have been lost through sickness among staff working on tax credits in each of the last three years. (81479)

The number of sickness days taken by staff working in the tax credit office in the last three years is:

Number

2002-03

56,345

2003-04

67,085

2004-05

69,060

The figures for 2005-06 are not yet available.

Suicide

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people committed suicide in each of the last five years, broken down by (a) age and (b) ethnic origin, in each (i) London borough and (ii) constituency; and if he will make a statement. (82959)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 10 July 2006:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many people committed suicide, broken down by (a) age and (b) ethnic origin, in each of the last five years in each (i) London Borough and (ii) national constituency. (82959)

Although information on country of birth is collected at death registration, ethnicity is not collected.

The most recent year for which figures are available is 2005. A table which shows the number of deaths with an underlying cause of suicide or injury/poisoning of undetermined intent by age group for each parliamentary constituency in England and Wales and for each London Borough for the years 2001 to 2005 has been placed in the House of Commons library.

Tax Credits

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his latest estimate is of the costs of administering tax credits in (a) 2004-05, (b) 2005-06 and (c) 2006-07; what the original spending plans were for each year; and if he will make a statement. (82833)

I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave him on 18 October 2006, Official Report, column 949W and 8 June 2006, Official Report, column 861W.

Tobacco

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what recent discussions his Department has had with the tobacco industry on introducing an anti-counterfeiting labelling scheme for tobacco products; (83128)

(2) if he will bring forward proposals for introducing an anti-counterfeiting scheme for tobacco products in the UK;

(3) to what extent he has examined technological solutions which other countries are using to tackle the trade in counterfeit tobacco.

In a paper published at the 2006 Budget—“New Responses to New Challenges: Reinforcing the Tackling Tobacco Smuggling Strategy”—we announced that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the tobacco manufacturers would jointly be examining a range of practical measures that could be implemented against counterfeit cigarettes, such as covert markings. HMRC and the largest UK tobacco manufacturers have established a joint working group to identify the best means of detecting counterfeit tobacco products and preventing them from infiltrating the UK retail sector. As part of its work programme, the group has shared experiences of technological anti-counterfeiting measures introduced in other countries. Several possible solutions are now being closely examined by the group, with a view to informing the Government's decisions on the way forward.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his most recent estimate is of the money lost to the UK Exchequer through the illicit trade in tobacco in the last three years. (83129)

The most recent HM Revenue and Customs estimate of the money lost to the UK Exchequer through the illicit trade in tobacco is for 2003-04. The money lost to the UK Exchequer through the illicit trade in tobacco between 2000-01 to 2003-04 for cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco is given in Table 3.3 and Table 3.5 respectively of “Measuring Indirect Tax Losses-2005”, published by HM Revenue and Customs in December 2005 and available from the House of Commons Library.

Under-age Pregnancy

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many girls under the age of 16 years (a) became pregnant and (b) gave birth in each London borough in each of the last five years, broken down by age; and if he will make a statement. (82954)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 10 July 2006:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many girls under the age of 16 years (a) became pregnant and (b) gave birth in each London borough in each of the last five years, broken down by age. (82954)

(a) Numbers of conceptions to girls aged under 16 in each London Borough for the years 2000-2004 (the most recent year for which figures are available), are shown in the attached table. Figures for 2004 are provisional.

Conceptions are made up of pregnancies that resulted in a live birth, stillbirth or termination.

ONS does not publish figures by single year of age below the age of 16 by either local or health authority because of the risk of disclosing individual’s information.

(b) Numbers of maternities in each London Borough for the years 2000-2004 are shown in the attached table.

Maternity counts are for girls aged under 16 in each year at which either one or more live birth or stillbirth occurred.

(a) Number of conceptions to girls aged under 16 years by area of usual residence—London boroughs, 2000-041

Area of usual residence

2000

2001

2002

2003

20041

London

1,246

1,252

1,229

1,247

1,127

Barking and Dagenham LB

45

51

43

44

41

Barnet LB

35

34

27

38

34

Bexley LB

22

34

36

27

36

Brent LB

55

52

50

54

49

Bromley LB

35

33

38

39

36

Camden LB

24

22

25

23

14

Croydon LB

78

72

68

57

63

Ealing LB

41

31

32

29

32

Enfield LB

48

43

51

58

46

Greenwich LB

43

51

45

45

49

Hackney LB and City of London

69

62

56

62

52

Hammersmith and Fulham LB

21

22

21

25

11

Haringey LB

60

59

59

46

62

Harrow LB

15

24

21

18

25

Havering LB

31

23

18

29

25

Hillingdon LB

32

37

39

48

50

Hounslow LB

34

38

25

34

36

Islington LB

27

37

30

33

35

Kensington and Chelsea LB

19

14

13

8

5

Kingston upon Thames LB

10

9

8

9

9

Lambeth LB

78

80

95

100

64

Lewisham LB

62

61

70

74

59

Merton LB

34

20

22

27

24

Newham LB

69

71

59

45

47

Redbridge LB

26

26

28

25

25

Richmond upon Thames LB

9

10

9

8

12

Southwark LB

63

68

77

83

66

Sutton LB

17

17

23

25

20

Tower Hamlets LB

39

42

34

28

35

Waltham Forest LB

41

41

49

50

30

Wandsworth LB

44

48

41

39

27

Westminster City of LB

20

20

17

17

8

1 Figures for 2004 are provisional.

Note:

To preserve confidentiality, counts for City of London have been combined with those for Hackney LB.

(b) Number of maternities to girls aged under 16 years by area of usual residence—London boroughs, 2000-04

Area of usual residence

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

London

178

205

197

141

149

Barking and Dagenham LB

5

5

7

Barnet LB

5

5

Bexley LB

6

Brent LB

11

8

11

9

5

Bromley LB

5

6

Camden LB

5

Croydon LB

5

13

13

5

5

Ealing LB

7

6

8

Enfield LB

7

5

6

Greenwich LB

8

8

5

7

Hackney LB and City of London

8

14

9

7

7

Hammersmith and Fulham LB

Haringey LB

10

17

17

10

10

Harrow LB

Havering LB

Hillingdon LB

10

5

Hounslow LB

10

8

5

9

Islington LB

5

5

6

Kensington and Chelsea LB

Kingston upon Thames LB

Lambeth LB

16

13

14

17

11

Lewisham LB

11

10

13

12

7

Merton LB

5

Newham LB

14

11

16

10

6

Redbridge LB

10

5

6

5

Richmond upon Thames LB

Southwark LB

11

14

9

13

10

Sutton LB

Tower Hamlets LB

6

7

Waltham Forest LB

5

Wandsworth LB

9

12

5

Westminster City of LB

6

Note:

To preserve confidentiality, counts for City of London have been combined with those for Hackney LB also counts of less than 5 have been suppressed and shown as —.

Valuation Office Agency

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many full-time equivalent officers the Valuation Office Agency employed in 2005-06. (83007)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many press releases the Valuation Office Agency issued in 2005-06. (83008)

In 2005-06 the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) issued five press releases.

The following press release was distributed to media with national coverage:

7 June 2005—“VOA Appoints New Non-Executive Director”.

The agency issued the following press releases locally:

2 February 2005—“Businesses in South West Warned to Protect Themselves Against Fraudulent Agents”

24 May 2005—“Business in Blackpool Warned to Wise Up on Appeals”

27 September 2005—“The VOA and Kerrier District Council Celebrate 25-year Working Partnership”

22 December 2005-“Support and Advice for Householders and Businesses Following Buncefield Explosion”.

Additionally, where it is brought to the VOA's attention that there is a need to warn council taxpayers locally of bogus inspectors, they will issue a standard press release—“Alert for Bogus Council Tax Inspectors”.

Home Department

Drug Smuggling

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many British citizens have been convicted of drug smuggling in (a) England and Wales and (b) abroad, broken down by country, in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (82917)

Information on British citizens convicted abroad is not available centrally.

Available data relates to persons found guilty at court or cautioned in England and Wales between 2000 and 2004 for drug trafficking offences. Trafficking offences include: possession with intent to supply, unlawful supply, unlawful production and unlawful import or export. Citizenship details of these offenders are not collected centrally.

Persons found guilty or cautioned for drug trafficking offences1 England and Wales, 2000 to 2004

Number of persons (rounded)

2000

13,930

2001

12,290

2002

12,610

2003

13,470

2004

14,690

1 Unlawful import and export, unlawful production of drugs (including cannabis), unlawful supply and possession with intent to supply unlawfully.

Air Guns

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many injuries due to air weapons have been recorded in (a) the constituency of Houghton and Washington, East, (b) the Northumbria police area and (c) England and Wales in each of the last five years. (82291)

Data relating to Houghton and Washington, East are not collected centrally. Injuries for Northumbria and England and Wales police from 2000-01 up to and including 2004-05 are given in the following tables.

Table a: Air weapon injuries, 2000-01 to 2001-02

Northumbria

England and Wales

2000-01

69

1,821

2001-02

68

1,915

Note: The National Crime Recording Standard was introduced in April 2002. Because of this figures before and after that date are not directly comparable.

Table b: Air weapon injuries, 2002-03 to 2004-05

Northumbria

England and Wales

2002-03

53

2,377

2003-04

44

2,395

2004-05

45

1,502

Note: The National Crime Recording Standard was introduced in April 2002. Because of this figures before and after that date are not directly comparable.

Anti-drugs Initiatives (Departmental Funding)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much funding his Department is making available for activities to reduce the use of drugs among young people; and if he will make a statement. (82266)

The Home Office has committed £55.3 million in 2006-07 alongside contributions from other Government Departments to support work on reducing young people's drug use. This includes the contribution to the young people's substance misuse partnership grant made available to local areas in addition to mainstream funds to deliver a comprehensive range of substance misuse interventions for young people; FRANK, the Government's drug awareness campaign, and the Positive Futures social inclusion programme which engages with young people.

Asylum Seekers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he plans to end the practice of transporting asylum seekers arriving in Northern Ireland to Dungavel dentention centre in Lanarkshire. (82021)

There are no plans to change the current arrangements whereby individuals in Northern Ireland who are detained under Asylum and Immigration Act 2004 powers are transferred to a detention facility in Great Britain either on the day of detention or within 24 hours. In the majority of cases individuals are, initially, detained at Dungavel house immigration removal centre.

British Muslim Citizenship Toolkits

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many British Muslim citizenship ‘toolkits’ have been dispatched by his Department. (71939)

[holding answer 18 May 2006]: I have been asked to reply.

The development of a British Muslim citizenship toolkit was one of the recommendations of the “Preventing Extremism Together” report published in November 2005 by work groups from the Muslim community.

The Government’s view is that this toolkit should be developed by Muslim organisations with our support.

The Government are supporting individuals and organisations to implement the recommendations but responsibility for this lies with the Muslim community. Good progress is being made on a number of the recommendations and the Government are encouraging Muslim organisations to develop this toolkit.

Brothels

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) brothels and (b) massage parlours have been shut down by the police in each London borough in each of the last five years. (83691)

This information is not available centrally. For the future, we are looking to introduce monitoring arrangements as part of the prostitution strategy.

Child Rape

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what (a) minimum, (b) maximum and (c) average sentence was imposed for child rape in (i) Luton, (ii) Bedfordshire and (iii) England and Wales in 2005-06. (80367)

According to information reported to the Home Office, 339 persons were sentenced for rape of a child under 16 in England and Wales in 2004, the latest year for which data are currently available. Where an offender was sentenced for more than one offence the statistics relate to where this offence attracted the longest sentence. The average custodial sentence length, excluding 21 life sentences, was 93.9 months.

Minimum and maximum sentences can be affected by errors in the data reported or may reflect very specific circumstances for a particular case. For this reason we have excluded the 5 per cent. of cases getting the longest sentences and the 5 per cent. of cases getting the shortest sentence to give a more robust estimate of the typical range of sentences given. This shows that 90 per cent. of cases received a sentence of between 36 months and life.

Figures reported to the Home Office for Luton and for Bedfordshire were too small for the corresponding figures to be meaningful.

Child Welfare

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what procedures are followed to safeguard the welfare of dependent children when single parents with custody are given a custodial sentence immediately following conviction for an offence. (69945)

In the rare event that this situation arises, the court duty probation staff should offer assistance. In cases where they are not available, and court staff are made aware of an urgent child care need, an appropriate member of staff will contact the relevant children’s services. Prison staff will also assist prisoners with any urgent issues on reception into custody, including child care. We recognise the need to strengthen such arrangements and the national offender management service will achieve this as part of the framework for the children and families of offenders which it is developing.

Colnbrook Detention Centre

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many detainees at Colnbrook detention centre were on hunger strike on 28 June. (83089)

I am advised that Immigration and Nationality Directorate records indicate that, at Colnbrook removal centre on 28 June 2006, nine detainees did not take their evening meal that day and that there were five detainees who had refused to take the meals provided for three days or more. All were taking fluids.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on conditions at Colnbrook detention centre. (83090)

It is Government policy that all detainees must be treated with dignity and respect. The operation of all removal centres is governed by the detention centre rules 2001 which are reinforced by operating standards. The Immigration Service and its contractors are committed to providing a safe and secure environment for all detainees. Detention is essential to effective immigration control and must be undertaken with humanity and dignity. Oversight of conditions in all removal centres is provided through independent monitoring boards. An IMB is appointed to all removal centres and members report regularly to me on the state of the premises, the administration of the centre and the treatment of detainees. Centres are also inspected by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons and the comprehensive reports produced are used to produce auditable action plans to achieve improvements.

Similar action is also undertaken in response to investigation reports into any deaths that may occur in centres which are undertaken by the prisons and probation ombudsman.

Convention on Human Trafficking

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the UK will ratify the convention on human trafficking; what work remains to be done prior to ratification; and if he will make a statement. (83744)

The UK is currently considering whether to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Human Trafficking. In July last year a questionnaire was issued seeking information about the methods of support in place in other European Union countries. The responses to that questionnaire are now being analysed for evidence on how the automatic granting of reflection periods and residence permits to those presenting as victims of trafficking are operating in other European transit or destination countries where they have been introduced. A case-by-case approach, as operated in the United Kingdom, does not appear to be less effective at offering targeted support than these new approaches. The Government are examining how the convention’s approach could best be harmonised with effective immigration controls. They are also considering responses to the recent consultation paper on a proposed UK action plan on trafficking in humans. We intend to publish this action plan in the autumn.

Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to answer the letter of 11 May from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Sir Gerald Kaufman) with regard to Mr. Abdul Halim. (79415)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when his Department will reply to the letter of 29 March 2006 from the right hon. Member for Warley regarding Mohammed Uddin of Dorlton Drive, Smethwick. (80498)