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Written Answers

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 11 December 2008

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 11 December 2008

Church Commissioners

Paid Posts

8. To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, what paid posts in the offices of the Church Commissioners are subject to a test of religious belief in respect of (a) appointment and (b) promotion. (242329)

In relation to appointment, the posts of Secretary to the Church Commissioners and Chief Financial Officer both carry requirements that the post-holder be a practising Christian.

Religious belief is not a relevant factor in promotion (except to these two specific roles).

Churches: Closures

To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough,, representing the Church Commissioners, what matters the Church Commissioners expect to be raised at the forthcoming summit on church closures; and if he will make a statement. (242471)

Church of England staff have been meeting with officials from the Treasury, the Department for Culture Media and Sport, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Office of the Third Sector and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Both the Government and the Church of England recognise that enabling churches to become community resources is one of the best ways of safeguarding those buildings while helping meet the needs of their local communities. However, the full potential of churches as community resources and as part of schemes for social regeneration is undeveloped and unrealised.

By way of a statement, the main focus of these meetings has been, first, to examine the barriers currently faced by churches—of all denominations and faiths—who want to open up their buildings for the use of the wider communities; second, to look at how these barriers can be overcome; and, third, to identify national, regional and local sources of public funding programmes. A paper is being drawn up for a further meeting of Ministers and the Bishop of London in the near future.

Women and Equality

Departmental Disabled Staff

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what conclusions the Government Equalities Office has reached in fulfilment of its duty under section 3.111 of the statutory code of practice of the disability equality duty. (240993)

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) is a new Department which was established on 12 October 2007. We have recently finalised our GEO terms and conditions with trade union representatives and are currently consulting our staff and stakeholders on the content of our Equality Scheme which, among other things, sets out our steps to fulfil our obligations under the disability equality duty. The scheme will be published on the GEO website in due course.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality with reference to the Answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, columns 336- 37W, on Government departments: information and communications technology, which IP addresses are used by (a) her Department and (b) computers in the offices of its (i) Ministers, (ii) communications officials and (iii) special advisers. (241964)

The Government Equalities Office relies on IT systems provided by other Government Departments. To help defend against electronic attack, it is standard good information security practice for corporate IT systems, not to publish internal IP addresses. When accessing internet websites, the IP addresses of all of the Government Equalities Office’s computers are hidden behind the following IP addresses which are publicly available—195.92.40.49 and 62.25.106.209. These IP addresses are shared with other Government Departments that use the Government secure intranet.

Departmental Official Hospitality

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how much the Government Equalities Office spent on Ministerial hospitality in each financial year since the Office was established. (241247)

No such hospitality costs have been incurred. Since its establishment on 12 October 2007 the Government Equalities Office has funded nine ministerial receptions. Details of these are shown on 19 November 2008, Official Report, column 473W and 10 March 2008, Official Report, column 4W. The cost of the receptions includes room hire and catering charges for refreshments for delegates but in accordance with usual departmental practice these costs are not classified as hospitality, which is taken to be lunch or dinner provided to visitors from outside the Department.

Departmetal ICT

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality with reference to the answer of 28 October 2008, Official Report, column 804W, on departmental ICT, what the (a) expected completion date and (b) expected cost was at the outset of the project. (242155)

The new GEO website is expected to be ready in January 2009. The expected cost at the outset of the project was £37,491, excluding VAT.

Rape Crisis Centres

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what progress has been made on provision of emergency funding for rape crisis centres. (240281)

Nineteen rape crisis centres have been awarded grants from the second and final round of this special fund, to a total of nearly £706,000, ensuring that they have been able to remain open.

The Government continue to step up action to tackle rape and bring offenders to justice. The latest figures show that in 2006 there were nearly 800 convictions for rape, compared to just over 500 in 1997, an increase of over 45 per cent.

Duchy of Lancaster

Death: Children

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many children died from each cause of death in each local authority in the last year for which data are available. (240759)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, December 2008:

As National Statistician. I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many children died from each cause of death in each local authority in the last year for which figures are available. (240759)

The table provides the number of deaths of children aged under 16 years, in total and for the five most common causes of death, for each local authority in England and Wales, for 2005-2007 (the latest year available). A copy has been placed in the House of Commons Library. To allow breakdown by cause of death, figures have been given for the years 2005-2007 aggregated together. Figures of childhood deaths for all specific causes are not available for local authorities, as these data are judged to be too detailed to preserve anonymity in death statistics. A copy of the table has been placed in the Library of the House.

Death: MRSA

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many death certificates on which (a) MRSA and (b) clostridium difficile were mentioned were issued in England and Wales in each of the last three years. (240568)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated December 2008:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many death certificates were issued in England and Wales on which (a) MRSA and (b) Clostridium difficile were mentioned in each of the last three years. (24G568)

The table attached provides the number of deaths where (a) MRSA or (b) Clostridium difficile was mentioned on the death certificate, in 2005 to 2007 (the latest year available).

Table 1: Number of deaths where Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)1 or Clostridium difficile2 was mentioned on the death certificate, England and Wales, 2005 to 26073

Persons

MRSA

Clostridium difficile

2005

1,649

3,757

2006

1,652

6,480

2007

1,593

8,324

1 Identified using the methodology described in Griffiths C, Lamagni TL, Crowcroft NS, Duckworth G and Rooney C (2004). Trends in MRSA in England and Wales: analysis of morbidity and mortality data for 1993-2002. Health Statistics Quarterly 21, 15-22.

2 Identified using the methodology described in Office for National Statistics: Report: Deaths involving Clostridium difficile: England and Wales, 2001-2005. Health Statistics Quarterly 33, 71-75.

3 Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year.

Employment

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many and what proportion of working age adults were in employment in each local authority area in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (240515)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, December 2008:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking how many and what proportion of working age adults were in employment in each local authority in each year since 1997. [240515]

The Office for National Statistics compiles employment statistics for local areas from the Annual Population Survey (APS) and its predecessor the annual Labour Force Survey (LFS) following International Labour Organisation definitions.

Table 1 shows the number of working age persons in employment (Males aged 16-64. Females Aged 16-59) in each local authority for the 12 month periods ending in February, for 1998-2004, from the annual LFS, and for the 12 month periods ending December, for 2004-2007, from the APS. Estimates for April 2007 to March 2008 from the APS have also been included as being the latest available. Table 2 shows the percentage of persons of working age ill employment for the same periods and geographies as Table 1. A copy of the tables has been placed in the Library of the House.

As these estimates are for a subset of the population in small geographical areas, they are based on small sample sizes, and are therefore subject to large margins of uncertainty.

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what estimate the Office for National Statistics has made of the number of new additional jobs created since 1997 in the (a) public sector and (b) private sector. (241590)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated December 2008:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning the number of new additional jobs created since 1997 in the (a) public sector and (b) private sector. (241590)

The Office for National Statistics collects employment statistics for the public sector as part of the Quarterly Public Sector Survey and for the private sector as part of the Labour Force Survey. However, statistics related to job creation are not collected.

However we can provide the growth in employment within both sectors. The data are attached at Annex A.

Annex A

Public and private sector employment headcount1

Public sector2

Private sector3

1997 Q2

5,179

21,315

2008 Q2

5,771

23,767

Growth (headcount)

592

2,452

Growth (percentage)

11.4

11.5

1 Headcount figures are in thousands. 2 Source: Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey. 3 Source: Labour Force Survey.

Government Procurement Card

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which departments and agencies utilise the Government Procurement Card. (241760)

I have been asked to reply.

There are currently 1,153 UK public sector organisations utilising the Government Procurement Card Service. A full list has been deposited in the Library of the House.

Suicide: Coproxamol

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many suicides have been caused by the drug coproxamol in each of the last three years. (240754)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated December 2008:

As National Statistician. I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many suicides have been caused by the drug Co-proxamol in each of the last three years. (240754)

The table attached provides the numbers of deaths for which the underlying cause was suicide by drug poisoning and a paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene compound (co-proxamol) was mentioned on the death certificate either alone or together with other substances, from 2003 to 2007 (the latest year available).

Where more than one drug is mentioned on the death certificate, it is not always possible to tell which of them was primarily responsible for the death.

Table 1. Number of deaths where suicide by drug poisoning was the underlying cause of death1 with a paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene compound mentioned on the death certificate, England and Wales, 2005 to 20072,3,4

Deaths

Paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene compound only

Paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene compound and other substances

Total mentions of paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene

2005

78

134

161

2008

82

65

80

2007

60

51

61

1 Cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (3CD-10) codes X60-X64, Y10-Y34 and a paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene compound was mentioned on the death certificate.

2 Figures for England and Wales included deaths of non-residents.

3 Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year.

4 Where paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene were the only drugs mentioned on the death certificate, and where paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene were mentioned with other substances. Figures include deaths where dextropropoxyphene was mentioned without paracetamol, since in England and Wales dextropropoxyphene is very rarely ingested except in combination with paracetamol.

Teenage Pregnancy

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the conception rate was among girls aged under 18 years in (a) 2006 and (b) 2007. (240377)

The information falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated December 2008:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the conception rate was among girls aged under 18 years in (a) 2006 and (b) 2007. (240377)

Available figures are estimates of the number of conceptions that resulted in a live birth, stillbirth or legal termination.

The number and rate of conceptions to girls aged under 18 in 2006 (the most recent year for which figures are available), for England and Wales are shown below.

Number and rate of conceptions to girls aged under 18, England and Wales

Year

Number

Rate1

2006

41,768

41

1 Per 1,000 female population aged 15-17.

Textile Industry: Manpower

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many people were employed in the (a) weaving, (b) spinning, (c) dyeing, (d) finishing and making-up and (e) silk industry sectors of the clothing and textiles industry at the latest date for which figures are available. (240416)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated December 2008:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question on how many people were employed in the (a) weaving, (b) spinning, (c) dying, (d) finishing and making-up and (e) silk industry sectors of the clothing and textiles industry at the latest date for which figures are available (240416).

Table 1, attached, shows the number of employee jobs in the weaving, spinning, finishing and making-up, and silk industries in Great Britain in 2006.

Estimates of employment are usually provided using the Labour Force Survey. However because of the interest in industrial sector, your question has been answered using the Annual Business Inquiry (ABI), which provides estimates at the 4-digit Standard Industrial Classification 2003 (SIC03) level.

'The ABI is a business survey which provides estimates of employment according to the number of jobs. The estimates exclude people who are self-employed workers in the industry sectors requested. Please note that dyeing employment estimates cannot be provided separately using 4-digit SIC03, and estimates for the silk industry are also included under weaving and spinning.

As with any sample survey, estimates from the Annual Business Inquiry are subject to margins of uncertainly.

Table 1: Number of employee jobs in selected clothing and textile industries1, 2006—Great Britain

Number (thousand)

Weaving2

7

Spinning3

5

Finishing and Making-up4

86

Silk5

3

1 Using four-digit Standard Industrial Classification 2003 (SIC03)

2 The four digit SIC03 codes used are 1721-1725 (which includes weaving of silk).

3 The four digit SIC03 codes used are l711-1717 (which includes spinning of silk).

4 The four digit SIC03 codes used are 1740-1330.

5 The four digit SIC03 codes used are1715 and 1724.

Source:

Annual Business Inquiry

Unemployment

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the (a) employment and (b) unemployment rate for (i) women, (ii) men and (iii) men and women aged (A) 16 to 24, (B) 25 to 34, (C) 34 to 49 and (D) 50 to 60 years was in each month of the last 10 years. (241444)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated December 2008:

As National Statistician. I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what the (a) employment and (b) unemployment rate for (i) women, (ii) men and (ill) men and women aged (A) 16 to 24, (B) 25 to 34. (C) 34 to 49 and (D) 50 to 60 years was in each month of the last 10 years. (241444)

The attached table provides estimated employment and unemployment rates for the categories requested, for each quarter since 1998. Monthly data is not available.

The estimates are derived from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). As with any sample survey, estimates from the LFS are subject to a margin of uncertainty.

The figures have been derived from the LFS microdata which are weighted using the official population estimates published in autumn 2007. Consequently, the figures from quarter 3 2006 are not entirely consistent with the figures published in the monthly Labour Market Statistics First Release which are weighted using more up-to-date population estimates.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Departmental Public Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department spent on external (a) public affairs and (b) public relations consultants in each of the last five years. (242291)

[holding answer 10 December 2008]: In DEFRA, public relations covers a wide range of activity which forms an important element of a broader communications mix. This can include advertising, direct marketing, live events and publications. The following table shows what public relations activity was procured via DEFRA's Communications Directorate since FY 2004-05 using the COI Public Relations Framework.

Financial year

PR agency

Campaign

Expenditure (£)

2004-05

Amazon PR

Sustainable Development

58,788

2005-06

Amazon PR

Sustainable Development

67,084

Weber Shandwick

Climate Change

86,781

2006-07

EdComs and Blue Rubicon

DEFRA Year of Food and Farming

50,872

Amazon PR

Sustainable Development

48,973

Trimedia Harrison Cowley

ACT on CO2 campaign

49,250

Amazon PR

Sustainable development

48,973

2007-08

Trimedia Harrison Cowley

ACT on CO2 campaign (including a series of regional roadshows)

476,301

Munro and Forster

Waste

64,424

Trimedia Communications UK

Climate Change Champions

32,216

EdComs and Blue Rubicon

DEFRA Year of Food and Farming

242,578

April 2008 to November 2008

EDComs and Blue Rubicon

DEFRA Year of Food and Farming

28,230

Munro and Forster

ACT on CO2 campaign

77,788

We do not collate expenditure under the heading ‘public affairs’.

Departmental Rail Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what date he last used a train in the course of his official duties. (242602)

All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code. My latest official duty outside London was on 28 November, when I attended the meeting of the Cabinet in Leeds. I travelled to and from Leeds by train.

Environment Agency: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects the Environment Agency's first flooding engineers to graduate from university and take up positions in the agency. (241507)

The first Environment Agency Foundation Degree students in flood and coastal engineering graduated from the University of the West of England in 2006. To date, 75 students have graduated and over 90 per cent. are employed by the Environment Agency as technician engineers.

There are currently 138 engineering graduates and students training with the Environment Agency under a national development programme that includes the Foundation Degree students, Masters Degree students from various universities and graduates under professional training agreements. The Environment Agency expects that 50 engineering staff will join its business each year by 2010 through this programme.

Flood Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Environment Agency on repairs of critical infrastructure which is at risk from flooding. (241499)

Ministers have had discussions with the Environment Agency on this and other matters. The agency has held a significant number of discussions with local resilience forums and emergency services about the critical infrastructure in their areas. The agency has also provided extensive advice to operators of critical national infrastructure and is currently working closely with them to identify their sites at risk and provide them with appropriate flood warnings.

Forestry Commission: Public Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 19 November 2008, Official Report, column 476W, on public relations: Forestry Commission, if he will break down the indicative cost for 2007-08 by category of services provided. (242088)

[holding answer 10 December 2008]: The nature of the Forestry Commission's activities means that individual staff deal with several aspects of communications as part of a single project and it is therefore not possible to break down costs into discrete communications activities. An indicative breakdown can be given for the broad areas of activity.

Promotion of the public forest estate, including advertising and marketing of events, promotion of visitor facilities and attractions and literature for walks, cycling facilities etc., amounted to £316,000.

Press, media and internet communications carried out by Forestry Commission staff and external agencies working on the Commission's behalf amounted to £544,000.

Corporate publicity, which includes the promotion of sustainable forestry policy and practice, grants and licences literature, events and trade shows amounted to £120,000.

Non-departmental Public Bodies

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 15 October 2008, Official Report, columns 1218-22W, on non-departmental public bodies, how the budget savings over the period (a) 2007-08 to 2008-09 and (b) 2008-09 to 2010 of (i) Natural England, (ii) Carbon Trust, (iii) Encams, (iv) RPA Operations and (v) the Marine and Fisheries Agency break down among spending areas. (240842)

[holding answer 8 December 2008]: The budgets for Natural England, Carbon Trust, Encams, RPA Operations and the Marine and Fisheries Agency, split between resource and capital spending areas are provided in the following table. A comparison between years is also provided.

Budgets are set annually, based on forecast workloads contained in business plans. Budget savings are managed in-year through normal budget monitoring and management procedures and the outcome reported in the relevant bodies' annual reports and accounts.

Budgets 2007-08 to 2009-10

£ million

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10

Resource

Capital

Total

Resource

Capital

Total

Resource

Capital

Total

Natural England

175.3

5.7

181.0

169.8

6.1

175.9

165.8

6.1

171.9

Carbon Trust

70.7

20.0

90.7

58.7

30.4

89.1

58.7

27.0

85.7

ENCAMS

5.0

0.0

5.0

5.0

0.0

5.0

5.0

0.0

5.0

RPA Operations

239.1

25.1

264.2

201.6

22.0

223.6

182.7

19.6

202.3

Marine and Fisheries Agency

20.7

4.0

24.7

20.5

3.0

23.5

20.5

3.0

23.5

Budget changes between the years

£ million

2007-08:2008-09

2008-09:2009-10

Resource

Capital

Total

Resource

Capital

Total

Natural England

-5.5

0.4

-5.1

-4.0

0.0

-4.0

Carbon Trust

-12.0

10.4

-1.6

0.0

-3.4

-3.4

ENCAMS

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

RPA Operations

-37.5

-3.1

-40.6

-18.9

-2.4

-21.3

Marine and Fisheries Agency

-0.2

-1.0

-1.2

0.0

0.0

0.0

Pesticides: Crop Spraying

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department plans to take on regulation of pesticide spraying following the recent High Court ruling by Mr. Justice Collins on the matter. (241062)

This is a complex judgment and we need to consider it carefully.

The protection of human health is paramount. Pesticides used in this country are rigorously assessed to the same standards as the rest of the EU and use is only ever authorised after internationally approved tests. These explicitly include impacts on people who live next to fields, consumers who eat treated crops and farmers who do the spraying.

Culture, Media and Sport

Departmental Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what bonuses were paid by his Department in 2007-08; to which members of staff; and for what purposes. (240795)

The Department makes bonus payments to its staff for two purposes: (a) special bonuses to reward outstanding contributions in particularly demanding tasks or situations; and (b) performance bonuses linked to the end of year staff appraisal, which are awarded to staff who have had a highly successful performance over a whole year.

The following table shows the breakdown of the bonuses awarded:

Bonuses 2007-08

Number awarded

Total amount (£)

Performance Bonuses (non-SCS)

196

225,350

Senior Civil Service Performance Bonuses

24

251,750

Special Bonuses

207

87,000

Total

427

564,100

Wales

Departmental Official Hospitality

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what records his Department maintains of its expenditure on (a) official hospitality and (b) alcohol for official hospitality. (240463)

Electoral Commission Committee

Chairman’s Work Load

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission how many hours per week the proposed Chairman of the Electoral Commission will be expected to work; and if he will make a statement. (242322)

The Speaker’s Committee decided in December 2007 that in future the post of Chairman of the Electoral Commission should be filled on a part-time basis. Accordingly, the panel appointed by Mr. Speaker to select a candidate for the appointment advertised it in March 2008 on the basis of a time commitment of typically three days a week. The precise terms and conditions are to be agreed between the new Chairman and the Commission.

Police Authorities

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what consideration the Electoral Commission has given to the arrangements which would be necessary to elect members of police authorities. (242328)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it is aware of proposals in the July 2008 Policing Green Paper for directly elected crime and policing representatives in England and Wales. It plans to give further consideration to the administrative arrangements for such elections, including the time scales for implementing new elections and the funding provided for their administration, when more detailed proposals are published.

Transport

Dartford-Thurrock Crossing: Tolls

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the effect on levels of congestion on the Dartford-Thurrock toll crossing consequent on the introduction of the revised tariff for a car from £1.00 to £1.50; and if he will make a statement. (241097)

The Highways Agency is closely monitoring the impact of the new charging regime on traffic. It is too soon to draw firm conclusions as traffic levels on particular days can be influenced by other factors, for example incidents on neighbouring parts of the network and promotional days at nearby retail centres. However early indications are that there has been some switching of traffic from the charged period (6 am to 10 pm) into the free night-time period.

Official Cars

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the Written Ministerial Statement of 22 July 2008, Official Report, column 116WS, on the cost of Ministerial cars for 2007-08, which Ministers and senior civil servants had use of a Government Car and Despatch Agency vehicle in 2007-08. (242050)

The Ministerial Code sets out who is entitled to use an official car provided by the Government Car and Despatch Agency.

Severn Bridge: Tolls

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the working group on the Severn Bridge is expected to present its findings. (240342)

The working group presented its findings in early October to the Highways Agency’s chief executive.

The working group established that, in principle, it is feasible to accept credit/debit cards as a method of toll payment at Severn Crossings. A number of detailed operational, technical, financial and contractual issues need to be considered.

Negotiations with the Concessionaire began on 20 October and the Concessionaire has since commenced detailed financial discussions with the banks and equipment suppliers.

Transport: North-East

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Government has spent on capital transport infrastructure projects in the north- east in each year since 1997. (242384)

The funding allocation provided by the Department for Transport for capital transport infrastructure projects in the north-east in each year since 1997 is as follows.

£ million

Integrated transport block

Highways maintenance

Other funding1

Total funding for transport infrastructure projects

2007-08

33.920

42.181

17.023

93.124

2006-07

33.180

44.165

12.002

89.347

2005-06

33.400

44.170

20.316

97.886

2004-05

40.337

47.095

20.199

107.631

2003-04

36.500

35.878

31.420

103.798

2002-03

35.400

36.120

34.474

105.994

2001-02

34.940

34.195

25.792

94.927

2000-01

16.100

40.820

40.820

97.740

1 Other funding comprises funding major schemes, capital de-trunking and capital road safety.

Funding allocations made prior to Local Transport Plan Funding.

Total allocation (£ million)

1999-2000

42.500

1998-99

31.981

1997-98

40.119

Since April 1997 the Government have also provided specific capital funding for the Tyne and Wear Metro amounting to £65.626 million. Up to and including 2004-05 this was provided solely as revenue support although Nexus were able to use this for capital spending on the Metro.

Work and Pensions

Directgov

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many unique visitors have used the Directgov website in each of the last five years. (242522)

Directgov's core usage measure is visits rather than unique users. Monthly visits for 2008 are shown as follows:

Month

Visits (million)

2004

January

n/a

February

n/a

March

n/a

April

n/a

May

0.4

June

0.6

July

0.8

August

0.8

September

0.8

October

0.9

November

0.9

December

0.8

Total 2004

6.0

2005

January

1.3

February

1.2

March

1.2

April

1.4

May

1.4

June

1.2

July

1.3

August

1.5

September

1.8

October

2.0

November

2.0

December

1.4

Total 2005

17.7

2006

January

2.2

February

2.1

March

2.9

April

2.4

May

2.7

June

2.7

July

2.7

August

3.0

September

3.4

October

3.5

November

3.5

December

2.6

Total 2006

33.7

2007

January

4.1

February

4.1

March

5.3

April

4.6

May

5.2

June

5.5

July

5.5

August

5.4

September

5.6

October

6.1

November

6.1

December

4.4

Total 2007

61.9

2008

January

8.1

February

7.2

March

8.4

April

8.2

May

7.1

June

7.8

July

7.9

August

10.1

September

11.3

October

11.3

November

11.0

December

n/a

Total 2008 (up to November)

98.4

Note:

Figures for 2008 include an adjustment for electronic vehicle licensing (from August).

Directgov has unique user statistics for part of our site but does not yet measure unique users for all our sub domains.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which sub-sites of the Directgov website have (a) received the most direct visitors and (b) recorded the most online transactions in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and what assessment he has made of the performance of each sub-site against objectives in creating two-way engagement between the citizen and government. (242531)

The Directgov Motoring section and electronic vehicle licensing (eVL) were the sub-sites that received the most direct visitors and recorded the most online transactions in the last 12 months.

We are looking at how we might make citizens who complete a transaction on one of these sub-sites aware of what else Directgov has to offer. This is relatively simple to do but requires the Departments who manage the content or own the transaction on the sub-sites to include the necessary changes to allow us to advertise other services.

One area in which we have seen a degree of success is the Act on CO2 campaign. The offline advertising calls for citizens to search online for the campaign without mentioning Directgov. Yet we know that about a fifth of people accessing the Act on CO2 campaign site have come from a promotion on the main Directgov website suggesting that they found the campaign while looking at something else on Directgov.

Directgov: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost of running the Directgov website was in each of the last five years. (242521)

Expenditure on the Directgov website since its launch in 2004 has been as follows:

Financial year

£ million

2004-05

4.6

2005-06

9.7

2006-07

11.9

2007-08

13.1

In addition, the following expenditure was incurred on non-web channels (i.e. kiosk, DTV and mobile):

Financial year

£ million

2004-05

0.4

2005-06

0.8

2006-07

0.8

2007-08

0.8

Expenditure for the current year (2008-09) is not yet available.

Directgov: Marketing

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how the Directgov website is being promoted to the public. (242520)

Directgov is promoted to the public through a variety of online and offline channels. Online promotion includes partnership arrangements with sites such as AOL and MSN. Directgov also undertakes search engine optimisation and pay per click activity with search engines such as Google, MSN and Yahoo.

Offline channels include an ongoing PR programme plus partnership activities with intermediaries such as Jobcentre Plus and UK Online Centres.

Directgov also undertook a month long marketing campaign in February 2006 and again in March 2008 which focused on the depth and breadth of the Directgov offer, new transactional content on the website, and on Directgov's multi-channel presence.

Looking ahead, as Directgov becomes the main point of entry to public services online, there is an imperative to generate a higher level of awareness of Directgov and its services to the public. Therefore Directgov is planning a national marketing campaign to run over the next three years, starting in January 2009. It will be a multi-media campaign, using TV, radio, print, partnerships, ambient and online channels to increase understanding of the depth and breadth of information and services available through Directgov on the web, mobile and DiTV. The aim is to demonstrate relevance to citizens and increase propensity to use Directgov, with consequential increase in brand awareness and visitor numbers to Directgov. This will help Departments to realise the benefits from Directgov by increasing use of the online channel.

Allied to this, we are looking at how we can use alternative channels such as branded ‘widgets’ and applications to deploy content onto third party sites in the future.

Directgov: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Directgov website; and what criteria have been established to assess its effectiveness. (242523)

Directgov has a benefits framework covering two customer groups: the citizen and Government Departments. Within each of these groups, performance is determined with reference to five benefits categories. Each of these benefit categories is evidenced by KPIs drawn from a variety of sources.

The effectiveness of Directgov is then monitored through regular reporting against these supporting KPIs. The main sources of information include:

Customer surveys (citizen)—conducted quarterly

Stakeholder surveys (Government Departments)—conducted every six months

Web metrics—available continuously

Brand research—conducted annually (in addition before and after the marketing campaign).

Performance against the framework is assessed on a quarterly basis and reported to the Directgov board.

Currently Directgov is performing well against the target KPIs in each category.

Disability Living Allowance: Sight Impairment

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many registered blind people receive the (a) low and (b) middle rate mobility component of the disability living allowance (i) in each (A) region and (B) constituency and (ii) nationwide. (241003)

I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave her on 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1969W.

Employment Services: Lone Parents

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what employment programme lone parents with children under the age of 12 years will be eligible to take part in once the flexible new deal has been implemented nationally and employment zone contracts have ended; and if he will make a statement. (241007)

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 2002-003W.

Housing Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of abolishing the single room rent and paying housing benefit claimants the same rate of benefit irrespective of their age in the last 12 months. (241011)

I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave her on 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1975W.

Lone Parents: Income Support

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 9 July 2008, Official Report, column 1685W, on lone parents: income support, what progress has been made towards developing a communications strategy to support the changes to the eligibility rules for income support coming into effect in (a) October 2008, (b) October 2009 and (c) October 2010; and if he will make a statement. (241044)

A communication strategy to support the changes to the eligibility rules for Income Support affecting lone parents is currently being implemented.

The strategy has a very clear focus on the need for timely and accurate communications to (1) customers affected by the changes, (2) Jobcentre Plus staff in roles impacted by the changes, and (3) external stakeholders involved in giving accurate advice to customers.

Key objectives of the communications strategy are to ensure that the following audiences receive co-ordinated, timely and tailored messages, as follows:

Existing lone parent customers and those making new or repeat claims to Income Support—understand the changes and how they will be affected

Advisers working with customers—know how the changes will impact on them and their lone parent customers

Stakeholders external to Jobcentre Plus—are clear on these changes and the effect they will have upon them and their customers.

To meet these objectives the strategy includes the following:

Mailshots sent direct on 6 October 2008 to specific lone parent customers, which outline the effect that the changes may have on them, including new requirements for quarterly attendance at work-focused interviews and how their claim to disability premium could be affected (where relevant).

A further mailshot in on 24 November 2008 to lone parents affected, confirming that the changes have been approved by Parliament. This will be supported by local mailshots to offer voluntary interviews 6 weeks prior to the end of the lone parents' Income Support.

Providing lone parent customers with detailed information factsheets that clearly outline the changes for them and the action they may need to take with the support of their adviser.

A leaflet and poster campaign to explain in visual format the steps each lone parent will take as the changes impact them.

Local 'Options and Choices' events for lone parents that explain the changes and offer advice and guidance in preparing for work (these have been in place since April 2008).

Publication of details of the changes on both the DWP and Jobcentre Plus Internet sites.

A range of products available to Jobcentre Plus staff to ensure that they are able to deliver the correct messages to customers including briefings, desk aids, presentations, key messages, links to guidance and supporting articles in internal publications. This also includes roadshows delivered to senior managers to ensure understanding of the changes.

Numerous presentations to key external stakeholders and close engagement with external lone parent voluntary groups.

The same approach is proposed for introduction of Phase 2 of the changes in 2009 and Phase 3 in 2010. However, in spring 2009 we will evaluate the Phase 1 communications and feed these findings into communication plans for the next phases.

Social Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was paid in (a) crisis loans, (b) budgeting loans and (c) community care grants to people in (i) each Jobcentre Plus district and (ii) each region in each month since April 2003; and if he will make a statement. (240516)

I refer the hon. Member to the written answer given to her on 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 2027W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which Jobcentre Plus districts underspent their allocations for (a) crisis loans, (b) budgeting loans and (c) community care grants in each year since 2003; how much and what proportion of the budget for each such district the underspend represented; and if he will make a statement. (240517)

I refer the hon. Member to the written answer given to her on 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 2026-027W.

Social Security Benefits

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) benefit payments and (b) pension payments were issued by giro cheque in each (i) constituency and (ii) region in each of the last three years. (241063)

The number of benefit and pension accounts paid by cheque in each constituency for each of the last three years will be placed in the Library.

The number of benefit and pension accounts paid by cheque in each region for the same period is shown in the following table.

All cheque payments by government office region and pension/other benefit: April 2006 to April 2008

All

Other benefit

State pension

April 2006

All

469,680

365,100

104,580

North East

23,870

19,660

4,210

North West

58,880

47,350

11,530

Yorks and Humber

43,350

33,620

9,730

East Midlands

32,780

26,030

6,750

West Midlands

46,930

37,390

9,530

East

35,830

27,770

8,050

London

60,430

49,440

11,000

South East

52,400

39,600

12,790

South West

43,920

29,920

14,000

Wales

25,950

19,720

6,230

Scotland

45,350

34,600

10,750

April 2007

All

453,900

366,440

87,460

North East

23,850

20,300

3,550

North West

57,170

47,550

9,620

Yorks and Humber

40,000

32,210

7,790

East Midlands

32,040

26,440

5,590

West Midlands

46,960

38.980

7,980

East

35,010

28,150

6,860

London

57,340

48,250

9,080

South East

49,780

38,820

10,960

South West

42,930

30,980

11,950

Wales

26,230

20,860

5,370

Scotland

42,600

33,890

8,710

April 2008

All

422,040

346,350

75,690

North East

24,460

21,280

3,180

North West

52,690

44,460

8,230

Yorks and Humber

36,790

29,880

6,910

East Midlands

30,540

25,730

4,810

West Midlands

43,960

37,140

6,830

East

31,890

25,960

5,930

London

51,370

43,780

7,590

South East

47,160

37,590

9,560

South West

38,670

28,120

10,550

Wales

25,280

20,540

4,740

Scotland

39,250

31,870

7,380

Notes:

1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

2. Figures are at April in each year, 2006 to 2008.

3. Figures refer to payment accounts. Claimants with more than one account will be counted for each account. Figures only relate to accounts live and in payment on the specified date.

4. Child benefit is administered by HM Revenue and Customs and War Pensions are administered by MOD. These benefits have therefore been excluded.

Source:

DWP, Information Directorate, 100 per cent. data

Social Security Benefits: Interviews

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance has been issued to Jobcentre Plus staff in relation to the time allowed to interview claimants by Jobcentre Plus. (241644)

[holding answer 9 December 2008]: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the acting chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Mel Groves. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Mel Groves:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what guidance has been issued to Jobcentre Plus staff in relation to the time allowed to interview claimants by Jobcentre Plus. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

Jobcentre Plus conducts a wide range of different interviews to meet both business and customer needs. Guidance to staff outlines the purpose and content of each interview type and the average length of time these should take to complete. Each interview takes into account the time required to undertake activities that must be covered in every interview and those that are only required as and when individual customer circumstances dictate.

Health

Alcoholic Drinks: Greater London

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many alcohol-related emergency admissions to hospitals there have been in (a) the London Borough of Bexley, (b) the London Borough of Greenwich and (c) the London Borough of Bromley in each year since 1997, broken down by (i) age and (ii) sex of patients admitted. (242905)

The number of alcohol-related finished admissions in the London boroughs of Bexley, Greenwich and Bromley for each year since 2002-03 to 2006-07 can be found in the following table. Data for earlier years are not available. 2006-07 is the latest year for which data are available.

Number of alcohol-related finished admissions

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

London borough

Age

Total

Males

Females

Total

Males

Females

Total

Males

Females

Bexley

Under 16

15

*

*

30

10

20

25

7

18

16-24

38

*

*

58

44

14

80

50

30

25-34

69

43

27

81

54

27

90

63

27

35-44

95

60

35

141

101

40

163

98

66

45-54

110

79

31

136

99

37

138

84

55

55-64

104

71

33

130

85

46

161

104

56

65-74

106

68

38

131

93

37

169

110

60

75 or over

168

86

82

247

128

119

282

145

137

Total

706

439

267

954

614

340

1,109

661

449

Bromley

Under 16

10

*

*

22

11

11

19

7

12

16-24

71

*

*

101

60

41

132

80

52

25-34

106

57

49

120

72

48

121

71

50

35-44

155

87

68

196

113

83

235

138

97

45-54

199

129

70

236

158

78

283

185

98

55-64

196

136

60

276

172

104

341

233

108

65-74

228

155

73

276

187

89

349

233

116

75 or over

443

225

218

559

282

277

674

355

320

Total

1,408

870

538

1,786

1,054

732

2,154

1,303

851

Greenwich

Under 16

9

*

*

14

*

*

20

*

*

16-24

81

*

*

85

*

*

109

*

*

25-34

107

68

39

138

81

57

167

109

59

35-44

160

103

57

206

136

71

271

185

86

45-54

154

121

33

236

176

60

297

218

79

55-64

167

119

48

215

158

57

273

199

75

65-74

136

91

45

198

144

54

266

184

83

75 or over

225

116

109

303

159

145

393

211

183

Total

1,039

708

331

1,396

952

444

1,797

1,233

564

2005-062006-07

London borough

Age

Total

Males

Females

Total

Males

Females

Bexley

Under 16

31

12

19

25

9

16

16-24

85

51

34

65

42

23

25-34

96

63

33

92

57

36

35-44

162

87

75

130

77

53

45-54

163

100

63

184

120

64

55-64

187

124

63

196

141

54

65-74

175

115

60

217

149

67

75 or over

304

162

142

319

176

142

Total

1,204

715

488

1,228

772

457

Bromley

Under 16

27

15

12

29

9

20

16-24

146

83

63

129

76

53

25-34

152

96

56

157

89

68

35-44

294

196

98

281

169

112

45-54

298

200

98

308

193

115

55-64

372

249

123

400

272

128

65-74

378

266

112

423

285

137

75 or over

781

394

387

808

404

404

Total

2,449

1,500

949

2,535

1,497

1,037

Greenwich

Under 16

24

10

14

15

*

*

16-24

115

69

46

99

*

*

25-34

213

138

74

170

118

52

35-44

261

185

76

251

165

86

45-54

299

230

69

335

248

87

55-64

303

218

85

280

202

78

65-74

244

159

85

253

164

89

75 or over

407

219

188

394

205

189

Total

1,867

1,229

638

1,797

1,217

580

Notes:

1. Includes activity in English national health service hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector.

2. Small numbers

To protect patient confidentiality, figures between one and five have been suppressed and replaced with “*” (an asterisk). Where it was possible to identify numbers from the total due to a single suppressed number in a row or column, an additional number (the next smallest) has been suppressed.

3. Alcohol-related admissions

The number of alcohol-related admissions is based on the methodology developed by the North West Public Health Observatory (NWPHO). Following international best practice, the NWPHO methodology includes a wide range of diseases and injuries in which alcohol plays a part and estimates the proportion of cases that are attributable to the consumption of alcohol. Details of the conditions and associated proportions can be found in the report Jones et al. (2008) “Alcohol-attributable fractions for England: Alcohol-attributable mortality and hospital admissions”.

4. Emergency admissions

Includes all types of emergency admission (Method of admission codes 21-28).

5. Finished admission episodes

A finished admission episode is the first period of in-patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. Finished admission episodes are counted against the year in which the admission episode finishes. Admissions do not represent the number of in-patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year.

6. Primary diagnosis

The primary diagnosis is the first of up to 14 (seven prior to 2002-03) diagnosis fields in the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data set and provides the main reason why the patient was in hospital.

7. Secondary diagnoses

As well as the primary diagnosis, there are up to 13 (6 prior to 2002-03) secondary diagnosis fields in Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) that show other diagnoses relevant to the episode of care.

8. Number of episodes in which the patient had an alcohol-related primary or secondary diagnosis

These figures represent the number of episodes where an alcohol-related diagnosis was recorded in any of the 14 (seven prior to 2002-03) primary and secondary diagnosis fields in a HES record.

Each episode is only counted once in each count, even if an alcohol-related diagnosis is recorded in more than one diagnosis field of the record.

9. Data Quality

HES are compiled from data sent by more than 300 NHS trusts and primary care trusts in England. Data is also received from a number of independent sector organisations for activity commissioned by the English NHS. The NHS Information Centre for health and social care liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies and the effect of missing and invalid data via HES processes. While this brings about improvement over time, some shortcomings remain.

Source:

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), The NHS Information Centre for health and social care

Allergies: Research

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding was made available by his Department for allergy research in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (241766)

[holding answer 9 December 2008]: The available information is shown in the following table.

Departmental expenditure on allergy research (£000)

2003-04

590

2004-05

483

2005-06

371

2006-07

768

2007-08

1,183

The departmental figures relate to national research programme expenditure. They do not include the significant expenditure on allergy research from the research and development allocations that have over the last 10 years been made annually to national health service providers. That information is not held centrally.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is one of the main agencies through which the Government support biomedical research. The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. It funds a large portfolio of allergy research.

Anti-depressants: Bexley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost of prescribing anti-depressant drugs in the London Borough of Bexley in each of the last five years. (242904)

The British National Formulary (BNF) classifies anti-depressant drugs within section 4.3. The following table shows the net ingredient cost for drugs within this section that have been prescribed in Bexley Care Trust, which covers the London borough of Bexley. As this information is available for the most recent 60 months at any one time, figures exist only for four complete financial years (April to March inclusive).

Net ingredient cost and number of prescription items of antidepressant drugs (BNF section 4.3) in Bexley Care Trust, 2004-05 to 2007-08

Financial year

Primary care trust name

BNF section name

Net ingredient cost (£)

2004-05

Bexley Care Trust

Antidepressant Drugs

1,119,010

2005-06

Bexley Care Trust

Antidepressant Drugs

895,117

2006-07

Bexley Care Trust

Antidepressant Drugs

810,164

2007-08

Bexley Care Trust

Antidepressant Drugs

763,942

Source:

Prescribing Analysis and Cost Tool (ePACT).

Breast Feeding

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent steps his Department has taken to bring about an increase in levels of breastfeeding. (241346)

The Government are committed to the promotion of breastfeeding and the prevalence of breastfeeding at six to eight weeks is a key indicator in the Child Health and Well-being Public Service Agreement. ‘Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives’ a cross-government strategy for obesity (January 2008) aims to reverse the rise in childhood obesity and breastfeeding plays an integral role in this. A copy has already been placed in the Library.

Key actions to increase levels of breastfeeding include the investment of £4 million for the primary care trusts (PCTs) to develop local interventions to promote breastfeeding, including the training of frontline staff; the provision of easily accessible and timely advice to breastfeeding mothers through the national breastfeeding helpline; the recently launched breastfeeding DVD “From bump to breastfeeding” given to all new mothers in England via their midwives and health visitors.

Other key activities include the development of a care pathway for the frontline health professionals; the provision of commissioning guidance for PCTs; and the establishment of a regional and local network to promote breastfeeding.

Cardiovascular System: Screening

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what progress has been made on the implementation of the vascular checks programme; and if he will make a statement; (241535)

(2) what the mechanism is for allocating funding for the vascular checks programme to primary care trusts.

Phased implementation of the programme will begin in April 2009 and on 13 November we published a “Next Steps” guide to help primary care trusts (PCTs) to commission the service. A copy has been placed in the Library. We will continue to work with our statements to provide advice and support on the implementation and delivery of the vascular checks programme.

The funding for the vascular checks programme is included in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 PCT revenue allocations, announced on 8 December.

Funding is allocated to PCTs on the basis of the relative needs of their populations. A weighted capitation formula is used to determine each PCT’s target share of available resources, to enable them to commission similar levels of health services for populations in similar need.

The components of the formula are used to weight each PCT’s ‘crude’ population according to their relative need (age, and additional need) for health care and the unavoidable geographical differences in the cost of providing health care (market forces factor).

Care Homes: Infectious Diseases

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many deaths in care homes were attributed to each notifiable infectious disease in each year since 1997. (240770)

Children: Health Visitors

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, Health (1) how many home visits on average a child considered to be at (a) low risk and (b) high risk received from an allocated health visitor in the first two years following assessment in each London borough in each year between 1997 and 3 August 2007; and if he will make a statement; (241902)

(2) what the average number of cases allocated to health visitors in each London borough was between 9 September 2008 and the latest date for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what the average number of cases allocated to health visitors in each London borough was in each year between 1997 and 3 August 2007; and if he will make a statement.

Climate Change

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of its capacity to adapt to climate change; and what plans he has to publish a climate change adaptation strategy. (241181)

The cross-Government Adapting to Climate Change Programme increases Government’s capacity to adapt by ensuring a co-ordinated approach across all Departments and the public sector. This includes implementation of the adaptation aspects of the Climate Change Act, such as development of the national climate risk assessment. Information about the programme can be found at

www.defra.gov/adaptation.

The Department of Health recognises that climate change will affect the health of UK citizens and in February, this year (2008) updated its 2001-02 report on the “Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK”. A copy of the report has been placed in the Library.

Climate impacts affect many departmental responsibilities. We have worked closely with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to develop the adaptation sections of the Climate Change Act. There are therefore no plans at present to publish a separate climate change adaptation strategy as this would be seen as a duplication of the work that DEFRA are taking forward.

The key areas for the national health service in adapting to climate change include adapting the health and social care infrastructure (hospitals, nursing homes) to be more resilient to the effects of heat and floods; development of local ‘Heatwave’ and ‘Flood’ plans for coping with disasters; and increasing awareness of how people can adapt to changes in climate.

One of the effects of climate change already encountered in this country is the increased frequency of heat waves. The devastating heat wave across Europe in 2003 led to the Department of Health first launching its National Heatwave Plan in 2004, in which a ‘Heat-Health Watch’ system operates in England during the summer months, with advice from the Met Office, with four levels of response and appropriate advice.

Continuing Care

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in each primary care trust have received continuing care in each quarter per 10,000 population (a) since the application of the national framework for continuing care and (b) for two years prior to the application of the national framework for continuing care; and how many people per 10,000 population met the eligibility criteria for continuing care for the first time (i) since the application of the national framework for continuing care and (ii) in the two years prior to the application of the national framework for continuing care. (241436)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were receiving continuing care in the last quarter for which figures are available, broken down by (a) primary care trust and (b) the length of time for which they had been receiving continuing care. (241500)

The information requested has been placed in the Library.

Information on the length of time in receipt of continuing care is not collected centrally.

Departmental Procurement

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many invoices submitted to his Department in the last month for which figures are available were paid within 10 days of receipt; and how many remained unpaid after 28 days. (242664)

During November 2008 the Department received 14,890 invoices, of which 14,663 were paid within 10 days this equates to 98.5 per cent.

Only 43 payments were made after 30 days and this equates to 0.29 per cent. The remaining 184 invoices (1.24 per cent.) were paid between 10 and 30 days.

Depressive Illnesses: Bexley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of people diagnosed with mild or moderate depression in the London borough of Bexley in the last 12 months. (242906)

The information requested is not held centrally.

Most people with depression are seen and treated in primary care. However, data on the number of people with individual conditions seen in primary care—such as depression—are not held centrally. While data are available on the total number of people admitted to the care of a consultant in secondary care with depression, they are likely to exclude many patients diagnosed with mild to moderate depression.

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health which trigger offences lead to drug testing as part of his Department's drug intervention programme; and whether he plans to include further offences within that definition. (240589)

I have been asked to reply.

The trigger offences are set out in Schedule 6 to the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000. These are the offences which have been shown to have the clearest link with drug misuse, particularly the misuse of heroin and cocaine/crack and are listed.

Trigger offences with effect from 1 August

1. Offences under the following provisions of the Theft Act 1968 are trigger offences:

section 1 (theft)

section 8 (robbery)

section 9 (burglary)

section 10 (aggravated burglary)

section 12 (taking motor vehicle or other conveyance without authority)

section 12A (aggravated vehicle-taking)

section 22 (handling stolen goods)1

section 25 (going equipped for stealing, etc.)

2. Offences under the following provisions of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 are trigger offences if committed in respect of a specified Class A drug:

section 4 (restriction on production and supply of controlled drugs)

section 5(2) (possession of controlled drug)

section 5(3) (possession of controlled drug with intent to supply)

3. Offences under the following provisions of the Fraud Act 2006 are trigger offences2

section 1 (fraud)

section 6 (possession etc. of articles for use in frauds)

section 7 (making or supplying articles for use in frauds)

3A. An offence under section 1(1) of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 is a trigger offence, if committed in respect of an offence under

(a) any of the following provisions of the Theft Act 19681

section 1 (theft)

section 8 (robbery)

section 9 (burglary)

section 22 (handling stolen goods, or

(b) section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006 (fraud)3

4. Offences under the following provisions of the Vagrancy Act 1824 are trigger offences1

section 3 (begging)

section 4 (persistent begging)

1 Offences added to the trigger offences in Schedule 6 to the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 by The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 (Amendment) Order 2004, (S.I. 2004/1892), which came into force on 27 July 2004.

2 Offences added by the Fraud Act 2006, which came into force on 15 January 2007

3 Offence added by the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 (Amendment) Order 2007 which came into force on 1 August 2007

Drug testing of people who have been arrested or charged with a trigger offence is conducted in authorised police stations across England and Wales as part of the Drug Interventions Programme (DIP).

Those arrested /charged with non-trigger offences may also be tested, where a police officer of at least Inspector rank has reasonable grounds to suspect that misuse of any specified Class A drug caused or contributed to the offence and authorises the taking of a sample.

DIP regularly reviews the list of trigger offences.

Elderly: Abuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what procedures his Department has in place for routine scrutiny of serious case reviews in respect of elder abuse; (240487)

(2) which serious case reviews his Department took into account in preparing its consultation document on safeguarding vulnerable adults and the No Secrets guidance.

Serious case reviews are locally commissioned and reviewed. The Department does not routinely review local serious case reviews. As part of the development of the consultation document on the review of “No Secrets”, research commissioned on serious case reviews was considered: this involved 15 reports of serious case reviews. The Department commissioned and funded King’s College London to undertake this research in England and Wales. A research report is expected to be published this winter.

Exercise: Children

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the National School Pedometer programme in improving children’s health. (240370)

Following a successful pilot in 2006 in which 43 schools were followed, the National School Step-O-Meter programme (Schools on the Move) was launched in a further 250 schools, located in deprived areas, in July 2007.

A full evaluation of the pilot year was undertaken by the London Sport Institute, Middlesex University in September 2006, which showed encouraging increases in children’s activity levels. A further monitoring and evaluation study has been designed and we are expecting a full report on the initiative in December 2009.

A copy of the evaluation report for the Schools on the Move pilot year has been placed in the Library.

Food: Labelling

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of front-of-pack food labelling designed to assist people to make healthier food choices. (240367)

The Food Standards Agency recommends that businesses use front of pack nutrition labelling based on four core principles:

provision of information for fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt;

red, amber or green colour coding to provide at a glance information on the level (ie whether high, medium or low) of individual nutrients in a product;

provision of additional information on the levels of nutrients present in a portion of the product; and

use of the nutritional criteria developed by the agency.

This recommendation is based on a comprehensive set of consumer research data which indicated that this was the approach most likely to be helpful to consumers.

With publication of “Healthy Weight Healthy Lives” in January 2008 (a copy of which has already been placed in the Library) the Government committed to finding a single, simple and effective approach to food labelling to be used by the whole food industry, based on the principles that will be recommended by the Food Standards Agency in light of independent research currently being undertaken. This research is evaluating the effectiveness of front of pack signpost labelling schemes currently in use in the United Kingdom market place in terms of enabling consumers to make healthier choices. The research is expected to be published in April 2009.

Headaches

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much per patient per year was spent on headache disorder research in the latest period for which figures are available. (241422)

Health Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Teaching Public Health Networks in providing training opportunities. (240375)

The nine regional Teaching Public Health Networks (TPHNs) were established in 2006, as a commitment arising from Choosing Health. The aim of TPHNs is to establish an integrated and inclusive approach to the development of public health education across organisations and sectors, at all skill and professional levels. They have an important role in raising the awareness of public health education and training opportunities among all professional groups to help them understand how their job influences public health.

In addition to working on local priorities to change and enhance curriculums and skills, to include consideration of public health capabilities and knowledge, the networks are also taking a lead role in reviewing public health educator capacity across academic and service sectors.

While the primary role of the teaching public health network is not to deliver courses and provide training opportunities, many of the networks have worked on the development of short courses within their lead area.

No formal assessment of the effectiveness of the TPHNs in providing training opportunities has been carried out to date, although the activity of the networks are formally evaluated by the Department annually. Discussions are currently ongoing to inform the next business planning cycle, including the evaluation of current initiatives such as the TPHNs.

Health Services: Voluntary Organisations

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the voluntary sector will be eligible for funding from the new strategic health authority innovation funds. (240537)

The new strategic health authority innovation funds are intended to be accessed by the broadest range of organisations, bodies and individuals possible, working either in the NHS or in partnership with the national health service. This will include the voluntary sector.

Health Visitors: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many health visitors there were in each region in each year since 1997 for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. (241932)

The number of health visitors in each region in England in each year since 1997 is shown in the following table.

NHS hospital and community health services: Qualified health visitors in England by strategic health authority area as at 30 September each specified year

Headcount

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

England

12,410

12,572

12,800

12,827

13,053

12,774

12,984

13,303

12,818

2,034

11,569

North East Strategic Health Authority area

645

658

660

692

681

668

767

762

752

706

698

North West Strategic Health Authority area

1,899

1,911

1,903

1,896

1,942

1,968

1,988

2,105

2,077

2,029

1,897

Yorkshire and the Humber Strategic Health Authority area

1,293

1,323

1,320

1,290

1,466

1,413

1,448

1,505

1,451

1,389

1,301

East Midlands Strategic Health Authority area

1,025

988

1,037

1,028

1,038

1,016

988

997

967

969

925

West Midlands Strategic Health Authority area

1,302

1,346

1,420

1,410

1,435

1,391

1,406

1,417

1,257

1,184

1,269

East of England Strategic Health Authority area

1,150

1,192

1,135

1,210

1,187

1,148

1,176

1,253

1,258

1,181

1,095

London Strategic Health Authority area

1,876

1,965

2,052

1,968

1,999

1,763

1,822

1,836

1,760

1,702

1,613

South East Coast Strategic Health Authority area

990

1,037

1,073

1,077

1,045

1,102

1,042

1,091

1,001

794

778

South Central Strategic Health Authority area

1,029

947

1,011

1,025

1,002

1,064

1,115

1,036

1,020

934

856

South West Strategic Health Authority area

1,201

1,205

1,189

1,231

1,258

1,241

1,232

1,301

1,275

1,146

1,137

Note:

Data Quality

Workforce statistics are compiled from data sent by more than 300 NHS trusts and primary care trusts (PCTs) in England. The NHS Information Centre for health and social care liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies and the effect of missing and invalid data. Processing methods and procedures are continually being updated to improve data quality. Where this happens any impact on figures already published will be assessed but unless this is significant at national level they will not be changed. Where there is impact only at detailed or local level this will be footnoted in relevant analyses.

Source:

The NHS Information Centre for health and social care Non-Medical Workforce census

Health: Males

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the outcomes of Men’s Health Week 2008; and if he will make a statement. (240907)

The Department welcomes National Men’s Health Week and the awareness raising opportunities it provides. The Men’s Health Forum provide an evaluation of the events each year and send their findings to the Department, along with other interested parties.

Healthy Start Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the healthy start scheme. (240368)

Plans are currently under way to evaluate the nutritional impact of Healthy Start. This will include an assessment of the extent to which Healthy Start provides a nutritional safety net for those vulnerable groups known to be most at risk of poor nutrition, and its ability to improve diet and increase awareness of healthy eating and the promotion of breast feeding.

We are also refining a comprehensive suite of management information that will allow us to assess the performance in delivering the scheme, monitoring trends in demand, scheme take up, and voucher usage.

Human Papillomavirus: Vaccination

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the average cost to the NHS of administering a single dose of (a) Cervarix and (b) Gardisil. (242403)

The individual cost of the vaccine and hence the total cost to Government of the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) vaccination programme is commercial-in-confidence.

Primary care trusts (PCTs) were provided with funding to implement the national programme. A list of allocations per PCT is available from the following web link, which has been placed in the Library.

http://www.immunisation.nhs.uk/publications/HPV_DSletter190608.pdf

The cost of administering the HPV programme was estimated to be the same regardless of which vaccine was used.

Lung Diseases

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of diagnosing sufferers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at (a) stage one and (b) stage two. (242763)

Lyme's Disease

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his Department's definition of (a) Lyme's disease, (b) chronic Lyme's disease and (c) post-Lyme's syndrome is. (242070)

Lyme disease in people is defined as a multi-system infection with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, when, following a tick bite, infection is confirmed on the basis of either obvious clinical symptoms, such as a pink or red raised rash spreading from the site of the tick bite, or through laboratory diagnostic tests that conform to the internationally agreed testing criteria and that have the appropriate specificity and sensitivity to accurately identify the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi.

The term chronic Lyme disease is not defined as there is no convincing evidence for the existence of symptomatic chronic Borrelia burgdorferi infection among patients after receipt of recommended treatment regimens for Lyme disease.

Post-Lyme syndrome refers to a spectrum of non-specific symptoms, similar to those of chronic or post-viral fatigue syndrome, that are reported by a small percentage of patients despite apparently adequate treatment and lack of objective evidence of continued Borrelia burgdorferi infection activity.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to make Lyme's disease a notifiable disease. (242261)

There are no plans to make Lyme disease notifiable because there is already in place a robust surveillance system based upon laboratory reporting of all confirmed cases of Borrelia burgdorferi infection.

However, we are proposing to include meningitis associated with Borrelia infection as a notifiable infection in the proposed new regulations to be made under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, as amended by the Health and Social Care Act 2008, on which we will be consulting shortly.

Medical Treatments Abroad

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of progress towards agreement of European Union proposals in relation to patients who wish to travel to other EU member states for treatment and have their costs reimbursed. (241350)

The draft directive on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border health care is subject to the co-decision procedure and is at an early stage of negotiations. In the European Parliament, the rapporteur has recently published a draft report. It is possible that the European Parliament could complete its first reading before the European elections. If not, it will need to undertake this in the next parliamentary session.

Initial discussions on the draft directive on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border health care have been held in the Council of the European Union working groups under the French presidency. European Union Health Ministers will discuss several issues including the draft directive on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border health care at the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council on 16 December. We will provide an update to Parliament on the outcome of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council.

Mental Health Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether mental health service users will be guaranteed a choice of hospital under the new NHS constitution. (240538)

The draft constitution states that:

‘you have a right to make choices about your NHS care. The options available to you will develop over time and depend on your individual need’.

In the Handbook to the draft constitution it states that directions will be given by the Secretary of State under section 8 of the NHS Act to require primary care trusts to ensure that patients have a right to choose their providers. Directions will specify services covered, exceptions and whether mental health service users are included. We have recently consulted on the draft constitution and the final Constitution will be published shortly.

Mental Health Services: Public Consultation

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to ensure that it obtains the views of (a) people who have experience of mental health problems and (b) organisations that represent people who have experienced mental health problems in its consultation on the Social Care Green Paper. (242209)

The Department ran a public engagement process on the future of Care and Support this year, from 12 May until 28 November, in order to gather views and comments from stakeholders, service users and members of the public to help inform the Green Paper. As part of our work to ensure the engagement process was inclusive, people living with mental health problems were targeted, together with those organisations that represent them. In addition, one-to-one interviews with users of mental health services and organisations that represent them have been carried out by Ipsos-MORI and the Central Office of Information as part of the engagement process.

NHS: Billing

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all NHS trusts purchasing supplies and equipment under central NHS contracts pay invoices within 10 days of receipt. (242665)

David Nicholson, NHS Chief Executive, wrote to all NHS Trust Chief Executives on 21 October asking them to examine and review existing payment practices and payment performance and to move as closely as possible to the 10-day payment commitment that has been set for Government Departments wherever practical. This would include cases in which trusts pay suppliers directly through contracts that have been centrally negotiated.

Organophosphates

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many reported cases of ill health have been attributed to long-term exposure to organophosphates in each of the last 10 years. (241599)

There have been no confirmed cases of ill health with long-term chronic exposure to organophosphates identified through the available reporting systems where such symptoms have been attributed to long-term exposure to organophosphates. The available reporting systems are primarily related to reporting on acute rather than chronic adverse effects.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many reported cases there have been of people suffering from (a) excessive fatigue, (b) sensory disturbance, (c) disturbance of higher cerebral functions, (d) loss of cognitive functions and (e) memory loss where such symptoms have been attributed to long-term exposure to organophosphates in each of the last 10 years. (241600)

There have been no confirmed cases with excessive fatigue, sensory disturbance, disturbance of higher cerebral functions, loss of cognitive functions nor memory loss identified through the available reporting systems where such symptoms have been attributed to long-term exposure to organophosphates. The available reporting system are primarily related to the reporting of acute rather than chronic adverse effects.

Patients: Death

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many deaths have resulted from patient safety incidents in each year since 1997-98 for which figures are available, broken down by type of incident. (241146)

The table includes the numbers of patient safety incidents associated with the death of a patient that were submitted to the National Patient Safety Agency’s Reporting and Learning System each year for the period from the 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2008 broken down by type of incident.

Information about the number of patient safety incidents associated with the death prior to that date is not included because of the low number of incidents submitted to the Reporting and Learning System (RLS) and the reliability of the information available.

The total number of reported deaths in each financial year represent 0.4 per cent. of all patient safety incidents reported in that year.

Incidents submitted to the RLS as of 1 December 2008—where the date the incident occurred was between 1 April 2005 and 31 March 2008, broken down by incident type

Financial year (April—March)

Incident type

2005

2006

2007

Access, admission, transfer, discharge (including missing patient)

111

158

135

Clinical assessment (including diagnosis, scans, tests, assessments)

109

157

156

Consent, communication, confidentiality

50

51

41

Disruptive, aggressive behaviour

12

14

18

Documentation (including records, identification)

11

10

14

Infection Control Incident

18

150

309

Implementation of care and ongoing monitoring/review

55

75

115

Infrastructure (including staffing, facilities, environment)

38

48

40

Medical device/equipment

32

33

40

Medication

37

50

54

Patient abuse (by staff/third party)

5

12

22

Patient accident

100

133

171

Self-harming behaviour

419

498

487

Treatment, procedure

237

302

385

Other

1,041

1,503

1,658

Total

2,275

3,194

3,645

Incidents submitted to the RLS as of 1 December 2008—where the date the incident occurred was between 1 April 2005 and 31 March 2008 by financial year (April—March): reported deaths as a proportion of all incidents occurring over the same time period

Financial year (April—March)

Incident type

2005

2006

2007

Deaths

2,275

3,194

3,645

All incident types

596,138

767,324

892,947

Percentage of incident types reported as deaths

0.4

0.4

0.4

Pharmacy

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in the development of specialist accreditation frameworks for pharmacists; and if he will make a statement. (240919)

Near final versions of the specialist frameworks for practitioners with special interests, including pharmacists, were launched at a conference in London on 17 September 2008. We will be formally issuing the frameworks in their final form in the near future via NHS Primary Care Contracting.

Respite Care

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the £150 million spending for respite care announced in the carers strategy will be disbursed; to whom; and according to what formula. (241417)

The £150 million funding announced in the Carer's Strategy is included in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 primary care trust (PCT) revenue allocations, announced 8 December. This money will go to all PCTs and will support all carers. These resources are referred to in the NHS Operating Framework for 2009-10. A copy of the framework has been placed in the Library.

Funding is allocated to PCTs on the basis of the relative needs of their populations. A weighted capitation formula is used to determine each PCTs target share of available resources, to enable them to commission similar levels of health services for populations in similar need.

The components of the formula are used to weight each PCTs “crude” population according to their relative need (age, and additional need) for health care and the unavoidable geographical differences in the cost of providing health care (market forces factor).

Smoking

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to reduce the prevalence of smoking. (240727)

I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement issued on 9 December 2008, Official Report, column 46WS by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health.

Social Services: Public Consultation

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when he will publish responses to his Department's consultation on the Social Care Green Paper; (242210)

(2) how many responses his Department received to its recent consultation on the Social Care Green Paper.

The Department ran a public engagement process on the future of Care and Support this year, from 12 May until 28 November, in order to gather views and comments from stakeholders, service users and members of the public to help inform the Green Paper. The engagement activity included deliberative events with stakeholder organisations and with citizens. People were able to send in their views and comments via a dedicated website, by email or by post. Materials were also available for stakeholder organisations to run discussions within their own networks. We are in the process of analysing the responses and plan to publish a report of the responses received alongside the Green Paper.

Over 1,000 people attended the deliberative events run by the Department. We also received over 1,600 responses via the website, by email and by letter. Some of these responses summarise discussions with groups of people, or the results of surveys or petitions carried out by organisations as part of the engagement. Some of those responding via website did so more than once.

Home Department

Borders: Security

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the cost of establishing a permanent security presence on duty at all times at all ports of entry to the UK. (241280)

Confiscation Orders: Northern Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the monetary value of property and possessions seized by the Assets Recovery Agency from residents of Northern Ireland convicted of drug dealing offences was in each of the last five years. (241433)

The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) did not carry out any criminal confiscation investigations in Northern Ireland linked to drug dealing offences. ARA's civil recovery investigations were focused against property suspected of being the proceeds of crime and did not require a direct link to individuals with criminal convictions. ARA did not hold information on whether individuals connected to such property were convicted of, or alleged to be involved in, drug dealing.

Control Orders

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assistance individuals subject to control orders receive with their living costs. (240997)

Individuals subject to control orders are not routinely prevented from taking employment or from receiving state benefits, including where appropriate job seekers allowance, housing benefit and asylum support. However if the terms of a control order prevent an individual gaining employment or render him ineligible for other benefits the Home Office will make necessary subsistence payments.

If an individual subject to a control order is required to move from their current residence, the Home Office may provide suitable alternative accommodation and pay council tax and utility costs.

In some circumstances the Home Office may pay the line rental for a telephone and/or provide pre-paid telephone cards. This may be appropriate where a controlled person is prohibited by the terms of the control order from using telephones outside his residence and/or using mobile telephones.

All control order obligations are tailored to the individual concerned and in each case must be necessary and proportionate for purposes connected with preventing or restricting involvement by that individual in terrorism-related activity.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals currently subject to control orders have previous convictions for terrorism-related offences. (241281)

The Secretary of State reports to Parliament on the exercise of her powers under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005. The last such statement was laid on 15 September 2008; the next statement is due shortly. These statements give as much information as we can provide about individuals subject to control orders given the national security sensitivities of these cases and the need to avoid publishing any information that could lead to the identification of an individual who is subject to an anonymity order.

Crime: Intellectual Property

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration she gave to including intellectual property crime in the National Community Safety Plan for 2008 to 2011; and if she will make a statement. (240576)

The National Community Safety Plan (NCSP) was revised in December 2007 to communicate how the vision and objectives set out in our national crime strategy ("Cutting Crime: A New Partnership 2008-2011") have been embodied in the current cross-cutting PSA framework. Both documents now give local partners a greater flexibility in setting their crime priorities, in accordance with local needs and in consultation across the local community.

Both the crime strategy and the NCSP cover organised crime, which includes some intellectual property crime. More widely, recent legislation introduced by the Home Office, including new asset recovery powers and the Serious Crime Act 2007, provide important tools in tackling intellectual property crime. The UK Intellectual Property Office has lead responsibility for the Government's national strategy on intellectual property crime and produces regular enforcement reports.

Emergency Calls

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what procedures govern telephone operators listening to silent emergency calls; and for how long operators are advised to listen to such calls. (240871)

Communication providers (CPs), contracted call handling agents and the emergency authorities have responsibilities which are outlined in the code of practice for the Public Emergency Call Service (PECS). PECS is intended to deal with the method of handling ‘999/112’ public emergency telephone calls between the call handling agents (CHAs) and the emergency authorities (EAs) in the United Kingdom (Police, Fire, Ambulance and Coastguard). All CPs have obligations under the Communications Act 2003.

Section 4.6 of the PECS Code of Practice covers ‘Calls without service request’. This relates to silent calls. It states that:

“There are many calls to 999/112 where a caller does not actually request an EA. In the overwhelming majority of cases these are children playing or customer misdials, but there is always a possibility of it being a genuine caller who cannot speak Very large numbers of accidental 999/112 calls are received from mobile phones.

CHA Emergency Operators (CHA EO) try to obtain a response by asking the normal questions—for example “which service is required”, and “if you cannot speak but need help please tap the handset screen.” In cases where nothing apart from general noise (no speech) is heard, or where the voice link is terminated during CHA questioning (perhaps with background speech or noise), it is recognised that there is a negligible chance that it is genuine and the CHA EO can end the call.

Where there is no response, the voice channel remains open and background voices are present it is recognised that the CHA cannot decide whether an EA is needed. In this case the call is connected to a police voice response system hosted by the Metropolitan Police Service which asks caller to press ‘5’ twice if help is required. If 55 is pressed then immediate connection with the appropriate police authority is made. For any cases where suspicious noises are heard the CHA can override the above procedures and connect to a police EACR”.

While the Home Office has oversight of the police service's handling of 999/112 calls, Other Government Departments are responsible for the 999/112 call handling standards of the other emergency services.

Identity Cards: Foreigners

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what circumstances A2 nationals will be required to possess the new identity card for foreign nationals. (240660)

Nationals of Bulgaria and Romania (A2 nationals) are citizens of European Economic Area (EEA) members and not subject to immigration control. Therefore, we cannot require them to apply for an identity card for foreign nationals.

Police: Electric Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment has been made of the results of trials of use by police of personal transporters on public highways in Sutton; what assessment she has made of the potential contribution of such transporters to neighbourhood policy; and if she will make a statement. (240391)

It is an operational matter for individual chief officers of police to decide what equipment shall be available to their officers. They will wish to ensure that any particular item is fit for purpose, practical and safe in operation, compliant in itself and in its potential uses with all relevant legislation, and that its purchase and deployment represents a proper and effective use of resources.

Police: Secondment

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers are (a) seconded to overseas missions, governments or organisations and (b) otherwise serving abroad. (241254)

Police: Stun Guns

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when the majority of police forces in England and Wales will be equipped with Taser stun guns; (242560)

(2) what officers are (a) currently and (b) proposed to be permitted to use Taser stun guns in police forces in England and Wales;

(3) what the cost is expected to be of supplying Taser stun guns to police forces in England and Wales.

In 2004, following a trial in five forces, the then Home Secretary agreed that chief officers of all police forces in England and Wales could make Taser available to authorised firearms officers as a less lethal option for use in situations where a firearms authority had been granted in accordance with criteria laid down in the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Manual of Guidance on Police Use of Firearms.

The Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) announced on 19 July 2007 that authorised police firearms officers in England and Wales would be able to use Taser in a wider set of circumstances. These officers are now able to deploy Taser in operations or incidents where the use of firearms is not authorised, but where they are facing violence or threats of violence of such severity that they would need to use force to protect the public, themselves or the subject.

Following the success of a 12 month trial in ten police forces, the Home Secretary agreed on 24 November 2008 to allow Chief Officers of all forces in England and Wales, from 1 December 2008, to extend the use of Taser to specially trained units in accordance with current Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) policy and guidance. This sets out that Taser can only be used by specially trained units where officers would be facing violence or threats of violence of such severity that they would need to use force to protect the public, themselves and/or the subject(s).

The cost of supplying Tasers to all forces in England and Wales is dependent on the operational decisions of Chief Officers on deployment of Taser. The Home Secretary announced on 24 November 2008 that the Home Office would be making available a one-off injection of funding to support the purchase of up to 10,000 Tasers for use by police forces in England and Wales.

Police: Training

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of people accepted on the Higher Potential Scheme in each of the last five years were (a) women, (b) black and minority ethnic and (c) disabled. (240345)

The Police High Potential Development Scheme (HPDS) was introduced in 2002. It was revised and relaunched in 2008.

Disability data were not recorded until 2006/07. The following table provides data on the number and proportion of people accepted onto the HPDS in each of the last five years. Information on the first year of the HPDS is also provided.

Breakdown of successful HPDS candidates by sex, ethnicity and disability

Total

Male

Female

NR1

BME2

White

NR1

Disability

NR1

Original HPDS

2002-03

Number

57

48

9

0

0

56

1

Percentage

84.2

15.8

98.2

1.8

2003-04

Number

58

44

14

0

3

55

0

Percentage

75.9

24.1

5.2

94.8

2004-05

Number

30

16

14

0

2

28

0

Percentage

53.3

46.6

6.6

93.3

2005-06

Number

30

15

15

0

2

28

0

Percentage

50.0

50.0

6.6

93.3

2006-07

Number

44

27

17

0

1

33

10

1

0

Percentage

61.4

38.6

2.3

75.0

22.7

2.3

Revised HPDS

2007-08

Number

84

57

22

5

5

74

5

3

6

Percentage

67.9

26.2

6.0

6.0

88.1

6.0

3.6

7.1

1 NR = data not recorded or listed as “prefer not to say”.

2 BME = Black, Minority, or Ethnic minority background.

Terrorism: Convictions

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were convicted of each type of terrorist offence in each of the last five years. (240927)

We are currently unable to provide the information requested.

The Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Office are currently working with the National Coordinator for Terrorist Investigations to improve the quality of data relating to those arrested, charged, convicted and imprisoned under terrorist legislation and under other legislation but considered terrorist related. As soon as this is complete a Statistical Bulletin covering this information will be published by the Home Office.

Communities and Local Government

Brussels

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many visits to Brussels were made by staff of her Department in 2007-08; and what the total cost of such visits was. (241259)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 1127W.

Charities: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to which charities her Department has supplied funding of £100,000 or more in each of the last three years; and how much was given to each charity. (242083)

Table A sets out the grants given to voluntary non-profit making organisations concerned with homelessness or matters relating to homelessness under section 180 Housing Act 1996. Table B sets out other grants paid by the Department to non-profit bodies.

This may not be a complete list. A complete list could be made available only at a disproportionate cost.

We are currently taking forward a request from the Office of the Third Sector about spending on their sector by the Department and its agencies for 2006-08 which is due to be completed by the end of December.

Table A

£000

Organisation

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Total

Aspire

230

230

435

895

Broadway

489

530

545

1,564

Business in the Community

400

500

500

1,400

Centre Point

559

497

836

1,892

Citizens Advice

470

733

585

1,788

City Roads (Odyssey)

109

109

218

Connection

110

110

Connection @ St. Martins

821

821

840

2,482

Crisis

270

155

425

East Thames Group

942

1,259

697

2,898

Emmaus

146

651

1,020

1,817

Equinox

272

272

272

816

Foyer Federation

400

400

Galleries 2 project

250

250

Homeless link

1,296

1,153

1,690

4,139

House of St. Barnabas

125

106

231

Look Ahead

2,006

4,115

2,110

8,231

M25 Group

200

200

Mosaic

764

764

785

2,313

Reading YMCA

165

165

Refuge

165

165

Resource Information Service

2,925

219

237

3,381

Shelter

2,181

2,090

1,802

6,073

St. Christopher

100

100

St. Mungo’s

2,742

3,698

2,935

9,375

Thames Reach Bondway

1,576

1,465

1,660

4,701

Training for Life

300

759

1,059.

Women’s Aid

310

150

100

560

Byker Bridge Housing Association

500

500

Change up funding

615

615

Crime Reduction Initiative

120

120

Northern Network

197

199

396

Off the Street and into Work

709

715

1,424

Panahghar

110

146

256

Relate

125

125

250

Working Future Project

1,259

1,259

Chartered Institute of Housing

500

500

Construction Youth Trust

135

135

Derbyshire Housing Aid

114

114

Housing Association Charitable Trust

220

220

Cranstoun Drug Services

120

120

TREES Group

240

240

SITRA

338

338

YMCA Birkenhead

300

300

YMCA England

155

382

537

Tyneside Cyrenians

107

107

Table B

Organisation

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Total

Burnley Pendle and Rossendale CVS

134

134

Business in the Community

130

130

Civic Trust

706

775

1,481

Community Foundation for Merseyside

148

148

Council for Voluntary Service (CVS)

1,264

1,264

County Durham Foundation

197

197

First Step Trust

742

558

100

1,400

Groundwork UK

3,698

5,332

10,298

19,328

Hyndburn and Ribble Valley CVS

114

114

Middlesbrough Voluntary Development Agency

165

165

Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Service

381

381

Pendle Community Network Ltd.

101

101

Penwith Community Development Trust

130

130

Scarman Trust

150

150

Sefton Council for Voluntary Service

165

165

St. Helens District CVS Ltd.

152

152

Tameside Third Sector Coalition Ltd.

102

102

Voluntary Action

1,460

1,460

West Cumbria CVS

107

107

Thames Gateway—Groundwork UK

950

950

Wirral CVS

299

299

Community Development: English Language

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the Government's policy is, with reference to its policies on community cohesion, on encouraging those who have settled in the UK in the last 30 years to learn English. (242579)

The Government believe that the ability to speak and write English is vital to integrating into British society and to improving equality of opportunity. Language skills help people get on in the workplace and make a contribution to their local community. Migrants who have a good level of English are employed at a higher level, are able to work safely and confidently in their jobs, find it easier to integrate into society; and are aware of the unwritten rules of behaviour. We are therefore promoting the learning of English through the immigration and citizenship process and the provision of English language classes.

Government have taken the following steps to encourage immigrants to learn English:

In December 2007, we published Guidance on Translation for local authorities. The guidance spreads existing good practice, which ensures that translation is only provided where it is necessary and acts as a stepping stone to speaking English.

The Home Office Green Paper on citizenship (published 20 February 2008) considers that it is right to allow ESOL further education courses at the ‘home rate’ in order that migrants can acquire key skills needed for good community cohesion.

Funding changes for ESOL provision were introduced last August to improve accessibility for the most vulnerable learners, with those who can afford to pay for English classes currently contributing up to 37.5 per cent.

In October 2007 DIUS launched a new suite of ESOL for work qualifications. The new qualifications are shorter and more work-focused than traditional ESOL qualifications, giving learners practical English skills in essential workplace matters, such as health and safety and customer service. These provide more flexibility and choice for employers, agencies and learners. Employers should share responsibility for supporting employees with ESOL needs.

The DIUS consultation on ESOL earlier this year set out an approach to ESOL funding centred on integration and community cohesion outcomes, and placing the assessment of need at a local level. DIUS are currently developing more detailed proposals for future ESOL funding on the basis of the consultation response.

Departmental Internet

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, columns 336-7W, on Government departments: information and communications technology, which IP addresses are used by (a) her Department and (b) computers in the offices of (i) Ministers, (ii) communications officials and (iii) special advisers. (241947)

To help defend against electronic attack, it is standard good information security practice for corporate IT systems, not to publish internal IP addresses. When accessing internet websites, the IP addresses of all of the computers on Communities and Local Government’s internal office IT system are hidden behind the following IP addresses which are publicly available—195.92.40.49 and 62.25.106.209. These IP addresses are shared with other Government Departments that use the Government Secure Intranet.

Departmental Work Experience

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many individuals have worked in her Department on (a) paid and (b) unpaid work experience or internships in each of the last three years; on average how many hours a week were worked by such people in each year; what types of work each was involved in; what proportion were in full-time education; what proportion did not complete their set period of work experience; and how much those who received remuneration were paid on average per week in each year. (242121)

28 individuals have worked in the Department for Communities and Local Government on paid summer placements over the past three years. Individuals on summer placements are a mixture of undergraduates and recent graduates and work in a variety of posts across the Department. They are contracted to work 36 hours per week and are placed on the minimum executive officer salary, currently £24,461, which is paid pro rata for the duration of the placement. Of the 10 individuals who joined the Department in summer 2008 two did not complete their placements.

The Department does not keep a central record of how many individuals have undertaken unpaid work experience as this information is held locally by divisions.

Eco-Towns

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make a statement on what contribution she expects to be made to the delivery of the eco-towns programme by the Environmental and Sustainability Standard 2008 issued by the Building Research Establishment. (241977)

We have set out the high standards that eco-towns must meet in the draft Planning Policy Statement (PPS), which was published on 4 November 2008.

We are currently consulting on the draft PPS and want to hear views about whether these are the right standards. The BRE's standard is an issue that we would expect might be raised as part of this consultation, and which we would then consider in our analysis of the consultation responses before finalising the PPS.

Elevate East Lancashire

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans she has with regard to future funding of the Elevate East Lancashire housing renewal area; and if she will make a statement. (242526)

Future allocations to 2010-11 for housing market renewal areas, including Elevate East Lancashire, were announced in the House on 28 February 2008. These amounts are currently indicative and may change by up to plus or minus 10 per cent. We hope to announce final allocations shortly.

Fire Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what cost estimate her Department based its plans for the administration of each regional fire control centre between the date to which it became operational and the date on which the last Fire and Rescue Authority is expected to cut over to a regional control centre. (241299)

As individual Fire and Rescue Services cut over to the Regional Control Centre they will pay their relative proportion of the total running cost, with the Department financing the remaining share until all FRSs within a region have cut over. It is for the FRAs within a region to collectively agree what their relative proportions will be.

The steady state total running cost estimates for the Regional Control Centres are currently those included in the FiReControl Business Case Part 1: the Regional Cases published in July 2008 and summarised in the following table.

Region

Forecast RCC running cost (£000 pa)

EE

7,373

EM

6,262

Lon

10,898

NE

5,405

NW

8,426

SE

8,767

SW

6,992

WM

7,457

YH

7.124

EM

6,262

Copies of the Business Case Part 1 and 2 are available in the House Library or at

http://www.communities.gov.uk/fire/resilienceresponse/firecontrol/businesscase/

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) on what date each fire and rescue authority is expected to cut over to its regional control centre, broken down by (a) brigade and (b) region; (241300)

(2) what contingency plans she has put in place for fire and rescue services to respond to the potential terrorist threat to the 2012 Olympic Games, in the event that not all fire and rescue authorities cut over to regional control centres by 2012.

On 26 November 2008 I announced a rescheduling of the FiReControl cut over timetable. We have shared an indicative timetable with the Fire and Rescue Services and are validating the revised dates with them directly. The draft timetable, broken down by region and Fire and Rescue Service, is:

Provisional revised FRS cutover timetable for FiReControl (November 2008)

FRS (by Region)

Provisional revised date1

South West Region

Somerset

July 2010

Devon

July 2010

Dorset

October 2010

Avon

November 2010

Cornwall

June 2011

Wiltshire

August 2011

Gloucestershire

October 2011

East Midlands Region

Derbyshire

July 2010

Leicestershire

October 2010

Nottinghamshire

November 2010

Lincolnshire

February 2011

Northamptonshire

February 2011

North East Region

Tyne and Wear

July 2010

Durham and Darlington

October 2010

Cleveland

November 2010

Northumberland

November 2010

West Midlands Region

Staffordshire

October 2010

West Midlands FRS

November 2010

Shropshire

February 2011

Warwickshire

June 2011

Hereford and Worcester

June 2011

South East Region

Hampshire

February 2011

West Sussex

June 2010

Royal Berkshire

August 2011

Oxfordshire

October 2011

Kent

October 2011

East Sussex

December 2011

Buckinghamshire

December 2011

Isle of Wight

February 2012

Surrey

February 2012

North West Region

Greater Manchester

February 2011

Merseyside

June 2011

Cumbria

August 2011

Cheshire

August 2011

Lancashire

August 2011

Yorkshire and Humberside Region

West Yorkshire

August 2011

South Yorkshire

October 2011

North Yorkshire

December 2011

Humberside

February 2012

East of England Region

Cambridgeshire

October 2011

Essex

December 2011

Bedfordshire

December 2011

Suffolk

December 2011

Norfolk

February 2012

Hertfordshire

February 2012

London

London

February 2011

1 As with any project of this nature, we will only have certainty about the timing of these later stages of the project once earlier stages have been completed successfully. We will be communicating progress on this directly with our stakeholders.

As a consequence of this rescheduling the London cutover moves forward relative to other regions with the entire network due to be in place by February 2012, under current planning assumptions. We will continue to work closely with the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority to review preparations.

The Home Office is leading work with other Government Departments, the Police and emergency services to develop the Safety and Security plan for the 2012 Games. The DCLG is working closely with the Fire and Rescue Service and other stakeholders on planning and coordination requirements as part of this process.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the timetable will be for her Department’s proposed expenditure analysis review of fire and rescue services. (243024)

The Government are currently reviewing the fire and rescue relative needs formula used in the Formula Grant distribution system. Options arising from this review will be consulted upon in summer 2010, with any changes implemented for the next three year settlement (i.e. from 2011-12).