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Session 2006 - 07
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Supplement to the House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
2 February 2007

SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF DACORUM

25th January 2007

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of Dacorum

Declares that we are outraged by the decision of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to restrict NHS prescriptions for Alzheimer's drugs. These treatments are proven to provide real benefits to thousands of people at all stages of Alzheimer's disease and cost just 2.50 per person per day.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons to urge the Secretary of State for Health to ensure doctors continue to be able to prescribe Alzheimer's drug treatments to patients who can benefit from them.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF NORTHAMPTON AND PEOPLE WHO WORK IN THE TOWN AND USE ITS FACILITIES

25th January 2007

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of Northampton and people who work in the town and use its facilities,

Declares that there is serious concern about the budget proposals put forward by Northampton Borough Council in particular the proposals to close Lings Forum Leisure Centre and the Forum Cinema, cut neighbourhood wardens, and take many other actions that are bitterly opposed by local people, will damage community safety and harm the interests of the whole town of Northampton.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to take action to ensure that Northampton Borough Council listens to the voice of local people and withdraws these proposals.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM MEMBERS OF THE WOMEN'S INSTITUTE

30th January 2007

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of the members of the Women's Institute,

Declares that the price of milk has been artificially held low resulting in endangering dairy farmers' livelihoods.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to take action to:

commission a full scale investigation into the practices of the dairy sector and the effects these have on dairy farmers, to ensure that a watchdog is put into place to oversee the dairy industry and ensure that all parties in the food chain receive a fair price;

ensure that emergency measures are put in place while the investigation is undertaken to make certain that more dairy farmers are not forced out of business in the interim; and

make farming a priority for Britain to ensure that we do not have to depend entirely on other nations to supply our food.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Petition [16th November] from the residents of Buckfastleigh against the closure of local bank branches.

    The Economic Secretary to the Treasury notes the closure of the Buckfastleigh branch of the Lloyds TSB bank.

    The decision to make a bank branch closure is a commercial decision for the bank.

    One key concern people often have about a branch closure is related to access to cash. The Government takes seriously the issue of access to finance, in particular, free access to cash. In 2006, a Working Group chaired by Mr John McFall MP looked at the evidence base on ATMs, and reported back to the Economic Secretary last December with its findings. The Working Group paid special attention to low income areas without access to a free ATM within 1km. While the Working Group found that the majority of such areas already have convenient access to a free ATM, a small but significant proportion did not. The Working Group estimated that around 600 free ATMs are needed to fill this gap across the UK, and a number of banks and one independent ATM operator have agreed to supply the needed machines. The Economic Secretary wrote jointly with Mr McFall to all Members of Parliament and local authority leaders in such areas to ask for their help in finding suitable sites for the new machines in the target areas. Any suggestions for new suitable sites for ATMs can be made on the LINK website at:

    http://www.link.co.uk/atm/access_to_cash/public_suggestion_area.html.

    A number of banks provide Post Office access for customers of their current or internet banking services. In total, twenty five UK bank accounts, including all seventeen basic bank accounts, can be accessed over Post Office counters. In addition Post Office Ltd has already introduced one new savings account, and is developing other savings and banking products.

    HM Treasury will continue to monitor the situation as regards access to banking services.

    25th January 2007


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the Petition [20th November] from people living around St Mary's Church Conservation Area, Benfleet requesting the rejection of a planning application.

    The application to Castle Point Borough Council, reference CPT/663/06/FUL, is in respect of the proposed demolition of the parade of shops opposite the historic St Mary's Church, in High Road, Benfleet to make way for a new block of four shops with six one bed and nine two bed flats in a two-storey development above the shops with underground parking.

    The application is currently under consideration by Castle Point Borough Council and is scheduled to go to full Planning Committee on 9th January 2006.

    Parliament has entrusted local authorities with responsibility for development control in their areas. It is for them to decide, with particular regard to the provisions of the statutory development plans, any relevant views expressed by neighbouring occupiers, local residents and other third parties (although they are not bound to accept those views) and any other relevant material considerations which fairly and reasonably relate to the application concerned, to decide whether or not a proposal should be given planning permission. The Secretary of State intervenes in this responsibility only in the most exceptional circumstances and then only when issues of national or regional importance are involved. To do so more often would undermine the responsibility given to local planning authorities.

    If the application was to be refused, the applicant would have the right to appeal to the Secretary of State and it would therefore not be appropriate for the Secretary of State to comment on proposals that may come before her.

30th January 2007


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the Petition [28th November] from people living around Thundersley requesting the re-opening of Thundersley public toilets.

    The provision of public conveniences is at the discretion of local authorities. This is therefore a matter for Castle Point Borough Council.

    Public safety and the administration of justice is the responsibility of the police and the courts who have the powers to deal with inappropriate use and defacement of public property.

    The Department for Communities and Local Government does recognise that the provision and upkeep of public conveniences is a service valued by many people.

    The Department is working with the British Toilet Association and others with a view to developing a strategy that will improve public access to toilets, but have no plans to introduce legislation to impose a duty on local authorities to provide and maintain public toilets.

30th January 2007


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for Health on the Petition [7th December] from the Tyne and Wear Asbestos Support Group for the provision of Alimta to sufferers of mesothelioma.

    The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is conducting an appraisal of pemetrexed disodium (Alimta) for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). Final NICE guidance on the use of Alimta for MPM is expected to be published in the Autumn. In the meantime, there are currently no national restrictions on the prescribing of this drug for the treatment of MPM.

    The Department of Health issued revised guidance on Managing The Introduction Of New Healthcare Interventions in December 2006. The guidance advises NHS organisations that until NICE has published final guidance on a treatment, NHS bodies should continue with local arrangements for the managed introduction of new technologies. These arrangements should involve an assessment of the available evidence and the guidance identifies potential sources of such information. Funding for such treatments should not be withheld simply because of an absence of guidance from NICE.

31st January 2007


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for Health on the Petition [12th December] from John Potter and other citizens of the United Kingdom for each hospital to employ its own cleaning staff and for those staff to be managed by matrons.

    Each hospital trust has full responsibility for delivering cleaning services. Decisions about whether to provide services in-house, or via an external contractor, are entirely local ones.

    There is limited evidence for a direct link between hospital cleanliness and Healthcare Associated Infections. However, it is important that hospitals are kept clean, and matrons play a central role in this. We published "A Matron's Charter" in 2004, and this emphasises the importance of the matron in creating a culture in which everyone takes responsibility for keeping the environment clean and tidy. Its ten commitments include the clear statement "Nurses and infection control staff will be involved in drawing up cleaning contracts, and matrons will have the authority and power to withhold payment."

31st January 2007



 
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