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Session 2006 - 07
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Supplement to the House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
15 June 2007

SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM PROFESSIONALS IN THE NURSERY SECTOR, CONCERNED PARENTS AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

12th June 2007

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of professionals in the nursery sector, concerned parents and members of the public,

Declares that nurseries, pre-schools and daycare providers fulfil a vital role in the development of pre-school children and that voluntary, private and independent nurseries provide the overwhelming majority of nursery care. The Government's new code of practice fundamentally changes the rules regarding the provision of free nursery places for three and four year olds. We are concerned that the new code of practice could cause significant financial harm and insecurity in the nursery sector and force existing, trusted nurseries out of business, creating uncertainty for parents and children.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to halt the implementation of this code of practice and undertake an urgent assessment of its impact on nurseries.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM STUDENTS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF PLYMOUTH STUDENTS' UNION

13th June 2007

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of students from the University of Plymouth Students' Union,

Declares that students in Scotland and Wales do not pay any money towards prescriptions. Currently students in England are entitled to a reduced rate, depending on their financial circumstances; however, a fee must still be paid.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Chancellor of the Exchequer to abolish prescription fees for students in England and acknowledge that universal free prescriptions would be less expensive than the system of means testing that currently exists.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for Health on the Petition [18th May] from residents of the London Boroughs of Southwark, Lambeth, Croydon, Lewisham and others against the closure of the 24 hour emergency mental health clinic at the Maudsley Hospital.

    The issues raised in this Petition are matters for the local NHS. The Secretary of State considered that the local NHS proposals were in line with the Mental Health National Service Framework and Department of Health policy and were therefore in the interests of service users and the local health community as a whole.

    The Department of Health will bring this Petition to the attention of NHS London.

8th June 2007


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for Health on the Petition [18th May] from residents of the London Borough of Sutton and others of like disposition for the retention of Accident and Emergency services at St Helier Hospital.

    The issues raised in this Petition are local matters and my Department will bring it to the attention of NHS London.

8th June 2007


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for Health on the Petition [22nd May] from residents of North West Leicestershire and surrounding areas for a local hospice.

    The issues raised in the Petition are local matters and my Department will bring it to the attention of Leicestershire County and Rutland PCT.

    NHS organisations across Leicester, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland are revisiting their strategy for palliative care and are involving the voluntary sector in this.

    The process for assessing the current and future needs of all patients with palliative care needs across Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland starts this month, with the first meeting of the Palliative Care Commissioning Group.

    This group will be responsible for developing and improving services throughout the Network.

    I am advised that a Palliative Care Commissioning Group has been established to take this work forward. The group, with representation from the 3 PCTs, the 3 Acute Trusts and the voluntary sector, will have its inaugural meeting on 4th June.

    The group will assess the current and future needs of all patients with palliative care needs across LNR with a view to developing and improving services throughout the Network.

    I understand that the Network Nurse Director recently met with representatives from Hospice Hope following their meeting with Leicestershire County and Rutland PCT and informed them of this proposed way forward.

8th June 2007


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for Defence on the Petition [1st May] from Sussex Action for Peace for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq.

    The UK is one of 26 nations contributing troops to the United Nations mandated coalition effort in Iraq. Multinational forces are in Iraq to help provide the security essential to enable the political process and economic reconstruction to take place. The Government of Iraq has made it clear that they want the Multinational force to stay in Iraq until the Iraqi Security Forces are capable of delivering security themselves.

    In political terms, Iraq has come a long way in a very short time. The Iraqi people have shown their passion and commitment to a democratic future after decades of dictatorship. Over 12 million people voted in the free national elections in December 2005 and on Iraq's constitution. It may take many years for a peaceful, democratic Iraq to mature, but the international community must stand alongside the Iraq people to help them develop their economy, their infrastructure and democratic institutions.

    The security situation in parts of Iraq remains difficult and dangerous, particularly in and around Baghdad, which accounts for around 80% of all attacks across Iraq. Insurgents and terrorists continue to attack coalition forces, Iraqi civilians and Iraqi Security Forces in their attempts to stir up violence and destabilise Iraqi democracy. The terrorist and sectarian violence has claimed thousands of lives, including Iraqi civilians. Any loss of innocent lives is tragic and we are committed to ensuring that civilian casualties are avoided. Insurgents and terrorists are not so scrupulous. Sadly, 150 British service personnel have died in Iraq since the beginning of Operation TELIC, 116 of whom have been killed in action or died of wounds as a result of hostile action. The nation honours and remembers their sacrifice. Neither should we forget the some 3,500 US and other coalition service personnel who have also tragically been killed.

    It is important to remember though that the coalition is, in fact, making good progress in Iraq. So far, we have helped to train and equip over 345,000 members of the Iraqi Security Forces, who are increasingly able to take responsibility for the people of Iraq. This is demonstrated by the fact that security responsibility has now been handed over to Iraqi control in seven provinces. More provinces will follow as we make further progress and conditions continue to improve.

    Across Iraq, healthcare spending is up more than 30 times on pre-war levels and over 5 million children have received life saving vaccinations. Access to safe water in Iraq is now better than pre-conflict. Sewerage treatment plants are now in operation - prior to the conflict, none were operational. Over 5000 schools have been rehabilitated, millions of text books have been distributed and free press is flourishing. Power remains a significant problem with ageing infrastructure and sabotage as the root cause.

    There is vital work still to be done. Withdrawal of the Multinational forces prematurely would potentially make the present difficult security situation in parts of the country worse and undermine the progress made to date. We do, however, regularly assess the optimum number of coalition forces required to do the job. In terms of UK troop numbers, from 1st June we will have reduced our force level in Iraq from 7,100 to around 5,500 personnel. We will look to make further adjustments to our force levels in the future as and when conditions on the ground are right to do so.

12th June 2007


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for Wales on the Petition [18th May] from Councillor William Powell and others of like disposition for measures to keep the Community Hospitals at Knighton, Builth Wells and Bronllys open.

    I noted with interest that the First Minister of the National Assembly for Wales (Rhodri Morgan) announced on Thursday 7th March 2007 a moratorium on changes at community hospital level, of the sort identified in the Petition.

13th June 2007



 
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Revised 15 June 2007