14 May 2012 : Column 21W

Table 2: Number of additional days of imprisonment awarded to people in Hindley Young Offender Institution by an outside adjudicator for breaches of prison rules in each month from January 2010 to April 2012
  Number

2010

 

January

0

February

0

March

0

April

0

May

0

June

0

July

0

August

0

September

0

October

0

November

0

December

14

2011

 

January

0

February

5

March

31

April

10

May

0

June

0

July

25

August

35

September

49

October

35

November

38

December

58

2012

 

January

15

February

59

March

70

April

14

Notes: 1. This table covers 10-17 year olds at Hindley. No 18 year old received any additional days for breaches of prison rules in this time period. 2. These figures have been drawn from YOI records, as such they are subject to possible recording errors and can be subject to change over time.
Table 3: Number of cases referred to an outside adjudicator for breaches of prison rules in Hindley Young Offender Institution in each month from January 2010 to April 2012
  Number

2010

 

January

0

February

0

March

0

April

0

May

0

June

0

July

0

August

0

September

0

October

0

November

0

December

1

2011

 

January

0

February

1

March

4

April

2

May

0

June

1

July

4

August

2

September

4

14 May 2012 : Column 22W

October

2

November

3

December

7

2012

 

January

2

February

5

March

11

April

3

Notes: 1. This table covers 10-17 year olds at Hindley. 2. One 18-year-old was referred to an outside adjudicator however the individual left the establishment before the case was heard and is not included in the above figures. 3. These figures have been drawn from YOI records, as such they are subject to possible recording errors and can be subject to change over time.

Cabinet Office

Civil Service Learning

Mr Thomas: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many contracts have been issued by Civil Service Learning since its formation; and if he will make a statement. [106751]

Mr Maude: Civil Service Learning has issued eight contracts since its formation.

Mr Thomas: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many staff are employed by Civil Service Learning; and if he will make a statement. [106867]

Mr Maude: Civil Service Learning was established in April 2011 in response to a wide-ranging review of learning and development in the civil service. The review recognised the need for the civil service to obtain better value for the taxpayer from its investment in learning and development, reduce the duplication in learning procurement and make greater use of the external market to provide training. In 2009-10, £275 million was spent on training and development across the civil service. From 2012-13, the work of Civil Service Learning will contribute to annual savings for the taxpayer of £90 million against this baseline.

In 2009 there were approximately 2,000 people engaged in the design and delivery of generic training and development across the civil service; now there are around 300. At 10 May 2012, Civil Service Learning employed 60 of these 300 staff.

Mr Thomas: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the budget is for Civil Service Learning in 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. [106868]

Mr Maude: Civil Service Learning was established in April 2011 in response to a wide-ranging review of learning and development in the Civil Service. The review recognised the need for the Civil Service to obtain better value for the taxpayer from its investment in learning and development, reduce the duplication in learning procurement and make greater use of the external market to provide training. In 2009-10, £275 million was spent on training and development across the civil

14 May 2012 : Column 23W

service. By centralising learning and development provision, the work of Civil Service Learning will contribute to annual savings from 2012-13 for the taxpayer of £90 million against this baseline.

Civil Service Learning's operational budget for 2012-13 is £9.5 million.

Employment

Luciana Berger: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will estimate the number of (a) private and (b) public sector jobs in each parliamentary constituency in each of the last three financial years. [106805]

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated May 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking for an estimate of the number of (a) private and (b) public sector jobs in each parliamentary constituency in each of the last three financial years. (106805)

Public and private sectors employment statistics for local areas can be calculated from the Annual Population Survey (APS). Individuals in the APS are classified to the public or private sector according to their responses to the survey.

Table 1, shows the number of persons employed in the public and private sectors in each constituency in Great Britain from the APS for the period April 2010 to March 2011, the latest financial period for which data is available, and April to March for the previous two years. Estimates for Northern Ireland are not available. As the information requested is quite extensive, a copy of the table has been placed in the House of Commons Library.

As with any sample survey, estimates from the APS are subject to a margin of uncertainty. A guide to the quality of the estimates is given in Table 1.

National and local area estimates for many labour market statistics, including employment, unemployment and claimant count are available on the NOMIS website at:

http://www.nomisweb.co.uk.

Food Waste

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate he has made of the amount of food waste generated by the Cabinet Office and the Prime Minister’s Office last year; and what steps he is taking to reduce this. [106559]

Mr Maude: It is not my objective to reduce the amount of food waste collected by my Department as food waste can be reprocessed, avoiding the need for landfill.

After May 2010 food waste recycling caddies with biodegradable bags were introduced in my Department. These were fully established at all kitchens and tea points across the Cabinet Office estate in 2011. Food waste from these is processed to create electricity, heat, vehicle fuel or a fertiliser, avoiding the need for landfill.

During 2011-12, around 9 tonnes of food waste were reprocessed.

14 May 2012 : Column 24W

Fraud

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much and what proportion of the estimate of public sector fraud measured by the National Fraud Authority has been (a) specifically identified and (b) recovered (i) in total and (ii) by each department in each of the last three years. [106771]

Mr Maude: Since January 2011, as part of this Government's determination to collect coherent management information, departments have been required to report their losses relating to fraud, error and uncollected debt through ‘Quarterly Data Summaries' (QDS). There are no centrally collected data on detected fraud between April 2009 and January 2011.

Figures of detected fraud and error are published in departmental QDS returns and this information is available on their websites.

These figures cannot be expressed as a proportion of ‘estimated' public sector fraud losses published in the National Fraud Authority's Annual Fraud Indicator as the definitions used, and the years to which these figures relate are not comparable.

We expect the figure for fraud in the QDS to increase as departments get better at identifying it.

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what measures his Department uses to assess the effectiveness of cross-governmental steps to tackle public sector fraud; and what benchmarking work has taken place to inform this work. [106773]

Mr Maude: For years the Government has lost billions of pounds of taxpayers' money per annum through fraud, error and debt. My department is determined to address this. We estimate that, by 2015, the Government could save as much as £4 billion per year by taking more effective measures to tackle fraud, error and debt.

One of the cornerstones of the approach we are taking through the work of the Fraud, Error and Debt Taskforce, which I established in October 2010, is to strengthen the focus on prevention as a means of tackling fraud and error. In February this year, we published a report setting out measures that we will be taking which include requirements that:

by December 2013, all government departments, agencies and non-departmental public bodies will undertake a spend recovery audit on their accounts payable system; and

by March 2015, government departments that administer benefits, grants and other payment systems will screen applications before payment is made, rather than paying without checking.

The Taskforce will be monitoring progress in implementing the commitments made. A key measure of effectiveness will be the extent of ‘losses prevented'.

Although there are independent comparisons of tax and welfare fraud, there remains a need to develop robust comparisons to benchmark success in other areas. We expect our capacity to benchmark the effectiveness of measures will improve as more departments start to implement these commitments.

14 May 2012 : Column 25W

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many full-time equivalent staff his Department has assigned to work on public sector fraud in each of the last three years. [106774]

Mr Maude: The National Fraud Authority estimates that £20.3 billion is lost every year to public sector fraud. For the first time my Department is taking effective cross-Government action to tackle this. This does not replace Departments’ own plans to address fraud.

We estimate that, by 2015, the Government stands to save the taxpayer at least £4 billion per year by dealing with fraud, error and uncollected debt more effectively. In this context work on Fraud, Error and Debt was established in the Cabinet Office Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG) in 2011. Prior to this there were no staff assigned to tackling fraud in the Cabinet Office.

ERG operates a flexible resourcing and development approach to staffing which allocates staff to time-bound assignments to ensure resources are best focused on priorities. In 2011, four full-time equivalent (FTE) staff were working specifically on Fraud, Error and Debt and this has since increased to nine FTE in May 2012. The resource on this project will shortly increase to 16.

Health

Arthritis

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps his Department is taking to assist GPs in the early diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis; and if he will make a statement; [106871]

(2) what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that people with rheumatoid arthritis are referred to a specialist at an appropriate time for diagnosis, follow-up appointments and during flare-ups. [106872]

Paul Burstow: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published a clinical guideline on the management of people with rheumatoid arthritis. This includes guidance on the early diagnosis of the condition and specifically recommends referral to a specialist for any person with suspected persistent synovitis of undetermined cause. The guideline recommends that people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis should have ongoing access to a multidisciplinary team, including access to a named member of the team who would be responsible for co-ordinating the care they need. A NICE quality standard, setting out the care which people with rheumatoid arthritis can expect, is included in the library of quality standards under development.

Blood: Contamination

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the estimate by the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs Advisory Committee that one in 4,000 recipients of fresh frozen plasma could be susceptible to vCJD, what steps he plans to take to mitigate that risk. [106863]

Anne Milton: The one in 4,000 figure relates to the potential level of unidentified asymptomatic infection

14 May 2012 : Column 26W

with abnormal prion protein within the population and this figure was first set out in a study published in 2004. Because of the scientific uncertainties about the potential incubation period of human prion diseases, such as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), and the potential level of unidentified asymptomatic infection in the population, the Department's focus is to manage potential risks of person to person transmission using evidence based and cost effective measures. The following actions are among those taken with respect of the risk of anyone potentially carrying the abnormal prion protein associated with human prion diseases:

since December 1997, blood and tissues from individuals who later develop vCJD, have been withdrawn to prevent use;

since October 1999, white blood cells have been reduced in all blood used for transfusion;

since 2004 individuals who had themselves received a blood transfusion of blood since January 1980 were excluded from donating blood;

since 1999, plasma for the making clotting factors for treating patients with bleeding disorders, has been obtained from non-United Kingdom sources; and synthetic (recombinant) clotting factors have been provided to those under 16 since 1998 and for all suitable patients since 2005;

fresh frozen plasma for use in those born after 1 January 1996 is imported;

for over 10 years the independent scientific Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) Risk Management Sub-Group has also issued guidance on managing potential transmission risks. This guidance is available at:

www.dh.gov.uk/ab/ACDP/TSEguidance/index.htm

since 2000 the CJD Incidents Panel has provided guidance to health services on the management of incidents involving possible CJD transmission between patients. Information on the Panel's activities can be found at:

www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAweb&Page&HPAwebAutoList ame/Page/1204031511121

and

the Department funds studies to help ascertain the presence of abnormal prion protein present in the UK population. These include the study of appendix and tonsil tissue published in 2004, the National Anonymous Tonsil Archive and an ongoing study of appendix tissue.

The independent scientific ACDP TSE Risk Assessment Sub-Group keeps the evidence of the asymptomatic presence of abnormal prion protein associated with human prion disease under review, this work is used by the ACDP TSE Risk Management Sub-Group, the CJD Incidents Panel and the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs when risk management actions.

Cancer: Drugs

Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent by the NHS on drugs for cancer treatment in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [106783]

Paul Burstow: This information is not available in the format requested. Expenditure by health care condition is available through the national programme budgeting data collection. An estimate of the prescribing spend is incorporated in the overall figures but is not available separately.

14 May 2012 : Column 27W

The programme budgeting data collection began in 2003-04 and the following table shows NHS gross expenditure on cancer and tumours for England from 2003-04 to 2010-11.

Cancers and tumours
  Gross expenditure (£ billion)

2003-04

3.39

2004-05

3.77

2005-06

4.30

2006-07

4.35

2007-08

4.96

2008-09

5.13

2009-10

5.86

2010-11

5.81

Notes: 1. Expenditure figures are calculated using PCT and strategic health authority programme budgeting returns and Department of Health resource accounts data. Figures will include an estimation of special health authority expenditure. 2. In order to improve data quality, continual refinements have been made to the programme budgeting data calculation methodology since the first collection in 2003-04. The underlying data which support programme budgeting data are also subject to yearly changes. Caution is therefore advised when using programme budgeting data to draw conclusions on the change in spending patterns between years. 3. Figures include expenditure across all sectors. Disease-specific expenditure does not include expenditure on general practitioner contracts but does include prescribing expenditure. 4. Calculating programme budgeting data is complex and not all healthcare activity or services can be classified directly to a programme budgeting category or care setting. When it is not possible to reasonably estimate a programme budgeting category, expenditure is classified as ‘Other: Miscellaneous'. 5. The England level expenditure on cancer and tumours fell between 2009-10 and 2010-11. This is due to changes in the collection methodology. The amount of expenditure allocated to the ‘Other Miscellaneous' category increased substantially in 2010-11, which means less expenditure is allocated to the individual programme categories. Therefore it is not possible to make a direct comparison between 2009-10 and 2010-11. Source: Annual primary care trust (PCT) programme budgeting financial returns.

In “Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer”, published on 12 January 2011, we highlighted the vital role that information has to play in driving up the quality of services and outcomes and we are committed to improving the quality, transparency and availability of cancer data. From April 2012 we have mandated the collection of chemotherapy data. In time, this data collection will enable us to undertake more sophisticated analyses around the cost of cancer treatment.

Care Quality Commission

Nick Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following reports that a CQC inspector has been arrested on suspicion of taking bribes for favourable inspection reports; and what action he is taking against nursing homes suspected of offering bribes. [106625]

Mr Simon Burns: The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an executive non-departmental public body accountable to the Secretary of State for discharging its functions, duties and powers efficiently and effectively. Regular meetings are held between Ministers and the

14 May 2012 : Column 28W

CQC. There have been no discussions or meetings between the Secretary of State and the CQC about this specific matter.

The CQC is responsible for the management of its staff. The CQC took action to terminate the employment of the inspector and has referred the matter to the police.

Any allegations of bribery are a matter for the police. The police are currently investigating this matter and it would therefore not be appropriate to comment further.

Employment: Private Sector

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many jobs formerly in his Department and its agencies and non-departmental bodies were transferred to the private sector in 2011-12. [106699]

Mr Simon Burns: In the financial year 2011-12 no jobs were transferred to the private sector from the Department, its agency (the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) or from its non-departmental bodies.

General Practitioners

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the costs of providing GPs premises under the National Health Service (General Medical Services—Premises Costs) (England) Directions 2004. [106775]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department does not hold data on the costs for the provision of general practitioner premises. However, the Department does hold data on the costs to primary care trusts of making reimbursements to general practitioner practices under the arrangements set out in the Premises Costs Directions 2004. This amounted to a total expenditure of £623,983,000 in 2010-11.

Health and Social Care Act 2012

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost to the public purse has been of the Government's appeals against publication of his Department's risk register for the Health and Social Care Act 2012. [106554]

Mr Simon Burns: The cost of the Government's decision to appeal against the publication of the transition risk register has yet to be calculated in full detail. The latest (March 2012) estimate of counsel's fee for work undertaken is £50,359. This does not include the costs of directly employed departmental employees who have been engaged on the issue, or of departmental legal staff, the services of whom are received by the Department of Health via a block service level agreement (SLA) with the Department for Work and Pensions. This means that Government lawyers working on freedom of information requests do so under the block SLA without costs being apportioned to the Department for those requests.

14 May 2012 : Column 29W

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department had with (i) the Scottish Government and (ii) others on provisions relating to professional regulation in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 prior to its receiving Royal Assent; on what dates such meetings took place; and who was present. [106695]

Anne Milton: Department of Health Ministers and Scottish Ministers have not met specifically to discuss the Health and Social Care Act 2012, although there have been meetings between officials.

Between July 2010 and April 2012, departmental Ministers and officials discussed the professional regulation provisions in Part 7 of the Health and Social Care Act with a wide range of individuals and organisations.

The Department would incur a disproportionate cost in providing information setting out the specific dates on which meetings took place and who was present.

Hepatitis

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in Lewisham East constituency have been (a) screened for, (b) diagnosed with and (c) treated for hepatitis C in the last five years. [106501]

Anne Milton: The information requested is not available.

Information on laboratory reports of hepatitis C diagnoses by region, national estimates of numbers of patients treated for hepatitis C and information on sentinel surveillance of hepatitis C testing are contained in the Health Protection Agency's most recent annual report on “Hepatitis C in the UK”, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department is providing on hepatitis C to directors of public health in local authorities. [106502]

Anne Milton: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently developing public health guidance for healthcare professionals and the national health service on promoting and offering hepatitis C (and hepatitis B) testing to those at risk.

It will be the responsibility of NICE and Public Health England to publish guidance for directors of public health on issues like hepatitis C.

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to increase screening for hepatitis C in areas of high prevalence. [106522]

Anne Milton: There are a range of initiatives to help increase the detection and diagnosis of hepatitis C in those at risk of infection:

Improving access to hepatitis C testing for injecting drug users and prisoners through increased screening in drug services and prisons;

Grant-funding from the Department to the Hepatitis C Trust for projects to offer community pharmacy-based and mobile outreach testing for hepatitis C in high prevalence areas in collaboration with local national health service organisations and their partners;

14 May 2012 : Column 30W

Guidance from the Department for the NHS on hepatitis C testing, backed up by dedicated websites aimed at the general public, the south Asian community and healthcare professionals on NHS Choices, with further public health guidance under development by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence; and

Development of a two-part Royal College of General Practitioners certificate on the detection, diagnosis and management of hepatitis C and hepatitis B in primary care, funded by the Department through the Health Protection Agency.

Hospices

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the answer of 1 May 2012, Official Report, column 543W, on hospices, whether the £720,000 for new services in 2012-13 in addition to the annual revenue grant of £10 million is for (a) capital or (b) revenue expenditure; how it will be allocated; and if he will make a statement. [106860]

Anne Milton: The additional £721,000 for children and young people's hospices' is revenue. It is for hospice services that have come into being in the last three years and will be used to further the aims in “Better Care: Better Lives, Improving outcomes and experiences for children, young people and their families living with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions”, a copy of which has already been placed in the Library. Applications will be open to providers of new children's hospice services who are not already in receipt of revenue funding from the existing Children's Hospice and Hospice at Home grant of £10 million. The Department will publish information this month about the process and eligibility criteria for the new grant.

Hospitals

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had about the future of Guisborough Hospital. [106526]

Mr Simon Burns: Ministers have had no recent discussions about the future of Guisborough Primary Care Hospital. The provision of services, including those provided at community hospitals, is a matter for the local national health service.

Mental Health Services

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will investigate (a) for what reasons the hon. Member for New Forest East has been excluded from participation in the working group on the closure of acute adult mental health beds in Hampshire and (b) the decision of the working group to exclude observers from its meetings; and if he will make a statement. [106496]

Mr Simon Burns: This is a local matter. As stated to my hon. Friend at the debate on 18 April 2012, if he has any concerns, I advise him to take these up with the Chair of the local Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

14 May 2012 : Column 31W

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how musculoskeletal clinical networks will be supported to assist NHS commissioners and providers in improving the quality and efficiency of musculoskeletal services. [106862]

Paul Burstow: Work to design the role of clinical networks in the modernised national health service, led by a project team in the NHS Commissioning Board, is progressing well. Proposals describing how networks will be implemented in the new system have been developed with input from stakeholders and have been shared widely. The proposals include clear criteria for determining which networks will be prescribed by the Board for specific conditions and patient groups. A further announcement will be made shortly about the networks which are likely to be prescribed by the NHS nationally to support local commissioners and providers to improve their services. In addition, local clinical networks may be established by agreement between commissioners and providers in line with local priorities.

NHS Foundation Trusts

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to (a) monitor the adequacy of (i) the number of beds and (ii) other services supplied by NHS foundation trusts and (b) take remedial action in respect of such trusts judged to be providing services that do not meet expected standards. [106497]

Mr Simon Burns: These matters are principally the responsibility of national health service commissioners, supported by the healthcare regulators Monitor and the Care Quality Commission (CQC). NHS commissioners are responsible for securing access to NHS healthcare to meet the needs of their populations, including in-patient beds and other hospital services. The Department expects to see the long-term trend of fewer beds continue as medical advancements mean people need to spend less time in hospital and more services are provided in the community, closer to their homes.

NHS foundation trusts (NHSFTs) are accountable to NHS commissioners for the delivery of timely and high-quality services specified in legal contracts. Monitor has a supporting role in regulating healthcare providers to ensure continuity of NHS services in line with requirements determined by commissioners.

The CQC has an overarching responsibility for assurance of essential standards in health and adult social care services. All providers of regulated activities, including NHSFTs, NHS trusts and independent sector providers, must register with the CQC and meet a set of essential requirements of safety and quality. The CQC has a wide range of enforcement powers that it can use if a provider fails to comply.

NHS: Negligence

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will introduce a duty of candour into future contractual arrangements with NHS service providers. [106792]

14 May 2012 : Column 32W

Mr Simon Burns: A public consultation on proposals for introducing a contractual duty of candour ended on 31 January 2012 and responses are currently being analysed and considered. While we remain of the view that a contractual duty is the best mechanism to improve openness in the national health service, we are giving full consideration to all the consultation responses received. We are also aware that Robert Francis QC has said that he is likely to comment on the proposed duty of candour in the report of the inquiry into Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. We remain committed to giving full and careful consideration to the findings and recommendations of the inquiry, including any recommendations on the duty of candour, and to taking whatever action we consider necessary as a result.

Prostate Cancer

John Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure access to abiraterone for men with prostate cancer after March 2014. [106520]

Paul Burstow: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently appraising abiraterone (Zytiga) for two separate indications. NICE is an independent body and has not yet issued final guidance to the national health service on either indication.

In the absence of final positive NICE technology appraisal guidance, primary care trusts (PCTs) are required to take funding decisions locally based on an assessment of the available evidence and to have processes in place to consider individual funding requests for drugs. Where a cancer drug is not routinely funded by a PCT, patients may be able to access it through the Cancer Drugs Fund.

We will ensure that there are arrangements in place to protect individual patients who are receiving treatment with drugs funded by the fund as the end of the fund approaches.

Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs Advisory Committee

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 16 April 2012, Official Report, column 137W, on Safety of Bloods, Tissues and Organs Advisory Committee, when he expects that the minutes from the Joint Blood Transfusion Services and Health Protection Agency Professional Advisory Committee, which are referred to in the SaBTO minutes of 9 March 2012, will be published. [106864]

Anne Milton: The minutes of the March 2012 meeting of the Joint UK Blood Transfusion Services/Health Protection Agency Professional Advisory Committee (JPAC) will be published after they have been approved at JPAC's next meeting arranged for 28 June 2012.

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 16 April 2012, Official Report, column 137W, on Safety of Bloods, Tissues and Organs Advisory Committee, if he will publish the redacted data which are not commercially sensitive from both the SaBTO minutes of 9 March 2012, entitled “Importation of Fresh Frozen Plasma: Effectiveness and cost effectiveness” and the paper published alongside those minutes. [106865]

14 May 2012 : Column 33W

Anne Milton: The redacted data in the minutes, and its accompanying paper, are either commercially sensitive or relate to ongoing research studies. Data related to ongoing studies will be published when the studies have been completed and they have been reviewed by the independent scientific Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs.

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 16 April 2012, Official Report, column 137W, on Safety of Bloods, Tissues and Organs Advisory Committee, whether he has accepted the recommendations of the Safety of Blood, Tissue and Organs Advisory Committee on fresh frozen plasma. [106866]

Anne Milton: On 9 March 2012 the independent scientific Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) reviewed the current assessment of the risk of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease transmission from blood components and recommended that there should be no extension of the importation of fresh frozen plasma beyond those for whom it is currently used (those born since 1 January 1996 and high-usage adult patients). We have accepted SaBTO's recommendation.

Social Services

Nick Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to his Department's discussion paper entitled Oversight of the Social Care Market, published in October 2011, what his policy is on the regulation of the social care market; and if he will make a statement. [106643]

Paul Burstow: There are important mechanisms and levers within the current social care system to safeguard the interests of all those using care services.

The market is not free to operate without any regulation, and there are a range of bodies with specific responsibilities to ensure the safety and wellbeing of people who may find themselves in vulnerable circumstances should care not be available or be of poor quality. Specifically, the Care Quality Commission regulates adult social care in England, registering all providers of care homes and monitoring compliance with essential standards; and local authorities have specific duties of care towards their local residents under Section 21(a) of the National Assistance Act 1948 and Section 47(5) of the NHS and Community Care Act 1990.

In October last year, the Department published a discussion paper “Oversight of the Social Care Market”, which outlined the issues facing the social care market and possible options for strengthening oversight of the largest and most complex providers. This has provided a valuable opportunity for us to hear views on this area and reflect on the best approach.

We have considered the responses to the consultation paper, and intend to include the issue of market oversight in England in the forthcoming Care and Support White Paper.

14 May 2012 : Column 34W

Business, Innovation and Skills

Apprentices

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when he expects his Department's report on the accessibility of apprenticeships to be published. [106764]

Mr Hayes: During 2011 the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Education (DfE) commissioned Peter Little, OBE to produce a report on creating an inclusive apprenticeship offer. Mr Little submitted a comprehensive report earlier this year and the National Apprenticeship Service published the full report on its website on 11 May. A link to the report is as follows:

www.apprenticeships.org.uk/News-Media/Latest-News/Article140.aspx

The National Apprenticeship Service has been working with the Skills Funding Agency, BIS, DfE and others to consider Mr Little's recommendations alongside outcomes from the recent diversity pilots. An action plan, to be published this summer, will set out further steps to encourage more people with disabilities or learning difficulties to undertake apprenticeships and to provide better support for those who do.

Business: Government Assistance

Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what support his Department has offered to (a) new and (b) existing small businesses in (i) Jarrow constituency, (ii) South Tyneside, (iii) the North East and (iv) nationally to assist with adverse economic conditions. [106471]

Mr Prisk: We want to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business, and for the next decade to be the most entrepreneurial and dynamic in Britain's history. That is why, in January, the Prime Minister launched “Business in You”, a major year-long campaign, to inspire people to realise their business ambitions and to highlight the range of support available for start-ups and growing businesses.

We recognise that these are challenging times for both new and existing businesses and we have introduced a range of measures to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK:

Ensuring SMEs can access the support and advice they need to start and grow

We have transformed the way that we enable people to access the information, guidance and advice they need to start and grow a business. We have put in place a range of services including;

An improved www.businesslink.gov.uk website including: a new Growth and Improvement Service and “My New Business”, a comprehensive start-up service.

A Business Link Helpline which will support those who are unable to access the internet.

A mentoring portal www.mentorsme.co.uk providing an easy route to find experienced business mentors.

Started to introduce the new Business Coaching for Growth service, providing high quality coaching support for up to 10,000 SMEs a year with high growth potential.

14 May 2012 : Column 35W

Ensuring businesses can access the finance they need

Ensuring the flow of credit to viable SMEs is essential for supporting growth and is a core priority for this Government. The Government has:

Launched the National Loan Guarantee Scheme: up to £20 billion of guarantees for bank funding will be available over two years allowing banks to offer lower cost lending to SMEs.

Increased the funds available to invest through the Business Finance Partnership (BFP) to £1.2 billion. The Government has invited the first round of proposals to help businesses access non-bank finance through the BFP, and will allocate £100 million of the BFP to invest through non-traditional lending channels.

Announced the continuation of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme until 2014/15, providing, subject to demand, over £2 billion in total over the next four years.

Continuation of the Government's Enterprise Capital Funds programme, increasing our commitment by £200 million over the next four years, providing for more than £300 million of venture capital investment to address the equity gap for early stage innovative SMEs.

Announced that we will pilot the best way to introduce a programme of start-up loans to help young people set up and grow their own businesses.

Encouraging Business Angel investment through a new £50 million Business Angel Co-Investment Fund.

Welcomed the report of the industry review of non-bank lending chaired by Tim Breedon and will take forward its recommendations over the course of this year, including: considering how to simplify access to Government support for smaller businesses; encouraging prompt payment by larger firms; and supporting industry work to remove barriers to alternative sources of finance.

The Regional Growth Fund is a £2.4 billion fund operating across England from 2011 to 2015. It supports projects and programmes that lever private sector investment creating economic growth and sustainable employment. The Regional Growth Fund is investing £154.6 million in the North East by supporting 76 projects through Round 1 and Round 2. These projects are creating 14,012 direct jobs, and 27,167 indirect jobs.

Ensuring that regulation supports business growth

Introduced a ‘one-in, one-out' rule whereby no new regulations which impose costs on businesses can be brought in without regulation of an equivalent value being removed.

Introduced a three-year moratorium on new domestic regulation affecting micro businesses and genuine start-ups.

The Red Tape Challenge is tackling the stock of regulation via a comprehensive thematic review which aims to identify regulations that could be removed, simplified or done in a different way. By the end of December 2011 we had scrapped or simplified over 600 regulations.

Reforming the way in which regulations are implemented, including a review of regulators to ensure enforcement arrangements are appropriate and proportionate. Government will also launch sector-based reviews of regulation to ensure it is enforced at the lowest possible cost to business.

To reduce barriers to businesses taking on new staff, the Government has announced significant deregulation of employment law, including increasing the unfair dismissal qualifying period from one to two years.

Encouraging exporting SMEs

The Government will spend £35 million to double, from 25,000 to 50,000, the number of SMEs that UKTI supports a year by 2015. Many components of the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) product are aimed at SMEs:

“Passport to Export” is a trade development programme offering new and inexperienced exporters help and support to build the capability to start exporting proactively and make their first visit to an export market. Launched in 2001, it has helped around 14,000 SMEs as of January 2012.

14 May 2012 : Column 36W

“Gateway to Global Growth” offers experienced SME exporters the opportunity to increase their exporting skills and awareness of what is on offer from UKTI and private sector suppliers. The aim is to help them enter more difficult markets or expand in existing ones.

“Market Visit Support” provides assistance to new to export and/or new to market SMEs visiting overseas markets, individually or in groups as part of their trade development process.

Budget 2012 set out an ambition to more than double annual UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020 through additional measures including expanding the overseas role of UK Export Finance to enable it to develop finance packages that could help UK exporters secure opportunities identified through UKTI's High Value Opportunities programme; helping secure temporary private sector office space overseas for new UK exporters in high-growth countries where such services are difficult to obtain; and continuing to increase UK Export Finance's regional presence in the UK to support SMEs seeking trade finance.

In addition to this national support, the North Eastern Local Enterprise Partnership was one of the first LEPs to be awarded an enterprise zone. Benefits include enhanced capital allowances, a simplified planning regime, a business rate discount worth up to £275,000 over a five year period, and Government support to ensure that super-fast broadband is rolled out throughout the zone.

More specifically, officials have worked closely with the North East Access to Finance organisation to promote their portfolio of business improvement products and recently spoke at an event for over 80 manufacturing businesses within South Tyneside to make them aware of the Regional Growth Fund and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative.

Free School Meals: Reading

Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people in (a) Reading and (b) Reading West constituency in receipt of free school meals started a higher education course in each of the last five years. [106795]

Mr Willetts: The estimated number of pupils from maintained schools in Reading local authority with free school meals at age 15 who progressed to higher education by age 19 by academic year is contained in the following table. Figures are not available by parliamentary constituency.

Academic year Former FSM students in HE by age 19 (1)

2006/07

5

2007/08

10

2008/09

15

(1) Student numbers are rounded to the nearest 5. Source: Matched data from the DFE National Pupil Database, the HESA Student Record and the SFAILR

Robust information is not available for earlier years. Figures on progression of pupils with free school meals to higher education were published in the BIS Widening Participation statistical release of August 2011.

http://www.bis.gov.uk/analysis/statistics/higher-education/official-statistics-releases/widening-participation-in-higher-education/analysis-of-progression-rates-for-young-people-in-england-by-free-school-meal-receipt

14 May 2012 : Column 37W

The data published by BIS included national figures and the percentage of pupils progressing to higher education at local authority level. The next release, planned for August 2012, will cover those who have reached higher education by age 19 in 2009/10.

Higher Education Funding Council for England

Henry Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will maintain the Higher Education Funding Council for England's funding of the National Childbirth Trust's practitioner training. [106743]

Mr Willetts: The financial arrangements for higher education are changing from 2012/13 with less funding provided through block grants from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and more provided through student tuition fees, supported by a more generous system of publicly-funded student support to eligible students. These arrangements apply equally to the courses that the National Childbirth Trust offers to students in

14 May 2012 : Column 38W

partnership with the University of Worcester and mean that previous levels of HEFCE funding cannot be maintained.

Higher Education: Admissions

Mr Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many students enrolled in higher education institutions in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland were (i) UK students, (ii) domiciled in EU countries other than the UK and (iii) non-UK students in each year since 1997-98. [106523]

Mr Willetts: The latest available information on enrolments at UK higher education institutions by country of institution and country of domicile is shown in the following table for the academic years 1997/98 to 2010/11. Information on enrolments at UK higher education institutions for the 2011/12 academic year will become available from the Higher Education Statistics Agency in January 2013.

Enrolments (1) by country of domicile (2) and institution. UK higher education institutions. Academic years 1997/98 to 2010/11
    Country of domicile
Academic year Country of Institution UK Other EU Non-EU

1997/98

England

1,298,635

74,400

92,740

 

Wales

143,040

8,525

9,805

 

Scotland

80,950

5,060

4,665

 

Northern Ireland

35,960

4,865

905

1998/99

England

1,331,270

79,435

92,875

 

Wales

83,555

5,415

4,550

 

Scotland

147,490

8,745

10,605

 

Northern Ireland

36,630

4,595

910

1999/2000

England

1,333,405

79,640

97,500

 

Wales

86,170

5,580

4,400

 

Scotland

147,615

9,240

10,555

 

Northern Ireland

37,330

4,040

885

2000/01

England

1,366,390

79,270

107,040

 

Wales

149,575

8,745

10,060

 

Scotland

89,415

5,520

4,120

 

Northern Ireland

38,485

3,855

1,110

2001/02

England

1,402,540

73,890

117,940

 

Wales

94,695

5,310

4,675

 

Scotland

162,560

9,015

11,740

 

Northern Ireland

40,090

3,555

1,150

2002/03

England

1,462,385

72,490

142,660

 

Wales

99,730

5,215

6,045

 

Scotland

161,125

9,385

14,400

 

Northern Ireland

41,705

3,745

1,295

2003/04

England

1,523,405

70,775

161,250

 

Wales

100,860

5,095

6,750

 

Scotland

165,330

10,240

16,190

 

Northern Ireland

43,385

3,865

1,315

2004/05

England

1,558,560

78,365

163,750

 

Wales

102,930

5,580

7,580

 

Scotland

164,400

10,760

16,920

 

Northern Ireland

44,820

4,150

1,325

2005/06

England

1,567,270

82,625

164,975

 

Wales

101,200

5,435

8,295

 

Scotland

166,930

11,625

17,770

14 May 2012 : Column 39W

14 May 2012 : Column 40W

 

Northern Ireland

44,835

4,050

1,330

2006/07

England

1,520,310

86,495

171,835

 

Wales

103,590

5,695

9,140

 

Scotland

168,545

12,445

20,020

 

Northern Ireland

42,010

3,630

1,350

2007/08

England

1,577,955

91,100

178,100

 

Wales

99,390

6,010

9,545

 

Scotland

166,775

13,825

20,770

 

Northern Ireland

41,200

3,600

1,265

2008/09

England

1,614,685

95,475

190,545

 

Wales

99,340

6,195

11,275

 

Scotland

166,680

14,960

22,385

 

Northern Ireland

41,155

3,635

1,730

2009/10

England

1,659,980

101,405

214,220

 

Wales

98,290

6,360

13,650

 

Scotland

172,110

17,445

23,930

 

Northern Ireland

43,290

4,005

1,465

2010/11

England

1,659,655

106,340

227,125

 

Wales

99,720

6,185

14,845

 

Scotland

167,200

17,875

26,490

 

Northern Ireland

43,605

4,070

1,740

(1) Covers students in all years of study. (2) Domicile refers to the country of a student's permanent or home address prior to entry to their course. Note: Figures are based on a snapshot as at 1 December and have been rounded to the nearest five, so components may not sum to totals. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Student Record

Higher Education: Standards

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what guidance his Department issues to civil servants on carrying out due diligence checks on higher education providers who are seeking designated course status. [106788]

Mr Willetts: Officials in the Department consider the due diligence reviews on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable). These reviews include consideration of management and governance arrangements, financial sustainability and the length of time on organisation has been operating. The reviews are undertaken by qualified people who are experienced in reviewing financial accounts and management and governance structures of organisations.

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what representatives of bodies from the higher education sector he met as part of the consultation about his recently introduced due diligence checks. [106789]

Mr Willetts: Due diligence checks were introduced so as to enable the Department to discharge its general duty to protect public funds. It was not considered necessary to consult before doing so.

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will bring forward legislative proposals to require Quality Assurance Agency audits to be carried out in respect of all designated higher education providers of courses where due diligence checks are required. [106791]

Mr Willetts: The Government has set out in the Higher Education White Paper and the associated technical consultation its intention that all providers that access student support funding will, in future, be subject to the same standards for quality, dispute resolution, information, access (if charging above the basic tuition charge), financial sustainability, reformed student number controls and tuition charge caps.

Further details on how these proposals will be taken forward, including possible legislative options, will be announced shortly.

New Businesses: Young People

Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many start-up loans he expects to make to young people seeking to set up a new business as part of his Department's pilot scheme. [106664]

Mr Prisk: Budget 2012 announced a programme of enterprise loans to help young people set up and grow their own businesses, with funding for a £10 million pilot programme in 2012/13.

The total number of loans awarded will depend on the value of each loan. Rather than set an arbitrary value for every loan, the Government wants the lending

14 May 2012 : Column 41W

decision and the value of loan to be based upon the business case developed by each applicant and approved by an independent and expert panel.

As a guide we anticipate average loan value of about £2,500 across the loan book.

Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the average amount of money that will be available to a young person making an application for a start-up loan from his Department. [106665]

Mr Prisk: As a guide we anticipate average loan value of about £2,500 across the loan book.

Rather than set an arbitrary value for every loan, the Government wants the lending decision and the value of loan to be based upon the business case developed by each applicant and approved by an independent and expert panel.

Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many expressions of interest to be a delivery partner for the start-up loan for young people pilot scheme his Department has received. [106666]

Mr Prisk: On 18 April 2012 my noble Friend, the right hon. Lord Young of Graffham, hosted an event to engage potential delivery partners for the pilot phase of the start-up loans scheme.

40 full expressions of interest had been received by the deadline on 9 May 2012.

Paternity Leave

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the (a) number of fathers who will take up the new parental leave proposed in the Modern Workplaces consultation and (b) duration of the new parental leave that will be taken by fathers; and what evidence was used to inform these estimates. [106439]

Norman Lamb: The Government will announce the direction of the policy in the Government's response, due to be published later in 2012. An updated impact assessment will also be issued in parallel.

Postgraduate Education: Finance

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans his Department has to review the adequacy of financial support available to postgraduate students. [106799]

Mr Willetts: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills provides funding to the Research Councils and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to support postgraduate education.

We have asked HEFCE to review participation in postgraduate study, as part of a longer-term assessment and evaluation of the impact of undergraduate funding changes. Until the findings from this become clear,

14 May 2012 : Column 42W

HEFCE will take steps as far as possible to support postgraduate provision. HEFCE provides funding to higher education institutions (HEIs) in England to meet some of their costs for providing taught postgraduate courses and for supervising students in the first three years of a postgraduate research degree programme. In 2012-13, HEFCE provision for research degree programme supervision is £240 million, and for taught postgraduate provision is estimated at £135 million—similar levels to 2011-12.

The Research Councils support around 19,000 doctoral students around the UK and plan to invest around £340 million in postgraduate education during 2012-13. The Research Councils periodically review their training and support mechanisms.

Vocational Guidance: Autism

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how the National Careers Service plans to ensure its services are accessible to young people with autism; and how it will monitor success in this area. [106763]

Mr Hayes: Local authorities have a legal duty to support young people with learning difficulties or disabilities up to the age of 25 to participate in education or training. The services offered by local authorities are focused on specialist help to overcome barriers to participation and may include information, advice and guidance on learning and work. The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), can exercise his intervention powers if a local authority is failing to meet its statutory duties. Any case for intervention will be based on clear, outcome-based evidence demonstrating the extent to which young people are participating in education or training.

Young people in school, including those with autism, will have access to independent and impartial careers guidance from September. Statutory guidance underpinning this new legal requirement is clear that young people with special educational needs, learning difficulties or disabilities should receive independent advice about the mainstream and specialist education and training options available to them. The statutory guidance also highlights that this group will particularly benefit from face-to-face careers guidance. A thematic review of careers guidance by the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted), reporting in summer 2013, will look at how schools are responding to their new responsibilities and provide a baseline for future improvements in the quality of provision.

Treasury

Members: Correspondence

Graham Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Financial Secretary plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Weaver Vale of 6 March 2012 on behalf of Mr Robert Griffiths. [106419]

Mr Hoban: I have replied to my hon. Friend.

14 May 2012 : Column 43W

Mortgages

David Morris: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on the treatment of (a) endowment policies and (b) individual savings accounts that are taken out for the purpose of repayment of a mortgage. [106855]

Mr Hoban: Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such discussions.

National Insurance Contributions

Mr Raab: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will estimate the additional cost to the Exchequer of extending the regional national insurance contributions holiday to cover the first 15 employees of a new business; [106515]

(2) if he will estimate the additional cost to the Exchequer of extending the regional national insurance contributions holiday to include London, the South East and the East of England; [106516]

(3) what estimate he has made of the likely cost to the Exchequer of the regional national insurance contributions holiday for new businesses in each of the next three years. [106517]

Mr Gauke: An estimate of the potential cost of extending the national insurance contributions (NICs) holiday to cover the first 15 employees of a new business is not available.

A reliable estimate of the potential cost of extending the national insurance contributions (NICs) holiday to include London, the South East and the East of England is not available.

The scheme exempts qualifying new businesses from up to £5,000 of employer NICs for each of the first 10 employees hired in the first 12 months of business, up to a maximum saving of £50,000. The policy is designed to support new businesses in parts of the country that are most reliant on the public sector.

The scheme began on 6 September 2010 and will run until 5 September 2013. The number of applications has reached over 15,000.

The latest estimate of the impact on the Exchequer of the policy is as follows:

  Exchequer impact (£ million)

2010-11

-5

2011-12

-50

2012-13

-30

2013-14

-20

Pensioners: British Nationals Abroad

Michael Connarty: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the costs and benefits to the Exchequer of unfreezing frozen pensions for British pensioners living permanently abroad. [106538]

14 May 2012 : Column 44W

Mr Hoban: The Government believes the current indexation regime strikes a fair balance between those who currently pay in to the National Insurance Fund and those who receive its benefits, and has no current plans to change the indexation of pensions paid to British pensioners living permanently abroad. However, the Government keeps all aspects of pensions policy under review.

Public Sector: Pay

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will expand the remit of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury's review into the tax arrangements of senior public servants to include (a) all NHS bodies, (b) all publicly-funded schools and other educational bodies, (c) the BBC, (d) local government, (e) publicly-owned or part-owned banks and (f) all other publicly-funded bodies; [106802]

(2) when he expects the Chief Secretary to the Treasury's review into the tax arrangements of senior public servants to report. [106803]

Danny Alexander: The review will cover all bodies covered by HM Treasury guidance on Managing Public Money, including all central Government bodies, such as Departments and their arm’s length bodies (which include NHS trusts).

Those that are not covered by HM Treasury guidance will not be covered by the review. Therefore, public corporations, public broadcasting authorities, including the BBC, publicly owned banks and local government are not covered by the review.

The Department of Communities and Local Government will write to the Local Government Association encouraging them to follow the Government's policy and approach in this matter.

Adding to this, the Treasury Officer of Accounts has written to departmental accounting officers to remind them that public sector organisations should not use tax avoidance devices, and requesting an investigation to ensure that all senior consultancy appointments provide value for money.

The review will be published in the next few weeks.

VAT

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the proportion of the expenditure of an average household that is spent on (a) cold food consumed on suppliers' premises, (b) static holiday caravans, (c) sports drinks and (d) hot food that has recently been made subject to VAT. [106767]

Mr Gauke: Annex B—Tables of Impact for Individual Measures—in HM Revenue and Customs consultation document ‘VAT: Addressing Borderline Anomalies’, published at Budget 2012, sets out estimates for VAT which will be raised from catering (hot take away food and premises), holiday caravans and sports nutrition drinks; and a summary of impacts upon which comments are invited:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2012/vat-con-4801.pdf

14 May 2012 : Column 45W

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Extremism

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the activities of far-right political extremists in other EU member states. [106431]

Mr Lidington: The Government keeps political developments in other EU member states under constant review, including the activities of racist and extremist parties.

The Government opposes racism and extremism in all its forms. We believe in the fundamental values of liberty, democracy and respect for human rights.

Israel: Palestinians

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to investigate the demolition of the children's playground at the Madaa creative centre in Silwan, near Jerusalem. [106650]

Alistair Burt: We have concerns about the threatened and actual demolition of Palestinian homes and buildings in the town of Silwan, east Jerusalem. We are urging Israel to desist from the demolitions and evictions, which we consider to be contrary to Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law and harmful to the peace process, as well as causing unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians.

I raised our concerns about Silwan with the Israeli ambassador to London on 23 February and the broader issue of demolitions with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Meridor on 19 March. Officials from the British embassy in Tel Aviv lobbied the Jerusalem municipality on 21 February about the specific issue of the demolition of the children's playground at the Madaa creative centre. They were told that the Municipality had no plans to conduct wide-scale demolitions in the immediate future, which is welcome.

Dr Poulter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the number of Palestinian patients from the (a) west bank and (b) Gaza Strip who visited Israel for medical treatment in 2011. [106660]

Alistair Burt: We remain deeply concerned about restrictions on freedom of movement between the west bank and east Jerusalem, as well as the restrictions on movement of goods and people from Gaza. It remains difficult for Palestinians to enter east Jerusalem for work, education, medical treatment or religious worship.

We do not currently have figures for the number of Palestinian patients who have visited Israel for medical treatment in 2011. The World Health Organisation is due to publish a report on Palestinian access to health care later this month.

Through our embassy in Tel Aviv, we have lobbied the Israeli authorities on the issue of movement and access. We continue to work closely with the Quartet and EU partners, and to call on Israel to ease restrictions on access.

14 May 2012 : Column 46W

The Department for International Development (DFID) supports the UN Access Coordination Unit to work with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, UN and aid agencies to facilitate the transfer of vital humanitarian assistance, including medical equipment and supplies, in and out of Gaza. DFID are also providing financial support to the Palestinian Authority to help deliver essential services, including medical supplies, to Gaza.

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to encourage the Israeli government either to bring charges against or release Palestinian prisoners held in administrative detention. [106831]

Alistair Burt: I have regularly raised our concerns about the use of administrative detention by Israel, including with Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon on 27 February, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Meridor on 19 March and the Israeli ambassador to London on 8 May. The UK ambassador to Israel also raised the issue with Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman on 10 May.

We continue to encourage the Israeli authorities to comply with their obligations under international law, including in their policies on detention and the treatment of Palestinian prisoners.

Kosovo

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to resolve the legal status of Northern Kosovo. [106782]

Mr Lidington: The legal status of northern Kosovo has been resolved. Kosovo has been functioning as an independent state for over four years and is increasingly recognised as such on the international stage. In its Opinion of 22 July 2010, the International Court of Justice stated that Kosovo's Declaration of Independence did not violate international law.

The UK Government remains concerned about the situation in northern Kosovo, which represents a possible threat to regional stability and the EU futures of both Kosovo and Serbia. We continue to believe that the EU-facilitated Dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade remains crucial for addressing the challenges in northern Kosovo and for building practical co-operation between the two countries. I welcome the progress achieved so far in the dialogue, which includes agreements on freedom of movement, civil registries and integrated border management. I urge Kosovo and Serbia to implement agreements already reached and to remain constructively engaged with a view to achieving further agreements in areas such as energy and telecommunications.

The UK Government supports the European Commission's recommendation that the Government of Kosovo should set out a socio-economic vision for northern Kosovo, covering issues such as health, education and employment. We look forward to supporting the Kosovo Government in its efforts to address these and

14 May 2012 : Column 47W

other challenges, which are crucial for Kosovo's continued progress towards fulfilling its European perspective. This includes through the secondment of a UK official as the EULEX regional co-ordinator for northern Kosovo as well as financial support for the development of small and medium enterprises.

United Arab Emirates

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consular

14 May 2012 : Column 48W

support his Department has provided to Peter Margetts since his imprisonment in Dubai. [106837]

Alistair Burt: When a British national is detained overseas, our main priority in this regard is to check on their welfare. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British embassy in Dubai have provided Mr Margetts and his family with consular assistance since his detention, and will continue to do so. This assistance has included visiting him regularly and monitoring his welfare and case closely. I wrote to my hon. Friend on 10 May on Mr Margetts' case in more detail.