5 Sep 2012 : Column 353W

Justice

Driving Offences: Insurance

Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average fine was for using a motor vehicle uninsured against third-party risks by area in the latest period for which figures are available. [119165]

Jeremy Wright: The number of offenders fined at all courts and the average fine given for using a motor vehicle uninsured against third-party risks, by police force area in England and Wales, for 2011 can be viewed in the table as follows.

Offenders fined at all court and the average fine given for using a vehicle uninsured(1), by police force area, England and Wales, 2011(2)
Police force areaTotal finedAverage fine (£)

Avon and Somerset

1,581

237.04

Bedfordshire

1,397

256.88

Cambridgeshire

888

251.29

Cheshire

1,911

326.87

Cleveland

678

253.35

Cumbria

829

233.38

Derbyshire

1,589

284.76

Devon and Cornwall

1,982

246.11

Dorset

1,209

299.51

Durham

1,085

228.19

Essex

2,579

290.21

Gloucestershire

807

250.69

Greater Manchester

3,793

256.86

Hampshire

2,151

253.21

Hertfordshire

2,463

290.08

Humberside

1,590

225.41

Kent

2,782

293.84

Lancashire

3,597

293.24

Leicestershire

1,219

259.91

Lincolnshire

1,288

281.86

London City of

405

335.80

Merseyside

2,378

261.65

Metropolitan Police

18,844

313.92

Norfolk

1,248

261.48

Northamptonshire

1,445

321.96

Northumbria

2,626

234.25

North Yorkshire

1,018

256.87

Nottinghamshire

1,341

265.35

South Yorkshire

2,254

235.49

Staffordshire

1,577

266.01

Suffolk

895

252.63

Surrey

1,530

294.01

Sussex

1,969

258.19

Thames Valley

1,962

270.02

Warwickshire

1,006

358.54

West Mercia

1,744

274.20

West Midlands

5,263

270.95

West Yorkshire

4,991

311.17

Wiltshire

690

294.31

Dyfed Powys

1,062

280.56

5 Sep 2012 : Column 354W

Gwent

1,122

263.84

North Wales

1,283

296.47

South Wales

3,526

241.36

England and Wales

95,597

280.34

(1) Offence used: Road Traffic Act 1988, S.143(2)—Using motor vehicle uninsured against third party risks (2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice

Employment and Support Allowance: Appeals

Natascha Engel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many hearings for appeals against refusal of employment and support allowance which have been upheld were (a) paper hearings where the appellant was not in attendance, (b) hearings with the appellant in attendance but without representation and (c) hearings with the appellant in attendance with representation since the introduction of that allowance. [119229]

Mrs Grant: Appeals against decisions made by the Department for Work and Pensions on an individual's entitlement to employment and support allowance (ESA) are heard by the first-tier tribunal (social security and child support).

The following table shows the number of upheld ESA appeals where (a) the appellant/representative was not in attendance, (b) the appellant was in attendance but without representation and (c) the appellant was in attendance with representation since the introduction of that allowance. Appeals can be made against elements of an ESA award made, such as the rate of entitlement, as well as against the decision to refuse ESA. These appeals are included in the figures provided as follows.

Upheld employment and support allowance appeals
  2008-092009-102010-112011-12

(a)

Total number of hearings where the appellant/representative was not in attendance

40

16,600

41,600

45,400

 

Appeals upheld where the appellant/representative was not in attendance

(1)0

2,200

6,700

6,800

      

(b)

Total number of hearings where appellant was in attendance without representation

(1)0

16,800

40,200

62,300

 

Appeals upheld where the appellant was in attendance without representation

(1)0

9,400

23,300

35,800

      

(c)

Total number of hearings where the appellant was in attendance with representation

(1)0

8,500

18,200

23,700

5 Sep 2012 : Column 355W

 

Appeals upheld with the appellant in attendance with representation

(1)0

6,000

12,900

16,800

(1) Employment and support allowance (ESA) was introduced on 27 October 2008, replacing incapacity benefit. There were therefore only a very small number of appeals in 2008-09.

The data are sourced from published statistics, and management information Values of 1,000 and over are rounded to the nearest hundred.

Prisoners: Community Work

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the policy of the Prison Service is on allowing prisoners with indefinite sentences for public protection to undertake work in the community; and what supervision they receive for such work. [119341]

Jeremy Wright: Prison rules allow for prisoners to apply for release on temporary licence (ROTL). This enables prisoners to participate in necessary activities, outside the prison establishment, that directly contribute to their resettlement into the community and their development of a purposeful, law-abiding life. Temporary release provides prisoners with a phased re-introduction into the community and is particularly important for long-term prisoners who may have been in custody for a number of years. Prisoners are not granted temporary release unless they meet stringent eligibility criteria and pass a rigorous risk assessment. Prisoners serving indeterminate public protection (IPP) sentences may only be considered for ROTL after they have reached the point in their sentence when they have been approved by the Parole Board as suitable for open conditions. Some forms of ROTL are for the purpose of allowing prisoners to work outside the prison. This can range from supervised activities, where a group of prisoners go out with prison officers who monitor and oversee the work, to individual unsupervised work placements. Prisoners would normally be expected to begin with supervised activities and work towards unsupervised work placements depending on progress against their sentence plan and assessments of risk and suitability.

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners absconded from work placements in the community and whilst travelling to or from work placements in the community in the last year for which figures are available. [119342]

Jeremy Wright: The following table shows the total number of prisoners who failed to return to prison following release on temporary licence (ROTL) in the 12 months from April 2011 to March 2012. This includes failures to return from all types of ROTL and not just prisoners outside the prison on work placements. Without incurring disproportionate cost, the numbers cannot be broken down further to identify those who failed to return from work placements or whilst travelling to or from work. Of the 211 prisoners listed here, 197 have been returned to custody.

Table 1: Prisoners released on licence, and who failed to returnApril 2011 to March 2012
 Non returns

April 2011

19

May 2011

13

5 Sep 2012 : Column 356W

June 2011

14

July 2011

19

August 2011

22

September 2011

22

October 2011

25

November 2011

14

December 2011

13

January 2012

22

February 2012

16

March 2012

12

Grand Total

211

Note: These figures have been drawn from live administrative data systems which may be amended at any time. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. The number of failures to return may change should further incidents be reported.

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what risk assessment was carried out by the Prison Service before allowing Bernard Lee Sharkey to work at Newham Grange Country Farm in Coulby Newham. [119343]

Jeremy Wright: As the case of Mr Sharkey is subject to ongoing inquiries, it would not be appropriate to comment upon the individual circumstances of his case at this time.

An indeterminate sentence prisoner is transferred to open conditions only after a robust risk assessment and, in most cases, upon the recommendation of the independent Parole Board. It is recognised that open prisons provide a controlled environment in which to test prisoners in conditions more closely akin to the outside community. It provides them with an opportunity to establish stronger links with their family and to develop suitable employment and accommodation plans in time for their eventual release.

Indeterminate sentence prisoners who fail to comply with the regime or whose behaviour gives cause for concern are swiftly returned to secure conditions.

At HMP Kirklevington Grange, all indeterminate sentence prisoners are required to undertake a phased return to the community which involves working out in the community. Before permitting temporary release, the prison will conduct a further risk assessment and consider the suitability of the prisoner for the particular type of placement proposed.

Temporary release on licence will be approved by the Governor only if the risk presented by the prisoner to the community is such that it may be effectively managed. Prisoners who fail to return from a period of temporary release may be arrested and returned to prison, where they can face prison disciplinary measures or prosecution carrying a maximum penalty of a further six months imprisonment.

Wellingborough Prison

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average number of staff employed at Wellingborough Prison was in each of the last five years. [119240]

5 Sep 2012 : Column 357W

Jeremy Wright The information requested is set out in the following table, shown both as full-time equivalent and headcount.

 Monthly average number of staff:
 Full-time equivalentHeadcount

2007-08

340

352

2008-09

336

350

2009-10

318

333

2010-11

256

270

2011-12

250

262

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average number of prisoners held at Wellingborough Prison was in each of the last five years. [119241]

Jeremy Wright: Data are not held centrally on the average prison population in each establishment. Instead, we typically use the 30 June figures to look at annual trends. The following table shows the number of prisoners held in HMP Wellingborough as at 30 June each year from 2008-12.

Prison population at HMP Wellingborough as at end of June(1)
 Number

2008

641

2009

626

2010

540

2011

580

2012

563

(1) 2009 data onwards are based on data from a new prison IT system.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Work and Pensions

Atos Healthcare

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the total monetary value was of the Medical Services contract between his Department and Atos Healthcare in 2011-12; and what the projected value of the contract is for 2012-13. [119182]

Mr Hoban: The total cost of the Medical Services contract amounts for the 2011-12 financial year was approximately £112.4 million. This figure covers not only the total number of medical assessments undertaken across all benefits, but costs relating to written and verbal medical advice, fixed overheads, administrative costs, investment in new technology and other service improvements.

Bereavement Benefits

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to ensure that those who are eligible for bereavement benefits take them up. [118631]

5 Sep 2012 : Column 358W

Steve Webb: The Government keep under review the way that information is made available about benefits so that bereaved people, at this very difficult time in their lives, know about their possible right to benefit and can act on it at the right time.

This builds on the continued roll-out of Tell Us Once, where people will be asked whether they would like to claim bereavement benefits when a death is registered.

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many individuals have claimed bereavement benefit in each of the last five years; [119227]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of individuals who are eligible for bereavement benefit. [119228]

Steve Webb: The Government keep under review the way that information is made available about benefits so that bereaved people, at this very difficult time in their lives, know about their possible right to benefit and can act on it at the right time.

This builds on the continued roll-out of Tell Us Once, where people will be asked whether they would like to claim bereavement benefits when a death is registered.

National Statistics datasets contain information on the new claims for all regularly paid bereavement benefits (sum of fresh claims for bereavement allowance and widowed parent's allowance together). This information is available on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website through the Statistics Tabulation Tool:

http://83.244.183.180/flows/flows_on/bb/cdquarter/ccbbtype/a_carate_r_cdquarter_c_ccbbtype.html

The total number of new claims made for such benefits in each of the last five years (those who started a claim from the quarter ending May 2007 to the quarter ending February 2012) was between 25 and 27 thousand per year.

The Department does not as a matter of course publish statistics on bereavement payment; however, page seven of the benefit reform impact assessment indicates the number of claims of this kind:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/bereavement-benefit-reform-ia.pdf

The Department does not have an estimate of how many individuals are eligible for bereavement benefit.

Employment: Disability

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many disabled people living in Birmingham have moved into work in each of the last two years. [119244]

Esther McVey: The information requested is not available.

Jobseeker's Allowance

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many jobseeker's allowance claimants, in which Jobcentre Plus districts,

5 Sep 2012 : Column 359W

and over what period have been required to participate in the Fast Signing procedure; [119175]

(2) what the evidential basis was for his decision to require some jobseeker’s allowance claimants to participate in Fast Signing procedures as an alternative to the Jobcentre Plus standard operating model. [119176]

Steve Webb: The Department is currently trialling reduced-length fortnightly jobsearch reviews (or ‘speed signing’) to gather evidence on the most effective way to support claimants off benefits.

The trial is taking place in two Jobcentre Plus districts: Greater Manchester East and West and Surrey and Sussex. 15,670 claimants were randomly allocated to receive speed signing before recruitment to the trial closed in May 2012. This was the number of people judged necessary to give the trial a reasonable chance of detecting a statistically significant impact. These participants will continue to receive speed signing until May 2013, unless they leave benefit or join the Work programme. A pilot in 2005 showed that shortening the length of a fortnightly jobsearch review did not have a statistically significant impact on off-flow rates. However, the 2005 trial involved a relatively small number of participants. There is therefore a need to repeat the trial with more participants in order to generate more robust results.

The quantitative evaluation of the 2005 pilot is presented in DWP Research Report 382, which is available at the following link:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2005-2006/rrep382.pdf

Remploy

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which organisations his Department has engaged to deliver the Remploy Mentoring for Success programme; and how much each organisiation is to be paid. [119184]

Esther McVey: I can confirm that the two organisations that have been engaged to deliver the Remploy Mentoring for Success programme to support people affected by the Remploy factory closures are “The Mentoring and Befriending Foundation” and “Equal Approach”.

Remploy has been commissioned by DWP to deliver the Mentoring for Success programme. The Department has allocated a total budget of £700,000. To deliver this programme, Remploy is working with the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation along with Equal Approach. How much each organisation is paid depends on the uptake of the Mentoring service currently being offered within the 27 factories, operations at Boston Spa and to Modernisation employees. It is an optional support for employees and the actual costs could result in being lower. Final costs are not fixed and will be determined by how many Mentors are needed.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has allocated to the Remploy Mentoring for Success programme. [119183]

5 Sep 2012 : Column 360W

Esther McVey: I can confirm that a sum of £700,000 has been allocated to deliver the Remploy Mentoring for Success programme to support people affected by the Remploy factory closures.

Universal Credit

Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make provision in the universal credit system to ensure that people in need of refuge support as a consequence of domestic violence have access to short-term housing support equivalent to that provided under the current housing benefit system. [119164]

Steve Webb: The Government are committed to tackling domestic violence and providing better support for victims. It is our intention that universal credit will not cause a reduction in support levels for victims of domestic violence.

The housing benefit rules that currently apply for those living in refuges and other supported housing are complex to administer and understand. We do not intend to reduce the overall level of support that the sector currently receives from housing benefit but we do intend to simplify and streamline the current arrangements.

We have conducted a consultation on proposals to redesign and simplify these arrangements and we received a substantial number of often comprehensive replies. We are continuing to develop plans for new funding arrangements under universal credit and we expect to announce further information in due course.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how he plans that eligible service charges will be paid for under universal credit. [119178]

Steve Webb: Social rented sector landlords will be responsible for setting out clearly to the tenant those charges which are allowable. The claimant will report this as part of their claim.

In the private rented sector a tenant's rent liability is usually made up of both rent and service charges with the various elements not separately identifiable. In these cases, as now, we will therefore pay the lesser of the total rent or the appropriate local housing allowance rate.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has carried out analysis of future universal credit claimants to establish (a) how many households will be affected by the transition to universal credit, (b) how many such claimants are worried about the change to universal credit and (c) how many claimants will be capable of managing universal credit; and if he will place a copy of any such analysis in the Library. [119179]

Mr Hoban: The Department estimates that 12 million claims to current benefits and tax credits will be integrated into eight million household claims to universal credit.

5 Sep 2012 : Column 361W

‘Work and the welfare system: a survey of benefits and tax credits recipients’ was published on 12 July 2012. The research was commissioned to help DWP implement universal credit by providing detailed information on views and attitudes to work, budgeting skills and internet use among a representative sample of benefit units who would be impacted by the transition to universal credit.

We recognise that some claimants may need additional help to budget, particularly during the transitional period. We are working with the advice sector to ensure that claimants are able to access appropriate budgeting support services to enable them to manage their money successfully.

For a minority of claimants, however, an alternative payment arrangement may be required in addition to the above support. This includes making more frequent than monthly payments of universal credit to households, splitting payment between both joint claimants or paying housing costs directly to the landlord.

Work Capability Assessment

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department has issued any guidance or recommendations to Atos on the degree of variance from the average outcomes that should trigger an audit of a health professional's work capability assessment decisions. [119177]

Steve Webb: As part of quality monitoring procedures, DWP and Atos have agreed ranges for a number of parameters relating to the outcome of health care professionals (HCPs) advice within which the vast majority of HCPs fall. An example of one of these parameters is the percentage of claimants whom the HCP advises satisfy the support group criteria: If the HCP falls outside this range, they are subject to quality assurance procedures to ensure that the quality of their advice is satisfactory. If quality assurance identifies no problems then no further action is undertaken.

Health

Blood: Contamination

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) pursuant to the answer of 14 May 2012, Official Report, column 26W, on blood: contamination; for what reason the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs, reversed its 2009 recommendation on the importation of Fresh Frozen Plasma although the risk of transmitted variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease by blood remains unchanged; and if he will make a statement; [119254]

(2) with reference to the minutes of the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs meeting of 9 March 2012, to what extent cost-effectiveness is used to inform Government policy on public health safety measures on (a) blood safety and (b) variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease; [119255]

(3) if he will publish the data his Department used to inform its decision to accept the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs on Fresh Frozen Plasma of 9 March 2012; and if he will make a statement; [119256]

5 Sep 2012 : Column 362W

(4) for what reason the data his Department used to inform its decision on the importation of fresh frozen plasma is not publicly available; [119257]

(5) what the names are of the companies his Department and its relevant committees approached to (a) inform their thinking on extending importation of fresh frozen plasma and (b) estimate the cost of extending importation of fresh frozen plasma; and when each company was approached. [119258]

Dr Poulter: On making the March 2012 decision on the importation of fresh frozen plasma, the independent scientific Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) considered all the available evidence including safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness. SaBTO concluded that there should be no extension of the importation of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) to patients beyond those for whom it is already recommended (high-usage adult patients, and those aged 16 and under —i.e. born since 1996), who are unlikely to have been exposed to BSE through diet). SaBTO's terms of reference require consideration of cost-effectiveness evidence when making recommendations. A key consideration is the number of potential future clinical vCJD cases that might be caused by transfusion of FFP in the absence of any extension to importation. Given the continuing scientific uncertainties, a precautionary approach remains justified, and a wide range of scenarios have been considered. Nevertheless, the continuing absence to date of any known clinical cases attributable to FFP transfusion restricts the range of future possibilities, and the cost-effectiveness calculations used by SaBTO reflect this point.

Information used by SaBTO in making its recommendation is publicly available, redacted in accordance with freedom of information principles, at:

www.transparency.dh.gov.uk/2012/04/24/sabto-9-march-2012/

A copy has also been placed in the Library.

Details that could provide commercial information are not included for reasons of commercial confidentiality.

Dementia

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions his Department had with (a) industry and (b) other Government Departments and agencies to ensure that they have put in place dementia-friendly policies since the Prime Minister's challenge on dementia. [119154]

Norman Lamb: As part of the Prime Minister's challenge on dementia, the dementia-friendly communities champion group, which is co-chaired by Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, and Angela Rippon, is taking forward work with a range of organisations, including industry, to deliver key commitments relating to dementia-friendly communities. By 2015, we want to see up to 20 cities, towns and villages signed up to become more dementia-friendly and we want to see support from leading businesses for the Challenge. This work is being supported by the Dementia Action Alliance, which is a group of over 100 organisations, including charities, businesses and industry, who have signed up to the National Dementia Declaration and are working together to improve quality of life for people with dementia and their carers. Each member of the Alliance

5 Sep 2012 : Column 363W

has published an action plan setting out publicly what it will do to help improve outcomes for people with dementia and their carers over the lifetime of the National Dementia Strategy to 2014. All Government Departments were engaged with the development of the Prime Minister's Challenge on Dementia and we will continue to work with them as the challenge is implemented. The Champion Group will be reporting its progress to the Prime Minister in the autumn as part of a wider report on the implementation of the Challenge.

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he has put in place to ensure consistency among GP commissioning boards in different areas when prescribing medicines for people with dementia. [119155]

Norman Lamb: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued technology appraisal guidance in March 2011 that recommends three drugs, donepezii, galantamine, and rivastigmine, as options for the management of mild to moderate dementia, and a fourth drug, memantine, for the management of severe dementia. Primary care trusts are legally required by a direction from the Secretary of State for Health to make funding available to enable clinicians to prescribe treatments recommended by NICE technology appraisal guidance within three months of publication of final guidance. The Government have committed to ensuring that national health service commissioners will continue to be required to make funding available for drugs and treatments recommended by NICE technology appraisals. Decisions on the prescribing of drugs for the treatment of individual patients with dementia are made by clinicians.

Diseases: Health Services

Penny Mordaunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the NHS Commissioning Board expects to establish a system for the commissioning of treatments for rare and specialised conditions; and if he will make a statement. [119222]

Anna Soubry: The NHS Commissioning Board will take on its specialised commissioning functions on 1 April 2013.

The board will operate one national commissioning policy that is sensitive to local needs and it is currently designing its processes.

Drugs: Rehabilitation

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what his policy is on the regulation of drug rehabilitation centres; [119249]

(2) whether he plans to give each local authority the right to limit the number of drug rehabilitation centres in its area. [119248]

Dr Poulter: As part of the Government's public health reforms, from April 2013 the commissioning of services to treat dependence on drugs and alcohol will be the responsibility of local authorities. This will help ensure that local health services are appropriate to local health needs.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates, inspects and reviews all residential treatment facilities in England.

5 Sep 2012 : Column 364W

All such services have to be registered with the CQC and, under the requirements of the Health and Social Care Act 2008, to be registered providers must show that they are meeting essential standards of quality and safety in all of the regulated activities that they provide. If a provider is not registered with the CQC, they cannot legally provide the service.

New residential treatment facilities will generally require planning permission from the local council (exceptions are changes from existing residential facilities).

Epilepsy

Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the answer of 23 April 2012, Official Report, column 701W, on epilepsy, in which month the study is expected to be published; and whether the follow up to the study will include consultation with patients and patient groups. [119144]

Norman Lamb: The final report of the systematic rapid evidence assessment is currently being peer-reviewed. It is expected to be published in late 2012. Consideration about how patients and patient groups should be involved in any next steps linked to the report's findings will be given when these become available.

First Aid

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the potential for community first aid responders to attend category A incidents in circumstances where the ambulance service may face delays. [119206]

Anna Soubry: The Department has made no assessment of community first aid responders.

Community first responders (CFRs) already attend category A (immediately life-threatening) incidents, in addition to an ambulance or rapid response vehicle, if this is deemed by the ambulance service to be the most appropriate response. They often attend incidents in rural areas or those that are difficult for ambulances to reach within the target time of eight minutes.

CFRs are a feature of service delivery in most ambulance services and a key part of increasing the flexibility and range of the response to 999 calls.

General Practitioners: Training

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information his Department holds on the number of GPs who have participated in leadership courses in the last two years. [119156]

Dr Poulter: The Department does not hold this information. The information requested may be available locally.

Mephedrone

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many reports his Department received of health treatment for misuse of the drug M-Cat in the last year; [119260]

(2) what treatment the NHS provides for misuse of the drug M-Cat. [119261]

5 Sep 2012 : Column 365W

Dr Poulter: The National Drug Treatment Monitoring System records information on the numbers of adults and young people (under 18) in contact with specialist drug services in England.

The latest figures from 2010-11 show that 461 adults and 411 young people identified mephedrone (sometimes referred to as ‘M-Cat’) as their main problem drug.

Treatment is available in the community for people who have a mephedrone problem. Treatment consists of psychosocial techniques, in the form of talking therapies which help users to understand and then to change their behaviour.

National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2005

John Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2005 on rural communities and of whether any amendment of those regulations would be desirable. [119245]

Anna Soubry: The National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2005 (as amended) were replaced by the National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2012 on 1 September 2012. It is our policy to enable patients to benefit wherever feasible from the professional services of both general practitioners and pharmacists. Doctors may exceptionally provide NHS dispensing services to patients who live in designated rural areas and are subject to specific conditions set out in the National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2012.

NHS: Pay

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the potential effects of the development of the NHS South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium on the National Agenda for Change negotiations. [119209]

Anna Soubry: The majority of trusts will continue to use national terms and conditions of service, provided they remain fit for purpose.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions his Department has had with NHS employers regarding the NHS South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium. [119210]

Anna Soubry: The Department has had very limited discussions with NHS employers regarding the NHS South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium. In these discussions, employers have simply kept departmental officials up to date on local developments as a matter of courtesy.

Many trusts continue to use national terms and conditions of service contained in Agenda for Change, introduced in 2004.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has approved any NHS trust to pay to join the NHS South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium; and if he will make a statement. [119211]

5 Sep 2012 : Column 366W

Anna Soubry: It is not the responsibility or role of the Department of Health to approve any NHS trusts paying to join the NHS South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium. This is a matter for individual trusts.

Many trusts continue to use national terms and conditions of service contained in Agenda for Change, introduced in 2004

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had regarding the cost to the public purse of an NHS South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium working group. [119212]

Anna Soubry: The Secretary of State for Health has had no discussions regarding the cost to the public purse of a NHS South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium working group.

Many trusts continue to use national terms and conditions of service contained in Agenda for Change, introduced in 2004.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has oversight of the NHS South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium's budget. [119213]

Anna Soubry: The Department does not have oversight of the NHS South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium's budget.

Many trusts continue to use national terms and conditions of service contained in Agenda for Change, introduced in 2004.

NHS: Property

Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what his policy is on the uses to which receipts from property sales by NHS Property Services Ltd retained by his Department can be put; and if he will make a statement; [119262]

(2) whether receipts from property sales by NHS Property Services Ltd will be retained by his Department or passed over to HM Treasury; [119263]

(3) whether the public expenditure increase for his Department represented by receipts from property sales by NHS Property Services Ltd which are retained by his Department will be offset by a corresponding decrease in his Department's public expenditure total. [119264]

Anna Soubry: Plans for any sale proceeds (receipts) realised from surplus primary care trust (PCT) estate after March 2013 are still to be finalised. As with all funds provided to the Department, we prioritise funding that delivers the greatest benefits to patients and the best value for money for the taxpayer.

Capital receipts do not reduce the departments expenditure limits; in fact, the reverse is true. As departmental expenditure limits are set net of receipts, capital receipts increase the amount of capital expenditure available to the Department. The rules on retention of capital receipts are laid out in HM Treasury's consolidated budgeting guidance. These allow Government Departments to keep any receipts they obtain in the spending review (SR) period, up to the amount that was taken into account in the SR.

5 Sep 2012 : Column 367W

HM Treasury recognises that income cannot be predicted wholly accurately and also wishes to encourage Departments to find new income streams where appropriate. Departments may therefore, in any year, also retain receipts up to 20% above the level envisaged for that year as part of the SR settlement without an adjustment to budgets.

If Departments expect to obtain more receipts than provided for in the SR, they should talk to the Treasury about whether they may retain all or part of the income without an adjustment to budgets. When considering proposals, the Treasury will wish in particular to encourage additional income where this represents the results of positive management action, as opposed to under-forecasting. Work is continuing to determine whether potential receipts from the surplus PCT estate are now likely to exceed the amount originally forecast to a greater extent than that allowed for in the Treasury's consolidated budgeting guidance.

Obesity: Children

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will commission an assessment of the research conducted by the Schools Health Education Unit into the number of girls and boys aged between 14 and 15 years who would like to lose weight; and if he will consider the implications of that research for public health policy. [119226]

Dr Poulter: The Department has no current plans to commission an assessment of the research by the Schools Health Education Unit. However, the Department does take relevant research into account in developing public health policy.

Palliative Care: East Midlands

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much local authorities have spent on end-of-life care in (a) Ashfield constituency, (b) Nottinghamshire and (c) the East Midlands in each year since 2009. [119214]

Norman Lamb: This information is not collected centrally.

Perinatal Mortality

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will assess the implications for his policies of the findings of the report by Sands on preventing babies' deaths; and if he will make a statement. [119139]

Dr Poulter: We have made reducing perinatal mortality, including stillbirth, an area of improvement for the national health service in the NHS Outcomes Framework for 2012-13, and as a result women who have suffered a stillbirth will receive additional support from the NHS.

Following publication of the Sands report, the Department has worked closely with Sands and other organisations to develop a stillbirth prevention work programme. This programme will be overseen by a small group, including representatives from Sands, and will be supported by a number of advisory groups whose membership will be tailored to the specific issue they are addressing.

5 Sep 2012 : Column 368W

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding his Department provides for research into the causes and prevention of stillbirth. [119140]

Anna Soubry: The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funds a range of research relating to stillbirth causes, risk factors and prevention.

The NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme is currently funding a £6 million trial of an intelligent system to support decision making in the management of labour using the cardiotocogram. The study started in 2009 and is led by University College London. It will test whether an intelligent computer program can help midwives and doctors improve the care they give in response to abnormalities of the baby's heart rate and whether this will lead to fewer babies being harmed because of a lack of oxygen.

The HTA programme is also funding a £1.4 million trial of nicotine replacement therapy in pregnancy led by the University of Nottingham, and a £1.2 million trial of physical activity as an aid to smoking cessation during pregnancy led by St. George's, University of London.

The NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre has an ongoing programme of research on women's health. A major focus of this research is understanding the determinants of stillbirth risk.

The usual practice of the Department's INIIHR is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics: research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including stillbirth. These applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the scientific quality of the proposals made. In all disease areas, the amount of NIHR funding depends on the volume and quality of scientific activity.

Streptococcus: Babies

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect on the level of infections among newborn babies of the introduction of the Royal College of Obstetricians' and Gynaecologists 2003 guidelines in respect of group B streptococcus. [119265]

Dr Poulter: The group B streptococcus (GBS) rate has increased from 311 in 2003 to 452 in 2010.

The National Screening Committee (NSC) commissioned an audit in 2005 to evaluate the practice in UK obstetric units on the prevention of early-onset neonatal group B streptococcus (GBS) disease in relation to the recommendations of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist (RCOG) in the college's Green-Top guideline.

For recommended standards of care the RCOG published on 18 July 2012 a revised Green-Top guideline to take into account any new evidence on the prevention of early-onset neonatal group B streptococcus disease.

In addition, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published a new guideline on antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of early-onset neonatal infection, including GBS on 22 August 2012.

5 Sep 2012 : Column 369W

The UK National Screening Committee is currently reviewing the evidence for screening for group B streptococcus in pregnancy against its (the committee's) criteria. A public consultation on the screening review opened on 16 July 2012 and will close on 23 October 2012.

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether his Department has conducted any international comparative analyses of measures for preventing group B streptococcus infection in newborn babies; [119266]

(2) if he will take steps to ensure enriched culture method testing for detecting group B streptococcus carriage among newborn babies is made available across the NHS. [119267]

Dr Poulter: The Department is advised by the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC). The UK NSC advises Ministers and the NHS in all four UK countries about all aspects of screening policy, including screening policy for group B streptococcus (GBS) carriage in pregnancy. In 2008-09 the UK NSC recommended that a national screening programme to test for GBS carriage in pregnancy using the enriched culture medium test should not be offered. The UK NSC is currently reviewing the evidence for screening for GBS carriage in pregnancy using the enriched culture medium test against its criteria again. A public consultation on the screening review opened on 16 July 2012 and will close on 23 October 2012. The Department expects to receive a recommendation from the UK NSC in the autumn.

International Development

Burma

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the humanitarian situation in Arakan State, Burma, since 1 June 2012; and if she will make a statement. [118691]

Mr Duncan: According to the Rakhine (Arakan) State Government there are now a total of 69,551 Internally Displaced People in Sittwe, Maungdaw and Kyauktaw. At the request of the Government, humanitarian agencies are providing assistance and operating in line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. Priority sectors agreed upon by United Nations agencies and non-governmental organisations include shelter, food, water and sanitation, health and nutrition, and protection.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what aid her Department provides to the Burmese Government; and if she will make a statement. [118692]

Mr Duncan: DFID does not provide aid directly to the central Government of Burma. UK aid in Burma goes only through United Nations organisations and trusted international and local non-governmental organisations. Where circumstances allow, some of these funds go through township authorities for basic service delivery.

5 Sep 2012 : Column 370W

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she plans to take to ensure that victims of violence in Arakan State, Burma, from Rohingya and Rakhine communities receive humanitarian assistance without discrimination and that all those in need receive assistance. [119121]

Mr Duncan: The UK Government have repeatedly called for the Government of Burma to allow unhindered humanitarian access to all of the areas affected. Humanitarian agencies, including those which receive core funding from the United Kingdom, are now able to provide aid to some of the affected areas in line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence—but this falls short of what is needed. We continue to monitor the situation and humanitarian response closely.

Correspondence

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the average time taken was by her Department to reply to correspondence from hon. Members and Peers in the last 12 months; and for what proportion of letters the time taken to send a response was longer than (a) one month, (b) six weeks, (c) two months, (d) three months and (e) six months in that period. [118658]

Mr Duncan: The average time taken by DFID to reply to correspondence over the last 12 months was nine days.

DFID is not aware of any letters that fall into categories (a), (b), (c), (d) or (e).

The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members' and Peers' correspondence. The report for 2011 was published on 15 March 2012, Official Report, columns 31-33WS.

Overseas Aid

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking to ensure that it meets the target of spending 0.7% of gross national income on overseas development assistance by 2013. [119237]

Justine Greening: My Department's settlement with Her Majesty's Treasury, as adjusted in the 2011 autumn statement, is sufficient, along with Official Development Assistance (ODA) from other Government Departments and forecasts for non-delegated expenditure limit ODA, to meet the Government's commitment of spending 0.7% of gross national income as ODA in 2013.

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much overseas development assistance has been spent in the private sector, by country, since June 2010. [119238]

Justine Greening: The private sector plays an important role in delivering some of the Department for International Development's (DFID) aid programmes.

5 Sep 2012 : Column 371W

DFID publishes details of Official Development Assistance by country in its annual publication, “Statistics on International Development”:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/About-us/How-we-measure-progress/Aid-Statistics/Statistics-on-International-Development-2011/

Information on spend in the private sector is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Syria

Gordon Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what steps her Department is taking to help reduce the number of street children in Syria; [118597]

(2) what steps her Department is taking to help street children in Syria. [118598]

5 Sep 2012 : Column 372W

Mr Duncan: We remain gravely concerned by the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria and the effects of the conflict on all segments of society, including children. That is why the UK has now committed £30.5 million to the humanitarian crisis affecting Syria, over half of which is dedicated to meeting essential humanitarian needs of those in Syria.

Since July, UK support has provided food to 145,000 internally displaced people, water and sanitation to 60,000, targeted medical services and supplies for up to 25,000, and shelter and relief items across the country. Our aid is not specifically targeted at children, but it will reach them along with others in need.

We are also supporting the work of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN body charged with ensuring children's safety, with refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. UNICEF's work includes providing counselling and child protection and supporting children to continue their education.