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Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information his Department holds on planned spending on child and adolescent mental health services by local health authorities for the financial year 2001-02. 
Mr. Hutton: Health authority spending plans to develop further their child and adolescent mental health strategies in 2001-02 have yet to be finalised. The planned health authority expenditure will reflect priorities as assessed jointly with local authorities.
The Department has provided £20 million in 2001-02 to health authorities, which is in their baseline allocations. This funding, together with £15 million allocated to local authorities, is a significant investment for the development of services for this vulnerable group of children and young people.
Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the recruitment and retention of cardiac technicians accredited by the British Society of Echocardiography to carry out echocardiography, within the NHS. 
Mr. Denham: We are implementing a range of measures to improve recruitment and retention for all staff, including cardiac technicians accredited by the British Society of Echocardiography to carry out echocardiography. We are investing in fair pay, encouraging the National Health Service to become a better employer, increasing training, attracting former staff back to the NHS and encouraging flexible retirement.
Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from the British Society of Echocardiography regarding concerns about the recognition of specialised echo technicians in the NHS. 
Mr. Denham: The Department is carrying out a review of the health care scientist work force. The need for an increase in the number of echocardiography technicians will be considered as part of the review.
10 May 2001 : Column: 366W
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money was spent in the last financial year under the provisions of the Disabled Persons (Consultation, Representation and Services) Act 1986. 
Mr. Hutton: The Disabled Persons (Consultation, Representation and Services) Act 1986 forms part of the overall legislative framework for the provision of services to disabled people. As such, money spent under this Act is not separately identified, and forms part of the overall allocation for social services expenditure for disabled people of all ages.
Details of local authority social services expenditure for the last financial year are not as yet available. Our latest available figures relate to the 1999-2000 financial year, details of which can be found in the Department of Health bulletin Personal Social Services Current Expenditure in England 1999-2000.
Ms Stuart [holding answer 9 May 2001]: The Meat Inspection Charges Task Force was established by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in April 2000 to look at the issue of meat inspection charges and to consider alternative approaches to charging that would help to alleviate the burden of inspection charges on small and medium-sized abattoirs and cutting plants.
In its report, the taskforce recommended that the Government should contribute to the costs of meat inspection in Great Britain. The taskforce recommended moving away from charging for meat inspections on an hourly basis and that, instead, all abattoirs and cutting plants should be charged the lower of either the standard (headage) charges laid down in EU Directive 96/43/EEC or their actual inspection costs. The taskforce estimated that adopting this recommendation would result in a cost to Government of up to £19 million in 2001-02 and each year thereafter.
We accepted the taskforce recommendation and announced new, additional financial support in the context of the publication of the Rural White Paper on 28 November 2000 to secure the future of small and medium-sized abattoirs.
Following consultation, a new charging system based on the taskforce recommendation was introduced by the FSA on 2 April 2001. Under the new system, the majority of meat plants will be paying substantially reduced meat inspection charges.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of senior civil servants in his Department have signed waivers to work voluntarily more than 48 hours a week; and if he will make a statement. 
10 May 2001 : Column: 367W
Ms Stuart: There are currently 16 waivers signed by senior civil servants in the Department of Health. This figure includes eight waivers relating to staff in the regional offices and two waivers relating to staff of executive agencies of the Department.
This represents just under 4 per cent. of the total number of senior civil servants employed by the Department as at 1 April 2001. Although this represents only a small proportion of senior civil servants in the Department, I am determined to improve the work/life balance of staff throughout my Department and there is currently a project under way to address all such long working hours.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will accept evidence from (a) patient organisations (b) charities, (c) pharmaceutical companies, (d) individual patients and (e) the medical profession in the forthcoming review of the operation of NICE; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) if he will refer the forthcoming review of the operation of NICE to an independent reviewing body; and if he will make a statement; 
(4) if he will list the (a) start and (b) completion dates for the forthcoming review of the operation of NICE. 
Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he intends to answer the letters to him dated 6 March and 5 April from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Reverend Canon Professor R. Preston. 
Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he intends to answer the letters to him dated 14 February, 15 March and 19 April from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mrs. S. McHugh. 
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 9 April 2001, Official Report, column 454W, on NHS vacancies, how many NHS vacancies there were in London for (a) doctors, (b) nurses, (c) midwives, (d) health visitors, (e) professions allied to medicine and (f) management and administration staff for each of the last 10 years for which figures are available; how many posts in each category have been vacant for longer than three months; and if he will make a statement. 
10 May 2001 : Column: 368W
Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the current value is of the block grant under the Barnett Formula to central Government funding for Scotland; what it was in 1997-98; and what the forecast is for 2003-04. 
Mrs. Liddell: The expenditure of the former Scottish Office within Departmental Expenditure Limits in 1998-99 was £13,134 million. Expenditure in Scotland in 2001-02 (including expenditure by the Scotland Office) is planned to be £16,322 million and the corresponding figure for 2003-04 is £18,547 million. Following the introduction of resource budgeting, figures on a consistent basis for years prior to 1998-99 are not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
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