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Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on augmenting the personal allowances from pensions payable in care homes to take into account the level of savings of the individual pensioner. 
Jacqui Smith: We intend that pensioners in residential care and nursing homes will gain from pension credit as other pensioners do. The Department is currently considering the details for achieving this.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many ambulances there are in (a) England, (b) the West Midlands and (c) Coventry; and how many on average have been operational at any one time in the last 12 months; 
Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate (a) the additional revenues accruing to Her Majesty's Government in national insurance contributions from the constituency of Solihull and (b) the additional resources which will be available to improve health services in Solihull as a result of the Budget. 
Yvette Cooper: The information requested in regard to national insurance contributions is not available. However, I can confirm that as a result of the Budget, the national health service in England will receive an annual average real terms growth in resources of 7.4 per cent. for the five years from 200304 to 200708. Local allocations to primary care trusts will be announced later this year.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out for each (a) NHS region, (b) health authority and (c) NHS trust for each quarter of each of the last four years the (i) monetary value of approvals to use capital for revenue purposes, (ii) the number of approvals and (iii) the total capital allocation. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 12 March 2002]: The majority of the information requested is contained in the tables which have been placed in the Library. Data is only readily available in the format requested for the last two financial years. Information about the number of approvals is not collected by the Department in the format requested.
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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to page 37 of the 2001 report of the Food Standards Agency, what are the wider enforcement issues of relevance to the agency and its stakeholders that have been considered by the local authority enforcement liaison group. 
Yvette Cooper: The local authority enforcement liaison group, which in November 2001 became the enforcement liaison group, has considered a number of issues that are not specifically covered by the framework agreement on local authority food law enforcement. These include: food surveillance mechanisms; sampling of imported foods; the Food Standard Agency's (FSA) communications strategy; schemes to increase the transparency of hygiene standards in food businesses; support for local authority food law enforcement work; traceability in the food chain; issues arising form the FSA's monitoring and audit of local authorities; and funding arrangements for local authority enforcement services.
Yvette Cooper: The structure of the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) new website, launched on 10 December 2001, reflects the FSA's core values of independence, openness and accessibility and has been well received by consumers and stakeholders. This is reflected in the considerable rise in traffic to the site.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the new cross-cutting arrangements for dealing with food incidents referred to on page 34 of the 2001 Food Standards Agency report were in place to coincide with the move of the Food Standards Agency to Aviation house. 
Yvette Cooper: The arrangements for dealing with food incidents were reviewed prior to the move to Aviation house in spring 2001, and a new incidents room was established within the new office building. Subsequently a Food Standards Agency (FSA) wide food incidents committee has been established to monitor the FSA's handling of incidents.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action has been taken by his Department further to the Service Delivery Agreement target of the Food Standards Agency to publish a consultation document on future labelling policy. 
Yvette Cooper: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) published a wide-ranging action plan on food labelling in September 2000 based upon issues identified as priorities in public consultation and consumer research. The FSA is consulting stakeholders on each individual initiative in the action plan as it is taken forward.
Yvette Cooper: The Food Standards Agency held an open forum at Villa Park, Birmingham on 31 May 2000, where members of the public were invited to give their views on how the agency should operate and what they
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saw as its priorities. Since then, the agency has held six similarly wide ranging open fora on food issues in Cardiff (May 2001), Dundee (June 2001), Bristol (September 2001), London (November 2001), Orkney (November 2001), and Inverness (November 2001). The agency has also held numerous public meetings across the UK dealing with specific issues such as the agency's review of BSE controls, BSE and sheep, food labelling, nutrition, genetic modification and folic acid fortification.
Yvette Cooper: There were originally 29 recommendations in the Pooley report for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to take forward, including those relating to meat inspection and the work of the meat hygiene service. One of these recommendations was subsequently transferred by agreement to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Of the remaining current 28 recommendations for the FSA, six require EU approval, and these are being worked on; 11 have been completed; 10 are being acted on; and one requires action this year.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the result was of the discussions referred to on page 42 of the 2001 report of the Food Standards Agency, between the Food Standards Agency and the trade unions about reviewing the FSA's pay arrangements; 
Yvette Cooper: Pay delegation approval was obtained from the Cabinet Office in 2001 for the Food Standards Agency to develop and negotiate agency-specific pay arrangements. A two-year pay agreement was reached with the trade unions, effective from 1 August 2001.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action has been taken following the publication in February 2001 of the final report on the consumer surveys of attitudes towards food issues and the Food Standards Agency. 
Yvette Cooper: The results of the Food Standards Agency's annual consumer attitudes survey are used to track changes in consumer preferences, attitudes and behaviour and to inform agency priorities and activities. Since the publication of the first survey in February 2001, the second survey has been published and key changes noted. Consumer priorities, behaviours and concerns continue to be reflected in agency priorities and activities. These include meat safety including BSE, food poisoning, food hygiene in catering outlets, feed given to livestock, pesticides, food labelling and healthy eating.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the extent to which the Food Standards Agency has met its service delivery agreement to increase the availability of its research results. 
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Yvette Cooper: The Food Standards Agency has improved the availability of its research results through publishing reports on its website, press releases, information leaflets and articles in popular and specialist publications. In addition, the agency encourages its research contractors to publish research results in the scientific press.
Yvette Cooper: Since the 2001 report of the Food Standards Agency was prepared, the criteria in the assessment method for obtaining IiP accreditation have changed. Given the cyclical nature of some of the key processes, such as business planning and performance appraisal, the target date of April 2001 was deferred. The FSA now plans to begin to seek accreditation by the end of 2002. In support of this an action plan has been developed. The IiP website for the agency has also been established and is available to all staff.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when the consultation (a) began and (b) ended on the hazard analysis and critical control points strategy prepared by the Food Standards Agency; 
(3) when the Food Standards Agency strategy was implemented for the promotion of hazard analysis and critical control points throughout the food chain. 
Yvette Cooper: The paper on the hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) strategy, which was submitted to the board of the Food Standards Agency in November 2001, was produced following consultation with a range of organisations and relevant stakeholders.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what action has been taken following the Research Review Group chaired by Sir John Arbuthnot review of the Food Standards Agency's future strategy for research; 
Yvette Cooper: The agency's board has accepted all 34 recommendations of the review of the Food Standards Agency's research portfolio and research management system. Thirteen of these recommendations have been implemented already in the 10 months since the report of
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the review was published, in July 2001. The agency aims to complete the remaining 21 recommendations over the next four years.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what improvements have been made by the Food Standards Agency to hygiene assessment scores, as referred to on page 28 of the 2001 report of the Food Standards Agency. 
Yvette Cooper: Information on the performance of the meat hygiene service (MHS) against its targets for the year ended 31 March 2001, including that in relation to the improvement in hygiene standards in plants with low hygiene assessment system (HAS) scores, is currently being assembled in order for an assessment to be carried out and reported to the board of the Food Standards Agency. The outcome will be reported in the MHS's annual report and accounts which will be laid before Parliament before the House rises for the summer.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement on development work around diversity issues, referred to on page 41 of the 2001 report of the Food Standards Agency; 
Yvette Cooper: Development work has covered a range of diversity issues including the recruitment and development of agency staff, diversity training and the setting of agency-specific targets. A diversity action plan has been produced.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the introduction of 360-degree feedback for the senior civil service, referred to on page 41 of the 2001 report of the Food Standards Agency. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what unannounced State Veterinary Service audits have been conducted by the Food Standards Agency in fresh meat establishments as referred to on page 28 of the 2001 report of the Food Standards Agency. 
Yvette Cooper: In the period 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002 the State Veterinary Service made 173 unannounced visits to fresh meat premises. The purpose of these visits was to audit the Meat Hygiene Service enforcement of the controls on specified risk material.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the service delivery agreement referred to on page 26 of the 2001 report of the Food Standards Agency, what new approaches that harness recent developments in e-technology have been published to provide advice for consumers. 
Yvette Cooper: The Food Standards Agency website www.food.gov.uk provides an e-mail subscription facility which updates consumers and other stakeholders with food-related news and advice, including food hazard warnings, as they are published. The website is also available as a wireless application protocol facility.
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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which outside specialists, referred to on page 26 of the 2001 report of the Food Standards Agency, have been appointed to carry out qualitative consumer market research on food safety and standards; and at what cost. 
Yvette Cooper: The reference on page 26 is to quantitative market research. The Food Standards Agency annual consumer attitudes survey is conducted by Taylor Nelson Sofres under Central Office of Information management. The research agency was appointed following a competitive tendering process.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what proportion of local authorities have been covered by the Food Standards Agency's targeted audit programme encompassing law reforming local authorities. 
Yvette Cooper: In line with the targets published in the 2000 spending review service delivery agreement, the Food Standards Agency audited 10 per cent. of local authority food law enforcement services during 200102. Local authorities were selected for audit to represent a cross section of authority types, which included low performing local authorities. During 200102, 40 local authorities in England, 32 local authorities in Scotland and two in Wales were audited. In Northern Ireland, all five authorities scheduled for audit this year will have been audited by May 2002.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if electronic transmissions of the quarterly returns of local authorities to the Food Standards Agency is undertaken by all local authorities. 
Yvette Cooper: The vast majority of UK local authorities have submitted their final returns for 200102 in an electronic format and others are in the process of doing so. A small number of local authorities are, due to local IT difficulties, unable to make their return electronically. The agency has agreed these local authorities can submit data clerically, and is giving advice on resolving the IT difficulties.
The proposed MAFF strategy for Scrapie in sheep
The immediate implications of the report of the BSE inquiry
Its review of BSE controls
The need for measures relating to BSE in French beef
Implementation of EU maximum residue levels for pesticides.
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Yvette Cooper: 12 seminars were conducted in the UK during the period, with a thirteenth in Northern Ireland in July. Some 650 local authority officers received half a day's training and guidance from agency officials on the new monitoring arrangements to be implemented with the introduction of the framework agreement.
Yvette Cooper: The Food Standards Agency survey of fresh and frozen raw chicken on retail sale was carried out between April and June 2001. The overall salmonella contamination level was 5.8 per cent. and these preliminary findings were announced on 16 August 2001.
The level of salmonella contamination is markedly lower than in previous surveys of retail chicken in the UK. The findings from the 2001 survey indicate that substantial progress has been made in tackling this problem in the UK and, as a result, the agency's target of reducing salmonella contamination of UK retail chicken by 50 per cent. in five years has been met ahead of schedule.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the 2000 spending review service delivery agreement targets, if an audit unit within the Food Standards Agency in Scotland and an agreed local authority audit scheme were in place by April 2001. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action has (a) been taken and (b) is planned, following the informal consultations by the Food Standards Agency on a proposal for an agency register of food business convictions. 
Yvette Cooper: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is not proposing to proceed with the establishment of a national register of food business convictions at this time as this would not provide the most effective means for increasing the transparency of standards in food businesses. The FSA is, however, considering other options for achieving increased transparency.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the latest annual survey of consumer attitudes towards food issues and the Food Standards Agency published by the Food Standards Agency. 
Yvette Cooper: The 2001 study is the second annual survey of over 3,100 people across the UK. As in 2000, food poisoning (59 per cent.) and BSE (55 per cent.) remained the major issues of concern. Nearly half of those questioned felt that food safety standards had improved in the last year. The survey revealed a significant increase in awareness of and confidence in the Food Standards Agency between 2000 and 2001.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the Welsh translation of the Food Standards Agency teaching packs "Aliens in our Food", and "The Adventures of Safe-T and the H-Squad" has been prepared. 
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Yvette Cooper: Welsh language versions of these resources have been developed and copies were distributed by Food Standards Agency Wales to all primary and secondary schools in Wales, as appropriate, during 2000.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to 2000 spending review service delivery agreement targets referred to on page 28 of the 2001 report of the Food Standards Agency, what audits of local authorities targeting specific policy issues are to be undertaken by the Food Standards Agency in 200203. 
Yvette Cooper: The audit programme for the first quarter of 200203 has been announced and is under way. The audit programme for the remainder of 200203 is currently being considered by the Food Standards Agency and a paper is to be presented at the next board meeting in May. This will address whether the future audit programme should include audits targeting specific enforcement policy issues.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the service delivery agreement target of the Food Standards Agency to develop a new framework agreement with local authorities by 1 April 2001 to promote high and consistent standards of enforcement throughout the UK was met by 1 April 2001. 
Yvette Cooper: Yes. The framework agreement on local authority food law enforcement was published on 29 September 2000. The agreement came fully into effect from 1 April 2001 with the launch of the agency's programme of audits. The agreement includes a standard for enforcement which local authorities are expected to achieve and are audited against.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the performance of the Food Standards Agency in encouraging local authorities to publish local information about hygiene standards in food premises. 
The Food Standards Agency's framework agreement on local authority food law enforcement which came fully into effect from 1 April 2001 requires that local authorities publish local service plans to provide transparency about local food law enforcement services. Local authorities are required to set out in the service plan information about their planned food inspection programme based on the number, type and level of risk of food premises in their area. Service plans are inspected and assessed as part of the agency's audit of local authority food law enforcement services.
On 1 March 2002 the Food Standards Agency Wales joined forces with Welsh local authorities to launch a national food hygiene award scheme which aims to raise food hygiene standards and consumer confidence by
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providing public recognition for food businesses that have excellent hygiene procedures in place. Subject to the success of this scheme, it may be used as a model to help improve transparency of standards more widely.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Local Authority Enforcement Liaison Group in reviewing the operation of the framework agreement developed by the Food Standards Agency for the promotion of high and consistent standards of food safety enforcement throughout the United Kingdom. 
Yvette Cooper: This is a matter for the Food Standards Agency. The framework agreement on local authority food law enforcement came fully into effect in April 2001 and is subject to an annual review by the Local Authority Enforcement Liaison Group, which in November 2001 was renamed the Enforcement Liaison Group. The Enforcement Liaison Group has completed its first annual review of the framework agreement and changes were issued to local authorities and other relevant bodies on 2 April 2002. The agency believe that the Enforcement Liaison Group is making a major contribution to food safety enforcement.
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