Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons the use of DH Mail e-mail addresses on his Department’s website was withdrawn and replaced by a new contact page system. 
Mr Simon Burns: The generic departmental e-mail address (‘DHMail’) has been used for several years as a point of contact for the public. However, as the e-mail address has been picked up by marketing lists and publicised on the internet, the levels of spam and inappropriate correspondence we received reached such a significant volume that an alternative was required. The Department therefore followed the example of other Government Departments by setting up a ‘contact us’ web form.
Diabetes: Health Services
Paul Burstow: The diagnosis of diabetes and the care patients receive are provided in a number of settings; general practitioner (GP) practices, community and hospital based facilities. We recognise that diabetes specialist teams in all these care settings play a valuable role in supporting people with diabetes to manage their condition.
Following the NHS reforms, GPs will be responsible for commissioning diabetes services. Their understanding of patients’ needs and wishes, along with their clinical knowledge, should ensure that their patients receive the most appropriate and timely care.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department plans to take to improve diabetes diagnosis following the publication of the NHS Diabetes report, Coding, Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes. 
Paul Burstow: We recognise that diagnosing diabetes can be complex. We welcome the new guidelines published by NHS Diabetes and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) which are aimed at helping general practitioners (GPs) accurately diagnose diabetes for all patients. The RCGP has a suite of e-learning modules in relation to diabetes ranging from diagnosis to emergency care and newer therapies.
The new audit tools which have also been developed will help GPs to share information and look at similar cases to help to resolve even the most difficult of cases. The RCGP is also following up the recommendations of the report on out of hours training for GPs and looking at ways to expand this training, which would provide opportunities to raise awareness of acute presentations of the complications of diabetes.
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Mr Simon Burns: There are currently no proposals to increase the number of doctors employed by the national health service. Local NHS organisations are best placed to train and employ the staff needed to meet the needs of their local populations.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has any plans to amend the NHS Constitution to include a right of patients to have access to drugs and therapies recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: The NHS Constitution already provides the right for patients to receive drugs and treatments which have been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and which their doctors recommend for them.
Currently, this right is underpinned by a statutory funding direction that requires national health service organisations to fund healthcare interventions recommended by NICE within three months of publication of final technology appraisal guidance. In future, and subject to the successful passage of the Health and Social Care Bill, we intend to replicate the effect of this funding direction.
Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in (a) the UK, (b) England, (c) the North East, (d) Teesside and (e) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency (i) were born with and (ii) acquired as a result of an accident a severe facial disfigurement. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Health and Social Care Bill 2011 will provide for general practitioner (GP) consortia to be established from April 2012, prior to taking on full statutory responsibilities from April 2013. The Department has established a rolling programme of GP consortia pathfinders to test the different elements involved in GP-led commissioning and enable emerging GP consortia to get more rapidly involved in current commissioning decisions.
Groups of GP practices keen to participate in the pathfinder programme put themselves forward to their strategic health authority. The Bournemouth and Poole GP consortium has been awarded pathfinder status. In England, there are 220 pathfinders in total.
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Mr Simon Burns: The Government's policy is that national health service services should be commissioned from the best providers able to meet patients’ needs and deliver value for taxpayers' money. Guidance on the procurement of health services in the NHS has been published since May 2008. This guidance has consistently made it clear that procurement processes, including any evaluation of bids for contracts, must be transparent, proportionate and non-discriminatory with equality of treatment for all providers.
We have also consulted on plans to extend patient choice so that patients have greater choice and control over their treatment and care, including choice of provider wherever possible. A key principle of our proposed approach is that ‘any qualified provider’ should be able to offer services where the provider meets quality standards and accepts the NHS standard contract tariff. Prices would be fixed in advance with money following patients' choices and competition on quality. We will publish our response to the consultation shortly.
Mr Simon Burns: The Health and Social Care Bill proposes clear statutory duties on commissioners in relation to procurement and in relation to anti-competitive behaviours. A clear set of underpinning rules and guidance will be developed to apply to general practitioner (GP) consortia, so that they have the necessary support to make decisions that are fair and transparent and avoid any perceived conflicts of interest. In addition, the Bill also includes a requirement that each consortium's constitution sets out arrangements for decision-making and managing potential conflicts of interest. The economic regulator will also have powers to intervene if there are concerns that a consortium has not met its duties in relation to fairness and choice or has engaged in anti-competitive behaviour.
Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of operating (a) primary care trusts in the last 12 months for which figures are available and (b) proposed GP consortia in the first 12 months of their operation. 
Mr Simon Burns: The latest data from 2009-10 audited accounts show that total net operating costs for primary care trusts (PCTs) in 2009-10 was £85.8 billion. Figures for each PCT are shown in the following table.
The detailed financial regime for the new health system is still being developed. No estimate has been made of the expected operating costs in the proposed general practitioner (GP) consortia in their first 12 months.
A direct comparison between the operating costs of PCTs and the future operating costs of GP consortia is invalid as PCTs' functions will not all transfer across to the new GP consortia. Some functions will pass to the NHS Commissioning Board, local authorities and other bodies.
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|PCT net operating costs 2009-10|
|Name||Net operating costs (£000)|
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|Source: PCT Audited Summarisation Schedules 2009-10|
Health Research Regulatory Agency
The Government will create a health research regulatory agency to combine and streamline the approvals for health research, which are at present scattered across many organisations. This will improve the timeliness of decisions about clinical trials. The agency will be established in the first instance as a special health authority, with the National Research Ethics Service as its core, during 2011.
The new agency will work closely with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to create a unified approval process and promote proportionate standards for compliance and inspection within a consistent national system of research governance.
From autumn 2011, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funding will become conditional on organisations playing their part in the national research governance system. The Government will launch a framework of standard procedures and good practice for local health research management—the NIHR Research Support Services framework—by May 2011. Recipients of NIHR funding will regularly publish metrics on their performance in initiating and delivering health research. When deciding on funding, the NIHR will take account of performance against public NIHR benchmarks,
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including an initial benchmark of 70 days from receipt of a valid research protocol to recruitment of the first participant in a study.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Andrew Percy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what provisions he plans to make to provide for adequate low-volume services for (a) inflammatory bowel disease and (b) other chronic conditions. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Health and Social Care Bill currently being considered by Parliament has proposed devolving responsibility for commissioning some national health service health care services to general practitioner (GP) consortia and establishing an independent and accountable NHS Commissioning Board, which will support GP commissioning and hold GP consortia to account.
GP consortia will commission a range of services that best meet local needs including inflammatory bowel disease where necessary. The NHS Commissioning Board will produce commissioning guidelines, and seek Quality Standards from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to ensure patients receive high quality services. The NHS Commissioning Board will commission those specialist services currently commissioned both nationally and regionally based on the services described in the Specialised Services National Definitions Set, which will include some low volume services.
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Mr Simon Burns: The Department is very aware of the role innovative medical technology can play in the delivery of the reforms to the national health service. This is why the Department is keen for the National Institute for Clinical Excellence to continue its role in assessing medical technologies through the recently established Evaluation Pathway programme. This is designed to provide guidance to the NHS and to help it adopt efficient and cost-effective medical devices and diagnostics more rapidly and consistently.
The Department is also committed to continuing the NHS Life Sciences Innovation Delivery Board, which was set up to look at ways in which the relationship between the life sciences industries and the NHS can be improved and support the rapid adoption of innovative technologies. Furthermore, the Department is keen to build on the Innovative Technology Adoption Procurement Programme—known as iTAPP—which is seeking to speed up the adoption of a number of key medical technologies into the NHS through the National Technology Adoption Centre.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what percentage of NHS patients were voluntarily in receipt of medication at home at the point immediately before such provision was made compulsory in the latest period for which figures are available; 
Paul Burstow: Information on the number of patients in receipt of medicine through the medicine homecare delivery service or the number of national health service hospital departments which operate such services is not held centrally. Contracts are awarded by individual NHS trusts for such services to specialist contractors and some medicine manufacturers operate their own schemes for homecare delivery, most commonly in such therapy areas as HIV, renal, rheumatology, haematology, immunology, oncology and metabolic disorders.
||Under 25||25-29||30-34||35-39||40-44||45-49||50-54||55-59||60-64||65 and over||Unknown|
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|Source: Information Centre for health and social care Non-Medical Workforce Census|
National Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure: Research
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the progress of the National Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure in removing barriers to research and innovation within the NHS; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: The purpose of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI) is to maximise the contribution of the NIHR-funded clinical research infrastructure for health research and patient benefit; and for the nation's international competitiveness as a location for applied clinical research.
NOCRI is discharging this function by facilitating cross-NIHR funded facility co-operation on scientific, technical and process challenges, supporting the spread of bureaucracy-busting measures led by other areas of NIHR and leading on the development of model agreements, e.g. the recently published NIHR/Medical Research Council model Industrial Collaborative Research Agreement to streamline contracting for research partnerships between industry, universities and the national health service.
NOCRI is supporting research funders big and small in the life sciences industry and charities by helping them to navigate the research environment to find suitable individuals or organisations to support their research needs.
Mr Barron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consideration he has given to the application of state aid in the NHS following the re-establishment of Monitor as an economic regulator. 
Mr Simon Burns: We are currently assessing whether and to what extent European Union state aid law will have an impact in the national health service, including what the position will be with respect to a health system that will remain funded by the taxpayer and providing universal coverage, free at the point of need.
Mr Barron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will provide financial assistance to non-designated NHS organisations and services which do not qualify under EU state aid rules and competition rules. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Health and Social Care Bill will ensure that essential services are protected as well as setting out a credible regime for managing failure. Patient care and quality of service is our priority and it will be important to take account of the particular circumstances of a provider or service at a given time. Monitor and the NHS Commissioning Board will play important roles in ensuring a coherent approach across the system and determining when particular providers warrant support or not.
NHS Walk-in Centres
Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS walk-in centres there were (a) in May 2010 and (b) on the latest date for which figures are available; what information his Department holds on the number of centres that have (i) reduced and (ii) maintained their opening hours during that period; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: National health service walk-in centres are the responsibility of the local NHS. It is currently for primary care trusts to decide whether the services provided by walk-in centres continue to meet the needs of patients. Figures are not collected centrally on numbers of centres, nor data on their opening hours.
Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice he has received on the effect of the implementation of the any willing provider model on the application of EU competition rules to NHS services. 
Mr Simon Burns: The principle that ‘any qualified provider’ (previously any willing provider) should be able to offer national health service services subject to patient choice—where the provider meets quality standards and accepts the NHS standard contract and tariff—would not affect the application of competition law. This policy is consistent with the principles of competition law, however, because it seeks to ensure commissioning processes are transparent, non-discriminatory and to avoid restricting choice or competition against patients' interests.
Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the proportion of real-terms expenditure on the NHS which will be accounted for by restructuring requirements over the comprehensive spending review period. 
Mr Simon Burns:
The estimated real-terms expenditure on the national health service, totalled across the four years of the comprehensive spending review period from 2011-12 to 2014-15, is £411 billion. The estimated cost of the Government’s plans for modernising the NHS is £1.4 billion, to be incurred in 2011-12 and 2012-13. This represents 0.34% of the total. The changes
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are estimated to achieve administrative savings of £5.2 billion (or £3.8 billion after netting off the cost) over the comprehensive spending review period, followed by savings of £1.7 billion every year from 2014-15.
Mr Simon Burns: The total number of people employed in the NHS hospital and community health service including general practitioners and general practice staff as at 30 September 2010 was 1,431,557 headcount and 1,186,571 full-time equivalent. The new headcount methodology for 2010 data is not fully comparable with previous years data due to improvements that make it a more stringent count of absolute staff numbers.
Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he plans to take to ensure an equitable distribution of NHS contracts of greatest monetary value between the private and the public sector. 
Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he plans to issue to NHS trusts on the relative assessment of the merits of price and quality when determining the award of contracts under competitive tenders. 
Mr Simon Burns: In future, as now, it will be for commissioners to set the evaluation criteria for the award of competitive tenders in accordance with procurement law. Under the Health and Social Care Bill, commissioners would undertake this procurement in line with regulations that the Secretary of State may issue concerning good practice in procurement. At present, commissioners are expected to follow guidance set out in the “Procurement Guide for Commissioners of NHS Funded Services”.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to encourage greater co-operation between primary and secondary health care professionals as part of his proposals for NHS reform. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Health and Social Care Bill places a duty on consortia to make arrangements to obtain advice from people with professional expertise. Effective general practitioner (GP) commissioning will require the full range of clinical and professional input alongside that of local people. Primary and secondary healthcare professionals and others, all have a vital role to play and a real opportunity to develop services and improve the health outcomes of their local populations.
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Emerging consortia are already recognising the need to involve secondary care professionals. They understand the need for expert clinical advice to understand the intricacies and interdependences between different hospital services.
At its heart, a GP consortium is about a nexus of professional interrelationships, the exercise of peer influence, and professionals taking on direct responsibility and public accountability for the decisions they collectively make.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the monetary cost to his Department in respect of (a) staff salaries and (b) other costs of Monitor has been in each year since its inception; and what estimate he has made of the likely costs in each such case in each of the next five years. 
Mr Simon Burns: A breakdown of funding provided to Monitor (the statutory name of which is the Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts) in respect of staff salaries and other costs since its inception in 2004 is shown in the following table:
|Data provided by Monitor|
|As at 31 March:||Staff salaries||Other costs|
The impact assessment published alongside the Health and Social Care Bill estimates the annual running costs of Monitor at £72 million by 2015-16. At this stage, we do not hold information centrally on estimated annual running costs for Monitor, or an estimated breakdown of expenditure, for each of the next five years.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what process the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence follows in instances when the final decision on a drug appraisal process is delayed on more than one occasion. 
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Quality Innovation Productivity and Prevention
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health by what mechanism his Department proposes to measure progress on the Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention agenda; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) agenda will support the national health service to make and reinvest up to £20 billion of efficiency savings by 2014-15. Local NHS organisations have identified opportunities to do this as part of the single integrated business planning process set out in ‘The NHS Operating Framework for the NHS in England 2011/12’.
Respite Care: Disability
This Government have committed more than £800 million in funding over the next four years to local authorities to support the delivery of short breaks. That funding is part of the new Early Intervention Grant.
In order to maintain and protect the delivery of short breaks, I recently laid regulations to ensure that from 1 April 2011 all local authorities are under a duty to provide a range of short breaks services for disabled children and their families. From 1 October 2011 local authorities will be required to publish for parents in their area a ‘service statement’ which will explain exactly what short breaks are available and how they can be accessed.
My Department recently published a Green Paper, ‘Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability’. The Green Paper proposes a number of ways to improve access to services for children with additional needs. The consultation period ends on 30 June 2011. More information is available at:
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Isotretinoin is subject to annual European safety assessments which review all safety data including adverse reactions suspected to be associated with isotretinoin. These assessments include the detailed assessment of adverse reactions in patients aged between 12 and 18. The latest review was completed on 28 March 2011 and concluded that the overall balance of benefits and risks remains positive.
Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) who will be responsible for advancing his Department's evidence-based cost-benefit risk analysis to inform the appropriate model of regulation for the healthcare science workforce; what timetable has been set for the recommendations of the analysis to be made public; and which stakeholders will be invited to contribute to the analysis; 
(2) what methodology his Department plans to use to ensure that the diversity of the disciplines covered by the healthcare science workforce is taken into account in its analysis of the regulation of that workforce. 
Anne Milton: In line with the overall Government approach to the extension of professional regulation, as set out in the Command Paper “Enabling Excellence”, the extension of statutory regulation to currently unregulated professional or occupational groups, such as some groups in the healthcare science workforce, will only be considered where there is a compelling case on the basis of a public safety risk and where assured voluntary registers are not considered sufficient to manage this risk.
We have therefore asked officials to begin discussions with the Health Professions Council and the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence about the timetable for creating an assured voluntary regime and any interim arrangements that may be required.
Social Services: Finance
Paul Burstow: The Government have announced various funding streams, including as part of the 2010 spending review, which have been allocated to the national health service in order to support social care and improve joint working between the two systems.
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As part of the NHS planning process for 2011-12, the Department will seek assurances from SHAs that arrangements are in place for funding to be transferred to local authorities and that plans have been jointly agreed between NHS organisations and their local authority partners for delivery of services in line with the Operating Framework for the NHS in England 2011-12.
The allocation for the next four years will continue to rise considerably, in recognition of the pressures that local authorities will face and the importance Government places on social care. £1 billion by 2014-15 will be made available for social care through grant funding from the Department. This funding will be allocated on top of the Department’s existing social care grants, which will rise in line with inflation. Total grant funding from the Department for social care will reach £2.4 billion by 2014-15.
Social Services: Manpower
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effects of reductions in the number of social workers on (a) children at risk, (b) disabled children and (c) carers. 
Social workers play a key role in protecting and supporting children, including children at risk and disabled children, their families and carers. It is the responsibility of local authorities to ensure that they employ an appropriate number of social workers with the right skills and experience to provide high quality and timely social care services in their area.
Data on the number of social work staff employed by local authorities are collected and published annually by the NHS Information Centre in its Personal Social Services Staff of Social Services Departments England return (SSDS001). The latest available data, published on 31 March 2011, provide information on the number of social work staff as at 30 September 2010. This publication shows that, at 30 September 2010, the number of social work staff employed by local authorities had grown steadily over the previous decade. Further information is available on the NHS Information Centre at:
South London Healthcare NHS Trust: Land
South London Healthcare NHS Trust: Restructure
Strokes: Health Services
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the potential effect of introduction of the any willing provider model on access to post-stroke physiotherapy services. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Government’s intention in introducing any qualified provider (AQP) (previously any willing provider) is to increase the choice and control patients have over their care and treatment. The Department is continuing to develop AQP policy, and initial implementation guidance will be published later in the spring.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much and what proportion of the NHS research budget was spent on research into surgical procedures in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Mr Simon Burns: Estimated spend by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) on directly-funded research relating to surgery in 2009-10 was £7.3 million. This was 1.9% of total directly-funded NIHR research, and 0.9% of total expenditure from the NIHR revenue budget. In addition, the NIHR clinical research network provided national health service research infrastructure support to a wide range of trials and other clinical studies in surgery.
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Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to allow optometrists to refer patients with (a) cataracts, (b) diabetic retinopathy, (c) glaucoma and (d) wet age-related macular degeneration for secondary care. 
Communities and Local Government
Community Assets Programme
Andrew Stunell: We are considering what assistance communities might need in helping to bid to take over their valued assets to support the take-up of the Community Right to Buy provisions in the Localism Bill. We are seeking views on this as part of the current consultation into the details of the scheme.
This Department already funds the Asset Transfer Unit, led and managed by Locality (formerly the Development Trusts Association). The ATU provides guidance and support to community groups acquiring public assets under powers for local authorities to transfer assets at less than market value. The ATU has supported the completed transfer of 17 assets to community organisations in the last 12 months.
In addition, the CommunityBuilders programme is another existing source of help for community organisations who want to improve their sustainability by acquiring assets. This fund has recently been endowed to ensure maximum value for money and flexibility.
includes access to information and case studies on community asset transfer and the programmes they run on behalf of Government. Guidance and toolkits they have developed to support community asset transfer are also available, such as a legal toolkit to assist community groups and local authorities; guidance on community-led open spaces, exploring transfer of parks and green spaces; transferring heritage assets; community-owned libraries; making buildings work for your community through design and refurbishment; and The Place Station:
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Mr Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will bring forward legislative proposals to provide that expressions of interest in the provision of public services under his proposed community right to challenge may not be accepted from groups with extreme political or social agendas; and if he will take steps to assist relevant authorities in identifying and excluding such groups from the bidding process. 
Andrew Stunell [holding answer 4 April 2011]: Local authorities must comply with all relevant legislation including equalities and human rights legislation when exercising their functions. This will apply to the exercise of functions by a relevant authority that may arise under, or be related to, the proposed community right to challenge, in particular, the procuring and monitoring of services.
We are currently consulting on proposals for implementing the community right to challenge, including the statutory grounds on which an expression of interest may be rejected by a relevant authority, and whether there are issues on which the Department should provide guidance. This is available on our website at:
Community Development: Religion
Mr Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what legislative and other provisions provide that religious organisations which win contracts to deliver public services under his proposed community right to challenge do not discriminate in the provision of such services. 
Andrew Stunell [holding answer 4 April 2011]:Under the Equality Act 2010 any organisation delivering a service—whether following a procurement exercise under the community right to challenge or otherwise—will need to deliver the service in a way which eliminates discrimination, harassment or victimisation of either the service user or potential service user. Delivering to a person a service which is of less quality or delivering it in a manner or on terms not usually provided to the general public would also constitute an offence.
As public authorities, relevant authorities under the community right to challenge will also need to have regard to this Act and in particular to these considerations in commissioning, procuring and monitoring services—whether this occurs as a result of the right to challenge, or otherwise. They will want to ensure that contracts they enter into for service provision include adequate safeguards to enable them to meet these obligations and others, such as arise under the Human Rights Act.
Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions he has had on the Accredited Construction Details (ACDs) scheme; and when he expects to approve a scheme for ACDs that meets the conditions set out in Approved Document L1A, paragraph 5.12a. 
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Andrew Stunell: My officials have been working with industry, and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service on the development of practical authorisation criteria, both technical and management, for such a scheme. Draft scheme requirements are now being reviewed in advance of formally inviting potential scheme operators to come forward, with a view to having accredited schemes in place as soon as possible in support of the 2010 changes to the energy efficiency requirement of the Building Regulations.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authority in England collected the lowest proportion of council tax in 2009-10 according to records held by his Department. 
Robert Neill: According to QRC4 returns submitted to the Department by all billing authorities in England, which show receipts of 2009-10 council tax by 31 March 2010 as a proportion of net collectible debit, Manchester collected the lowest percentage of council tax in 2009-10 at 90.9. This represents a shortfall of £11 million a year of funding in the 2009-10 financial year. Collection rates for all authorities are shown in table 5 of the statistical release “Collection Rates for Council Tax and Non-domestic Rates in England 2009-10” at the following address:
Enterprise Zones: Peterborough
Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration he has given to the establishment of a Greater Peterborough enterprise zone; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: At Budget, the Government invited 11 local enterprise partnerships to come forward with proposals for enterprise zones, and announced that a further 10 would be sought from open competition.
Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he plans to produce a new Fire and Rescue Services National Framework following the expiry of the framework for 2008 to 2011; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: An announcement on the national framework will be made shortly as part of the Government response to the fire and rescue sector led Fire Futures reports, a copy of which will also be made available for the Library of the House. The existing national framework remains in force until it is replaced.
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Grant Shapps: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave my hon. Friends the Member for Aberconwy (Guto Bebb) and the right hon. Member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark (Simon Hughes), on 4 April. 2011, Official Report, columns 729-730.
Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Financial Statement of 23 March 2011, Official Report, column 956, what steps he plans to take to ensure protection from development for green spaces. 
Greg Clark: We are taking substantial steps to help communities protect green spaces from development. Councils have been given stronger powers to prevent unwanted garden grabbing; national green belt protection will be maintained; regional spatial strategies will be abolished including their top-down targets and we will create a new designation to protect green areas of particular importance to local communities.
Bob Blackman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will consider the merits of introducing (a) a two-stage discharge of the homelessness duty into the private rented sector and (b) an interim tenancy in order to allow local authorities to determine whether accommodation is sustainable. 
Grant Shapps: The Localism Bill contains provisions to allow local housing authorities to fully discharge the main homelessness duty with offers of accommodation in the private rented sector without requiring the applicant's agreement. It will provide for an assured shorthold tenancy of a minimum of 12 months, and for protection against repeat homelessness for up to two years (regardless of priority need).
A two-stage or interim tenancy discharge would require an initial assured shorthold tenancy of six to 12 months while the homelessness duty is still owed, before the duty could be ended with a further 12- month tenancy. This would offer no greater protection than the measures in the Localism Bill, would be unnecessarily complex and could, for some, mean a longer wait in expensive temporary accommodation. It would also effectively require private landlords to offer a minimum 18-month tenancy and responses to the “local decisions: a fairer future for social housing” consultation indicated that this would not be practical.
Existing safeguards in the homelessness legislation already mean that the local authority must, by law, consider whether the accommodation is affordable in determining whether it is suitable for the applicant and their household's particular needs. This is in addition to considering its size, its condition, its accessibility and also its location.
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Grant Shapps: Homelessness prevention and housing options services are now standard practice for local authorities. This is in recognition of the cost effectiveness and benefits for households of preventing homelessness whenever possible. Effective prevention measures include support to access private rented housing, family mediation and debt advice. Options offered will depend on local circumstances and priorities. Local action to prevent homelessness among single people plays an important role in preventing rough sleeping.
We have announced Preventing Homelessness Grant allocations of £81.5 million each year for local authorities in 2011-12 and 2012-13. This is part of our commitment to maintain the level of investment in homelessness grant for local authorities and the voluntary sector, with provision of £400 million in total over the next four years.
Bob Blackman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has to increase the level of compliance by local authorities with their duty to offer advice and assistance to those who are homeless in respect of single people. 
Grant Shapps: If a local housing authority is satisfied that an applicant is eligible, unintentionally homeless but not in priority need, then they have a duty to provide advice and assistance to help them in any attempts to secure accommodation for themselves. This is a statutory duty that local authorities are obliged to comply with. A failure to comply with statutory duties is challengeable through the courts.
We have maintained the level of investment in homelessness grant, providing £400 million over the next four years. We have established a Ministerial Working Group on Homelessness which brings together eight Departments to tackle the complex causes and improve support for single homeless people. We are providing £10 million grant funding to Crisis over three years to improve the support available at local level to help single homeless people access private rented accommodation.
Bob Blackman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will consider the merits of requiring local authorities to discharge their homelessness duty through a landlord accreditation scheme when using the private rented sector. 
Grant Shapps: Many local authorities already run successful landlord accreditation schemes. These are used in a variety of ways and experience shows that accreditation works best where the local authority has developed the scheme in response to local needs and the local rental market. If landlords with suitable properties decide not to become members of an accreditation scheme, this could reduce a homeless household’s chances of finding a good home.
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The Housing Health and Safety Rating System together with extensive enforcement powers for local authorities exist to make sure that any private rented sector property meets an appropriate basic standard.
Existing safeguards in the homelessness legislation also apply before the homelessness duty can be brought to an end. The authority must be satisfied, by law, that the accommodation is suitable for the applicant and his or her household. This includes considering whether the accommodation is affordable for the applicant, its size, its condition, its accessibility and also its location.
Grant Shapps: We have established a Ministerial Working Group on Homelessness bringing together eight Government Departments to address the complex causes of homelessness and improve support for homeless people. A new approach to evaluating rough sleeping levels has been introduced so that there is clear information in all areas, to inform service provision and action to address the problem.
Despite the record deficit we inherited, we are maintaining investment in homelessness grant, with £400 million over the next four years. This will be made available to local authorities and the voluntary sector to support their work to tackle homelessness. This includes funding for Crisis to help support single homeless people to access settled housing in the private rented sector. We have made an additional £190 million available for discretionary housing payments and other forms of practical support alongside the Government’s package of welfare reform measures.
I also refer the hon. Member to my letter of 20 October 2010 on the spending review's settlement for housing, which includes our plans to build more affordable homes and renovate poor quality social housing. A copy of the letter is available in the Library of the House.
Robert Neill: Local planning authorities, working with their local communities, are best placed to understand how much housing is needed and to decide the most sustainable locations for growth. Planning policy statement 3: Housing and the Government’s Strategic Housing Market Area Assessment guidance and Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment guidance can help local authorities to assess the need for housing and identify land for housing development.
Furthermore, we announced in the Plan for Growth that we will produce a shorter, more focused and inherently pro-growth national planning policy framework to deliver more development in suitable and viable locations. This will include planning for new housing. The framework will be published for consultation in the summer.
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home built in 2016 according to the provisions of the code for sustainable homes and
a new home built in 2016 on the basis of accountability by the house builder only for those carbon dioxide emissions that are covered by building regulations. 
Andrew Stunell: On average a semi-detached home built to 2010 Building Regulation standards will emit 2.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum from all energy use in the home. Of this, 1.3 tonnes will be from emissions subject to the Building Regulations (i.e. emissions from heating, hot water, lighting and any other fixed building services but not emissions from the use of appliances). The new definition of zero carbon homes requires house builders to mitigate these emissions to ensure that, in net terms, they are reduced to zero. This is the equivalent to the energy standard in level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.
On top of this, to meet the energy standard in level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, emissions from appliances, such as televisions and hairdryers, have to be reduced, in net terms, to zero. However, emissions from appliances are also subject to a suite of other policies including the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and policies to increase the energy efficiency of appliances and the operation of these policies, cumulatively and in combination with the new definition, should have the result that the carbon footprint of new homes does not add to overall carbon reduction burdens.
The Code for Sustainable Homes continues to be supported by the Government and goes far wider than just an energy-based definition of sustainability. House builders can, if they wish, still seek to achieve the Code level 6 energy standard through their own measures.
Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will (a) issue guidance on and (b) bring forward legislative proposals to establish the minimum (i) standard assessment procedure and (ii) energy performance ratings required of existing housing stock. 
Andrew Stunell: The Government are introducing the Green Deal in late 2012 to provide the means for households to improve their energy efficiency voluntarily. The Government are encouraging uptake through measures such as improving the advice and recommendations made to householders in Energy Performance Certificates, and working with social landlords to encourage large scale Green Deal retrofit schemes.
In the private rented sector, where there remain a significant proportion of properties with an F and G performance rating, the Energy Bill legislation includes a measure to enable the introduction, from 2015, of a requirement on private landlords to
(i) agree to reasonable requests from tenants for energy efficiency improvements and
(ii) to improve the energy efficiency of all F and G rated homes.
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Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will bring forward proposals for (a) a strategy on and (b) collection of statistics on the energy performance of existing archetypes of existing housing stock in England in order to develop investment plans for future housing stock to meet obligations under the Climate Change Act 2008. 
Furthermore, the Energy Bill currently before Parliament contains measures to make more accessible the data contained in the register of energy performance certificates, which will enable more detailed analysis of the installed measures and carbon reduction potential in homes with energy performance certificates. This information will support the targeting of the Green Deal, the Government’s policy for enabling investment in the energy efficiency of homes at no up-front cost to householders.
Andrew Stunell: As set out in the coalition programme for government, we are promoting decentralisation and democratic engagement by giving new powers to local councils, communities, neighbourhoods and individuals, with new fiscal incentives for local authorities to develop housing. In reforming planning through the Localism Bill, we intend to abolish regional strategies and their associated top-down development targets, and introduce neighbourhood planning, to give communities a greater say in planning where housing growth should go.
Our package of fiscal incentives includes the New Homes Bonus which will give communities a significant incentive to build the homes they need by matching the council tax for the following six years. Additionally, we are investing nearly £4.5 billion over the next four years to deliver up to 150.000 new affordable homes. Key to this is the introduction of an “Affordable Rent” product which will give housing associations greater financial capacity to develop new affordable homes.
Infrastructure: Planning Permission
The Government have committed to transferring decision making on major infrastructure to Ministers. This is provided for through the Localism Bill, which transfers the responsibilities and powers of the Infrastructure Planning Commission to the Secretary of State. The Government have also said they will create a Major Infrastructure Planning Unit within the Planning Inspectorate to take on the day-to-day
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administration of the major infrastructure planning regime. The Planning Inspectorate is an Executive agency of the Department, and is capable of undertaking work in the name of the Secretary of State, so no formal transfer of powers to the unit is necessary.
Local Enterprise Partnerships: North East England
formula grant (revenue support grant and redistributed non-domestic rates)
specific grants inside Aggregate External Finance (ie revenue grants paid for council’s core services) (only includes grants from this Department)
specific grants outside Aggregate External Finance (only includes grants from this Department)
Area Based Grant (from 2008-09), and
‘other grants’ provided by all Government Departments.
These figures are taken from revenue outturn forms provided by authorities after the end of a financial year. Figures for formula grant, Area Based Grant and other grants are aggregated grants for all Government Departments.
Comparison across years may not be valid owing to changing local authority responsibilities and changes to funding methodology. For example, the large apparent reduction in Northumberland’s funding between 2005-06 and 2006-07 is due principally to the transfer of Dedicated School Grant (£150.5 million in 2006-07) from Formula Grant to Specific Grants inside Aggregate External Finance (from another Department).
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Local Government: Pensions
Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will work with the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Review Group to examine alternative reforms to achieve long term sustainability of the LGPS. 
Robert Neill: The Local Government Pension Scheme Policy Review Group is engaged in developing its collective response to the recommendations made by Lord Hutton in his recently published report on public service pension scheme reform. This includes the central objective of maintaining the long-term sustainability of the scheme, its affordability and fairness to employers and taxpayers.
Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reasons the funding raised by additional employee contributions to the local government pension scheme will not be used to improve the financial security of the scheme. 
Robert Neill: Regulatory adjustments being considered to the existing local government pension scheme employee contribution tariff will improve the viability and affordability of the scheme, and its fairness to employers and taxpayers.
Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance and information he plans to provide to (a) private house developers and (b) landowners on changes to the planning system. 
Robert Neill: The Government are committed to putting local councils, communities and local firms in the lead when it comes to delivering growth through a reformed planning system. We announced in the Plan for Growth that we will produce a shorter, more focused and inherently pro-growth national planning policy framework to deliver more development in suitable and viable locations. The framework will be published for consultation in the summer.
Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what mechanisms exist to resolve disagreements in and between communities in the determination of planning issues matters. 
Greg Clark: Communities are consulted extensively as part of the Local Development Framework, which provides the opportunity of resolving disagreements between communities over the future shape of development in their areas. The provisions in the Localism Bill introducing neighbourhood planning will further empower communities to work together to create a positive vision for their local area.
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In addition, there is a statutory period of public consultation on all planning decisions, where communities have the opportunity to express views about specific development proposals. The Localism Bill will reinforce this ability for communities to influence the planning process through the introduction of a new duty upon developers to consult communities prior to the submission of larger planning applications.
Regional Planning and Development
Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment his Department has made of the potential effects on the level of house-building of the abolition of regional spatial strategies. 
Greg Clark: Under the last Government house building rates fell to their lowest peacetime levels since 1924. Regional targets clearly failed to build the right number of homes in the right places. Removing targets and replacing them with effective incentives, including the New Homes Bonus and Community Infrastructure Levy, will encourage local authorities and communities to increase their aspirations for housing and economic growth and to deliver sustainable development.
House building starts in England in the first three quarters of 2010-11 were 23% higher than in the comparative period in 2009-10 (62,720 starts rising to 77,240) (DCLG, “House Building; December Quarter 2010”, February 2011, Table 1a).
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Mr Spencer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his Department's policy is on the principle that a tenant's rent is only spent on the services provided by the landlord. 
Andrew Stunell: The proposed abolition of the subsidy system does not end the requirement for local authorities to maintain a statutory, ring-fenced housing revenue account. They will still be required to account to their tenants for income and expenditure on council housing separately from other functions and services. This ensures that council taxpayers do not subsidise services specifically for the benefit of tenants and that rent is not used to subsidise functions which are for the benefit of the wider local community.
Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding (a) his Department and (b) the public bodies for which he is responsible provided to (i) Solace and (ii) Solace’s associated companies in (A) 2008-09 and (B) 2009-10. 
Robert Neill: The amount paid to the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) and its associated companies by the Department for Communities and Local Government, its agencies, non-departmental public bodies, and other arm’s-length bodies is shown in the following tables:
|DCLG Organisation||Solace||Solace Foundation.||Solace Enterprises||ACE||Total 2008-09|
|DCLG Organisation||Solace||Solace Foundation||Solace Enterprises||ACE||Total 2009-10|
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