Business: Government Assistance

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will make it his policy to provide targeted support for businesses in areas where (a) the rate of long-term unemployment increases and (b) the job density ratio falls below a specific threshold; and if he will make a statement. [83400]

Mr Prisk: The Government have a range of policies that each has their own targeting methodology in line with their objectives. For example, the Regional Growth Fund is targeted on, in particular, those areas and communities that are currently dependent on the public sector to support them make the transition to sustainable private sector-led growth and prosperity.

The Government have no plans to introduce a targeted support for business as proposed in the question.

Economic Growth: North-east England

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his objectives are for business growth in the North East in the next five years. [83399]

Mr Prisk: The Government are committed to supporting sustainable growth and enterprise balanced across all regions and industries and promote green industries; there are no specific business growth objectives for the North East.

The North Eastern and Tees Valley local enterprise partnerships will set out their specific objectives for pursuing local growth in their areas.

Engineering: Prizes

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what support his Department has provided for the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. [82876]

Mr Prisk: The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering is an independent award funded by industry. It will be administered by the Royal Academy for Engineering. The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and other BIS Ministers and officials assisted the Royal Academy in establishing the prize through discussions with senior industry leaders.

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Environment Protection

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what methodology is used in impact assessments across Government to assign a value to environmental (a) policies and (b) legislation to represent their potential benefit to the low-carbon and environmental goods and services sector. [80006]

Mr Prisk: The development of business cases and impact assessments across HM Government follows the guidance set out in The Green Book—Appraisal and Evaluation in Central Government (2011). This guidance is supported by a comprehensive set of more detailed supplementary guidance which covers a range of issues including methodologies for the calculation of environmental impacts. All guidance can be found on HM Treasury's web pages:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/data_greenbook_index.htm

EU Structural and Cohesion funding

Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the effect on UK exports of EU structural and cohesion funding expenditure in new member states since 2005; and if he will make a statement. [82385]

Mr Prisk: Between 2005 and 2009 UK exports of goods and services to new EU member states increased from £7.5 billion to £10 billion, an increase of 37%. Over the same period, exports of goods and services to the EU-15 increased 9%.

It would be extremely difficult to distinguish with any certainty the effect on exports of EU structural and cohesion funding expenditure from the effect of joining a free-trade area. This is because the full effect of market opening when these member states acceded to the EU would not be expected to take place immediately: when firms start to trade with a new business partner in overseas markets they tend to do so in small amounts at first, and gradually export more. Consequently there is no clear benchmark level of exports with which to estimate the effect of expenditure of structural and cohesion funding in 2005.

Higher Education: Community Relations

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what discussions he has had with external organisations on the implementation of the Prevent strategy in universities. [78289]

Mr Willetts: Ministers and officials in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills meet regularly with external organisations such as Universities UK, the National Union of Students, the police, local authorities and individual student societies to discuss matters relating to the implementation of the Prevent strategy and extremism on campus. We are working closely with Universities UK and the National Union of Students to help us implement the proposals set out in the Prevent strategy published earlier this year.

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Local Enterprise Partnerships: Liverpool

Esther McVey: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what response he plans to give to the offer from Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership that its Employment and Skills Board should be recognised as the single voice on employment and skills matters in the Liverpool City Region in return for a commitment to undertake activities in direct support of the Government's growth agenda. [82874]

Greg Clark: I welcome the proposals that the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership has brought forward with regard to the role of its Employment and Skills Board. I am exploring these ideas further in the context of my wider discussions with Liverpool—and other cities—around developing bespoke deals between them and the Government to drive growth.

Manufacturing Industries: North-west England

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will estimate the proportion of the growth in manufacturing that took place between August 2010 and August 2011 that can be accounted for by manufacturers located in the North West. [83499]

Mr Prisk: The data are not available. Estimates of gross value added, the measure on which economic growth is based, cannot be calculated on a regional level for a considerable period of time after the event. This is because the complex process of allocating value to different regions with any accuracy relies on many detailed figures and parameters that only become available over time. Even when data become available they are only available for complete calendar years.

Mayors: Referendums

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the Government's consultation on mayoral powers, entitled What can a mayor do for your city? A consultation, and the Open Public Services White Paper, what assessment he has made of powers of his Department which could be devolved to elected mayors. [82585]

Mr Prisk: As the consultation paper makes clear, the approach we are proposing is to look to the cities themselves to come forward with their own proposals for decentralising services and powers to a city mayor.

Medicine: Graduates

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many students graduated with a (a) medical and (b) nursing degree in each of the last 10 years. [83163]

Mr Willetts: The numbers of postgraduate and undergraduate qualifiers in medicine and nursing at UK higher education institutions are shown in the following table for the academic years 2002/03 to 2009/10. Due to a change in the subject coding system used by

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the Higher Education Statistics Agency comparable figures for earlier years are not available. Information for the 2010/11 academic year will become available from January 2012.

Postgraduate and undergraduate qualifiers (1) in medicine and nursing UK higher education institutions (2) —Academic years 2002/03 to 2009/10
  Medicine (pre-clinical and clinical) Nursing
Academic year Postgraduate Undergraduate Postgraduate Undergraduate

2002/03

3,080

5,500

1,375

39,520

2003/04

4,030

6,160

1,680

46,805

2004/05

4,040

6,640

1,865

52,350

2005/06

4,630

6,850

2,425

53,690

2006/07

4,990

7,470

2,740

50,490

2007/08

5,475

7,585

3,290

47,270

2008/09

5,360

8,200

3,865

42,465

2009/10

5,655

8,280

3,700

41,260

(1) Covers qualifiers of all ages and domiciles from full-time and part-time courses. (2) Excludes the Open University due to their incorrect coding of subject information across the time series. Notes: 1. Figures are based on a HESA qualifications obtained population and are rounded up or down to the nearest five. 2. Subject information is shown as full person equivalents (FPEs) in the table. FPEs are derived by splitting student instances between the different subjects that make up their course aim. 3. Pre-clinical and clinical medicine and nursing are classified as principal subjects on the HESA student record. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) student record.

Metal Theft

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many illegal scrap metal yards have been identified in each year from 1990 to 2011. [82364]

Mr Prisk: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills does not hold such information. There is a statutory requirement for scrap metal dealers to register with their local authority under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 and the Civil Government (Scotland) Act 1982, but information on the total number of scrap metal dealers registered is not held centrally. Furthermore, operators of scrap metal yards require either an environmental permit or a registered exemption from the Environment Agency (or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency), under waste management legislation to be operating legally in the UK. Enforcement therefore currently rests with those relevant bodies.

New Businesses: Young People

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what advice and support his Department provides to young people who wish to set up in business. [82863]

Mr Prisk: We are transforming the way people receive the information, advice and guidance they need to start and grow their business. Our new approach, which provides access to everyone regardless of age, is based on: digital services which provide high quality information and advice, accessible when businesses need them; and face to face advice provided by business people for business people, not by the public sector. We are:

Revamping the Business Link website

www.businesslink.gov.uk

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Introducing two new online services; a dedicated “My New Business” area developed by experts to provide training, tools and checklists for those looking to start a business; and the new Growth and Improvement Service which will provide new tools to help businesses understand the issues they face, plus a business support and an events finder tool so businesses can find out what is available to them locally. To ensure services are readily accessible and meet a variety of needs, our services include online tools, tutorials and case studies, and will be accessible using mobile technology.

Establishing a national helpline to help people find what they need on the web and for those who cannot access the web.

Encouraging businesses to seek a business mentor to help them develop their business and encouraging mentoring organisations to offer access to their mentors through a mentoring portal,

www.mentorsme.co.uk

Setting up a new Business Coaching for Growth (BCG) Programme to enable small businesses with high growth potential to realise their potential.

There are no age specific elements/adaptations, and all new materials have been reviewed and tested by a wide range of subject experts and real businesses including people starting up to ensure that they are accessible to all.

In addition to providing advice and support it is also important to provide young people with hands-on enterprise experience. Therefore, the Government are:

providing teachers with support to grow school businesses through an enhanced web resource

www.enterprisevillage.org.uk

providing schools with access to local enterprise champions to engage and inspire children

www.inspiringthefuture.org

supporting the creation of student enterprise societies so that every student in further education (FE) and higher education (HE) can access enterprise support;

improving access to information about what working for yourself entails, including through Global Entrepreneurship Week and My New Business.

Parking: Fees and Charges

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what assessment he has made of the impact on the economy of central London of Westminster city council's proposal to extend parking charges during the evenings and weekends; [83579]

(2) what discussions his Department has had with Westminster city council on the impact of its proposals to extend parking charges during the evenings and weekends. [83580]

Mr Prisk: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has not made an assessment of the impact on London's economy of Westminster city council's proposal for the extension of parking charges during the evenings and weekends. This is a primarily a matter for the council, taking account of the views of stakeholders including businesses in the area.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has had no discussions with Westminster city council on the impact of its proposals to extend parking charges during the evenings and weekends.

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Post Offices

Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has made an assessment of the capability of sub-post offices and post office locals to offer Government services to the same level and quality as those provided by Crown post offices. [83746]

Mr Davey: The Department has made no such as assessment as decisions on the range of services to be offered at individual post offices are operational matters for Post Office Ltd within the terms of the contracts with their clients which will vary on a case by case basis. I have therefore asked Paula Vennells, the managing director of Post Office Ltd, to respond directly to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

The Government’s ambition is that all post offices should offer the services they are able to provide within the terms of the contracts between Post Office Ltd and their clients to the highest standards possible.

Regional Growth Fund

Mr Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether due diligence tests are conducted before Regional Growth Fund grants are approved. [83397]

Mr Prisk: Due diligence tests are carried out on all bids that have been given conditional allocations of funding from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). Final approval of RGF awards is subject to that due diligence being satisfactorily completed.

Regional Growth Fund: EU Grants and Loans

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful bids received for the second round of the regional growth fund sought to use European regional development fund monies as match funding in each region. [82949]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 25 November 2011]: Officials in the Department and in the European regional development fund (ERDF) teams worked closely together to align, where practical, the respective funds’ bidding processes to ensure where possible bidders could access both sources of funding. In the second round of bidding to the regional growth fund 90 bids mentioned funding from ERDF sources.

Regional Growth Fund: Liverpool

Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what approvals have been given to regional growth fund applications in respect of Liverpool. [78759]

Mr Prisk: In the second round of the Regional Growth Fund, 11 projects from the Liverpool city region have been conditionally allocated funds and will proceed to due diligence after terms and conditions of support are agreed.

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The 11 projects are:

University of Liverpool

Crown Speciality Packaging UK Ltd

Redx Pharma Ltd

Eldonians Group Ltd

The Listen Media Company Ltd

Keepmoat Homes Ltd

Dairy Crest Ltd

Pilkington United Kingdom Limited

Getrag Ford Transmissions

Harpscree (GB) Ltd

Sefton council.

Retail Trade: West Midlands

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent steps his Department has taken to support the retail sector in the West Midlands. [80870]

Mr Prisk: The Government are actively working to help all retailers including those in the West Midlands. Retail is vitally important to local and national economies. This was why it was chosen to be one of the first sectors to undergo the Growth Review process, and was the first sector to undergo the Red Tape Challenge. These initiatives identified a number of barriers to successful retail performance and growth, which the Government are working to address.

As part of the Retail Growth Review we extended the Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) holiday for one year, to 30 September 2012. Over half a million businesses are expected to benefit, with approximately 330,000 paying no rates. It is expected that enhanced SBRR will improve cash-flow for recipient businesses against the backdrop of challenging economic conditions.

The Government have helped all employers by increasing the employer national insurance contributions (NICs) threshold by £21 a week above indexation from April 2011. This reverses the previous Government's planned £3 billion tax on jobs and will increase the number of employees for whom employers pay no NICs by 650,000.

Through the Merlin agreement, the five major UK banks committed to make available £190 billion of new credit in 2011. £76 billion of this new lending capacity will be to SMEs, which represents a 15% increase on the £66 billion they lent in 2010. This has helped ensure that businesses in the West Midlands and across the economy are able to access the credit they need.

For businesses lacking track-record or collateral, the Government have committed to continuing the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme until 2014-15, providing up to £600 million of additional lending to around 6,000 viable SMEs in 2011 and, subject to demand, over £2 billion in total over the next four years.

This Department and Department for Communities and Local Government are jointly responsible for the £20 million High Street Support Fund which was made available to support businesses affected by the public disturbances in August. Under this scheme SME businesses affected in the West Midlands have received grants and benefited from business rate relief and continue to benefit from wider business support activities to promote

29 Nov 2011 : Column 854W

a return to normal trading activity. Final figures on spend under the scheme will not be available until after it closes in the new year.

Earlier this year my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister commissioned an Independent Review of the High Street. The review is being carried out by Mary Portas and will report back to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister later this year. The purpose of the review is to identify what Government, local authorities and businesses can do to promote the development of more prosperous and diverse high streets.

Science: Finance

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what criteria his Department uses to allocate further education science funding. [83171]

Mr Hayes [holding answer 25 November 2011]: The Department does not allocate further education funding at a sectoral level. Further education funding and core priorities for the Skills Funding Agency which reflect the Government’s ambitions and investment plans for FE and skills are set out in the Grant Letter to the chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency, published on 31 March 2011, available at:

http://readingroom.lsc.gov.uk/SFA/VINCE_CABLE_TO_ GEOFF_RUSSELL_(Skills_Funding_Agency)_31_MARCH_2011.pdf

The Skills Funding Agency allocates budgets to individual FE colleges and training organisations. From 2011/12 academic year, we have introduced a single adult skills budget. Each college and training organisation is expected to use its single adult skills budget to support the delivery of apprenticeships, classroom-based learning and work-based learning to meet the needs of the learners and employers. This will provide FE colleges and training organisations with the flexibility to offer the range and balance of programmes, from basic skills to higher-level skills, in the mode of delivery that will best meet the needs of learners, employers and communities (classroom, workshop, online and in the workplace). As funding is not allocated at the learning aim level, the amount of money spent on qualifications in specific sectors is not reported centrally by the Skills Funding Agency.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the funding was for the Learning and Skills Improvement Service STEM Programme in each of the last three years for which data are available; and how he plans that it will be funded in the future. [83173]

Mr Willetts: [holding answer 25 November 2011]: For 2009/10 and 2010/11, the Department did not specify an amount of funding for the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) STEM Programme. Funding was incorporated in the total ‘sector directed’ element of the Grant funding letter.

From April 2011, LSIS is funded through the Skills Funding Agency Adult Participation Budget. The sector, in the form of the LSIS Council, determines the level of funding and LSIS deploys this to meet the needs identified by the sector and its key stakeholders.

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The Department and LSIS remain committed to improving teaching and learning in STEM subjects, and to supporting the wider STEM agenda.

Students: Finance

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what modelling his Department has undertaken on the cost of access to higher education loans; and if he will publish any such modelling. [79759]

Mr Hayes: The Government will make available £129 million in the 2013-14 financial year and £398 million in the 2014-15 financial year to support a system of further education (FE) loans for adults aged 24 or over studying at level 3 or higher. This includes those FE learners who are studying Access to HE qualifications, who will be able to access loans alongside other learners.

The costs and benefits of FE loans as a whole has been modelled in an impact assessment published alongside the New Challenges, New Chances consultation on FE loans. The impact assessment can be found on the BIS website on the following link:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/further-education-skills/docs/f/11-1218-further-education-loans-impact-assessment

Students: Loans

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of further education student loans for access to education he expects to be repaid in full after 2013-14. [81142]

Mr Hayes: The Impact Assessment published alongside the New Challenges, New Chances consultation on further education loans included an assumption that 40% of the value of loans taken out will be repaid. This applies to all loans taken out from the academic year 2013/14 onwards, for all types of course. There is however no information available specifically for the subset of further education (FE) learners who are taking Access to Higher Education (HE) qualifications. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is carrying out further research and analysis to improve the accuracy of the simulation model used to calculate the figure above.

The Impact Assessment can be found on the BIS website on the following link:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/further-education-skills/docs/f/11-1218-further-education-loans-impact-assessment

Trade Promotion: Olympic Games 2012

Damian Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many civil servants are working on the British Business Embassy project for the London 2012 Olympic Games; and from which Departments. [82476]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 24 November 2011]:A small core group (less than 10 civil servants) from UKTI and FCO are working to deliver the British Business Embassy at present. We expect the core team to increase as we approach delivery date for the project.

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Vocational Education

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the total funding is for adult skills (a) in total and (b) per capita in (i) Birmingham, (ii) Newcastle, (iii) Wakefield, (iv) Manchester, (v) Leeds, (vi) Liverpool, (vii) Coventry, (viii) Bristol, (ix) Sheffield, (x) Bradford, (xi) Leicester and (xii) Nottingham in each of the next five years. [82768]

Mr Hayes: As set out in the grant letter to the chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), which was published on 31 March 2011:

http://readingroom.lsc.gov.uk/SFA/VINCE_CABLE_ TO_GEOFF_RUSSELL_(Skills_Funding_Agency)_ 31_MARCH_2011.pdf

total funding for the agency for 2011-12 financial year (FY) is £3,923 million. This letter states that the indicative budget for 2012-13 FY is £3,759 million. In ‘Investing in Skills for Sustainable Growth’, published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on 16 November 2010, we stated the direction of travel through to 2014-15 FY. We will publish the Adult Skills Investment Statement for the 2012-13 FY later in the autumn.

The SFA allocates budgets to individual further education (FE) colleges and training organisations. Each college and training organisation is expected to use its single Adult Skills budget to support the delivery of apprenticeships, classroom-based learning and work-based learning to meet the needs of the learners and employers, who may be drawn from a wide geographic area. We are unable to state how much funding will be invested to support adult FE and skills provision in each city or local authority area nor can we state the per capita level of investment.

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what funding bodies provide support for skills for post-16-year-olds in Birmingham; what funding such organisations have received for work in Birmingham and the west midlands in each of the next five years; and what the national budget is for each such organisation in each such year. [82774]

Mr Hayes: As the question is directed to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), my reply refers to funding for further education (FE) and skills for learners aged 19 and over. The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) operates across England and allocates funding directly to individual FE colleges and training organisations to support FE and skills provision for adult learners. Each college and training organisation is expected to use its single Adult Skills budget to support the delivery of apprenticeships, classroom-based learning and work-based learning to meet the needs of the learners, and employers they serve, who may be drawn from a wide geographic area.

As set out in the grant letter to the chief executive of the SFA, which was published on 31 March 2011:

http://readingroom.lsc.gov.uk/SFA/VINCE_CABLE_TO _GEOFF_RUSSELL_(Skills_Funding_Agency)_31_MARCH_ 2011.pdf

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total funding for the agency for 2011-12 financial year (FY) is £3,923 million. This letter states that the indicative budget for 2012-13 FY is £3,759 million. In ‘Investing in Skills for Sustainable Growth’, published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on 16 November 2010, we stated the direction of travel through to 2014-15 FY. We will publish the Adult Skills Investment Statement for the 2012-13 FY later in the autumn.

Young People: Unemployment

Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people under the age of 25 years were not in education, employment or training in (a) Bolton and (b) England in the last year which figures are available. [83035]

Mr Hayes: The following provides estimates of the number and proportion of people aged(1) 16 to 24 not in education, employment or training (NEET) in Bolton local authority and England in 2010. These estimates are from the Annual Population Survey.

People aged 16 to 24 not in education, employment or training (NEET) in 2010
  NEET  

Number Percentage Confidence Interval

England

994,000

16.6

+/- 0.5pp

Bolton

6,000

17.4

+/-5.8pp

Please note that these estimates are subject to large sampling variability and should therefore be treated with caution and viewed in conjunction with their Confidence Intervals(2) (CIs), which indicate how accurate an estimate is. For example, a CI of +/-5.8 percentage points (pp) means that the true value is between 5.8pp above the estimate and 5.8pp below the estimate.

(1 )Age used is academic age, which is defined as the respondents age as at the preceding 31 August.

(2) Those given are 95% confidence intervals.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Egypt

15. Caroline Dinenage: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of recent political developments in Egypt. [83297]

Alistair Burt: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has previously expressed our deep concern about the violent events in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt last week, and the loss of life and injuries. We have repeatedly urged the Egyptian authorities to establish a clear timetable for a rapid transition to civilian-led democratic rule. It is critical that the parliamentary elections proceed freely, fairly and safely, allowing the Egyptian people to express their will.

China

16. Tristram Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to encourage investment in China by the UK service sector. [83298]

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Mr Bellingham: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), places a high priority on supporting British companies in a range of service sectors to invest in China, including financial and professional services, creative industries, low carbon services and sustainable urban development.

In June my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding on trade in services with China.

Syria

17. Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the political situation in Syria; and if he will make a statement. [83299]

Alistair Burt: We condemn the violence of the Syrian regime. President Assad has lost legitimacy and should step aside to allow a transition to an open political system. We support the Arab League's efforts to bring an end to the repression in Syria and are working with international partners to increase pressure on the regime.

Kosovo and Serbia

18. Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made on the EU technical dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia; and if he will make a statement. [83301]

Mr Lidington: The Government are committed to an EU perspective for both Serbia and Kosovo.

It is important they move to normalising relations between them, including for the stability of the region.

The Government therefore strongly support the EU facilitated Dialogue to that end.

To date the Dialogue has secured agreements on freedom of movement, customs stamps, mutual recognition of university diplomas and the sharing of cadastral and civil registries.

Iran

19. Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on Iran. [83302]

Alistair Burt: Recently we have been in close touch with our EU partners about the EU response to the International Atomic Energy Agency report about the Iranian nuclear programme. The EU is considering a range of additional measures against the Iranian nuclear programme, which it will announce in the coming days.

Council of Europe Presidency

20. Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his objectives are for the UK's presidency of the Council of Europe. [83303]

Mr Lidington: Our priorities for the UK chairmanship of the Council of Europe are:

reform of the European Court of Human Rights;

reform of the Council of Europe as an organisation;

promoting freedom of expression on the internet;

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combating discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity;

working towards a more effective and efficient role for the Council of Europe in supporting local and regional democracy;

supporting strengthening of the rule of law in member states.

Further details are set out in my written statement of 26 October 2011, Official Report, columns 8-10WS.

Latin America

21. Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent progress his Department has made on engagement with Latin America. [83304]

Mr Hague: Our re-engagement with Latin America is crucial for our security and prosperity. Yesterday, the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the hon. Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne), opened a new Consulate-General in Recife and we will open a new embassy in El Salvador in 2012. We are broadening our relations across Latin America in areas such as higher education, science and innovation and green growth.

Iran: Nuclear Programme

22. Jack Lopresti: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of Iran's nuclear programme; and if he will make a statement. [83305]

Alistair Burt: We, along with the rest of the international community, are gravely concerned about the Iranian nuclear programme. The most recent report from the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency is clear: Iran continues to flout six UN Security Council resolutions requiring it to suspend uranium enrichment, and has conducted significant military-related nuclear activities.

Afghanistan: Females

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he plans to make on women's rights in Afghanistan at the Bonn Conference. [83633]

Alistair Burt: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 28 November 2011, Official Report, columns 674-75W.

Bahrain: Arms Trade

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on sales of military equipment to Bahrain. [83630]

Alistair Burt: We regularly discuss arms export controls with EU colleagues in the EU Council Working Group on Conventional Arms Exports to ensure the consistent application by EU member states of the EU common position on the export of military technology and equipment.

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Bahrain: EU External Trade

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the sale of surveillance technologies to the government of Bahrain by European companies. [83629]

Alistair Burt: We have not discussed the sale of military or surveillance technologies to Bahrain with our EU counterparts.

Bahrain: Human Rights

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the reports of (a) the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and (b) Bahraini human rights groups on human rights violations in Bahrain; and if he will make a statement. [83628]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is studying the detail of both the Independent Commission's report and reports by human rights groups on the situation in Bahrain. I welcome the findings of the Commission, whose report seems credible and thorough and urge the Government of Bahrain to quickly implement its recommendations.

Bahrain: Politics and Government

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the government of Bahrain on censorship of online content and services in Bahrain. [83631]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office regularly raises all human rights issues, including freedom of expression, with the Bahraini authorities both in London and Bahrain. The UK Government promotes freedom of expression as an essential element of our work on the promotion of human rights and democracy.

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the government of Bahrain on deaths of protesters since September 2011. [83632]

Alistair Burt: We have regular discussions with the Bahraini authorities about all human rights issues. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs spoke to the Bahraini Foreign Minister on 24 November. I have met with the Bahraini ambassador twice since September and our ambassador has seen all the senior leadership in Bahrain several times to discuss the situation in Bahrain.

Central African Republic

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) whether he plans to visit the Central African Republic; [83156]

(2) what assessment he has made of the UK’s relationship with the Central African Republic; and if he will make a statement; [83157]

29 Nov 2011 : Column 861W

(3) how many officials in his Department are stationed in the Central African Republic. [83159]

Mr Bellingham: Britain has a limited bilateral relationship with the Central African Republic. We have no embassy in the Central African Republic, though we do have a British honorary consul in Bangui. Our bilateral relationship is handled by the British high commission in Yaoundé. We work with international partners including the EU and UN on security and stability issues affecting the region. There are no plans at present for Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Ministers to visit the Central African Republic. FCO officials most recently travelled to Bangui in October 2011. They participated in the ongoing EU/Government of Central African Republic Cotonou article 8 political dialogue which focused on security sector reform. They also discussed broader security issues, including the Lord’s Resistance Army, with international partners.

Departmental Air Travel

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department has spent on business class airline tickets in the last year. [83743]

Mr Bellingham: From 1 January 2011 to 20 November 2011, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has spent a total of £8,193,996 on business class air travel for Queen's messengers, Ministers and staff. This covered 3,903 journeys.

These figures are a 9.8% reduction in costs and a 15% reduction in journeys compared to the same period in 2010.

All travel by Ministers and staff is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Management Code.

Design Services

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what contracts his Department has awarded for design services since May 2010; and what information his Department holds on the location of such companies; [80190]

(2) how much his Department has spent on design in respect of (a) logos, (b) buildings, (c) advertising, (d) stationery and (e) campaigns in the last year for which figures are available. [80197]

Mr Lidington: Finances within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are devolved to individual Directorates in the UK and to our network of posts overseas. Although we have no central records of design costs, we hold the following information:

(a), (c) and (d) Within the UK, any FCO design work for these purposes would normally be done using in-house resources at no additional cost. We have no central record of any design work on logos in the last financial year.

(b) External consultants, including architects, structural, mechanical and/or electrical engineers and surveyors, are used to maximise value for money when we undertake building projects. These contracts do not separate the design element from the rest of the contract.

29 Nov 2011 : Column 862W

(e) There is a design element to the FCO Consular “Know Before You Go” campaign which is not always billed separately. The design costs that were billed separately came to a total of £4,470 between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2011.

Press Releases

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the embargo date was on press copies of his 16 November 2011 speech on intelligence matters; what his policy is on allowing the contents of his speeches to be reported in detail by the media prior to being delivered; and if he will make a statement. [82661]

Mr Lidington: The full text of the speech was issued to the media on 16 November, embargoed until the time of delivery. Public statements are handled in accordance with the Ministerial Code.

Ethiopia

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he plans to visit Ethiopia. [83195]

Mr Bellingham: For security and operational reasons, we do not comment on or announce visits significantly in advance. Information about visits is provided through press releases and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office publishes a retrospective quarterly list of ministerial visits on its website. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and I visited Ethiopia in July this year.

Europe: Politics and Government

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the value of a system of (a) elected, (b) representative and (c) democratic governments in preserving peace in continental Europe since 1945; and if he will make a statement. [82662]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has conducted no single assessment of this broad topic, but continues to support the principles and importance of democracy in Europe and throughout the world.

G4S

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many contracts his Department has awarded to G4S since May 2010; and what the (a) monetary value and (b) net worth was of each such contract. [83050]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not awarded any centrally managed contracts to G4S since May 2010.

Gibraltar: Sovereignty

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with Spain on the sharing of sovereignty over Gibraltar. [83202]

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Mr Lidington: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has had no discussions with Spain on the sharing of sovereignty of Gibraltar. Any communication that we have with the Spanish Government about Gibraltar reflects our clear position on sovereignty, which is that the UK will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their wishes and, furthermore, the UK will not enter into a process of sovereignty negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content.

IRG

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 2 November 2011, Official Report, column 663, on IRG, what the date was of the discussion between Stephen Crouch and the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the hon. Member for North West Norfolk (Mr. Bellingham). [83745]

Mr Lidington: The conversation took place on 27 July 2010.

Italy: Foreign Relations

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect on the UK's relations with Italy of the change of Government in that country; and if he will make a statement. [82402]

Mr Lidington: I welcome the formation of a new Government in Italy. The Prime Minister has already spoken to Prime Minister Monti, and I know my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has done so likewise and has expressed his support in light of the difficult and tough decisions that Italy will have to make in the coming months. The UK enjoys a strong and healthy relationship with Italy, and I look forward to that continuing through the range of security, economic and European issues.

Kashmir

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Indian Government on the appointment of interlocutors for the engagement of stakeholders in Indian-administered Kashmir; and if he will make a statement. [83216]

Alistair Burt: We are closely following the work of the three interlocutors appointed by Prime Minister Singh to help resolve the situation in Indian-administered Kashmir. However, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has not had discussions with the Government of India on their appointment. We are aware from the media that the interlocutors submitted their final report to the Indian Home Minister on 12 October but their recommendations have not yet been made public. It is for the Government of India to decide how to respond to the interlocutors' findings.

29 Nov 2011 : Column 864W

Officials in our high commissions in Islamabad and New Delhi regularly discuss the situation in Kashmir with their counterparts in India and Pakistan and with contacts in Indian and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The long-standing position of the UK is well known—that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting resolution to the situation in Kashmir, one which takes into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. It is not for the UK to prescribe a solution or to mediate in finding one.

Kosovo: Politics and Government

Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the proposals in the Ahtisaari Plan for the promotion of local self-government and protection of the Serb community in Kosovo. [82873]

Mr Lidington: The UK has always supported the Ahtisaari Plan proposals. These provide for an enhanced and sustainable system of local self-government and specific rights for the Serbian and other minority communities in Kosovo. Some examples of the provisions include proportional representation for minorities in the national government as well as the establishment of Kosovo-Serb majority municipalities with transparent links, including funding, with Belgrade. Other elements of the Ahtisaari Plan ensure education for minorities in their own language, the right to use their own community symbols and the ability to register their names in the original form and script.

The Plan's provisions, when fully implemented, will ensure a multi-ethnic and democratic Kosovo with wide rights at municipal level, progressing towards eventual EU membership and contributing to regional stability. The UK is a strong supporter of the International Civilian Office (ICO), which was established to supervise the implementation of the plan, and works closely with it and the Government of Kosovo to help deliver full implementation of the plan.

Libya: Chemical Weapons

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the discovery of chemical weapons stocks in Libya after the fall of Gaddafi; whether these weapons were (a) secret or (b) known to the organisations overseeing the chemical weapons disarmament process; whether their existence means that the Gaddafi regime was cheating on its promise to disarm; and if he will make a statement. [82663]

Alistair Burt: On 4 November 2011, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced that, following an on-site inspection, inspectors had confirmed that the remains of the chemical weapons stocks declared by the Gaddafi regime were intact and secure, pending completion of destruction.

The OPCW also announced that the Libyan authorities had advised them orally on 1 November 2011 that further stocks of what were believed to be chemical weapons had been found. We welcome the willingness of the new Libyan Government to provide full disclosure and transparency. The OPCW is working with the Libyan

29 Nov 2011 : Column 865W

authorities to confirm the nature of the newly discovered items and to verify their destruction should they turn out to be chemical weapons.

We continue to monitor the situation closely with international partners and expect the Libyan Government to ensure the safety and security of all stocks.

If these items are confirmed to be chemical weapons, then the Gaddafi regime held back important information about parts of its chemical weapons programme, and failed to declare and destroy it completely in accordance with the promises that it made and the international commitments which it accepted under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The UK Government’s engagement with Libya on weapon of mass destruction issues made real progress in diminishing the threat Gaddafi posed. Libya gave up its nuclear capabilities. Bringing Libya into the Chemical Weapons Convention led to the destruction, by February 2011, of all its declared unfilled aerial bombs, 55% of the mustard agent, and 40% of the chemical precursor stocks. This provides the basis for the new Government to take the necessary steps to declare and destroy all the weapons that it has inherited.

Malawi: Foreign Relations

Ben Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the relationship between the UK and the Government of Malawi. [83496]

Mr Bellingham: Britain and the Government of Malawi maintain formal diplomatic relations. But the relationship remains strained, following the Government of Malawi's unwarranted and unjustified decision to expel the British high commissioner, Mr Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, in April. In response to this action, the British Government expelled Malawi's acting high commissioner. Officials also carried out a review of the full range of the Britain's relations with Malawi, the results of which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs announced to the House in a written statement on 14 July, Official Report, column 46WS. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr Mitchell), has also suspended General Budget Support to the Government of Malawi, due to our serious concerns about the Government of Malawi's record on economic and political governance, public financial management, and human rights.

Despite the strain in our relationship with the Government of Malawi, Britain's commitment to the people of Malawi remains undiminished. We are seeking to maintain planned levels of assistance from Britain to Malawi this year, and officials at the Department for International Development are reallocating the full amount originally set aside for General Budget Support to programmes that directly assist the poor. As evidence of this commitment, we have recently announced increased support for fertiliser and seeds, together with Norway and Ireland, to ensure food security for the poor people of Malawi.

A delegation from the Government of Malawi, led by Foreign Minister Professor Peter Mutharika, visited London on 12 October for talks with the Foreign Secretary,

29 Nov 2011 : Column 866W

the Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development and me. We discussed the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Britain and Malawi, and the deteriorating political and economic situation in Malawi. We emphasised to the Malawian delegation that we would appoint a new high commissioner to Malawi only when we could be confident that he or she would have full and unfettered freedom to engage not only with the Government of Malawi but with all political voices, whether or not they are sympathetic to the Government of Malawi, including the press and civil society. The appointment of a high commissioner remains under review. Similarly, the Under-Secretary insisted that General Budget Support would remain suspended until we saw concrete progress from the Government of Malawi in addressing our concerns over economic management, governance and human rights. We will continue to monitor the situation in Malawi closely.

Spain: Detainees

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to ensure the finalisation of a court date in Spain in respect of the case of Kyle Thain and James Harris. [83706]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has provided consular assistance to Mr Kyle Thain and Mr James Harris and their families. Consular officials in Alicante have visited Mr Thain and Mr Harris on several occasions and have assisted their families with arranging prison visits. We have raised their concerns with the Spanish authorities and will continue to provide appropriate consular assistance to them.

Court proceedings in Spain are a matter for the Spanish authorities. The FCO cannot interfere in the judicial processes of another country in the same way other countries cannot interfere in such processes in the United Kingdom.

The Spanish authorities have informed us that both Mr Thain and Mr Harris were released on conditional bail on 24 November 2011.

Tristan da Cunha: Oil

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support his Department is providing to Tristan da Cunha as a result of the MV Oliva oil incident. [83206]

Mr Bellingham: The responsibility to make good any damage caused to the environment of the Tristan da Cunha islands, and to compensate the Tristan community for any losses, lies with the ship's owners and insurers. We are committed to ensuring that they meet this responsibility in full. We remain in close touch with the Tristan da Cunha authorities to ensure that they have all the advice and support they need from across Government and elsewhere in the ongoing negotiations.

While the Government are quite clear that all costs resulting from this incident must be borne by the owners and insurers of the vessel, the FCO made a top-up to Tristan da Cunha's financial reserves of £500,000 in March to protect the community against immediate and short-term costs.

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Tristan da Cunha: South Africa

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his counterpart in South Africa on travel routes between South Africa and Tristan da Cunha. [83203]

Mr Bellingham: There have been no such recent discussions.

Tullow Oil

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what date the hon. Member for North West Norfolk met Tullow Oil in July 2010. [83721]

Mr Bellingham: I met representatives of Tullow Oil on 15 July 2010 in London and on 22 July 2010 in Kampala.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who was present at the meeting between the hon. Member for North West Norfolk and Tullow Oil in July 2010. [83738]

Mr Bellingham: I was accompanied by Mr Andrew Pocock, then Africa director at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. We met Mr Tim O'Hanlon, vice-president, Africa Business and Ms Rosalind Kainyah, vice-president, external affairs and CSR.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was discussed at the meeting between the hon. Member for North West Norfolk and Tullow Oil in July 2010. [83739]

Mr Bellingham: I discussed Tullow’s exploration and production activities throughout Africa.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which countries in Africa were discussed at the meeting between the hon. Member for North West Norfolk and Tullow Oil in July 2010. [83740]

Mr Bellingham: I discussed Uganda, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether minutes were taken at the meeting between the hon. Member for North West Norfolk and Tullow Oil in July 2010. [83741]

Mr Bellingham: Minutes were not taken.

UNESCO: Human Rights

Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, as a member of UNESCO's Executive Board, the Government voted for or approved the election of Syria to UNESCO's Committee on Conventions and Recommendations examining human rights communications. [83634]

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Mr Bellingham: Membership of the UNESCO Committee on Conventions and Recommendations is chosen on a regional basis from within members of the regional groups. As Britain is not a member of the group which elected Syria we did not have a vote in this election nor could we have intervened under UNESCO's rules. The group was uncontested and the Syrian candidate was elected by acclamation.

We remain committed to ensuring the UN human rights system continues to promote and protect human rights and will continue to cast our vote in open UN elections relating to human rights bodies based on merit, whether that be an individual standing for a treaty monitoring body or a UN member state standing for an inter-governmental body like the Human Rights Council.

Health

Accident and Emergency Attendances: Alcoholic Drinks

Chris Skidmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many alcohol-related attendances were recorded at accident and emergency centres on (a) 25 December, (b) 26 December, (c) 31 December and (d) 1 January in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [83856]

Anne Milton: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Alcoholic Drinks: Prices

Dr Wollaston: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on banning the sale of alcohol below cost. [83503]

Anne Milton: Department of Health Ministers regularly discuss all aspects of alcohol policy with Home Office counterparts. Home Office Ministers have lead responsibility for alcohol pricing policy.

Ambulance Services: Expenditure

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the likely level of (a) over-spending and (b) under-spending for each ambulance service trust in England in 2011-12. [82929]

Mr Simon Burns: At quarter 1 of 2011-12, all ambulance service national health service trusts were forecasting a surplus.

The aggregate forecast surplus for all ambulance service NHS trusts, at quarter 1 of 2011-12, was £16 million.

The breakdown of the forecast surplus for all the ambulance service NHS trusts is shown in the following table.

Ambulance service NHS trust 2011-12 Quarter 1 forecast surplus/(operating deficit) (£000)

East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust

1,587

East Of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust

2,398

29 Nov 2011 : Column 869W

Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust

1,406

London Ambulance Service NHS Trust

2,412

North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust

3,025

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust

1,500

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust

2,050

West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust

925

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust

415

Total

15,718

Antibiotics

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had on encouraging awareness of appropriate antibiotic use. [83127]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department has made available on its website a range of resources to encourage prudent use of antibiotics, and promoted the European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) on 18 November 2011 to remind both the public and professionals of the need to use antibiotics appropriately. This included making clear that antibiotics are important medicines and should only be taken when prescribed by a health professional, and that it is important that patients complete the prescribed course so that the treatment is effective and the risk of resistance is reduced.

In August this year, the chief medical officer took part in a BBC Radio 4 discussion about people’s resistance to antibiotics and what the future holds. In addition, in support of the Department’s new guidance on the use of antibiotics in hospitals, published ahead of the EAAD, the chief medical officer said:

“Many antibiotics are currently prescribed and used when they don't need to be—meaning antibiotics lose their effectiveness at a rapidly increasing rate.”

“This guidance will help ensure better use of antibiotics in hospitals and treatment tailored for individual patient needs.”

“It is important we use antibiotics in the right way if we are to get the best outcome for the patient, slow down resistance and make sure these important medicines continue to stay effective for ourselves and for future generations.”

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are being taken to inform people about potential dangers associated with self-medicating with antibiotics. [83128]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department and the chief medical officer promoted messages to the public relating to appropriate antibiotic use as part of its activities to support European Antibiotics Awareness day on 18 November 2011. This included making clear that antibiotics are important medicines and should only be taken when prescribed by a health professional, and that when prescribed it is important that patients complete the prescribed course so that the treatment is effective and the risk of resistance is reduced.

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Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are being taken to prevent the increase of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. [83129]

Mr Simon Burns: The Government are continuing to focus their efforts at a national level on monitoring infections, promoting responsible prescribing and use of antibiotics as well as good general hygiene and infection control measures. We are also pushing for concerted action and collaboration at a European Union and international level to address this global issue.

Care Quality Commission: Manpower

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of staffing levels at the Care Quality Commission. [82932]

Mr Simon Burns: The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England and has a key responsibility in the overall assurance of essential levels of safety and quality of health and adult social care services.

It is for the CQC to determine the appropriate staffing complement for its organisation in order to carry out its functions efficiently and effectively.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to tackle chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in areas of high occurrence. [82923]

Mr Simon Burns: In July 2011, we published “An Outcomes Strategy for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Asthma”, which set out six high-level objectives for public health, the national health service and social care to tackle COPD and asthma in England. A copy of the strategy has already been placed in the Library.

The Department is working with clinical leads for respiratory disease in each of the strategic health authority areas in England to drive up the quality of preventative, detection, diagnostic, treatment and care services for COPD. The leads are using data to help drive improvements in their areas, including those with a high occurrence of COPD.

Clostridium Difficile

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken to protect public health from methicillin-resistant clostridium difficile. [83125]

Mr Simon Burns: The Government have made clear it is a key priority that the national health service operates a zero tolerance approach to all avoidable clostridium difficile infections.

The NHS Operating Framework 2012-13 (published 24 November 2011) again prioritises the achievement of the c . difficile objective. Those organisations who have the highest rates of c . difficile infections will be required to make the largest reductions.

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This objective, through its successful implementation, will continue to build on the significant progress already made by moving the performance of all organisations towards the level of the best, and consequently will reduce numbers at a national level.

Departmental Publications

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) leaflets, (b) posters and (c) reports his Department has published since May 2010; how much each cost; and which company (i) published and (ii) designed each. [83000]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department has published 219 leaflets, 19 posters, 138 reports and 50 other publications since May 2010. The cost of each is shown in a table, which has been placed in the Library. All publishing and design work was commissioned through the Central Office of Information, either through its in-house resource or from its design frameworks.

Diabetes

Chris Skidmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients with Type 2 diabetes were admitted to (a) accident and emergency centres and (b) hospitals in each of the last three years for which figures are available. [83710]

Paul Burstow: Data for admissions to accident and emergency centres are not collected centrally. The number of finished admission episodes with primary diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes (Diabetes mellitus), by all and emergency admissions for 2008-09 to 2010-11, is in the following table:


2008-09 2009-10 2010-11

All admissions

27,395

29,525

32,946

Of which:

     

Emergency admissions

15,392

16,569

17,335

Notes: 1. Finished admission episodes: A finished admission episode (FAE) is the first period of in-patient care under one consultant within one health care provider. FAEs are counted against the year in which the admission episode finishes. Admissions do not represent the number of in-patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year. 2. Primary diagnosis: The primary diagnosis is the first of up to 20 diagnosis fields in the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data set and provides the main reason why the patient was admitted to hospital; ICD-10 codes used: E11 Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. 3. Data quality: HES are compiled from data sent by more than 400 NHS trusts and primary care trusts (PCTs) in England and from some independent sector organisations for activity commissioned by the English NHS. The NHS Information Centre for health and social care liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies. While this brings about improvement over time, some shortcomings remain. 4. Assessing growth through time: HES figures are available from 1989-90 onwards. Changes to the figures over time need to be interpreted in the context of improvements in data quality and coverage (particularly in earlier years), improvements in coverage of independent sector activity (particularly from 2006-07) and changes in NHS practice. For example, apparent reductions in activity may be due to a number of procedures which may now be undertaken in out-patient settings and so no longer include in admitted patient HES data. 5. Activity included: Activity in English NHS Hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector. Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), The NHS Information Centre for health and social care

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Euthanasia

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 26 October 2011, Official Report, column 238W, on euthanasia, what representations he has received on the professional guidance issued by the Royal College of Nursing and the British Medical Association. [83016]

Anne Milton: The Royal College of Nursing has written to me about its guidance “When someone asks for your assistance to die”. There have been no other representations on this or the guidance from the British Medical Association.

Hepatitis: Health Services

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to investigate the reasons for low levels of pharmacological treatment for hepatitis C following the publication of Professor Sir Mike Richards CBE report on the extent and causes of international variations in drug usage; and if he will make a statement. [83365]

Anne Milton: The Department is currently considering appropriate next steps following the report from Professor Sir Mike Richards.

Professor Martin Lombard, the national clinical director for liver disease, is leading the development of work to curb the rising trends in liver disease. Part of this work is intended to ensure that the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C are improved.

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the current levels of integration between health and social care services in delivering hepatitis C services; and if he will make a statement. [83366]

Anne Milton: Integrated health and social care services are organised locally to meet local needs, and we do not hold this information centrally. Professor Martin Lombard, the national clinical director for liver disease, and his team have been working closely with representatives of the national health service, public health and patient groups for the past year to understand what needs to change to enable better outcomes to be achieved on liver disease, of which hepatitis C is a major contributing factor.

The vision for the national liver strategy is to improve the patient pathway for people with liver disease so as to minimise unnecessary effort and expense, improve prevention and identification activity and improve treatment, care and support services from diagnosis to end-of-life care. It will underline the need for planned and integrated services across health and social care to deliver services based on the needs of individuals, and to support people living independently in the community with a good quality of life.

Home Care Services: Finance

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much extra funding has been allocated for re-ablement to support hospital discharge since May 2010; and how this funding was allocated and to whom; [83214]

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(2) how much of the extra £70 million funding announced for re-ablement has been (a) spent by and (b) allocated to each primary care trust and on what services this money has been spent. [83215]

Paul Burstow: The Department announced on 5 October 2010 that £70 million of extra funding would be allocated to primary care trusts (PCTs) to be spent across the health and social care system to enable the national health service to support people back into their homes after a spell in hospital through re-ablement. Allocations to PCTs were made on 4 November 2010, and details on this are available at:

www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_121017.pdf

Following the extra £70 million re-ablement monies we allocated to PCTs in 2010-11, on 4 January 2011 the Department announced a further allocation of £162 million to PCTs for winter pressures funding on social care services that also, benefit the NHS.

Examples of the kinds of services PCTs could invest in included further investment in re-ablement services, to help people regain their independence and reduce the need for ongoing care. Details on this are available at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/MediaCentre/Pressreleases/DH_123223

The spending review and 2011-12 NHS operating framework announced further funding to PCTs in financial years 2011-12 and 2012-13 to develop local re-ablement

29 Nov 2011 : Column 874W

services in the context of the post-discharge support plans submitted to strategic health authorities last December. This funding totals £150 million in 2011-12 and £300 million in 2012-13, and is contained within recurrent PCT baseline allocations. Details on this are also available at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Lettersandcirculars/Dearcolleagueletters/DH_123460

and

www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_123463.pdf

It is for PCTs in partnership with local agencies to commission services to meet the healthcare needs of their local populations, taking account of local and national priorities.

Copies of the documents have been placed in the Library.

Hospital Beds

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many delayed hospital discharges there have been of (a) under and (b) over 75 years old in each region since May 2010. [83211]

Paul Burstow: The Department collects data only on people over 75 years for acute delayed transfer of care and data on these are shown in the following tables.

Delayed transfers of care of acute patients, national health service organisations, England
Delayed transfers of care of acute patients—adults (75+)
    2010-1l 2011-12
Code Name Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4 Quarter 1 Quarter 2

England

1,790

1,610

1,769

1,806

Q30

North East

67

45

50

49

Q31

North West

160

138

149

165

Q32

Yorkshire and the Humber

140

107

161

213

Q33

East Midlands

169

124

149

116

Q34

West Midlands

298

289

316

273

Q35

East of England

244

231

178

206

Q36

London

142

132

139

180

Q37

South East Coast

165

184

150

148

Q38

South Central

178

180

254

232

Q39

South West

228

180

222

225

Delayed transfers of care of acute patients—adults (18+)
    2010-11 2011-12
Code Name Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4 Quarter 1 Quarter 2

England

2,356

2,195

2,347

2,392

2,241

2,352

Q30

North East

88

57

59

77

71

89

Q31

North West

220

195

227

248

236

293

Q32

Yorkshire and the Humber

183

169

194

281

254

230

Q33

East Midlands

206

171

187

162

178

218

Q34

West Midlands

415

436

417

395

344

342

Q35

East of England

287

281

212

247

239

236

Q36

London

216

191

209

229

236

250

Q37

South East Coast

206

227

205

176

205

210

Q38

South Central

249

244

323

295

182

215

Q39

South West

286

223

314

281

297

270

Notes: 1. Summary: An estimate of the average number of delayed transfers of care per day in the quarter by region. 2. Period: April.2010 to September 2011. Source: Department of Health: Unify2 data collection—VSMR and IPMR

29 Nov 2011 : Column 875W

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the costs to the NHS of delayed hospital discharge. [83213]

Paul Burstow: The Department does not collect data on the cost of delayed transfers of care. Data on the number of delays are published each month by the Department.

We have made significant sums of money available in this spending review period to reduce the level of delayed discharges to a minimum. In the last financial year, an extra £162 million was made available to local health and care services to spend on front-line services, and an additional £70 million of funding was available for spend on helping people to return to their homes after a spell in hospital. This money was aimed at helping people to leave hospital more quickly, get settled back at home with the support they need, and to prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital. This year, there is £150 million available for re-ablement and £648 million for social care spend that also benefits the national health service.

Hospital Beds: Hampshire

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to obtain data from the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust showing the numbers out of its total of acute in-patient beds which have been occupied by (a) detained and (b) voluntary in-patients on each day in (i) September and (ii) October 2011; if he will place a copy of such data in the Library; and if he will make a statement. [83751]

Paul Burstow: This information is not collected centrally. I understand my hon. Friend has requested these data from the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust directly and I am informed by the Trust that it has made arrangements to share this information with my hon. Friend.

Human Papillomavirus: Vaccination

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people who have been given the human papillomavirus vaccine had serious side effects as a result. [83123]

Anne Milton: Since the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine immunisation programme began in September 2008 up to 22 November 2011, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has received 6,066 reports of ‘suspected’ side effects (this includes reports in which the brand of HPV vaccine was not specified). Of these 6,066 reports, 1,046 reports are considered to be serious. This follows administration of more than 5 million doses of Cervarix across the United Kingdom to date.

The MHRA collects information on suspected side effects to vaccines and medicines via the Yellow Card Scheme. Two HPV vaccines, Cervarix and Gardasil, are licensed for use in the UK, with Cervarix routinely used within the HPV vaccine immunisation programme.

It is important to note that Yellow Card reports relate to ‘suspicions’ that a side effect may have occurred. They may relate to true side effects, or they may be due to coincidental illness. As reports are not necessarily

29 Nov 2011 : Column 876W

proof that a vaccine or medicine was a cause of the reported illness, the data cannot be used to estimate the true frequency of side effects to the vaccine. The known frequency of established side effects is listed in the available product information.

As with all vaccines and medicines, the MHRA keeps the safety of HPV vaccines under continual review. The MHRA’s detailed safety assessment of Cervarix after 4.5 million doses had been used is published at:

www.mhra.gov.uk/HPVvaccine

The benefits of HPV vaccination in protecting against cervical cancer far outweigh any known side effects.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have been given the human papillomavirus vaccine. [83124]

Anne Milton: Since the introduction of the human papillomavirus immunisation programme in September 2008, an estimated 2 million females have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and of those, an estimated 1.5 million have received the full three dose course up to September 2011 in England.

KPMG

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the nature was of the organisation and change management consultancy work undertaken by KPMG for his Department in 2010-11. [83523]

Mr Simon Burns: There were two pieces of work provided by KPMG raised against the procurement category heading ‘organisation and change management’ in financial year 2010-11.

Firstly, KPMG provided intensive project management and implementation support to 16 integrated care pilots (looking at how the health and social care systems can be better integrated to improve health outcomes for patients). The work ranged from conducting site readiness assessments; site support; ongoing site coaching; learning networks and support to and interface with the national evaluation team. The contract ran from March 2009 to September 2010 and concluded six months earlier than originally planned through mutual agreement as it was felt the sites no longer needed the ongoing programme support. The total spend on the contract was £3.45 million (excluding VAT).

Secondly, KPMG undertook the Value Optimisation programme project from December 2009 to May 2010 to assess the value to an average hospital of the added services NHS supply chain offers which are in addition to the value of products supplied, i.e. 48-hours delivery, ward box packing, consolidated invoicing and cataloguing. The study also looked at which products currently purchased directly by the trusts could be provided more cost effectively by NHS supply chain and the specific environmental benefits of using the NHS supply chain route. The total spend on the contract was £259,762 (excluding VAT).

Maternity Services: Nurses

Stuart Andrew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department plans to take to improve front-line nursing for premature and sick babies. [83678]

29 Nov 2011 : Column 877W

Anne Milton: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) “Quality Standard for Specialist Neonatal Care” and the “Toolkit for High Quality Neonatal Services” are valuable tools to assist NHS commissioners and providers in the provision of high quality care for babies and their families. These documents have been placed in the Library and are available at:

“Quality Standard for Specialist Neonatal Care” is available at:

www.nice.org.uk/media/17A/A8/SpecialistNeonatalQualityStandardRevisedOct10.pdf

“Toolkit for High Quality Neonatal Services” is available at:

[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]/documents/digitalasset/dh_108435.pdf

Every neonatal unit is now part of a managed clinical network and networks have increased transport services hours and coverage. As set out in the NICE Quality Standard, networks, commissioners and providers will wish to undertake an annual needs assessment and ensure each network has adequate capacity. This includes ensuring there are appropriate numbers of neonatal nurses.

Mental Health Services: Expenditure

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the likely level of (a) over-spending and (b) under-spending for each mental health trust in England in 2011-12. [82930]

Mr Simon Burns: At quarter 1 of 2011-12, all mental health national health service trusts were forecasting a surplus.

The aggregate forecast surplus for all mental health NHS trusts, at quarter 1 of 2011-12, was £34 million.

The breakdown of the forecast surplus for all the mental health NHS trusts is shown in the following table:

Mental Health NHS Trust 2011-12 Quarter 1 forec ast surplus/(operating deficit) (£000)

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

3,504

Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust

1,885

Bradford District Care NHS Trust

100

Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust

2,612

Devon Partnership NHS Trust

785

Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

851

Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership NHS Trust

442

Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust

6,364

Manchester Mental Health and Social Care NHS Trust

994

Mersey Care NHS Trust

4,034

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust

1,238

Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

4,224

Oxford Learning Disability NHS Trust

400

South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust

2,207

29 Nov 2011 : Column 878W

Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

0

West London Mental Health NHS Trust

2,533

Worcestershire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

1,500

Total

33,673

Note: As at quarter 1 of 2010-11, Worcestershire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust was a mental health trust. However, since 1 July 2011, the trust has become part of Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, which is a care trust.