14 Jun 2012 : Column 521W
14 Jun 2012 : Column 521W
Written Answers to Questions
Thursday 14 June 2012
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many complaints about the work of her Department and each of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies were received in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if she will make a statement. 
The data in the following table reflect two snapshots, one for 2010-11 and one for the second six months of 2011-12, based on formal complaints about the standard of services provided to the public by core DEFRA and its agencies. These are complaints that have reached the final stage of core DEFRA or its agencies internal complaints procedures (eg in core DEFRA this involves internal, independent review by the Service Standards Complaints Adjudicator). The majority of complaints are resolved prior to this stage and are not logged centrally.
14 Jun 2012 : Column 522W
|Service Standards Complaints received 2010-11||Service Standards Complaints received 1 September 2011-31 March 2012|
|n/a = Not available|
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many buildings owned by her Department and the bodies for which she is responsible have been empty for more than two years; and if she will make a statement. 
There are 13 buildings that have been empty for more than two years for which the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), is responsible; they are shown in the following table. All but one are buildings held by the Forestry Commission and part of the public forest estate, which is owned by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and placed at the disposal of the Forestry Commissioners under Section (3) 1 of the Forestry Act 1967.
|Holding body||Asset name||Asset address||Asset description|
14 Jun 2012 : Column 523W
Rural Areas: Business
On 29 November 2011, the Government announced a strong package of new measures, designed to stimulate sustainable growth in the rural economy and help businesses reach their full potential. The results of this include the establishment of five Rural Growth Network pilots in 2012-13, which are designed to stimulate sustainable growth in the rural economy and to help businesses reach their full potential, and the targeting of £100 million of Rural Development Programme for England funding at meeting Rural Economy Growth Review priorities.
Broadband connectivity is also vital for small businesses to be able to compete and grow and access new markets. To complement the Government's £530 million investment to support the roll out of broadband across all rural areas, DEFRA and Broadband Delivery UK have established the Rural Community Broadband Fund. This £20 million fund provides grant support to enable communities and businesses to access superfast broadband in hard to reach locations.
Financial Services: Education
Fiona Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will consider the creation of a database of personal finance teaching resources and volunteers to help young people; if he will consider a scheme to quality mark such resources where they are made available to teachers; and if he will consider using the Personal Finance Education Group charity to deliver such a scheme. 
Mr Gibb: Finance education is currently taught as part of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education. The last OFSTED survey of PSHE, in 2010, included limited evidence about the teaching of personal finance education because the subject was relatively new. We are looking at the quality of finance education as part of a review of PSHE to determine how we can improve the quality of all PSHE teaching.
Support from businesses in and outside the financial services sector is important in helping schools with their finance education programmes. Schools are already drawing on expertise from financial institutions, and organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, to help deliver financial capability education. However, we want schools to have the flexibility to use their judgment about how best to deliver finance education, including which external partners to use, rather than for Government to approach businesses directly.
14 Jun 2012 : Column 524W
We set out, in our White Paper, “The Importance of Teaching”, how schools will be freed from central Government direction, and how we will trust the professional judgment of teachers to decide on the teaching that best meets the needs of their pupils. Consistent with that principle, we have also protected front line school budgets, and reduced central Government programmes, so that schools can also decide how to use their resources to meet local priorities. We therefore have no plans to create a database of personal finance education teaching resources and volunteers. Schools are aware that there are a number of sources available from which they can obtain useful information, including, for example, the Personal Finance Education Group, who have a wide range of resources on their website aimed at teachers and finance education practitioners.
Work and Pensions
Housing and Council Tax Benefits
Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average weekly payment of (a) council tax benefit and (b) housing benefit was to a (i) private renter and (ii) social tenant in each year since 1997. 
(2) how many people aged 18 to 21 years old claiming housing benefit also claimed (a) jobseeker's allowance and (b) employment support allowance on incapacity benefit in the latest period for which figures are available. 
|Housing benefit recipients by age: February 2012|
|Age||Number of recipients|
|Source: Single Housing Benefit Extract (SHBE)|
Information on the numbers of housing benefit claimants also claiming (a) jobseeker's allowance and (b) employment and support allowance is not currently available, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
1. Age groups are based on the age on the count date (second Thursday in the month), of either:
(a) the recipient if they are single, or
(b) the eider of the recipient or partner if claiming as a couple
2. Recipients are as at the second Thursday of the month.
3. SHBE is a monthly electronic scan of claimant level data direct from local authority computer systems. It replaces quarterly aggregate clerical returns. The data is available monthly from November 2008 and February 2012 is the most recent available.
4. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
14 Jun 2012 : Column 525W
Chris Grayling: The learning programme for the Department for Work and Pensions focuses on raising awareness of the customer's personal circumstances and also recognises that these can affect individuals in different ways and will change over time.
All staff receive foundation learning which covers excellent customer service, diversity and customer needs. These deal with the wide range of circumstances that our customers may have, some less obvious than others, and stress how important it is to look for signs where the customer does not give us this information directly and to offer appropriate support.
In particular the learning programme for Jobcentre Plus advisers is regularly updated to ensure advisers have up-to-date skills to deal with any customer interaction, and supports them in making relevant and appropriate decisions on individual customers. The key messages throughout the learning focus on providing a personalised, flexible service to customers and treating them as individuals, building strong relationships with them.
The learning provides an understanding of why this approach is important; what it means to the claimant; what it looks like and how it works in practice. It further supports the adviser to identify the range of claimants and the level of individual support they would need to provide.
Legionnaires' Disease: Edinburgh
Mr Darling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on how many occasions the Health and Safety Executive in Scotland has visited the premises operated by (a) North British Distillery Company, Edinburgh, (b) Macfarlan Smith, Edinburgh and (c) Burton's Biscuit factory, Sighthill, Edinburgh, for the purpose of ascertaining that measures to prevent the development and spread of Legionnaires' disease have been taken in each year from 2007 to 2012; and if he will make a statement. 
(a)North British Distillery Ltd
No specific visits to assess the management of legionella risks.
Last inspection was 15 March 2010 to assess their management of major accident hazards.
(b)Macfarlan Smith Ltd
A visit to assess the management of legionella risks was carried out on 4 February 2010.
(c)Burtons Foods Ltd
A visit to assess the management of legionella risks was carried out on 17 June 2008.
Inspections are only one tool that HSE has available to help companies meet their legal obligations to control and manage the risks in relation to legionella. HSE also provides free guidance in addition to ongoing work with water treatment firms and trade bodies.
14 Jun 2012 : Column 526W
Pensioners: Social Security Benefits
Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to provide information for pensioners who are paid benefits by Giro cheque about changes to the method of payment. 
Steve Webb: We are writing to those currently being paid by cheque to tell them that cheques are ending and that they must let us know how they want to be paid in the future. We will ensure that people are clear about their payment options once cheques end and that, for those moving to the new Simple Payment service, the change is as seamless as possible.
Steve Webb: The information is not available in the format requested as data held relates to “payment accounts”. A customer may receive benefits in the form of a separate cheque payment for each benefit to which they are entitled or a single, combined, payment. Each of these payments is termed a payment account.
In February 2012 the total number of pension credit and retirement pension payment accounts totalled 56,380. There were an additional 6,920 payment accounts relating to attendance allowance. We are unable to quantify the number of any additional payments accounts for other benefits to which pensioners may be entitled.
Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) basic state retirement pension, (b) SERPS and S2P awards were as a proportion of average earnings for (i) men and (ii) women with a lifetime of average earnings in each of the last 30 years. 
|Basic state retirement pension rate as a percentage of average earnings|
|Rate as a percentage of average earnings|
|Date of uprating||Female||Male|
14 Jun 2012 : Column 527W
|Notes: 1. The table is for men and women under age 80 on their own national insurance contribution. 2. People with a lifetime of average earnings are expected to be entitled to the full rate of basic state pension. The figures for females are therefore calculated by dividing the full rate of basic state pension by average earnings for females. The figures for males are calculated by dividing the full rate of basic state pension by average earnings for males. 3. Average earnings are the means of gross (£) weekly pay for full-time employees in United Kingdom. 4. Average earnings figures for the period prior to 1997 are taken from the New Earnings Survey (NES) estimates of earnings for all adults. 5. Average earnings figures from 1997 onwards are taken from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) which replaced the New Earnings Survey (NES) in 2004. 6. Average earnings for months other than April use the figure for April of the same year. 7. The rate of basic state pension as a percentage of average earnings between 1971 and 2010 is published in table 2.1 of The Abstract of Statistics for Benefits, National insurance Contributions, and Indices of Prices and Earnings, 2010, Department for Work and Pensions: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/abstract/abstract2010.pdf 8. The figures for April 2011 are based on the latest earnings data from ASHE for April 2011 which is subject to revision later this year as standard practice. Source: DWP calculations|
|Additional Pension (AP) at award as percentage of average earnings in the year pension age is reached|
|AP at award as percentage of average earnings in that year|
|Financial year pension age reached||Female||Male|
14 Jun 2012 : Column 528W
|Notes: 1. The table is for men and women under age 80 on their own national insurance contribution. 2. The figures for females are calculated using the average earnings for females. The figures for males are calculated using the average earnings for males. 3. Average earnings are the means of gross (£) weekly pay for full-time employees in United Kingdom. 4. Average earnings figures for the period prior to 1997 are taken from the New Earnings Survey (NES) estimates of earnings for all adults. 5. Average earnings figures from 1997 onwards are taken from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) which replaced the New Earnings Survey (NES) in 2004. 6. Average earnings for each financial year use the figure for April at the start of that financial year. 7. AP includes State Earnings Related Pension Scheme and state second pension. Source: DWP calculations|
Social Security Benefits: Greater Manchester
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Blackley and Broughton constituency will be eligible for fewer benefits upon the introduction of the benefit cap in April 2013. 
Following the concessions made in the House of Commons on 1 February, we estimate that the introduction of an exemption for those in receipt of the support component of employment support allowance and a grace period of 39 weeks for claimants who have been in employment for 52 weeks or more before leaving work will reduce the number of households affected by the cap to around 57,000.
This assumes that the situation of these households will go unchanged, and they will not take any steps to either work enough hours to qualify for working tax credit, renegotiate their rent in situ, or find alternative accommodation. In all cases the Department is working to support households through this transition, using existing provision through Jobcentre Plus and the Work Programme to move as many into work as possible.
14 Jun 2012 : Column 529W
Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to offer IT and training assistance to housing associations so that they can assist in the roll-out of universal credit. 
Chris Grayling: We recognise that registered social landlords are important partners in helping to make universal credit (UC) a success and the UC programme is currently developing an approach to working with them during UC roll-out. We are building the UC system to maximise the numbers of people who are able to make their own claim online and it is expected that the vast majority of claimants will do this. As such we do not envisage housing associations requiring specialist IT training in order to assist claimants in using the UC website.
Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions who he proposes will determine whether a person is classed as vulnerable for the purposes of direct payment of rent, or permitting fortnightly payment periods, when universal credit is introduced. 
Chris Grayling: We are still considering how payment exception arrangements will work in universal credit. We envisage that the delivery of payment exceptions will be through the core UC delivery organisation and decisions will be taken by a decision maker.
Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 31 January 2012, Official Report, column 523W, on universal credit, whether it remains his policy that new claims to tax credits will end in April 2014; and if he will make a statement. 
Chris Grayling: I can confirm that new claims to universal credit will be taken from October 2013 with new claims to the current benefits and credits, including tax credits for working age claimants, being gradually phased out by the end of April 2014.
Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to his answer of 7 July 2011, Official Report, column 1320W, whether it remains his policy that, from October 2013, all new applications for out-of-work support will be treated as claims to universal credit; and if he will make a statement. 
Chris Grayling: I can confirm that new claims to universal credit will be taken from October 2013 with new claims to the current benefits and credits being gradually phased out by the end of April 2014.
From April 2013 we will be accepting claims for universal credit from a small number of claimants in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area. This will be an early controlled implementation and will ensure that we can learn from our experiences in advance of the formal October 2013 go live.
14 Jun 2012 : Column 530W
In May we approved £3,540 start up costs for a Work Club in Kidderminster run by a registered charity called Forces Support. The charity support families who have lost a serving member of the forces, although the Work Club is aimed at supporting unemployed people in Kidderminster and is not specifically for veterans.
Jobcentre Plus has an armed forces champion covering Herefordshire and Worcestershire who acts as the liaison between the forces, including the Territorial Army, and staff in the local jobcentres. They also attend local liaison groups which support ex-forces personnel to ensure they are kept up to date with the Jobcentre Plus offer including the Get Britain Working initiatives, the Youth Contract, new enterprise allowance and the Work programme all of which can be accessed as early entry by ex-forces personnel.
In addition we will look to use our Flexible Support Fund to provide specialist one off training. Examples have included SIA licence (security industry) and a locksmith qualification (self employment). We also have a range of FSF grant funded projects in Worcestershire covering business start up advice, offender support, IAG, job broking and routes into training, parenting and relationship support, and homelessness support.
Ex-forces customers with health issues are supported through our DEA network, as well as employment related support. Our DEAs and advisers have links with a range of local partners and organisations to which we can refer our customers for specific support, which includes mental health, drug and alcohol, anger management, housing, relationship support etc.
Work Capability Assessment
Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to his answers of 24 November 2011, Official Report, columns 569-70W and 17 May 2012, Official Report, column 295W, if he will provide statistics drawn from the Department's Management Information System on the total number of work capability assessments resulting from reassessment which have been completed to date. 
Official statistics on work capability assessment outcomes for claimants going through the incapacity benefits reassessment programme have now been published and the Department plans to update these official statistics on 3 July 2012. As Official Statistics in this area are now available and an update is forthcoming the Department does not produce or release other, similar analyses of the data.
14 Jun 2012 : Column 531W
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of Government-sponsored unpaid workers who were in work placements that (a) were and (b) were not classed as being of community benefit in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Chris Grayling: The Government do not sponsor unpaid workers in work placements. Jobcentre Plus offers unemployed people a range of employment support programmes to help people get back to work, and the information available is published.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many investigations into excessive heat in the workplace were conducted by the Health and Safety Executive in each of the last five years. 
|Number of investigations|
The Traffic Commissioners are responsible for issuing permits under section 22 of the Transport Act 1985 to organisations operating without a view to profit to provide community bus services.
14 Jun 2012 : Column 532W
Information on section 22 permits issued since 1985 is not held in the format requested. The Traffic Commissioners publish in their annual report the numbers of section 22 permits issued in Great Britain, copies of which are available in the House Libraries. In 2010/11, 86 section 22 permits were issued.
Motor Vehicles: Insurance
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what steps her Department is taking to tackle (a) uninsured drivers, (b) fraudulent insurance claims and (c) the cost of motor insurance; 
(a) The continuous insurance scheme (CIE) introduced last year has enabled enforcement action to be taken against those who keep a vehicle without insurance. CIE supplements police powers introduced in 2005 to seize uninsured vehicles being driven on the road.
(b) Working with the insurance industry to allow them access to DVLA driver details on penalty points and disqualifications to reduce fraud.
(c) On 2 May the Secretary of State for Transport hosted a cross Government summit with the insurance industry on measures to reduce the cost of premiums to lessen the incentive drive while uninsured.
Motor Vehicles: Registration
Dr Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action she intends to take to harmonise the systems for retention of vehicle registration marks pending transfer between Northern Ireland and Britain. 
Mike Penning: Officials are currently reviewing the changes required to allow registration marks to be retained by customers in Northern Ireland in the same way as in Britain. Any changes to regulations are anticipated to be introduced next year.
Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport over what distance the railway track in Rugby has been remodelled to facilitate higher track speeds as part of the enhancement works of the railway infrastructure since 1998. 
14 Jun 2012 : Column 533W
Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what phases of enhancement work have been undertaken on the rail infrastructure in Rugby since 1998; what (a) new platforms, (b) newly positioned platforms and (c) other structures were constructed in each phase; and what the (i) dates and (ii) costs were of each phase. 
Nicky Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment her Department has made of the benefits accruing from renewal of the flyover provided as part of the enhancement works to railway infrastructure undertaken in Rugby since 1998. 
Mrs Villiers: The Department has not specifically appraised the refurbishment of the flyovers at Rugby that were completed in 2008 as part of the West Coast modernisation programme. The strategy for modernisation of the West Coast Main Line was appraised by the Strategic Rail Authority at route-wide level and is reported in “The Modernisation of the West Coast Main Line” published by the National Audit Office in 2006.
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which train operating companies have made requests to (a) close and (b) reduce opening hours at station ticket offices in the latest period for which figures are available; and in respect of which stations such applications have been made. 
(a) there has been a request from one train operating company, London Midland, to close station ticket offices as shown in the following table.
(b) there have been requests from seven train operating companies: Chiltern Railways; East Coast; East Midlands Trains; London Midland; Northern Rail; Southeastern; and South West Trains, to reduce opening hours at station ticket offices as shown in the table.
|Train operating company||Station|
14 Jun 2012 : Column 534W
14 Jun 2012 : Column 535W
14 Jun 2012 : Column 536W
Leader of the House
DEFRA Question Time
8. Miss McIntosh: To ask the Leader of the House what the reasons were for reducing the allocation of oral questions to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; and if he will reconsider that decision. 
Sir George Young: In April 2011, following a request from the Official Opposition, the Government increased the time allocated for oral questions to the Deputy Prime Minister. As a consequence of this change it was necessary for other changes to be made to the oral questions rota, including reducing the allocation of oral questions to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
While the status of the oral questions rota is kept under review, I have no current plans to increase the amount of time allocated to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs oral questions.
Consideration on Report
9. Simon Hughes: To ask the Leader of the House what discussions he has had on ensuring that sufficient time for debate of new clauses and amendments to Government Bills is given at Report stage. 
Sir George Young: The Government recognise the value of parliamentary scrutiny of legislation. This Government has provided more days than the last administration for Report stages and where necessary we will provide more than one day for Report stage.
Sir George Young: As I said to the right hon. Gentleman in my written answer to him of 22 March 2012, Official Report, column 796W, Ministers are always mindful of the requirement of the Ministerial Code that,
“when Parliament is in session, the most important announcements of Government policy should be made in the first instance in Parliament”.
The proposition that there should be specific penalties imposed by this House, over and above those already available, was considered and rejected after the debate which took place on 5 December last year.
14 Jun 2012 : Column 537W
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consideration he has given to the human rights records of members of the Bahraini Government who plan to visit the UK during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 
Alistair Burt: The Government have been clear that regardless of the country concerned where there is independent, reliable and credible evidence that an individual has committed human rights abuses, the individual will not normally be permitted to enter the UK.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
14 Jun 2012 : Column 538W
Mr Lidington: The UK fully supports Bosnia and Herzegovina's NATO membership aspirations. At the Chicago summit on 20-21 May the UK and Allies welcomed the political agreement reached on 9 March 2012 on the registration of immoveable defence property as state property. This agreement is an important step towards fulfilment of the condition set by NATO Foreign Ministers in Tallinn in April 2010 for the full participation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Membership Action Plan process. The UK urges Bosnia and Herzegovina to implement the agreement without delay in order to start the first MAP cycle as soon as possible, and looks forward to a review of implementation of the agreement in the autumn.
Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) highest, (b) median, (c) median full-time equivalent and (d) lowest full-time equivalent salary was paid by (i) his Department and (ii) its associated public bodies in (A) 2010-11, (B) 2011-12 and (C) 2012-13. 
Mr Bellingham: The following table indicates the highest, median, median full-time equivalents and lowest full-time equivalents for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and its associated bodies.
|FCO table of salaries|
14 Jun 2012 : Column 539W
14 Jun 2012 : Column 540W
|(1) Withheld data protection concerns|
Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the total (a) number and (b) value of contracts issued by (i) his Department and (ii) bodies for which he is responsible which were awarded to small and medium-sized enterprises was in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's spend with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has been reported in the Cabinet Office report, “Making Government business more accessible to SMEs—One Year On”:
Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2012, Official Report, column 489W, on recruitment, to what extent his Department and its non-departmental public bodies and executive agencies used name-blank CVs or the blind sift function on the Civil Service Resourcing e-recruitment system to recruit staff in the last year. 
Mr Bellingham: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), its non departmental public bodies and executive agencies follow the Civil Service Commission Recruitment Principles. Appointments are on merit through fair and open competition and all our assessments are competence or skills-based. Our recruitment processes include a variety of assessment tools, including online numeric and verbal reasoning tests and assessment centres where assessors have no access to CVs or any other personal details about candidates. The FCO is currently in discussion with Civil Service Resourcing about the possible future use of their e-recruitment system.
Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department plans to take to support the implementation of the UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka. 
Alistair Burt: We pressed for and welcomed the resolution on Sri Lanka agreed at the UN Human Rights Council in March; and we have called on the Government of Sri Lanka to play its part in implementing the resolution. The Prime Minister emphasised this most recently in a short discussion with President Rajapaksa at the Commonwealth Secretary General's lunch on 6 June. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) made the same points when he met the Sri Lankan Minister for External Affairs on 6 June. With international partners, we will continue to encourage Sri Lanka to make early progress, including during the Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council in October.
Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in Russia on the situation in Syria and the need to protect the civilian population in that country. 
Alistair Burt: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), discussed the situation in Syria with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow on 28 May and again in the margins of the Heart of Asia conference in Kabul on 14 June. They agreed that the situation in Syria was worse in all respects since their 28 May meeting. The Secretary of State reiterated his welcome in principle for the Russian suggestion of an international conference on Syria, which should set out the principles of a political process in Syria, including a plan for political transition and full implementation of the Annan Plan.
Mr Jeremy Browne:
Our embassy in Bangkok monitors the situation in Southern Thailand closely. The Thai authorities claim that the situation is improving hence lifting martial law in some districts in the southern provinces. However Southern Thailand is still governed by emergency decree and we have seen no solid evidence that the overall situation has improved. We regularly raise our concerns about the situation in Southern Thailand with the Thai authorities. The UK has also funded a number of small-scale projects in Southern Thailand, including one with the non-governmental organisation Deep South Watch, which was designed to capture casualty/fatality data in Southern Thailand more accurately. Since then, Deep South Watch has provided
14 Jun 2012 : Column 541W
the embassy with monthly reports on developments. The UK has also invited experts involved in the Northern Ireland peace process to share experiences with the relevant Thai decision-makers. We will continue to offer such expertise and to work closely with our diplomatic partners in this area.
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on official ministerial visits to Ukraine during the European football championships. 
Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues in the (a) Foreign and Commonwealth Office and (b) Department for International Development on (i) Malawi and (ii) plans to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Dr David Livingstone's birth in 2013. 
David Mundell: Scotland Office officials are in regular contact with counterparts at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development. A meeting of the three Departments is due to take place to discuss plans to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Dr David Livingstone's birth in 2013.
Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with (a) the Scottish Government and (b) key stakeholders in Scotland on (i) Malawi and (ii) plans to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Dr David Livingstone's birth in 2013. 
14 Jun 2012 : Column 542W
I have met with representatives of the Scotland Malawi Partnership to discuss ways that the Scotland Office can support events to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Dr David Livingstone's birth. A follow-up meeting including representatives of the Scotland Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development is scheduled to take place later this month.
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many staff working for his Department are employed through off-payroll engagements costing less than £58,200 per annum; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many staff working for her Department are employed through off-payroll engagements costing less than £58,200 per annum; and if she will make a statement. 
Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if she will give the total (a) number and (b) value of contracts issued by her Department which were awarded to small and medium-sized enterprises in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr David Jones: The Wales Office has not issued or awarded any contracts to small and medium-sized enterprises in the latest period. The Wales Office does not directly award contracts but uses Ministry of Justice or other larger Government Departments.
14 Jun 2012 : Column 543W
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) joined a DWP contract for occupational health services (OHS) with Atos on 15 February 2010. This contract runs until 2013. It cost £6,294 in 2010-11 and £4,492 in 2011-12.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has a contract for OHS with Atos. This contract began on 1 February 2006 with an initial term of three years with the option to extend for a further two years. The option to extend was exercised and the contract continued until 31 January 2011. Pending the introduction of a new pan-Government framework contract for OHS by the Government Procurement Service, the Department has continued to use the services of Atos for its OHS requirements. Since February 2006 CPS has spent £0.7 million on these services.
The Solicitor-General: By long-standing convention, observed by successive Administrations and embodied in the Ministerial Code, the fact that the Law Officers may or may not have advised or have been requested to advise on a particular issue, and the content of any advice, is not disclosed outside Government.
To ask the Attorney-General pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2012, Official Report, column 489W, on recruitment, to what extent the Law Officers' Departments and their non-departmental public bodies
14 Jun 2012 : Column 544W
and executive agencies used name-blank CVs or the blind sift function on the Civil Service Resourcing e-recruitment system to recruit staff in the last year. 
Gordon Banks: To ask the Attorney-General which regulations the Law Officers' Departments repealed between 1 February 2012 and 31 May 2012; and what the anticipated total savings to those affected will be of repealing such regulations. 
Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many applications there have been to the Cancer Drugs Fund to date; and how many such applications were (a) approved or (b) declined by (i) age, (ii) gender, (iii) ethnicity and (iv) deprivation. 
Chris Skidmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cancer patients in (a) England and (b) each strategic health authority region have accessed drugs through the Cancer Drug Fund since its inception; and what the total cost to the NHS was in each region. 
Information on the number of patients who have received cancer drugs and spend by strategic health authority (SHA) under the interim cancer drugs funding arrangements in 2010-11 (from October 2010 to the end of March 2011) and under the Cancer Drugs Fund (from April 2011 to the end of February 2012) is shown in the following table. Final figures for 2011-12, based on the final accounts, are expected to be available by the end of June.
|Strategic health authority||Number of patients funded 2010-11(1)||Amount spent 2010-11(2) (£000)||Number of patients funded from April 2011 to end February 2012||Total number of patients funded since October 2010(1)||Amount spent in 2011-12 (to end February) (£000)|
14 Jun 2012 : Column 545W
14 Jun 2012 : Column 546W
|Notes: 1. Some individual patients may be double-counted where a patient has received more than one drug treatment through the Cancer Drugs Fund. 2. This figure includes end of year spending commitments. Source: Information supplied to the Department of Health by SHAs|
(2) pursuant to the answer of 24 May 2012, Official Report, column 860W, on genito-urinary medicine, what steps he plans to take to ensure that a (a) person can access contraception services outside the local authority area that they live in and (b) service provider will be paid for providing contraception to a person who lives outside their local authority area. 
Anne Milton: We intend to make regulations under section 6c of the NHS Act 2006 (as inserted by section 18 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012) that will require local authorities to commission confidential, open-access contraception services. This legislation will ensure that local authorities cannot restrict access to these services only to people who are resident in their area.
The ring-fenced grant for public health will allow local authorities to fund the provision of services mandated through regulations, including contraception services. Local authorities will be responsible for paying the providers of the services they commission. If they wish to, local authorities may come to arrangements for payments to be made or received in respect of contraception care provided to people from outside their local area.
Cord Blood: Donors
Anne Milton: In July 2010, the Department asked NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) to lead a review on the future of unrelated donor stem cell transplantation in the United Kingdom. The UK Stem Cell Strategic Forum was established and considered views from scientists, clinicians, economists and patient representatives working in this area. The published review, ‘The Future of Unrelated donor Stem Cell Transplantation in the UK’, included 20 recommendations on stem cell transplant services, including the improvement of the provision of cord blood stem cells. A copy has already been placed in the Library.
The Government welcomed the report and allocated £4 million to NHSBT and Anthony Nolan to improve patient outcomes. We are in discussion with NHS Blood and Transplant and Anthony Nolan for further implementation of the recommendations and the funding available for this for the 2012-13 business year. This will include an increase in the number of cord blood units stored in line with the review by the Stem Cell Strategic Forum.
We have also recognised the shortage of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic donors on all major international stem cell registries. This is the reason for focusing on collection centres at hospitals based in ethnically diverse communities.
Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his oral answer of 27 March 2012, Official Report, column 1336, which high street outlets are sharing and showing calorie information as part of the Responsibility Deal. 
Anne Milton: 45 businesses, including high street outlets, are currently signed up to the out of home calorie labelling pledge and either have introduced or are in the process of introducing calorie information. These are as follows:
Bartlett Mitchell Ltd
Burger King United Kingdom Ltd
Camden Food Co.
Co-operative Group (The)
Compass Group UK and Ireland
Dominos Pizza Group Ltd
Harper Adams University College
ISS Facility Services—Food and Hospitality
Kraft Foods UK
London Bread & Cake Company
Marks & Spencer
McCain Foods (GB) Ltd
McDonald's Restaurants Ltd
Merlin Entertainments Ltd
MITIE Catering Services Ltd
Morrisons Supermarkets plc
Odeon Cinemas Ltd
Pizza Hut (UK) Ltd
Pret A Manger
Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust
Sainsbury's Supermarket Ltd
(Seven) 7 Day Catering Ltd
14 Jun 2012 : Column 547W
Southern Co-operative (The)
Starbucks Coffee Company
Subway International B.V.
The Real Greek Food Company
Unilever UK Ltd
United Biscuits (UK) Ltd
Wimpy Restaurants Group Ltd
Health Professions Council
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department takes to oversee the work of the Health Professions Council (HPC); what sanctions he has made available to the HPC to regulate psychologists and other health professionals; what guidance he provides to the HPC to enable such regulation; what guidance the HPC provides to its members; what timescale the HPC normally works to when it receives a complaint; and if he will make a statement. 
Anne Milton: The Health Professions Council (HPC) is an independent statutory body established under the Health Professions Order 2001. The legislative framework in which it operates is set out in that order and any rules made by the council.
Oversight of the Health Professions Council is through the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE), which conducts annual performance reviews of all the health professions regulators. Its most recent performance review report was laid before Parliament on 28 June 2011. In respect of the HPC it commented that:
‘The median time taken from receipt of initial complaint to the final investigating committee decision was five months. The median time taken from final investigating committee decision to final fitness to practise hearing decision was nine months. The median time taken from receipt of a complaint or information indicating the need for an interim order referral to an interim order decision was 13 days.’
Health Services: Human Trafficking
The content and standard of health care training is generally the responsibility of the independent regulatory bodies. However, given the Government's commitment to tackle human trafficking and violence against women and children, the Department of Health is working with a third sector strategic partner to develop a training toolkit for health professionals
14 Jun 2012 : Column 548W
with the aim of improving the health service response to victims of human trafficking. The toolkit will be finalised by December 2012.
There is already guidance on related areas such as domestic and sexual violence, and the Department continues to work closely with professional bodies on improving the health service response to victims of violence.
Incinerators: Health Hazards
Anne Milton: Since the Health Protection Agency (HPA) was formed in 2003, it has kept the literature on the health effects associated with emissions from incinerators under regular review. In 2005, the HPA published a position statement on the public health consequences of municipal solid waste incineration. Following developments in the literature in September 2009, the HPA published its updated position statement: The impact on health of emissions to air from municipal waste incinerators.
Paul Burstow: As set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the Government's intention is that from April 2013 the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) will directly commission specialised services that are currently commissioned at both national and regional level.
Commissioning these services directly, through one national commissioner to a national standard will ensure consistency in planning and funding of specialised services for the benefit of patients with rare conditions.
The Department is working with NHS colleagues who currently commission specialised services towards producing a list of services for direct commissioning by the Board. The final list of services will be subject to consultation with the Board and then will be captured in a set of regulations from the Secretary of State for Health, the right hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr Lansley), to the Board.
We are not at the stage where we can announce the final list. However, the list of services as currently set out in the Specialised Services National Definitions Set will form the solid basis for the services that the NHSCB will directly commission.