Infrastructure

Ian Paisley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to his Department's infrastructure programme announced on 18 July 2012, what assessment he has made of the potential risks to the Exchequer of the programme. [119917]

Danny Alexander: The UK Guarantees programme announced in July 2012 has taken account of and assessed and considered any potential risks to the Exchequer. Indeed, one of the published key tests for eligibility for a guarantee is that a project does not present unacceptable fiscal or economic risks to the Exchequer.

Loans: West Midlands

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has made an estimate of net (a) unsecured and (b) secured lending to individuals in (i) the West Midlands, (ii) Coventry and (iii) Coventry North East in each quarter of the last five years. [120194]

Sajid Javid: The Government do not produce official estimates of secured or unsecured lending by region.

The Bank of England publishes data on net lending to individuals, but these figures are not available at the regional level.

Local Government: Stocks and Shares

John Mann: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what date his Department barred local government from investing in derivatives in 1997. [119534]

Greg Clark: HM Treasury took no such action in 1997.

Monetary Policy

Dame Anne Begg: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) with reference to the Bank of England's publication of the distributional analysis of the effects of quantitative easing, what discussions he has had on the effects of low gilt yields on businesses and economic growth; [120500]

(2) whether the Government plans to respond formally to the Bank of England's distributional analysis on the effects of quantitative easing in his autumn statement. [120502]

Greg Clark: The credibility of the Government's fiscal plans allows the independent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to keep bank rate lower than it would otherwise have been and to deliver additional monetary stimulus through quantitative easing (QE). This has helped keep interest rates lower for families, businesses and taxpayers, which helps support economic growth. The Bank of England, in its Quarterly Bulletin published in September 2011, has found evidence of the first round of QE implemented between March 2009

10 Sep 2012 : Column 99W

and January 2012 having raised UK inflation by around 0.75 to 1.5 percentage points and real GDP by around 1. 5 to 2%.

In line with the Treasury Committee's recommendation in its report on Budget2012 published on 18 April 2012, the Bank of England's analysis on the distributional effects of asset purchases or QE was conducted in consultation with HM Treasury.

The Government welcome the Bank's analysis and notes the conclusion that without asset purchases,

“most people in the United Kingdom would have been worse off. Economic growth would have been lower. Unemployment would have been higher. Many more companies would have gone out of business. This would have had a significant detrimental impact on savers and pensioners along with every other group in society.”

Mortgages

Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to encourage more institutions to offer mortgages for first-time buyers buying property on a shared equity basis. [119348]

Greg Clark: The Government recognise the importance of a sustainable mortgage market to support a stable housing market.

However decisions concerning the pricing and availability of mortgages, including shared equity mortgages, remain commercial decisions for individual lenders, and the Government do not seek to intervene in these decisions.

Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. It is not the Government's practice to provide detail of such discussions.

The Government recently announced an extension to the successful FirstBuy scheme aimed at helping first time buyers by offering an equity loan of up to 20% of the property value towards the cost of purchasing a home. FirstBuy has proven to be extremely popular and there has been strong demand. We recognise the continued challenges first time buyers are facing and therefore have extended the scheme, providing a further £280 million to help a further 16,500 households by March 2014.

Public Finance

Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the underlying UK deficit was in the first six months of 2012 excluding the assets of the Royal Mail pension funds from the Government's accounts. [118596]

Danny Alexander: The borrowing figures are published in the HMT ONS Public Sector Finance Statistical Bulletin which can be found on the HMT website at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/psf.pdf

in table PSF2 under PSNBex, time series -J5II. The total amount the Government has borrowed for the first six months of 2012 (from January 2012 to June 2012) comes to £38.2 billion, including the £28 billion transfer received by government from the assets of the Royal Mail Pension Plan.

10 Sep 2012 : Column 100W

Revenue and Customs

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the planned reduction of jobs will be in HM Revenue and Customs between 2010 and 2015. [119609]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) plans to reduce full-time equivalent posts from around 67,000 in October 2010 to 56,000 by April 2015.

HMRC is confident that staffing reductions can be achieved in the main through natural wastage and by maximising the redeployment of its existing resources.

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy that correspondence issued by HM Revenue and Customs which contains date-related penalties (a) is despatched on the same date as is given on the letter and (b) is posted first class. [119784]

Mr Gauke: Penalties exist to encourage taxpayers to comply with their legal obligations. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) aims to date correspondence on the day that it is issued and does so wherever possible. HMRC is aware of some exceptions and is working to address this.

HMRC uses 2nd class postage as this represents the best value in terms of cost and service for taxpayers.

Revenue and Customs: Nurseries

Owen Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the total number of childcare places provided is at HM Revenue and Customs buildings; and how this has changed over the last two years; [120330]

(2) what the cost of current provisions of childcare is on HM Revenue and Customs estates; and how this has changed over the last two years; [120331]

(3) how many fewer childcare places will be provided on HM Revenue and Customs estates as a result of the decision to close Bright Horizon nurseries on HM Revenue and Customs estates; and how many places will be lost in each of the eight nurseries affected; [120332]

(4) what the cost will be of providing childcare places on HM Revenue and Customs estates once the decision to close Bright Horizon nurseries on HM Revenue and Customs estates takes effect; [120333]

(5) what the total number of childcare places on HM Revenue and Customs estates will be once the decision to close Bright Horizon nurseries on HM Revenue and Customs estates takes effect. [120334]

Mr Gauke: Child care provision on HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) estate is managed by HMRC's private finance initiative (PFI) estate partner Mapeley and separately by Interserve FM on HMRC's Newcastle PFI estate, with the contracts being held between the PFI partner/service provider and the nursery provider. The cost of the provision of child care incurred under these contracts and the subsequent cost of child care to parents forms part of the commercial arrangements of the parties involved and is therefore commercially sensitive.

10 Sep 2012 : Column 101W

Under the terms of the contracts for child care provision, HMRC bears the cost of the accommodation used in its buildings. These costs are included in the overall PFI unitary charge for each of the buildings and cannot be disclosed on the grounds of commercial sensitivity.

Information on the number of child care places is provided in the following table.

  Number

Total number of child care places provided in HMRC buildings

 

471

   

Changes in the last two years

Reduction of 62 places due to the closure of two nurseries

   

Reduction in child care places following closure of Bright Horizons nurseries in HMRC buildings

Castle Meadow Nottingham

50

 

Chaucers Walk Blackburn

38

 

Deansgate Wolverhampton

25

 

Hectors House East Kilbride

59

 

Peter Bennett House Leeds

40

 

Cheeky Cherubs Salford

45

 

Little Nippers Leicester

33

 

First Friends Cardiff

60

 

Total

350

   

Total number of child care places in HMRC buildings following the closure of Bright Horizons nurseries

 

121

Scotland

Mr Weir: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) where his Department's office in Scotland is to be located; and at what cost; [120305]

(2) whether the Head of Scotland Analysis and Stakeholder Engagement role was created to fill competence gaps at the Scotland Office; [120273]

(3) whether any share of the salary for the Head of Scotland Analysis and Stakeholder Engagement will be met by the Scotland Office; [120274]

(4) what pension accompanies the post of Head of Scotland Analysis and Stakeholder Engagement; [120275]

(5) how many staff are employed in his Department's devolved countries unit; and what their responsibilities are; [120287]

(6) how many applications were received for the post of Head of Scotland Analysis and Stakeholder Engagement from (a) internal and (b) external applicants; [120288]

(7) which (a) Ministers, (b) special advisers and (c) officials were involved in devising the role of Head of Scotland Analysis and Stakeholder Engagement; [120289]

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(8) which (a) Ministers, (b) special advisers and (c) officials were involved in the selection and interview process for the role of Head of Scotland Analysis and Stakeholder Engagement; [120290]

(9) whether the work of the Head of Scotland Analysis and Stakeholder Engagement will involve engagement with the Better Together Campaign; [120304]

(10) how many staff will be employed to support the Head of Scotland analysis and Stakeholder Engagement; [120306]

(11) how many staff employed within his Department's (a) Executive Management Board, (b) Ministerial and Communications Team, (c) Strategy, Planning and Budget Team, (d) Corporate Centre, (e) Treasury Legal Advisers Team, (f) International and EU Team, (g) Financial Stability Team, (h) Economics Team, (i) Financial Services, (j) Financial Regulation and Market Team, (k) Fiscal Team, (l) Business and International Tax Section, (m) Personal Tax, Welfare and Pensions Team, (n) Public Spending, (o) Enterprise and Growth Section, (p) Financial Management and Reporting Team and (q) Public Services Section are based at locations in Scotland; [120335]

(12) whether the post of Head of Scotland Analysis and Stakeholder Engagement is a politically neutral role. [120411]

Danny Alexander: The Head of Scotland Analysis and Stakeholder Engagement role has been created to support UK Government Ministers in their objective of maintaining the UK, in the run up to the proposed referendum on Scottish independence. The post is being filled through a standard Treasury recruitment process for which normal civil service recruitment rules and subsequent terms and conditions apply. Further detail on HM Treasury recruitment process can be found on the Department's website.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Apprentices: Liverpool

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many residents of Liverpool, Walton constituency have secured apprenticeships in each year since 1997. [120337]

Matthew Hancock: Table 1 shows the number of apprenticeship programme starts in Liverpool, Walton parliamentary constituency between 2005/06 to 2010/11 academic year. The year 2005/06 is the earliest year for which comparable sub-national data are available and 2010/11 is the latest year for which final data are available.

Table 1: Apprenticeship programme starts in Liverpool, Walton parliamentary constituency 2005/06 to 2010/11.
 Liverpool Walton parliamentary constituency

2005/06

530

2006/07

630

2007/08

760

2008/09

660

2009/10

900

10 Sep 2012 : Column 103W

2010/11

1,550

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Geography is based on the home postcode of the learner. Geographic information is based on boundaries of regions as of May 2010. Source: Individualised Learner Record

Information on the number of apprenticeship starts by parliamentary constituency is published in a supplementary table to a quarterly Statistical First Release (SFR). The latest SFR was published on 28 June 2012

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_current

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_supplementary_tables/Apprenticeship_sfr_supplementary_tables/

Business: Government Assistance

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many businesses have been supported under the Growth Accelerator Programme; what the average level of financial assistance has been per business; and what sectors those businesses are in. [120346]

Michael Fallon: The Growth Accelerator was formally launched in late May this year and, at the end of August, over 2,400 eligible businesses have registered interest in the programme, with 663 now being supported by it. These businesses cover the full range of sectors found in the UK economy, including, but not limited to:

Automotive

Business Services

Energy

Environmental Services

Food and Drink

Information Technology

Logistics

Machinery and equipment

Media

Retail

Growth Accelerator provides bespoke packages of support to businesses based on their particular barriers to growth rather than direct financial support. This support includes high quality coaching, masterclasses, leadership and management training and peer group support as well as access to external support that they need (e.g. export advice, angel investment, access to incubators etc.). The initial average value of the coaching, masterclasses and leadership and management training is c. £5,100. This is expected to increase as European Development Funding (ERDF) and private sector contributions to the programme are secured.

Construction: Scotland

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions his Department has had with the Scottish Government

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on developing the construction industry in

(a)

Scotland and

(b)

Paisley and Renfrewshire North constituency. [119626]

Michael Fallon: Most matters relating to the development of the Scottish construction industry are devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Discussions between the Department and the Scottish Parliament on this agenda are therefore limited.

EU Internal Trade

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will take steps to make the UK economy less reliant on trade with the EU. [119706]

Jo Swinson: Businesses are ultimately responsible for deciding who they trade with—it is not for the Government to determine the international trading positions of companies looking to export to or import from other countries.

The EU is our largest trading partner in terms of both exports and imports, accounting for 47% and 51% respectively.(1) The single market provides British-based companies customs and tariff-free access to a market that consists of 500 million consumers(2). Continuing to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the single market will be important to maintaining UK competitiveness both in the EU and in global markets more broadly. However, this does not mean neglecting trade opportunities outside of the EU including fast-growing market such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. The UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) corporate strategy, launched in March 2011, supports this objective. To underpin the importance to the UK economy of exploiting opportunities to export to all global markets to UK growth, the Government also announced, in Budget 2012, an ambition to more than double annual UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020.

(1) http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bop/united-kingdom-balance-of-payments/2012/index.html

(2)http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/tgm/table.do?tab=table &language=en&pcode=tps00001&tableSelection= 1&footnotes=yes&labeling=lables&plugin=I

EU Law

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to reduce regulation in the EU. [119622]

Michael Fallon: The Government are committed to addressing the overall burden on business of EU regulation. We have formed an alliance of like-minded member states on EU better regulation, and succeeded in ensuring that the EU Compact for Jobs and Growth adopted by the European Council in June explicitly highlights the need to reduce the overall EU regulatory burden. We are now pressing the European Commission to bring forward a new programme to reduce unnecessary costs to business by addressing the overall EU regulatory burden, when the current EU administrative burdens reduction exercise comes to an end at the end of the year.

We have already secured a commitment from the Commission last November that micro-businesses will be exempted from future EU legislation unless there are

10 Sep 2012 : Column 105W

compelling reasons to include them. In parallel, the Commission has also committed to examine existing and forthcoming EU legislation for further opportunities to lighten the burden on small businesses. We will be holding the Commission to account on these commitments, and have already achieved agreement in Brussels to exempt up to 1.4 million UK small businesses from certain EU accounting rules.

We continue to press all the EU institutions to live up to their commitments to reduce burdens on business, and following UK lobbying, the European Parliament has created a unit to assess the costs and benefits of the amendments it makes to Commission proposals.

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the annual cost of regulation arising from EU legislation on businesses in the UK. [119637]

Michael Fallon: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, under this Government, the impact assessment system has been strengthened. Notably, impact assessments, including on draft regulations implementing EU obligations, are now independently validated by the Regulatory Policy Committee. UK impact assessments are available on the legislation.gov.uk website at:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukia

Graduates: Work Experience

Hazel Blears: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the average length is of unpaid internship positions advertised on the Government's Graduate Talent Pool website. [119904]

Mr Willetts: Of the 55 unpaid vacancies advertised on the Graduate Talent Pool website during August 2012, 92% specified the length of internship. Some 37% of these specified a period of up to one month, 45% between two to three months, 12% between four to six months and 6% between seven to 12 months.

Hazel Blears: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many internship positions advertised on the Government's Graduate Talent Pool website are unpaid. [119905]

Mr Willetts: During August 2012, there were 55 unpaid internships vacancies advertised on the Graduate Talent Pool out of a total number of 2,229. Of the 55 unpaid vacancies 36 were in charitable organisations. The introduction of the vacancy quality assurance process in October 2011 has had a significant impact on the percentage of unpaid internships carried, seeing a decline from around 30% to just 2% of all vacancies advertised in August 2012.

Higher Education: Private Sector

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what guidelines he issued to private higher education providers (a) before and (b) after November 2011 about (i) the application process for designated course status and (ii) the introduction of due diligence checks for designated course status. [112709]

10 Sep 2012 : Column 106W

Mr Willetts: The Student Loans Company issues an information pack and application forms to providers who wish to apply for specific designation of courses. The information pack is updated annually. The information pack was updated in September 2011 and included the information that additional provider checks were in the process of being developed. This was updated in July 2012 so as to include more details on the additional provider checks and to advise providers that those subject to the reviews will be sent an additional form at the point of referral to the Department so that further information can be provided.

London Metropolitan University

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials of his Department had (1) with (i) Ministers and officials from the Home Department and (ii) officials from the UK Border Agency between 1 July and 28 August 2012 to discuss the highly trusted sponsor status of London Metropolitan university; [119194]

(2) with the Vice-Chancellor of London Metropolitan university between 1 July and 28 August 2012 to discuss the University's highly trusted sponsor status. [119195]

Mr Willetts: No meetings have been held between Ministers or officials in this Department to discuss the highly trusted sponsor status of London Metropolitan university.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many outstanding loans the Higher Education Funding Council has with London Metropolitan university; what repayments have been made of those loans; and what repayments of previous over-payments to that university have been made since 2010. [119896]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 7 September 2012]: The university has one recoverable grant with the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) totalling £4 million outstanding as at 1 September 2012. In addition, HEFCE will be recovering £18.8 million in relation to previous over-payments over the next two years. Between April 2010 and August 2012 HEFCE adjusted the University's grant by £2.1 million in relation to a recoverable grant and £23.8 million in relation to previous over-payments.

Overseas Trade: Sri Lanka

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what trade there is between UK companies and Sri Lanka. [119449]

Michael Fallon: The total value of trade in goods and services between the UK and Sri Lanka was £1.25 billion in 2011.

Sources:

HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics, ONS Balance of Payments (Pink Book)

10 Sep 2012 : Column 107W

Pharmaceutical Industry

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans he has to (a) maintain and (b) enhance the competitiveness of the UK as a location for the global pharmaceutical industry; and if he will make a statement. [120248]

Mr Willetts: On 5 December 2011, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, launched the “Strategy for UK Life Sciences” which builds on many of the actions of the Growth Review. The strategy was launched alongside “Innovation Health and Wealth—Accelerating Adoption and Diffusion in the National Health Service (NHS)” by the NHS chief executive. Together they contain radical actions to enhance the competitiveness of the UK as a global hub for life sciences, including the pharmaceutical sector.

In implementing the strategy, the Government have focused on five key themes: research clusters and collaborations; open data; improving the environment, including for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs); global marketing of the UK; and skills, talent and workforce.

Details of progress to date in implementing the strategy were sent to stakeholders in a letter dated 20 August 2012. The letter was published on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills website at:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/innovation/docs/l/12-1123-life-sciences-strategy-update-august-2012

Postal Services

Anna Soubry: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to ensure that Post Office Ltd receives Government front desk contracts. [119580]

Jo Swinson: The Department has made a significant financial commitment of £1.34 billion over the current spending period to sustain and modernise the post office network, helping to ensure it can meet the future requirements of its customers, and has made an additional commitment that there will be no programme of closures.

Alongside these commitments, Post Office Ltd has set out its ambition to provide more services on behalf of central and local Government. Recognising that the company operates commercially at arm's length from Government, we have been absolutely clear, not least through the investment we are making, that we support Post Office Ltd in its ambition. The Department or agency responsible for a particular service will decide how best to deliver that service and Government must, of course, procure its services from other providers in line with EU procurement regulations.

Public Houses

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with (a) Punch Taverns, (b) Enterprise Inns and (c) other pubcos on their relationships with the tenants and leaseholders of their pubs; and if he will make a statement. [119668]

10 Sep 2012 : Column 108W

Jo Swinson: The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my right hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), has had no discussions within the last six months with Punch Taverns, Enterprise Inns or other pubcos on their relationships with the tenants and leaseholders of their pubs.

Students: Finance

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many professional or career development loans were taken up in each academic year since 2001-02; and what the average loan amount was in each such year. [119920]

Mr Willetts: Management information from 2009-10 indicates the following:

Financial yearLoan take-upAverage loan value (rounded) (£)

2009-10

8,320

6,700

2010-11

7,679

7,000

2011-12

8,884

(1)

(1) Not yet available.

Data are recorded across financial years, rather than academic years, in line with the management of departmental budgets.

Data on career development loans (subsequently professional and career development loans from July 2009) show that 140,750 career development loans were taken up between 1998 and 2008. These equated to a total value of £624 million. Information is not available on an annual basis and it is therefore not possible to derive an average annual loan amount for these years.

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many students were granted professional or career development loans in each academic year since 2001-02. [119921]

Mr Willetts: Since the introduction of professional and career development loans in July 2009, the Department has collected data on the number of loan applications accepted by the banks in each financial year:

Financial yearNumber of PCDLS offered

2009-10

12,239

2010-11

8,333

2011-12

10,105

Data collection on the number of career development loans offered by the participating banks were previously not part of the programme's contractual audit requirements with the banks. Information is therefore not available on the number of students granted loans prior to 2009.

Technology Strategy Board

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the status is of the planned comprehensive review of the Technology Strategy Board. [120345]

10 Sep 2012 : Column 109W

Mr Willetts: Further to my written ministerial statement on 10 July 2012, Official Report, column 12WS, the Triennial Review of the Technology Strategy board has now commenced and is currently seeking comments from stakeholders.

Trade Unions

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to prevent the blacklisting of trade union members. [119623]

Jo Swinson: Employees in the UK are protected against blacklisting by the Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010. The Regulations allow them to bring a case to a civil court or an employment tribunal if they suspect that they have been denied employment, suffered detriment or been unfairly dismissed as a result of the use of an illegal blacklist.

As there is no evidence that the practice of blacklisting of trade union members is a widespread problem, the Government do not believe that there is a need for further steps at this time.

Health

One North West

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have given to One North West. [119686]

Anna Soubry: The Department has not provided any funding to One North West within the last seven years. This information is not routinely collected centrally from the Department's agencies.

Blood: Diseases

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what his policy is on improving the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis; [119711]

(2) what steps his Department is taking to improve the early detection of sepsis; [119713]

(3) what training his Department provides to enable NHS staff to diagnose and treat sepsis at an early stage; [119714]

(4) what plans his Department has to raise public awareness of sepsis. [119716]

Dr Poulter: Sepsis is the invasion and infection of a person with pathogenic micro-organisms that cause a severe response in the body. Sepsis can take many forms and at its most serious can result in death.

Frontline health care professionals are routinely trained to recognise the early signs of severe sepsis and how to treat it. The Department supports existing international guidance on the management of sepsis and used this to inform ‘Start Smart Then Focus’ guidance published in November 2011. A copy has already been placed in the Library.

In addition, registered health care providers are expected to ensure ongoing education of staff on the principles and practice of the prevention and control of infection, as advocated in ‘The Code of Practice for the prevention and control of infection and related guidance’.

10 Sep 2012 : Column 110W

The Department has no plans to develop a public education campaign on sepsis.

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding his Department has allocated to sepsis research. [119715]

Anna Soubry: The usual practice of the Department's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics: research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including sepsis. These applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the scientific quality of the proposals made. In all disease areas, the amount of NIHR funding depends on the volume and quality of scientific activity.

Examples of current NIHR investment in sepsis research include:

a £2.7 million trial of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of early protocolised resuscitation for emerging septic shock;

a trial of vasopressin versus noradrenaline as initial therapy in septic shock, supported by a £1.1 million clinician scientist award and a £0.2 million grant through the Research for Patient Benefit programme;

a £0.4 million doctoral research fellowship studying how risks associated with neutropenic sepsis are conveyed to and interpreted by patients undergoing chemotherapy; and

a £0.3 million project to develop a point of care test for sepsis based on calcium-induced turbidity in blood.

Health Services: Rural Areas

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans his Department has to improve access by rural communities to (a) early diagnosis of cancer and (b) other healthcare services. [119657]

Norman Lamb: ‘Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer’, published on 12 January 2011, set out our ambition to save an additional 5,000 lives every year by 2014-15 through earlier diagnosis of symptomatic cancer and improved access to screening and radiotherapy, aiming to narrow the inequalities gap at the same time. Incidence and mortality rates from cancer are higher in disadvantaged groups and areas, which can include rural areas, so the greatest scope to make improvements is by focusing on these.

To support earlier diagnosis of cancer, we have committed over £450 million in funding over the spending review period. This money is helping to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer, improving general practitioner (GP) access to key diagnostic tests and providing more testing and treatment in secondary care. In the first half of 2012, we have run two national Be Clear on Cancer awareness campaigns on bowel and lung cancer. Campaign advertisements have appeared on television, radio and in print media, which have highlighted the key symptoms of disease and encouraged people to see their GP should they have persistent symptoms. To ensure momentum is maintained, on 28 August, we relaunched our national bowel cancer campaign until the end of September.

We have also supported the national health service to undertake local cancer awareness activity. In 2010-11, 59 local campaigns on breast, bowel and lung cancer

10 Sep 2012 : Column 111W

took place and in 2011-12, 18 awareness campaigns on oesophago-gastric cancer, breast cancer in and on the symptom of blood in urine were undertaken. Among the projects were those that have focused on groups we know to be hard to reach, including people in rural areas.

While it remains the responsibility of local commissioners to deliver services for local populations, new duties are being introduced from April 2013 to improve access to NHS healthcare services and to reduce health inequalities, including in rural and other areas. The duties will focus on reducing differences in health and the length of life between communities, through greater improvements in more disadvantaged communities.

Hospital Wards: Gender

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent progress he has made towards eliminating mixed-sex accommodation at hospitals in London; and if he will make a statement. [119441]

Anna Soubry: In hospitals within London Strategic Health Authority, breaches of the rules on mixed-sex accommodation fell from 2,679 in December 2010 (when compulsory reporting began) to 159 in July 2012 (the lowest yet recorded).

The Government remain determined to end the indignity of patients staying in mixed-sex accommodation, except where it is clearly in their best interests to do so. The latest national figures show that breaches have fallen from nearly 12,000 in December 2010 to 249 in July 2012.

Despite this huge improvement, every unjustified breach is one too many. We will continue to publish regular and reliable data about how every hospital is performing and those hospitals that have still to tackle the problem will continue to face fines of £250 for every breach.

Hospitals: Children

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the top five causes of childhood hospital admissions were in each primary care trust area in 2005-06; [120352]

(2) what the top five causes of childhood hospital admissions were in each primary care trust area in 2010-11; and how many admissions there were for each such cause. [120353]

Dr Poulter: Tables with the data requested for 2005-06 and 2010-11 have been placed in the Library.

Data for 2005-06 and 2010-11 are not directly comparable as the structure of primary care trusts changed in 2006-07.

It should be noted that the number of episodes does not represent the number of patients as an individual may be admitted to hospital on more than one occasion in any given period for more than one reason.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department has taken to widen the scope of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's quality standards. [119708]

10 Sep 2012 : Column 112W

Norman Lamb: The Department has referred 190 topics to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to develop NHS Quality Standards. These cover a wide range of diseases and conditions for adults, neonates, children and young people. Additionally, we have referred three topics that relate specifically to the national health service role in health improvement. NHS Quality Standards cover healthcare commissioned by the NHS as well as the interface with social care. From April 2013, NICE'S remit will be extended to include the development of social care Quality Standards. It is currently consulting on two pilot standards for social care.

NHS: Pay

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the highest paid position is in the NHS. [119698]

Anna Soubry: It is not possible to identify the highest paid position in the national health service from information held centrally.

Palliative Care

Sir Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the Care and Support White Paper, how his Department plans to ensure that the benefits of free social care at the end of life are fully assessed. [120070]

Norman Lamb: The Government will use the eight Palliative Care Funding Pilot sites to collect the vital data and information we need to assess the Palliative Care Funding Review proposal that 'once a patient reaches the end of life stage, and is put on the end of life locality register, all health and social care should be funding by the state and be free at the point of delivery'.

The pilots are running for two years and will finish collecting data in March 2014.

Sir Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what models of integrated care his Department plans to test through the assessment of free social care at the end of life. [120072]

Norman Lamb: The Department will work with some of its Palliative Care Funding Pilots to understand the barriers to more integrated care at the end of life and how we can overcome these to determine what potential new models might contribute to better care at the end of life.

Psychiatry

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps his Department has taken to ensure the protection of patients receiving recovered memory therapy from psychotherapists in the last 15 years; [119440]

(2) what consultation he has had with those who have experienced difficulties in making third party complaints in psychotherapy. [119443]

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Norman Lamb: The Department does not recommend the use of recovered memory therapy and it is not a National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommended treatment.

Ministers have had no consultations with those who have experienced difficulties in making third party complaints in psychotherapy.

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department has taken to check the viability and effectiveness of the Complaints Procedures and Codes of Ethics and Practice of psychotherapy organisations that are to come within the jurisdiction of the Health Standards Authority. [119444]

Dr Poulter: The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE), to be renamed the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA), is an arm's length body to the Department. The CHRE has been given powers, through the Health and Social Care Act 2012, to accredit voluntary registers of certain health and social care workers who meet, set standards. The intention is that these powers will commence from 1 December 2012.

The CHRE has recently undertaken a public consultation on its proposed standards for accreditation. The draft standards include the requirement for voluntary registers to have arrangements in place for handling complaints and promoting ethical practice. The final standards for accreditation will be published by the CHRE by November 2012.

We are aware that the CHRE is preparing for the commencement of its accreditation powers by working with some existing voluntary registers, including the UK Council for Psychotherapy and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. The findings from this work will help to inform further the development of the PSA's accreditation process.

Sports

Damian Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many officials in his Department work on policies relating to the role of sport in promoting good health or any other areas of policy relating to sport; and how much of his Department's budget was allocated to supporting this activity in the latest period for which figures are available. [120127]

Anna Soubry: At present, six officials in the Department work on the promotion of physical activity (including sport) for health purposes. In 2011-12, the Department allocated £12.35 million for physical activity, of which £11.8 million was used to fund sport in schools.

Strokes

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has commissioned into the incidence of depression following a stroke. [120328]

Anna Soubry: The Department has not commissioned research specifically on the incidence of depression following a stroke. The Department's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including post-stroke depression. These applications are subject

10 Sep 2012 : Column 114W

to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the scientific quality of the proposals made.

Post-stroke depression is common and associated with poor long-term outcomes. The NIHR is currently funding a three-year trial of a depression recognition and treatment package for families living with stroke.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy that stroke survivors should receive regular mental health assessments. [120329]

Anna Soubry: Both the National Stroke Strategy and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Stroke Quality Standard underline the importance of providing psychological support for stroke survivors and their family and carers. While impressive improvements have been made in the acute care of stroke, we recognise there is still more to do in improving timely access to psychological support.

Timely access to psychological support is one of the key areas for improvement in the Accelerating Stroke Improvement Programme, which will continue until the end of March 2013.

This issue has also been raised at consultation events held as part of developing the cardiovascular disease outcomes strategy and so we will be considering what more can be done on this issue.

Tobacco: Packaging

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) which company or organisation was awarded the contract for providing tobacco packaging consultation analysis; what the terms of the contract are; what the start and termination dates of the contract are; and what the monetary value of the contract is; [119516]

(2) how many companies applied for the contract providing tobacco packaging consultation analysis to his Department; [119517]

(3) how the tender specification and timescale for delivery for the tobacco packaging consultation analysis was determined by his Department. [119518]

Dr Poulter: The invitation to tender (ITT) for the provision of tobacco packaging consultation analysis was advertised on the Government's Contracts Finder website on 2 August 2012, inviting tenders from all interested parties by noon on 16 August 2012.

Copies of the tender documentation are available to view from the following link:

https://online.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk/Common/View%20Notice.aspx?site=1000&lang=en&NoticeId=612444

One supplier put forward a bid for the tender.

The contract for this work was awarded to Tonic Consultants Limited on 22 August 2012. Details of the contract, including the contract value and expected length of the contract, are available to view on the Contracts Finder website from the following link:

www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk/Common/View%20Notice.aspx?site=1000&lang=en&NoticeId=646603

The proposed timescale and specification for the work, as set out within the ITT, was determined in line with the Consultation Code of Practice (2008). This states that all responses to a public consultation exercise

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should be analysed carefully, using the expertise, experiences and views of respondents to develop a more effective and efficient policy.

Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the evidence base was for the statements made in paragraph 78 of the impact assessment (number 3080) accompanying the Standardised Packaging for Tobacco Products consultation. [119563]

Anna Soubry: The impact assessment (IA), published alongside the ‘Consultation on standardised packaging of tobacco products’, is a consultation-stage IA, developed to inform responses to the consultation. It sets out the Government's initial approach to identifying the potential impacts of the policy, if it were to be adopted.

The Government have an open mind on standardised packaging for tobacco and, through the consultation, want to understand whether there is evidence to demonstrate that the standardised packaging of tobacco products would have an additional public health benefit, over and above existing tobacco control initiatives.

The IA includes references to appropriate evidence used to inform its development. Questions were included within the IA and consultation document which highlight the specific areas where further evidence is sought, in order to better understand the likely costs and benefits if standardised packaging were introduced.

Tuberculosis

Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the extent to which current levels of latent tuberculosis (TB) screening in most at-risk migrant groups in England match the levels recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence; and what support is being provided to specialist clinicians to increase latent TB screening in regions that have high rates of active TB. [119577]

Dr Poulter: As part of the Home Office's planned roll-out of pre-entry screening for tuberculosis (TB) in migrants from countries where there is a high incidence of TB, the UK Border Agency and the Health Protection Agency (HPA) are exploring ways of improving the sharing of information about individuals coming to live in the United Kingdom for more than six months. In doing so, the Government is following recommendations by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in its published guidance which recommends that health care providers use these data in considering whether to screen for latent TB.

There is no national programme yet to promote/support interferon gamma release assay (IGRA) testing. The HPA has published a position statement and question and answers on IGRA to support testing for latent TB. A copy has been placed in the Library.

Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress primary care trust clusters have made with clinical commissioning groups on identifying the most appropriate population size for commissioning tuberculosis services and establishing the most effective collaborative commissioning arrangements. [119578]

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Dr Poulter: From April 2013, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) led by local national health service doctors and nurses will be responsible for commissioning the majority of NHS services, including tuberculosis (TB) services. Primary care trusts (PCTs) are currently working with newly formed CCGs to support them in identifying the most appropriate population size for commissioning different services.

In August 2012, the NHS Commissioning Board Authority, which is the body that is responsible for modernising the health service, securing the best possible outcomes for patients, issued a framework for collaborative commissioning between CCGs. The NHS Commissioning Board Authority and the Local Government Association are also taking forward a joint programme of work to support joint working between the NHS, councils and other local organisations through local health and well-being boards. The Government's health care reforms will further strengthen opportunities for joined up NHS TB services that already exist in places such as Ealing, Southall constituency and ensure that a more integrated approach for preventing and treating TB is adopted more widely across England.

Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the rates of tuberculosis (TB); what steps he is taking to reduce TB cases; and what discussions his Department has had with health commissioners to prioritise the delivery of appropriate clinical and public health TB services. [119599]

Anna Soubry: The national health service and public health system reforms will provide opportunities for more integrated commissioning and provision of tuberculosis (TB) services driven by health and wellbeing boards, in partnership with clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), the NHS Commissioning Board Authority (NHS CBA), Public Health England and service providers.

In August, the NHS CBA issued a framework for collaborative commissioning between CCGs. The National Learning Network for health and wellbeing boards has also been exploring how the NHS and local authorities can work together to improve services and outcomes, including through joint commissioning. Additionally, the NHS CBA and the Local Government Association are taking forward a joint programme of work to support local partners in this.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence also published guidance on 23 March to help the NHS manage TB in hard to reach groups, including by collaborative commissioning.

The Department is funding TB Alert, the national tuberculosis charity to increase awareness of TB among groups most vulnerable to TB and to develop with the Royal College of General Practitioners a learning resource about early TB detection and treatment completion for primary health care professionals, which should be available by the end of the year.

Finally, the NHS in London is funding the “Find and Treat” outreach service to identify and treat cases of TB among people who are most at risk such as those who are homeless or have complex social needs.

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Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the Royal College of Nursing case management and cohort review and NICE guidance PH37 on tuberculosis-hard-to-reach groups, whether the NHS has a ratio of one whole time equivalent (WTE) tuberculosis (TB) case manager to 40 notifications annually requiring standard case management and one WTE TB manager to 20 notifications annually requiring enhanced case management. [119636]

Anna Soubry: Overall, London meets the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) guidelines. A ratio of nurses to tuberculosis (TB) notifications was 34 patients to one nurse although there is variation across services. London Health Programmes are working with TB services and commissioners to address local service variations.

Staffing ratio figures for outside London are not available.

Cabinet Office

Civil Servants: Merseyside

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many Civil Service jobs have been (a) created and (b) abolished in Merseyside since May 2010. [120338]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated September 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning how many Civil Service jobs have been (a) created and (b) abolished in Merseyside since May 2010. (120338)

Data are not collected on the number of Civil Service jobs created or abolished. Data are collected on the number of Civil Servants on an annual basis. The latest available data is for March 2011.

The data for the number of Civil Servants in Merseyside are:

 Headcount

2010

20,480

2011

19,400

Notes: 1. Numbers are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Workplace postcode data are used to derive geographical information. 3. Survey reference date 31 March. Source: Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (2010-11)

Government Departments: Billing

Laura Sandys: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what progress his Department is making in improving the speed of payments to businesses by Government Departments. [119468]

Mr Maude: Good progress is being made.

There is already a requirement in central Government for Departments to pay 80% of undisputed invoices within five days, and to pass 30 day payment terms down supply chains. Departments are required to monitor

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prime contractors' performance against the 30 day commitment to pay sub-contractors as part of the contract management process.

We are also encouraging prime and sub-contractors to use the ‘Mystery Shopper' service to report to Government instances where prompt payment is not happening; and we regularly publish investigated cases on the Cabinet Office website.

I stressed the importance of this policy to the chief executive officers of some of the most significant suppliers to Government at a meeting held in June. Our Crown representative team is encouraging prime contractors to pay sub-contractors more quickly than the 30 days commitment on a voluntary basis.

Government Departments: Procurement

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent progress the Government has made on the elimination of pre-qualification questionnaires for central Government procurement below £100,000. [120347]

Mr Maude: Since May 2010, Government has made good progress at streamlining its procurement process.

Fifteen out of 17 central Government Departments have confirmed that they have eliminated the use of pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs) for procurements below £100,000. Work is under way with the two remaining Departments to implement necessary changes to their pre-qualification processes; these Departments have additional security requirements to consider.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the status is of the lean sourcing process; and how many civil servants are licensed to operate. [120348]

Mr Maude: Before the last general election, Government procurement was often unnecessarily complex and that's why this Government introduced in 2010 a Lean review to streamline and accelerate the procurement process.

The adoption of Lean sourcing across central Government was mandated earlier this year.

More than 800 procurers have been briefed on Lean sourcing. To date 258 procurers have completed the practitioner training course and a further 280 are scheduled to attend. In addition, 496 procurers have completed an overview training course.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what proportion of procurement that was contracted to small businesses was to consultants in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [120349]

Mr Maude: Since January 2011, as part of this Government's transparency programme central Government Departments have been required to publish on Contracts Finder information on the contracts they award:

www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk/

Spend with SMEs has dramatically increased since 2010 and last year alone spend with consultancy was down by £870 million. We do not hold information on the proportion of small businesses which are consultants.

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Government Departments: Sustainable Development

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what progress he has made in holding Government Departments to account for their commitment to sustainable development through the quarterly business plan review process. [119479]

Mr Letwin: Departmental business plans were updated in May 2012. The refreshed documents set out Departments' contributions to sustainable development, including relevant actions in their structural reform plans (SRPs) and a dedicated section with further commitments in the annex.

Through the business plan review process I am encouraging Departments to deliver on their commitments to mainstream the principles of sustainable development into their core business, both in their policy making and their operations and procurement. Departments are also now, for the first time, required to report on sustainable development in their annual reports and accounts, providing more openness about actual progress made. It is of course for each Department individually to decide how they will implement their sustainable development commitments; I am using the review meetings to discuss progress and address issues with the implementation of these commitments.

Progress on Departments' SRP commitments is regularly published on the No. 10 transparency website

http://transparency.number10.gov.uk

A cross-Government progress report on sustainable development will be published in February 2013.

Prostate Cancer

Andrew Percy: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many men in (a) Brigg and Goole constituency and (b) England died from advanced prostate cancer in each of the last five years. [120325]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated September 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many men in a) Brigg and Goole constituency and b) England have died from advanced prostate cancer in each of the last five years. (120325)

Table 1 following shows the number of deaths where prostate cancer was the underlying cause for (a) Brigg and Goole parliamentary constituency and (b) England for 2007 to 2011 (the latest year available).

Internationally accepted guidance from the World Health Organisation requires any conditions that contributed directly to a death to be recorded on the death certificate. In cases where a cancer is deemed to have contributed to a death, medical practitioners and coroners are not required to specify whether the cancer was advanced at the time of death.

Figures on cancer incidence and mortality in the United Kingdom and constituent countries are published annually and are available here:

www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/all-releases.html? definition=tcm%3A77-21518

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Table 1: Number of deaths from prostate cancer in England and Brigg and Goole parliamentary constituency; England, 2007-11(1.2.3)
Area20072008200920102011

England

8,661

8,593

8,843

9,085

9,123

Brigg and Goole

21

16

15

8

19

(1) Prostate cancer is defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD 10) code C61. (2) Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year and exclude deaths of non-residents. (3) Figures are based on boundaries as of May 2012.

Public Sector: Civil Proceedings

Stephen McPartland: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) if he will estimate the saving to the public purse from preventing public sector organisations from pursuing legal action against other public sector organisations by making greater use of arbitration; [119532]

(2) how much public money has been used to fund legal action by public sector organisations against other public sector organisations in the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [119533]

Mr Maude: The Cabinet Office does not currently receive or hold information on the number of legal claims between public sector organisations, or their costs.

However I have asked officials to investigate whether savings can be found.

Scotland

Margaret Curran: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office on what date he last had a bilateral meeting with the Secretary of State for Scotland; and what matters were discussed. [119613]

Mr Maude: As has been the practice of previous Administrations, information relating to internal Government meetings, discussions and advice is not normally disclosed.

Voluntary Work: Young People

Mr Blunkett: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office following the summer 2012 National Citizen Service programme, what plans he has to encourage locally tailored delivery of future programmes by existing successful delivery organisations. [119874]

Mr Hurd: Effective local delivery of National Citizen Service is critical to the long-term success of the programme. We will share best practice from 2012 pilots with future providers, including how to embed programmes in local communities through relevant, social action projects.