Commons Gate

Speeches and parliamentary questions in the House of Commons in the 2008-9 session

While speaking in the chamber of the House is a high profile activity for an MP, much other work is done elsewhere, in committee, as well as a large casework load for constituents.
 

A backbencher speaks for his constituents

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Current Session

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12/11/09 Allotments
12/11/09 Muscular Dystrophy: Health White Paper
12/11/09 Coal: Imports
12/11/09 Underground Railways: Tyne and Wear
12/11/09 Pleural Plaque Compensation
12/11/09 NEETs
11/11/09 Fraud: Direct Selling
10/11/09 Railways: Franchises
05/11/09 Railways: Franchises
03/11/09 Muscular Dystrophy
29/10/09 Social Care Green Paper
27/10/09 Fire control project
26/10/09 Direct Selling
21/10/09 Northern Ireland (PMQ)
20/10/09 Trade Unions: Iraq
20/10/09 Royal Mail pickets
20/10/09 Iraqi trade unions
14/10/09 Royal Mail dispute
12/10/09 Schools: Energy
12/10/09 Prisons: Energy
12/10/09 Buildings: Energy
12/10/09 Hospitals: Energy
12/10/09 Genetics
12/10/09 Muscular Dystrophy
12/10/09 Muscular Dystrophy: Continuing Care
25/09/09 Regional Economy
20/07/09 Heart Diseases
15/07/09 Hospital Beds
14/07/09 Hospitals: Admissions
14/07/09 Dental Services: Waiting Lists (also 15/07/09)
14/07/09 Care and Support (Reform)
13/07/09 Repossession Orders
09/07/09 UK Manufacturing
09/07/09 Pleural Plaques - statement
09/07/09 Underground gasification
08/07/09 Probation: Finance
07/07/09 Local government workers
01/07/09 East Coast Main Line - public ownership
01/07/09 Damages (Asbestos-Related Conditions) Bill
29/06/09 Aviation: Disabled
26/06/09 Industrial Diseases: Compensation
24/06/09 Disability Discrimination Act
24/06/09 Aviation: Fees and Charges
23/06/09 Railways: Hearing Impaired
23/06/09 Skills Gap
23/06/09 House of Commons - Trades Unions
22/06/09 Equitable Life
18/06/09 Food, Farming and the Environment
18/06/09 Blaydon Dairy
18/06/09 Preparing Britain’s Economy for the Future
17/06/09 Skill Levels
16/06/09 Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill
11/06/09 Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill
11/06/09 Dairy Closure
10/06/09 Co-operation and Competition Panel
09/06/09 Youth Unemployment
08/06/09 Probation Officers
08/06/09 Health Services: Conditions of Employment
08/06/09 Energy: Meters
08/06/09 A1: Gateshead
02/06/09 Income Tax: Tax Rates and Bands
02/06/09 Public Transport Accessibility
02/06/09 Cancer Survivors
21/05/09 Asbestos-related diseases
18/05/09 Train to Gain
12/05/09 Hospital Laundry
07/05/09 Royal Mail: VAT
05/05/09 Housing: Low Incomes
05/05/09 Reoffending
28/04/09 Conservative employment policy
27/04/09 School Meals
27/04/09 Housing: Low Incomes
23/04/09 Housing Benefit
22/04/09 Railways
22/04/09 Home Care Services: Standards
20/04/09 Rail infrastructure projects
20/04/09 Hillsborough
02/04/09 Small Businesses: Finance
02/04/09 Railways
24/03/09 Hospital Laundry
24/03/09 Autism
23/03/09 Blacklisting (Construction Industry)
20/03/09 Cycling
17/03/09 Financial Services: Elderly
17/03/09 UK Energy (Coal)
16/03/09 Gateshead JobCentre Plus
12/03/09 National Flood Forum
10/03/09 Social Security Benefits: Telephone Services
09/03/09 Northern Ireland Peace Rallies
06/03/09 Biofuels
04/03/09 Carbon Emissions: Research
03/03/09 Fuels: Prices
25/02/09 Mineworkers' Pension Scheme
23/02/09 Bank Services: Elderly
23/02/09 Borrowing: Elderly
12/02/09 Education Maintenance Allowance: Telephone Services
12/02/09 New Trains (Investment)
11/02/09 Pleural Plaques
11/02/09 Royal Mail Partner
10/02/09 Prison Service: Surveys
10/02/09 Railway Track
09/02/09 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
05/02/09 Health Services: Standards
05/02/09 National Quality Board
05/02/09 National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
04/02/09 Sewers: Fats
03/02/09 Coaches: Disabled
27/01/09 Welfare Reform Bill
22/01/09 Carbon capture and storage
20/01/09 AWE Aldermaston
19/01/09 Northern Rock
14/01/08 Biofuels
12/01/09 National Offender Management Service: Manpower
18/12/08 Schools: Uniforms
18/12/08 Phytophthora Ramorum
17/12/08 Energy: Imports
08/12/08 Employment, Universities and Skills and Housing


 

Commons Hansard
18 Nov 2009

Allotments

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will issue guidance to local authorities to encourage the allocation of more land for allotments. [299869]

Mr. Ian Austin, Minister of State, Regional Affairs and Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Communities and Local Government: It has not proved possible to respond to my hon. Friend in the time available before Prorogation.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Nov 2009

Muscular Dystrophy: Health White Paper

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will include in the forthcoming Health White Paper adoption of the Standards of Care for People Living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy recently agreed internationally; and if he will make it his policy that new genomic medicines for Duchenne are trialled and monitored via a network of Duchenne centres of excellence. [291769]

Ann Keen, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health: Work on a formal response to the recommendations in the report of the Lords Science and Technology select committee inquiry into genomic medicine will be published later in the year.

It is for clinicians to locally determine the appropriate standards of care in line with published guidelines. However, the clinical champions network that is being established will be able to promote standards of care.

Arrangements for clinical trials of new therapies for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy are primarily the responsibility of the biomedical and pharmaceutical companies concerned. The National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network provides a health service infrastructure to support clinical trials and other well-designed studies funded by both commercial and non-commercial organisations.

The Government have a proud record of encouraging and supporting the development of genetic technologies, both in research and their application in the wider national health service. Through focusing on patient-centred provision of effective health care, the Department will continue to work closely with, patients, stakeholders and partners to achieve this aim.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Nov 2009

Coal: Imports

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the quantity of carbon dioxide emissions arising from the import of coal to the UK in the latest period for which figures are available. [297697]

Joan Ruddock, Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change: This information is not available.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Nov 2009

Underground Railways: Tyne and Wear

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what mechanisms are in place to assess the record of bidders for the Tyne and Wear Metro service contract in respect of (a) treatment of staff and (b) health and safety. [299889]

Mr. Sadiq Khan, Minister of State, Department for Transport: The assessment of bidders for operating the Tyne and Wear Metro service is a matter for Nexus (the Tyne and Wear passenger transport executive). It is a condition of the Department for Transport's funding that the procurement process is carried out rigorously and fairly.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Nov 2009

Pleural Plaque Compensation

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): When will the Minister's Department own up to its responsibilities in relation to people with pleural plaques who have been denied compensation? Will he agree to work with other Ministers and Members of the House to ensure that we repeal the Law Lords' decision of two years ago and give those people the money that they are entitled to?

Mr. Pat McFadden, Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: I understand the strength of feeling in the House on this issue, but I believe that the Ministry of Justice is the lead Department on this matter.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Nov 2009

NEETs

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Would my hon. Friend agree that the best that we can do in this situation is to carry on working for these young people and continue the Government initiatives? We should not listen to the Opposition who have nothing but crocodile tears to offer this country.

Kevin Brennan, Minister of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: My best response to that is yes.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
11 Nov 2009

Fraud: Direct Selling

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he has given to the development of a password system to reduce the number of crimes which involve bogus doorstep callers. [298691]

Mr. Alan Campbell, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 26 October 2009, Official Report, column 176W.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
10 Nov 2009

Railways: Franchises

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport pursuant to the answer of 5 November 2009, Official Report, column 1103W on railways; franchises, which franchise operator received a payment from his Department in October 2006; and how much that payment was. [299344]

Chris Mole, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: The Department for Transport does not publish details on compensation payments made to individual train operating companies for net losses arising from industrial action on the grounds of commercial confidentiality.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage



Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
5 Nov 2009

Railways: Franchises

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport on which occasions his Department and its predecessors have, following the decision of the Secretary of State, reimbursed or ameliorated net losses of franchising operators arising from industrial action in accordance with the relevant clauses in each rail franchise agreement. [297415]

Chris Mole, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: Prior to July 2005 the Strategic Rail Authority was responsible for making decisions about payments associated with net losses of franchising operators arising from industrial action. Since then the Department for Transport has made one payment, which was in October 2006.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
27 Oct 2009

Fire control project

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Recent statements by the Local Government Association have echoed the view of the Fire Brigades Union that the fire control project is now out of control and should be abandoned. Does the Secretary of State accept this? If not, why is he the only one out of sync with the people who work in the service and the people who run the service?

Mr. John Denham, Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government: It is worth restating that we need a system of fire control that can operate over more than one fire and rescue service and that is able to provide efficient communications, particularly on major incidents where appliances and staff may be drawn from a variety of different fire and rescue services. The fire control project is designed to enable us to achieve that. We continue to work with the LGA on the implementation of the project, and I understand that we, and people at local level, will need to work with the FBU on the details of implementation, but the need for this type of control system, which goes beyond individual fire and rescue services, is, I believe, unanswerable.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
26 Oct 2009

Direct Selling

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make an assessment of the merits of developing a password identification system to protect vulnerable people from bogus doorstep callers. [291791]

Mr. Alan Campbell, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office: All electricity, gas and water companies have a doorstep password scheme which enable people to set up their own passwords to verify the identity of doorstep callers. I would encourage people to sign up to such schemes which can offer access to other services for vulnerable customers on the supplier's Priority Service Register.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
21 Oct 2009

Northern Ireland (PMQ)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): As someone who was engaged with working people in Northern Ireland for 20 years, may I tell my right hon. Friend how much I welcome his statement? I congratulate him and the leaders of all the parties in Northern Ireland on the great work that they have done to get us to where we are. Will he tell us exactly what we are going to do next to ensure that this is implemented as quickly as possible?

The Prime Minister: I hope that, when the leaders of the Northern Ireland parties take these proposals back to their parties, they will find that they command support. The next stage is a consultation with the community in Northern Ireland, and that is for the Northern Ireland Executive themselves to trigger. I hope that, in addition to the legislation being passed in the Northern Ireland Assembly, the community consultation will yield the ability of the Northern Ireland parties to have a cross-community vote and to go ahead with the devolution of policing and justice. I believe that we in this Parliament will do everything in our power to make that possible, with legislation that would necessarily come to this House, but it is now for the parties of Northern Ireland to respond to the proposals that we have made. I have seen from the speech made this morning by the First Minister of Northern Ireland, and from the response of the Deputy First Minister, that they are ready to move forward now that the financial proposals have been agreed.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
20 Oct 2009

Trade Unions: Iraq

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on trade union rights in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [293917]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Ivan Lewis): We have supported, and will continue to do so, the efforts of all Iraqis to build trade unions across the workplace and free from government intervention, the rights to which are enshrined in their constitution. We have made clear to the Iraqi Government our view that the right to form free and fair unions is a fundamental right.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
20 Oct 2009

Royal Mail pickets

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I am sure that the Minister will agree that everyone should do what they can to cool this down. If that is the case, why does he think that the management of Royal Mail have told workers today that if they attend the picket line on their day off, they will be deducted a day's pay? Is that the way to promote good industrial relations?

Mr. Pat McFadden, Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills: I am not aware of the announcement to which my hon. Friend refers. I agree that cool heads are probably required in this situation, because if the strike goes ahead, it will not be in the interests of Royal Mail or those who work in it.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
20 Oct 2009

Iraqi trade unions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): It is now four years since the Iraqi Government took control of the assets of the Iraqi trade union movement. In the past week, they have seized even more control of the levers of power in the unions. Will the Secretary of State meet me and Iraqi trade unions to see whether we can find a way forward to give these people real support in a situation that should not be happening?

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Ivan Lewis): We believe in not only the rights of trade unions in this country, but in the rights of trade unions in Iraq. At the heart of the Iraqi constitution is the right to organise in a free trade union, and I would certainly enter into discussions with my hon. Friend about how we make this a reality. When I visit Iraq at some stage over the next few months, I shall raise the point directly with the Iraqi Government.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
14 Oct 2009

Royal Mail dispute

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Does the Prime Minister agree that the best way to resolve the Royal Mail dispute would be to get the parties around the negotiating table? If he does, will he tell Lords Young and Mandelson to start to concentrate on that and stop attacking the Communication Workers Union?

The Prime Minister: We want a settlement of this dispute, and we want to say that this dispute is not in the interests of anybody. I have to say that if Royal Mail starts to lose major contracts such as those of some of the major firms in this country, it will be difficult for it to regain those contracts over a short period of time. I know that Ministers are working actively to ensure that the parties - the management and the work force - are negotiating. I hope that they will do so, and I hope that this unnecessary strike can be prevented.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Oct 2009

Schools: Energy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what energy-efficiency standards his Department stipulated for circulator pumps installed in (a) existing and ( b) new schools. [291787]

Mr. Coaker, Minister of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families: The Building Regulations Part L2A and L2B set energy performance standards for new and refurbished buildings and the energy efficiency of pumps is regulated in this way. The Department does not directly stipulate energy efficiency standards for circulator pumps either for existing or new buildings. Within our main programme for new schools, the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, our approach is to set targets for carbon emissions by a combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy systems.

In addition to these regulatory actions, we have developed guidance to help the designers of all newly built schools achieve their target level of carbon reduction. This guidance encourages the use of energy efficient equipment without being prescriptive about design solutions. Additional funding has been provided to three groups of new secondary schools to enable them to reduce their carbon emissions by 60 per cent: schools within BSF, academies and school projects procured directly by local authorities ahead of their scheduled BSF rebuild (One School Pathfinder schools).

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Oct 2009

Prisons: Energy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what energy efficiency standards his Department has stipulated for circulator pumps installed in (a) existing and (b) new prisons. [291790]

Maria Eagle, Minister of State, Ministry of Justice: The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) does not stipulate energy efficiency standards for circulator pumps. However, in existing Prison Service buildings, it is recommended that variable speed pump motors are fitted where it is practical to do so and where savings can be made within a suitable payback period.

NOMS standard for new build and refurbishment projects is that;

  1. Accommodation will deliver optimum energy efficient solutions to achieve a low energy building that is significantly lower than typical development.
  2. New builds must meet current Buildings Regulations Part L (2000) which include energy conservation requirements.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Oct 2009

Buildings: Energy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has to provide guidance on the use of energy-efficient circulator pumps in (a) domestic and (b) commercial properties. [291786]

Mr. Ian Austin, Minister of State, Regional Affairs and Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Communities and Local Government: The recent consultation proposing changes to Part L of the Building Regulations included proposed standards and guidance for circulation pumps in both domestic and non-domestic buildings. The consultation responses are presently being analysed and they will help to inform the final amendment which is planned to be brought into operation in 2010.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Oct 2009

Hospitals: Energy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent estimate he has made of the number of A-rated circulator pumps which are installed in NHS hospitals; [291788]

(2) what energy efficiency standards his Department has stipulated for circulator pumps in its guidance on private finance initiative projects. [291789]

Mr. Mike O'Brien, Minister of State, Department of Health: The Department does not collect data centrally on the number of A-rated circulator pumps installed in national health service hospitals in England.

All capital development schemes, whether private finance initiative or publicly funded projects, are expected to comply with energy efficiency standards of 35 to 55 gigajoules per one hundred metres squared (Gj/100m(2)), and also with BREEAM Healthcare requirements (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) to ensure healthcare facilities are constructed with sustainability and energy efficiency in mind. The Department provides guidance to assist the NHS and their partners in meeting this criteria.

This information is contained in the guidance document "Health Technical Memorandum 07-02: Encode - making energy work in healthcare", a copy of which has been placed in the Library, and which provides general energy efficiency standards within healthcare facilities. This guidance covers new build and refurbishment as well as the energy management of existing operational facilities and provides advice about pumps, fans and boilers. Capital project teams will make their own decisions about specific items of equipment, such as circulator pumps, to ensure they are appropriate to meet the needs, circumstances and efficiency of their particular schemes.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Oct 2009

Genetics

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding his Department has provided for translations research on single-gene disorders since the publication of the Genetics White Paper in 2003. [291770]

Gillian Merron, Minister of State, Department of Health: The information requested is shown in the following table.

Actual and planned expenditure on single gene disorder (SGD) research: 2003-14
Departmental funding stream Start date End date Expenditure to date (£ million) Planned expenditure (£ million)
Genetics White Paper: gene therapy research programme200420103
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centres200720092.3n/a
NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research Care200720100.05
NIHR Health Technology Assessment200520131.41.8
NIHR New and Emerging Applications of Technology200620090.3
NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research200920142
NIHR Research for Patient Benefit201020120.2
Policy Research Programme20062010(1)5.8
n/a = not available
(1) This figure includes the total funding allocated by the Department to the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit. Only one of the Unit's five work streams is relevant to SGD but we do not have the means separately to identify the cost of that work stream.
Note:
Planned expenditure figures are a snapshot of the position at September 2009. Actual expenditure in future years will depend on a number of presently unknown factors, including the possible allocation of funds to new studies.

The NIHR Clinical Research Network is additionally providing national health service research infrastructure support to 16 SGD-related studies.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) also invests in genomic research and genomic medicine. The MRC receives its grant in aid from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Oct 2009

Muscular Dystrophy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will include in the forthcoming Health White Paper proposals for ring-fenced funding for Duchenne muscular dystrophy research and clinical trials. [291768]

Gillian Merron, Minister of State, Department of Health: There are no plans to change the usual practice of the Department's National Institute for Health Research and of the Medical Research Council, not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics: research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. Future levels of expenditure on Duchenne muscular dystrophy research will be determined by the success of relevant bids for funding.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
12 Oct 2009

Muscular Dystrophy: Continuing Care

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the provision of continuing care for people with (a) Duchenne muscular dystrophy and (b) other single-gene disorders. [291767]

Phil Hope, Minister of State, Regional Affairs and Department of Health: A revised "National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS-funded Nursing Care" was published in August 2009. This framework covers those with Duchenne's muscular dystrophy and other single-gene disorders as the eligibility criteria for continuing care is not disease specific. A copy of the framework has been placed in the Library.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
20 Jul 2009

Heart Diseases

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people each primary care trust had registered as having (a) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, (b) asthma, (c) tuberculosis and (d) lung cancer on the latest date for which figures are available. [286913]

Ann Keen, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health: Figures for the number of people, in England, registered with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma can be found in the 2007-08 Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), a copy has already been placed in the Library.

The table in question, PCT level QOF tables 2007-08 - prevalence.xls, can be viewed on the following link:

www.ic.nhs.uk/statistics-and-data-collections/supporting-information/audits-and-performance/the-quality-and-outcomes-framework/qof-2007/08/data-tables

A copy of the table has been placed in the Library.

We do not hold figures for the number of people registered with tuberculosis or lung cancer.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
15 Jul 2009

Hospital Beds

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital bed days there were for (a) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and (b) all respiratory diseases in (i) England and (ii) each primary care trust area in the latest period for which figures are available. [286250]

Ann Keen, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health: The hospital bed days data for 2007-08 for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and all respiratory disease in England and each primary care trust (PCT) are given in the following table.

Primary care trust of responsibility code Primary Care Trust Of Responsibility Description Respiratory diseases Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease( 1)
 Total (England)3,863,569794,363
59898Not Applicable18,3172,599
59999Unknown846152
5A3South Gloucestershire PCT15,6842,921
5A4Havering PCT16,6193,542
5A5Kingston PCT12,1892,325
5A7Bromley PCT21,4623,791
5A8Greenwich Teaching PCT15,9534,079
5A9Barnet PCT15,2522,149
5ATHillingdon PCT13,4152,424
5C1Enfield PCT14,4072,658
5C2Barking and Dagenham PCT13,6053,602
5C3City and Hackney Teaching PCT13,2832,583
5C4Tower Hamlets PCT19,8635,021
5C5Newham PCT17,2093,783
5C9Haringey Teaching PCT14,5432,095
5CCBlackburn with Darwen PCT8,7752,302
5CNHerefordshire PCT13,2562,094
5CQMilton Keynes PCT13,3912,680
5D7Newcastle PCT27,9366,886
5D8North Tyneside PCT24,4035,367
5D9Hartlepool PCT8,4832,177
5E1North Tees Teaching PCT15,8663,900
5EFNorth Lincolnshire PCT14,0683,552
5EMNottingham City PCT22,0864,620
5ETBassetlaw PCT7,1041,920
5F1Plymouth Teaching PCT16,3033,054
5F5Salford PCT25,1515,478
5F7Stockport PCT24,6455,286
5FEPortsmouth City Teaching PCT14,4232,651
5FLBath and North East Somerset PCT13,8892,317
5GCLuton PCT12,6662,881
5H1Hammersmith and Fulham PCT12,6242,357
5H8Rotherham PCT22,5405,310
5HGAshton, Leigh and Wigan PCT26,9035,739
5HPBlackpool PCT15,1244,136
5HQBolton PCT24,1645,309
5HXEaling PCT22,3723,741
5HYHounslow PCT16,3412,980
5J2Warrington PCT14,0233,304
5J4Knowsley PCT20,3215,844
5J5Oldham PCT18,1684,014
5J6Calderdale PCT19,3004,921
5J9Darlington PCT7,7551,664
5JEBarnsley PCT25,0357,872
5JXBury PCT11,1481,959
5K3Swindon PCT12,1032,576
5K5Brent Teaching PCT14,7312,112
5K6Harrow PCT9,1841,491
5K7Camden PCT13,8113,301
5K8Islington PCT16,8984,100
5K9Croydon PCT21,6265,416
5KFGateshead PCT22,1945,353
5KGSouth Tyneside PCT17,5204,300
5KLSunderland Teaching PCT30,0877,249
5KMMiddlesbrough PCT14,2852,578
5L1Southampton City PCT18,7034,219
5L3Medway PCT15,5402,731
5LAKensington and Chelsea PCT8,7611,954
5LCWestminster PCT12,3882,401
5LDLambeth PCT17,3683,460
5LESouthwark PCT16,8373,649
5LFLewisham PCT17,3043,807
5LGWandsworth PCT16,9503,305
5LHTameside and Glossop PCT22,5733,714
5LQBrighton and Hove City PCT15,3772,673
5M1South Birmingham PCT32,8196,708
5M2Shropshire County PCT21,1363,904
5M3Walsall Teaching PCT25,3845,933
5M6Richmond and Twickenham PCT12,0811,836
5M7Sutton and Merton PCT24,6285,212
5M8North Somerset PCT14,6442,792
5MDCoventry Teaching PCT26,1775,040
5MKTelford and Wrekin PCT11,9322,052
5MVWolverhampton City PCT20,3634,389
5MXHeart of Birmingham Teaching PCT20,0563,067
5N1Leeds PCT67,29715,320
5N2Kirklees PCT32,6526,489
5N3Wakefield District PCT30,3238,444
5N4Sheffield PCT61,70711,683
5N5Doncaster PCT29,7766,925
5N6Derbyshire County PCT59,12612,179
5N7Derby City PCT19,0122,598
5N8Nottinghamshire County Teaching PCT42,9427,260
5N9Lincolnshire Teaching PCT50,62610,445
5NARedbridge PCT16,4582,371
5NCWaltham Forest PCT16,6112,739
5NDCounty Durham PCT43,45211,508
5NECumbria Teaching PCT43,2289,975
5NFNorth Lancashire Teaching PCT30,5437,507
5NGCentral Lancashire PCT37,2397,243
5NHEast Lancashire Teaching PCT24,0856,602
5NJSefton PCT26,0647,202
5NKWirral PCT29,0836,167
5NLLiverpool PCT58,95515,384
5NMHalton and St. Helens PCT30,4528,097
5NNWestern Cheshire PCT19,9243,664
5NPCentral and Eastern Cheshire PCT34,8967,328
5NQHeywood, Middleton and Rochdale PCT16,8893,391
5NRTrafford PCT18,1553,695
5NTManchester PCT50,07710,944
5NVNorth Yorkshire and York PCT50,91710,175
5NWEast Riding of Yorkshire PCT25,4035,843
5NXHull Teaching PCT28,0337,902
5NYBradford and Airedale Teaching PCT34,1826,305
5P1South East Essex PCT21,1316,260
5P2Bedfordshire PCT24,8535,328
5P3East and North Hertfordshire PCT30,7116,794
5P4West Hertfordshire PCT32,1265,529
5P5Surrey PCT69,52311,194
5P6West Sussex PCT49,1938,318
5P7East Sussex Downs and Weald PCT25,1075,312
5P8Hastings and Rother PCT15,1803,096
5P9West Kent PCT44,1268,596
5PALeicestershire County and Rutland PCT41,8527,552
5PCLeicester City PCT24,0684,712
5PDNorthamptonshire Teaching PCT39,0558,378
5PEDudley PCT25,5714,300
5PFSandwell PCT28,0695,754
5PGBirmingham East and North PCT38,5679,151
5PHNorth Staffordshire PCT16,7583,914
5PJStoke on Trent PCT24,8725,384
5PKSouth Staffordshire PCT36,1066,371
5PLWorcestershire PCT40,7475,344
5PMWarwickshire PCT36,5836,702
5PNPeterborough PCT9,6921,426
5PPCambridgeshire PCT39,2276,942
5PQNorfolk PCT47,9367,349
5PRGreat Yarmouth and Waveney PCT15,8073,792
5PTSuffolk PCT34,9185,182
5PVWest Essex PCT21,9184,540
5PWNorth East Essex PCT18,8014,645
5PXMid Essex PCT16,8972,677
5PYSouth West Essex PCT28,6577,864
5QAEastern and Coastal Kent PCT46,0538,932
5QCHampshire PCT81,73014,848
5QDBuckinghamshire PCT27,5684,198
5QEOxfordshire PCT28,4807,579
5QFBerkshire West PCT23,7843,679
5QGBerkshire East PCT22,0664,555
5QHGloucestershire PCT51,0488,559
5QJBristol PCT31,7297,649
5QKWiltshire PCT30,0634,668
5QLSomerset PCT34,3457,525
5QMDorset PCT34,8115,652
5QNBournemouth and Poole Teaching PCT30,6195,372
5QPCornwall and Isles of Scilly PCT39,8218,212
5QQDevon PCT58,21611,591
5QRRedcar and Cleveland PCT12,9992,870
5QTIsle of Wight NHS PCT6,8241,113
TACNorthumberland Care Trust27,4896,403
TAKBexley Care Trust13,1432,681
TALTorbay Care Trust9,6051,681
TAMSolihull Care Trust14,4002,465
TANNorth East Lincolnshire Care Trust Plus18,2484,979
(1 )The chronic obstructive pulmonary disease figures are a subset of the figures for
respiratory diseases.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jul 2009

Hospitals: Admissions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital admissions there were for (a) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and (b) respiratory diseases in (i) England and (ii) each primary care trust area in the latest period for which figures are available. [286251]

Ann Keen, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health: The hospital admission data for 2007-08 for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and all respiratory disease in England and each primary care trust is contained in a the table which has been placed in the Library.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jul 2009

Dental Services: Waiting Lists

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people resident in Blaydon constituency were on a waiting list for orthodontic treatment in each of the last five years; [286246]

(2) how many people in (a) Gateshead Borough and (b) the North East were on a waiting list for orthodontic treatment in each of the last five years. [286288]

Ann Keen, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health: The information is not available in the format requested. However, information on the waiting lists for orthodontic treatment in the Gateshead Primary Care Trust (PCT) area is shown in the following table:

Oral surgery—total number of incomplete pathways
  Gateshead PCT North East Strategic Health Authority England
August 20072443,011152,302
April 20081363,850121,032
April 20091273,431111,188
Note:
Data on incomplete pathways only published since August 2007
Source:
Department of Health 18 weeks RTT data

Mr. Dave Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the average waiting time for (a) initial orthodontic assessment and (b) subsequent orthodontic treatment was in Gateshead borough in each of the last five years; [286248]

(2) what the average waiting time for (a) initial orthodontic assessment and (b) subsequent orthodontic treatment was in Blaydon constituency in each of the last five years. [286249]

Ann Keen: The information is not available in the format requested. The following tables provide information on the median in-patient and out-patient waiting times for orthodontics and oral surgery within the Gateshead Primary Care Trust and the North East Strategic Health Authority areas.

Table 1: Median in-patient waiting time for elective admission (weeks). Time periods 2003-07 (commissioner based). Inpatient Commissioner Hospital Based Waiting List Statistics: Specialties—Oral Surgery, Orthodontics
  Gateshead North East
Month ending Oral surgery Orthodontics Oral surgery Orthodontics
March 20038.4n/a8.48.0
March 20047.9n/a8.48.2
March 20056.0n/a6.6n/a
March 20064.2n/a6.6n/a
March 20079.3n/a6.5n/a
September 20076.8n/a7.1n/a
Notes:
1. Figures are shown for organisations that existed at the time.
2. In-patient waiting times are measured from decision to admit by the consultant to admission to hospital.
3. The last time this data was collected was for period ending September 2007.
4. Where n/a, no orthodontic waiters were declared for the time periods specified.
5. Median waiting times are calculated from aggregate data, rattier than patient level data, and therefore are only estimates of the position on average waits.
6. In particular, specialties with low numbers waiting are prone to fluctuations in the median. This should be taken into account when interpreting the data.
Source:
Department of Health Waiting List Collections QF01 and MMRCOM

Table 2: Median out-patient waiting time for first out - patient appointment not seen (weeks). Time periods 2005-07 (commissioner based). Outpatient Commissioner Hospital Based Waiting List Statistics: Specialities—Oral Surgery, Orthodontics
  Gateshead North East
Month ending Oral surgery Orthodontics Oral surgery Orthodontics
March 20054.4n/a4.55.4
March 20065.5n/a4.75.6
March 20074.35.14.14.4
September 20074.56.33.84.5
Notes:
1. Figures are shown for organisations that existed at the time.
2. Out-patient waiting times are measured from referral by the general practitioner (GP) to first out-patient appointment to the consultant.
3. From 2004-05 all time bands for outpatients not seen were first collected so only average waiting first out-patient times can be made from this point in time.
4. The last time this data was collected was for period ending September 2007.
5. Where n/a, no orthodontic waiters were declared for the time periods specified or there were very low numbers declared.
6. Median waiting times are calculated from aggregate data, rather than patient level data, and therefore are only estimates of the position on average waits. In particular, specialties with low numbers waiting are prone to fluctuations in the median. This should be taken into account when interpreting the data.
Source:
Department of Health Waiting List Collections QM08R and MMRCOM

From 1 January 2009, no one should wait more than 18 weeks from the time they are referred by their GP or dentist to start of their consultant-led treatment unless it is clinically appropriate to do so or they choose to wait longer. The 18 weeks commitment covers pathways that involve or might involve consultant-led care, including orthodontics, which is now recorded under the oral surgery speciality.

Latest data show that since January 2009, the national health service has been delivering the operating standards for 18 weeks to ensure that no one should wait more than 18 weeks from the time they are referred to the start of their consultant-led treatment, unless it is clinically appropriate to do so or they choose to wait longer.

Mr. Dave Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time for (a) initial orthodontic assessment and (b) subsequent orthodontic treatment was in England in each of the last five years. [286252]

Ann Keen: Information is not collected centrally on waiting times for orthodontic treatment provided in primary care.

Information is available for part of the period requested from which average hospital waiting times from referral to first out-patient appointment and from decision to hospital admission (both day case and in-patient) can be provided.

This information available covers the period up to and including Quarter 2 2007-08. From Quarter 3 2007-08 this data collection no longer broke waits down by specialty.

Median orthodontic speciality out-patient waiting time for first out-patient appointment
England
Month ending Weeks
March 20055.1
March 20063.9
March 20074.2
September 20073.9
Source:
Department of Health Waiting List Collections QM08R and MMRCOM

Median orthodontic specialty in-patient waiting time for elective admission
England
Month ending Weeks
March 200311.2
March 20049.2
March 20058.9
March 20066.8
March 20074.0
September 20075.8
Notes:
1. Figures shown are for those recorded under the orthodontic speciality.
2. Out-patient waiting times are measured from referral by the dentist to first out-patient appointment to the consultant. The data are based on a snapshot in time, and so will include some patients who were yet to see a consultant.
3. In-patient waiting times are measured from the decision to admit by the consultant to admission to hospital.
4. The last time these data were collected was for the period ending September 2007.
5. Time bands for all specialties were only collected from 2004-05 onwards for out-patients so average waiting first out-patient times are only available from this point forward.
6. Median waiting times are calculated from aggregate data, rather than patient level data, and therefore are estimates of the position on average waits.
7. In particular, specialties with low numbers waiting are prone to fluctuations in the median. This should be taken into account when interpreting the data.
Source:
Department of Health Waiting List Collections QF01 and MMRCOM

From 1 January 2009, no one should wait more than 18 weeks from the time they are referred by their general practitioner or dentist to start of their consultant-led treatment unless it is clinically appropriate to do so or they choose to wait longer. The 18 weeks commitment covers pathways that involve or might involve consultant-led care, including orthodontics, which is now recorded under the oral surgery speciality.

Latest data show that since January 2009, the national health service has been delivering the operating standards for 18 weeks to ensure that no one should wait more than 18 weeks from the time they are referred to the start of their consultant-led treatment, unless it is clinically appropriate to do so or they choose to wait longer.

Mr. Dave Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were on a waiting list for orthodontic treatment in England in each of the last five years. [286253]

Ann Keen: Information is not collected centrally on waiting times for national health service orthodontic treatment provided in primary care.

From 1 January 2009, no one should wait more than 18 weeks from the time they are referred by their general practitioner or dentist to the start of their consultant-led treatment unless it is clinically appropriate to do so, or they choose to wait longer.

The 18 weeks commitment covers pathways that involve or might involve consultant-led care. Referral to treatment (RTT) data collection monitors the length of time from referral through to treatment and is used to measure performance against the 18 weeks operational standard.

Information is collected on the total number of incomplete RTT pathways, for oral surgery, which includes orthodontic treatment. This data looks at patients who have entered a RTT pathway but whose treatment had not yet started. Data is available from August 2007:

Total number of incomplete oral surgery RTT pathways, England
  Number
August 2007152,302
April 2008121,032
April 2009111,188
Note:
Data on incomplete pathways is only available from August 2007 onwards.


15 Jul 2009

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time for (a) initial orthodontic assessment and (b) subsequent orthodontic treatment was in the North East region in each of the last five years. [286247]

Ann Keen, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health: The following tables show the median in-patient waiting time for elective admission in weeks for oral surgery, orthodontics between the time periods shown (table 1) and the median out-patient waiting time for a first out-patient appointment in weeks for the time periods shown (table 2).

Table 1: In-patient commissioner hospital-based waiting list statistics: specialties—oral surgery, orthodontics
Weeks
   Month ending
Area Specialty March 2003 March 2004 March 2005 March 2006 March 2007 September 2007
North EastOral surgery8.48.46.66.66.57.1
North EastOrthodontics8.08.2n/an/an/an/a
n/a = No orthodontic waiters were declared for the time periods specified.
Notes:
1. Figures are shown for organisations that existed at the time.
2. In-patient waiting times are measured from decision to admit by the consultant to admission to hospital.
3. The last time this data was collected was for period ending September 2007.
4. Median waiting times are calculated from aggregate data, rather than patient level data, and therefore are only estimates of the position on average waits.
5. In particular, specialties with low numbers waiting are prone to fluctuations in the median. This should be taken into account when interpreting the data.
Source:
Department of Health Waiting List Collections QF01 and MMRCOM.

Table 2: Median out-patient waiting time for first out-patient appointment not seen, 2005-07 (commissioner-based), out-patient commissioner hospital-based waiting list statistics: specialties—oral surgery, orthodontics
Weeks
   Month ending
Area Specialty March 2005 March 2006 March 2007 September 2007
North EastOral surgery4.54.74.13.8
North EastOrthodontics5.45.64.44.5
n/a = No orthodontic waiters were declared for the time periods specified or there were very low numbers.
Notes:
1. Figures are shown for organisations that existed at the time.
2. Out-patient waiting times are measured from referral by the general practitioner (GP) to first out-patient appointment to the consultant.
3. From 2004-05 all timebands for out-patients not seen were first collected so only average waiting first out-patient times can be made from this point in time.
4. The last time this data was collected was for period ending September 2007.
5. Median waiting times are calculated from aggregate data, rather than patient level data, and therefore are only estimates of the position on average waits. In particular, specialties with low numbers waiting are prone to fluctuations in the median. This should be taken into account when interpreting the data.
Source:
Department of Health Waiting List Collections QM08R and MMRCOM.

From 1 January 2009, no one should wait more than 18 weeks from the time they are referred by their GP or dentist to start of their consultant-led treatment unless it is clinically appropriate to do so or they choose to wait longer. The 18 weeks commitment covers pathways that involve or might involve consultant-led care, including orthodontics, which is now recorded under the oral surgery speciality.

Latest data show that since January 2009, the national health service has been delivering the operating standards for 18 weeks to ensure that no one should wait more than 18 weeks from the time they are referred to the start of their consultant-led treatment, unless it is clinically appropriate to do so or they choose to wait longer.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jul 2009

Care and Support (Reform)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I return to the point made by the right hon. Member for Skipton and Ripon (Mr. Curry). Staff are the key to delivering this service. If we go back to what happened in the 1990s, when compulsory competitive tendering and privatised care homes were introduced and training and other budgets were cut, we will be unable either to recruit or to retain quality staff. The one way to make sure that the system falls apart is to follow the programme that the Conservative party followed 20 years ago.

Andy Burnham, Secretary of State, Department of Health: It was quite astonishing that one of the Conservatives' proposals as a way of helping with social care was to end the minimum wage in care homes and the existing terms and conditions of social care staff. In more recent days, the shadow Health Secretary has been proposing the abandonment of national pay structures in the health service, so I think we know where they stand on these matters. Investing in and respecting the work force, and understanding how a motivated and well rewarded work force provide a quality service to the public, has got to be at the heart of any proposals for change.

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Commons Hansard
13 Jul 2009

Repossession Orders

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps his Department is taking to provide security of tenure to tenants resident in properties subject to repossession proceedings. [286245]

Mr. Ian Austin, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Communities and Local Government: We announced on 13 May 2009 our intention to legislate at the earliest opportunity to fill a gap in legal protection for private tenants whose landlords are repossessed to ensure that those tenants get adequate notice to vacate the property, regardless of whether their tenancy has been authorised by the landlord's lender.

We will consult on our proposals over the summer 2009 with a view to legislate at the next opportunity.

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Commons Hansard
9 Jul 2009

Pleural Plaques - statement

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): In response to two questions from hon. Members yesterday, the Leader of the House became the latest in a long list of Ministers to support the case for compensation for pleural plaque sufferers. However, she did not answer the question whether there would be a statement in the next two weeks. Will there will be a statement in the next six days, before any more suffering takes place?

Ms Harriet Harman, Leader of the House of Commons: I am afraid I cannot give an exact answer to my hon. Friend, but I shall discuss the issue further with the Justice Secretary.

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Commons Hansard
9 Jul 2009

Underground gasification

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I am sure that the Secretary of State is aware of the tremendous opportunities to exploit the coal reserves on the North-East coast, particularly by using the underground gasification method. Will he support the moves and request by the North-East to set up a strategic environmental assessment as a matter of urgency?

Edward Miliband, Secretary of State, Department for Energy and Climate Change: My hon. Friend's question follows up on an interesting visit I made to his constituency to meet the wide range of representatives that he gathered to discuss underground coal gasification technology. We want to move forward on that, so we will obviously come back to his group in order to do so.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jul 2009

Probation: Finance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) when he expects to announce the re-adjusted funding formula for the Probation Service; [277745]

(2) what the re-adjusted funding formula is for the distribution of probation area budgets. [277746]

Maria Eagle, Minister of State, Ministry of Justice and Government Equalities Office: The funding formula for the distribution of probation area budgets remains in place, and the 2009-10 budget allocation process was based primarily on the 2008-09 outturns calculated using this formula.

In 2009-10, the National Probation Service is required to make efficiency savings of £20 million gross in line with the wider Ministry of Justice efficiency programme. But taking account of a £17 million underspend in 2008-09 the net saving will be £3 million. Allocating these savings requirements according to the traditional funding formula would have had a disproportionate impact on some areas. A number of additional factors were therefore taken into account including convictions data, current and past financial performance, externally verified savings potential, and the need to avoid radical budget shifts in any one area.

Final decisions on how to allocate probation area budgets for 2010-11 and subsequent years will not be finalised until there is a definitive budget for the service as a whole for those years.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jul 2009

Local government workers

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): All Members must regret the fact that workers throughout the country are suffering job cuts, pay cuts and short-time working, but does the Secretary of State agree that that should not be used as a reason or excuse to cut the terms and conditions of local government workers?

Mr. John Denham, Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government: I want to pay tribute to local government workers for the job they do, as I was also able to do at the Local Government Association conference last week. Local government workers are in discussions with their employers, the local authorities, at the moment. Those discussions have to take place in the light of the three-year financial settlement and the expectations of council tax payers for reasonable settlements. I certainly regard the job that local government workers do as essential, and I believe that the rising public appreciation of local services that we have seen in recent surveys is down to their efforts and their commitment.

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Commons Hansard
1 Jul 2009

East Coast Main Line - public ownership

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): May I suggest to the Minister that the only thing that has happened in the past two years is that costs have gone up and services have gone down? The only people to come out of this with any real respect are the staff, who have tried to hold the service together. Will he ensure that when he talks to people, he asks the staff and their unions what they want to see? They will say that they want public railways in this country, and they will be right.

Mr. Sadiq Khan, Minister of State, Department for Transport: I thank my hon. Friend for what he says about the staff. The railways employ more than 2,000 staff - very good staff who do an invaluable job in ensuring that the trains run well. I can assure him that we will include the staff when we speak to stakeholders to ensure that we get the best deal possible, not only for passengers and taxpayers but for staff.

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Commons Hansard
29 Jun 2009

Aviation: Disabled

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport pursuant to the answer of 5 May 2009, Official Report, column 21W, on aviation: disabled, if he will seek discussions with the European Commission to reduce or end restrictions and extra charges by airlines on passengers who require supplementary oxygen. [281317]

Paul Clark, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: European Regulation 1107/2006 on the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air does not impose specific obligations to carry or provide oxygen in the cabin. The Department for Transport has raised the issue of carriage of medical oxygen with the European Commission at a recent meeting of national enforcement bodies for Regulation 1107/2006.

The Commission is due to review the regulation in 2010. To help the air transport industry to comply with its obligations under the regulation, the Department has published an updated version of its code of practice 'Access to Air Travel for Disabled Persons and Persons with Reduced Mobility'. The code includes a section on oxygen which advises that air carriers may approve the carriage of small gaseous oxygen or air cylinders required for medical use, but notes that carriers will wish to ensure that these do not pose a risk to security. The code also recommends that portable oxygen concentrator devices should normally be allowed if battery powered. Where air carriers wish to supply medical oxygen to passengers on request, the code acknowledges that it would be possible to make a charge for this service to cover the provision of the oxygen.

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Commons Hansard
26 Jun 2009

Industrial Diseases: Compensation

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the average sum agreed in settlement was for (a) vibration white finger and (b) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease claims submitted by the 10 solicitors firms with the greatest number of claims for each condition under the Coal Miners Compensation Scheme. [282810]

Mr. David Kidney, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Energy and Climate Change: The average settlement for Vibration White Finger (VWF) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) by the 10 claimants' representatives who have submitted the greatest number of claims is shown in the following tables as at 21 June 2009.

COPD
Solicitor Total claims Total claims settled by payment Average damages paid on claims settled by payment (£)
Beresfords Solicitors 80,817 62,425 2,559
Thompsons Solicitors 58,133 45,600 9,202
Hugh James 56,811 42,214 7,261
Raleys Solicitors 48,914 35,591 5,990
Browell Smith and Co 32,998 24,962 6,538
Avalon Solicitors 32,413 19,354 2,375
Mark Gilbert Morse 25,721 20,641 7,535
Union of Democratic Mineworkers 16,586 13,794 3,097
Barber and Co 14,090 11,494 2,832
Watson Burton LLP 14,072 12,482 4,346

VWF
Solicitor Total claims Total claims settled by payment Average damages paid on claims settled by payment (£)
Thompsons Solicitors 21,231 16,997 16,379
Browell Smith and Co 16,462 11,957 10,854
Beresfords Solicitors 11,619 7,251 10,399
Union of Democratic Mineworkers 11,520 9,946 10,607
Raleys Solicitors 11,279 9,968 12,405
Hugh James 10,637 8,552 11,319
Graysons Solicitors 8,700 7,201 15,537
Moss Solicitors 7,398 5,031 10,514
Watson Burton LLP 5,935 5,066 17,106
Towells Solicitors 5,368 4,219 12,468

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Commons Hansard
24 Jun 2009

Disability Discrimination Act

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what assessment he has made of progress towards compliance with the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act in respect of accessibility by persons with disabilities (a) to buses by 2017 and (b) to rail vehicles by 2020; and if he will make a statement. [281824]

Mr. Sadiq Khan, Minister of State, Department for Transport: The Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000 require all buses and coaches both old and new to comply with the provisions of Disability Discrimination Act 1995, from 2015 through to 2017 for buses, and from 2020 for coaches. Buses used on local services have been steadily becoming more accessible. In 2008 (the latest statistics available), around 62 per cent. of the bus fleet meet low floor and accessibility requirements.

Almost 5000 rail vehicles (including 42 per cent. of the national train fleet) are in service, having been built to modern access standards. Furthermore, almost all older rail vehicles have featured increased accessibility as they have undergone refurbishment.

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Commons Hansard
24 Jun 2009

Aviation: Fees and Charges

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what recent representations his Department has received on (a) restrictions imposed and (b) charges levied by airlines on passengers who require supplementary oxygen when travelling by air. [281822]

Paul Clark, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: The Department for Transport has received some 130 letters about the carriage of oxygen. European Regulation 1107/2006 on the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air does not impose specific obligations on airlines to carry or provide oxygen in the cabin. Where air carriers do supply medical oxygen to passengers on request, it is possible to make a charge for this service. However, many airlines including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, EasyJet and Flybe allow passengers to use their own oxygen and their own Portable Oxygen Concentrator free of charge. It is important that passengers know airlines' charging policies before choosing which carrier to fly with.

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Commons Hansard
23 Jun 2009

Railways: Hearing Impaired

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what steps his Department has taken to make railway stations accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people in the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [281698]

Chris Mole, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: Since 2006 around £12.4 million has been offered from the Access for All Small Schemes Fund for projects at stations benefiting deaf and hard of hearing people. These have included induction loops at 317 stations, new customer information systems at 146 stations, improved signage at 198 stations, help points at 404 stations and information boards and screens at 39 stations.

Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what steps his Department has taken to encourage rail franchisees to make services accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people in the last five years. [281699]

Chris Mole: All rail franchisees are required to have a Disabled Persons' Protection Policy, which sets out how they will assist disabled passenger to use their services. This includes commitments that all on-train and station passenger information systems will give both aural and visual information where possible, including ad hoc announcements about service delays. In addition, pre-booked assistance lines are required to have a minicom or textphone number available.

Any new or upgraded infrastructure at stations must comply with "Accessible Train and Station Design for Disabled people: A Code of Practice", which includes the provision of proper signage and induction loops. All customer facing staff are also required to receive disability awareness training which includes how to assist deaf or hard of hearing passengers.

Since 1998, all new trains have been required to meet modern accessibility standards, which rail franchisees also use as the appropriate standard when undertaking major refurbishment work to older vehicles. Almost 5000 new trains now meet the standards, which include requirements for audio and visual passenger information systems, and door controls that are illuminated when they are operable. Last year, the Government set 1 January 2020 as the date by which time the entire national rail fleet must be accessible.

The winner of the new South Central franchise has also committed to monitor the success of its assisted passengers reservation system, which enables customers to book staff assistance before travelling.

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Commons Hansard
23 Jun 2009

House of Commons - Trades Unions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The Leader of the House said that she would work closely and sympathetically with a new, independent authority on the future of our staff, but surely the people who need to be looked after closely and sympathetically are those staff and their trade unions. The best thing the House authorities could do is recognise the independent trade unions, which they will not do at the moment.

The Leader of the House of Commons (Ms Harriet Harman): The House authorities do recognise the trade unions of people who are directly employed by the House, but there are different issues for staff who are employed by Members. However, I think that some discussions are going on, and it ought to be possible to make progress on that, too.

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Commons Hansard
22 Jun 2009

Equitable Life

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to respond to the Report of the Select Committee on Public Administration on Equitable Life. [281111]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry, Parliamentary Secretary, HM Treasury: The Government responded to the Committee's report on 19 May.

Mr. Dave Anderson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to respond to the most recent report of the Parliamentary Ombudsman on Equitable Life. [281114]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Government regret that the parliamentary ombudsman felt it was necessary to lay her further report but stands by the response to her main report it made on 15 January 2009. The Government are now working to deliver the ex gratia payments scheme it has announced as quickly as possible.

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Commons Hansard
18 Jun 2009

Blaydon Dairy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I thank the Secretary of State for his intervention last week on behalf of the Blaydon dairy in my constituency. I am worried that some of the work force believe that one reason the finance package did not hold together was that it would take four weeks to set up a bank account. Was my right hon. Friend aware of that and, if not, will he try to find out about the situation for me?

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Hilary Benn): I shall do my best to get hold of further information. In the end, if a management buy-out is to be successful, finance is required. I thought that it was right to try to buy a little time - that was why I took the decision with One NorthEast - and I am sorry that that has not proved possible.

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Commons Hansard
17 Jun 2009

Skill Levels

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to increase skills levels amongst 18 to 24 year-olds. [278331]

Kevin Brennan, Minister of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families: We now have the highest-ever level of young adults participating in learning. We are taking a joined-up approach across government to ensure that all young adults have the skills they need to obtain a meaningful job with prospects.

Young adults up to the age of 25 are entitled to provision leading up to and including a full Level 3 qualification, which can be taken up through a wide range of learning provision. We are also widening participation in higher education, to ensure that all those with the potential and merit to benefit from HE are able and willing to do so.

Government have rescued and expanded apprenticeships over the last 10 years. We are providing over £1 billion of investment in apprenticeships for young people and adults in this financial year, supporting over 250,000 starts.

The Budget announced a guaranteed offer of pre-employment training places for young people age 18-24 who have been unemployed for 12 months. Over £120 million of new money will be available in England and the whole package is worth £1.7 billion. £83 million is also available to fund an extra 75,000 new work-focused training opportunities for those who have been unemployed for six months or more.

Young people over 18 on out-of-work benefits are already subject to conditionality, and we are working with the Department for Work and Pensions to deliver an integrated employment and skills service so that those on benefits will be given extra help to gain the skills they need and to find work. The service includes early skills screening of 18 to 24-year-olds, piloting of mandatory skills health checks, as well as basic skills and job-focused provision. We are also creating a new adult advancement and careers service offering information, advice and guidance.

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Commons Hansard
11 Jun 2009

Dairy Closure

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): On Tuesday, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs issued a written statement about the situation facing Dairy Farmers of Britain, in which he guaranteed that all parties would work together to try to minimise the impact of the closures taking place and the demise of dairy farms. The regional development agency, the banks and the local work force are working together to try to avoid the closure of a dairy in my Blaydon constituency, which could happen tonight. The one group that it is not doing its bit is the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Please can we have what the Secretary of State offered: an updated statement to the House as the situation develops? Please will the Leader of the House pass that message on to DEFRA from me?

The Leader of the House of Commons (Ms Harriet Harman): I know that this issue demands urgent attention, and the points that my hon. Friend makes are very forceful. This needs to be looked at right away, but there will, of course, be an opportunity to discuss these matters when there is a general debate on food and farming next Thursday.

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Commons Hansard
10 Jun 2009

Co-operation and Competition Panel

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Co-operation and Competition Panel in ensuring that co-operation has been taken into account when assessing the public and patient interest; and if he will make a statement. [278158]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Cooperation and Competition Panel (the Panel)'s remit is to advise as to compliance with the 'Principles and Rules for Cooperation and Competition' (PRCC), in individual cases. The PRCC set out expected behaviours and rules governing co-operation and competition in the provision of national health service services. Copies of the PRCC have been placed in the Library and the document is available at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_081098

The Panel opened for referral of cases on 30 January 2009 and consulted publicly on draft guidelines for its operations.

A review of the Panel will be carried out after its first year of operation. This summer, however, the Department will review the PRCC and promoting co-operation will be a key focus for the review.

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Commons Hansard
9 Jun 2009

Youth Unemployment

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what fiscal measures his Department has put in place to reduce the unemployment rate for 18 to 24 year olds. [278330]

Kitty Ussher, Treasury Minister: The Government are committed to giving everyone the support they need to find employment as quickly as possible, whatever their age.

On 6 April 2009, as part of the Government's response to the economic downturn, Government put in place a package of support available to anyone unemployed for more than six months, including a recruitment subsidy of £1,000 for employers that recruit those in receipt of JSA for six months or more. Government also launched extra support for newly unemployed customers including one-to-one advice and coaching, and a quadrupling of funding for the Rapid Response Service.

Funding was provided in the Budget for a guaranteed offer of a job, work-focused training, or work experience for at least six months for all 18 to 24-year-olds who have been claiming JSA for 12 months. This offer will consist of:

The guarantee will come into effect from January 2010, with some jobs available as early as October 2009.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2009

Probation Officers

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department is taking to ensure that trainee probation officers due to qualify in September 2009 are offered jobs in the Probation Service. [277747]

Mr. Hanson, Minister of State, Ministry of Justice: There are 556 trainee probation officers (TPOs) due to complete the Diploma in Probation Studies in September 2009. A recent survey of the 42 probation areas, who are the employers, has shown that it is too soon to be certain how many of these graduates will be offered jobs in the Probation Service.

The regional directors of Offender Management have been asked to review the position of their local Probation Boards and Trusts to ensure that decisions about TPO employment are based on credible workforce plans that take full account of the staffing requirements of the next three years within the region and elsewhere in the country.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2009

Health Services: Conditions of Employment

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultation with (a) all staff and (b) trade unions has taken place in primary care trusts on the transfer of community services; and if he will make a statement. [278159]

Phil Hope, Minister of State, Department of Health: There were two meetings nationally with the trades union representatives of national health service staff about the "Transforming Community Services: Enabling new patterns of provision" guidance, which was published in January 2009. A copy has been placed in the Library. These meetings were held on 18 November and 8 December 2008, and comments and contributions from those present influenced significantly the content of the final guidance. The union representatives were a sub-group of members of the Social Partnership Forum, and they discussed the potential implications for NHS staff. NHS clinical staff and trade union representatives are also members of the board for the Transforming Community Services programme.

The six transformational practice guides (written principally for clinical team leaders), which are due to be published in June 2009, have also been co-produced with NHS staff.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2009

Energy: Meters

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will have discussions with smaller energy suppliers on their practice in introducing smart meters at minimal cost to consumers. [278160]

Mr. Mike O'Brien, Minister of State, Department for Energy and Climate Change: The Government published a consultation on smart metering for electricity and gas on 11 May 2009 (available on the open consultations section of the DECC website). We look forward to receiving contributions to this consultation and we will engage with a wide range of stakeholders to gather views throughout the consultation period.

Mr. Dave Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will bring forward legislative proposals to restrict to a minimum the cost to consumers of the introduction of smart meters. [278161]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government published a consultation on smart metering for electricity and gas on 11 May 2009 (available on the open consultations section of the DECC website). The consultation document includes discussion of the programme of work that will be needed to prepare for the roll out of smart meters. There will be a substantial programme to complete, including consideration of the most appropriate regulatory framework.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2009

A1: Gateshead

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is planning to take to reduce traffic delays on the A1 Western Bypass in Gateshead; and if he will make a statement. [278157]

Paul Clark, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: The Department for Transport and the Highways Agency are continuing work on options to address traffic pressures on the A1 Western Bypass in Gateshead, including consideration of major improvements and possible "quick wins". In taking this work forward the Highways Agency is also liaising with officers from both Gateshead and Newcastle councils, mindful of possible complementary measures that may be introduced following Tyne and Wear region's earlier 'People in Motion' study.

In addition a number of smaller scale operational improvements are planned including improvements to signalisation, road markings, signing, slip roads, safety barriers and driver information.

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Commons Hansard
2 Jun 2009

Income Tax: Tax Rates and Bands

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the number of people who have not been fully compensated for losses they incurred as a result of the abolition of the 10 pence tax rate; [277668]

(2) what plans he has to provide further recompense to people who have not been fully compensated for losses they incurred as a result of the removal of the 10 pence tax rate. [277669]

Mr. Timms, Financial Secretary, HM Treasury: An assessment of the impact of the Budget 2007 personal tax changes, and the subsequent reforms made to income tax, were included in the 2008 pre-Budget report at paragraph 5.10.

The Government have set out, in the 2008 pre-Budget report and Budget 2009, the changes that it will make to the personal tax system through to 2011-12.

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Commons Hansard
2 Jun 2009

Cancer Survivors

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this timely debate. A group called Fighting Against Cancer Together - FACT - has been set up in my constituency. It consists of three women who have all survived cancer - Leslie Shaw, Judith Williamson and Joanne Smith - and who felt exactly how my hon. Friend described. They felt isolated, and they did not know what to do or understand the language being used. However, together they have set up this group to encourage other people and say, "Look, we are here to help." Next week, as part of their work, they will visit a school to teach young kids about cancer and the dangers of sunburn. Such grass-roots work is really important.

Laura Moffatt: I am delighted to have taken that intervention, because I know of such groups around the country. When I first raised this debate, I was inundated with e-mails from many different organisations, and I am so pleased to hear about FACT. I want to convey what such organisations have been doing. It is the same for survivors of children's cancer, too. Some amazing work is being done to help children get over that process. However, in the short time available to me, it is important to concentrate on some of the physical and emotional problems that come from particular treatments of cancers in the abdominal area.

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Commons Hansard
21 May 2009

Asbestos-related diseases

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Yesterday a petition signed by 22,500 people was taken to No. 10 Downing street asking the Department of Health and the Government to set up a national centre for asbestos-related diseases. Can we have a debate in this House about how we can improve the care given to people suffering from asbestos-related diseases, particularly those who have been criminally and negligently exposed to asbestos at work?

Ms Harriet Harman, Leader of the House of Commons: Perhaps that should be the subject of a Westminster Hall debate. It is an important issue not only for the Department of Health but for ministerial colleagues with health and safety responsibilities at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. I will ask them to write to my hon. Friend.

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Commons Hansard
18 May 2009

Train to Gain

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The Secretary of State has referred to the policy vacuum in the Conservative party. What does he think are the party's plans for the 22,000 union learning reps or the 250,000 learners who went to learn at work last year? Does he think that it has any plans for them?

The Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Mr. John Denham): As far as I know, the Conservatives are completely silent on the issue. On Friday I presented certificates to learners at the town depot union learning centre in Southampton, in my constituency, and everyone there was well aware that it was the Government who had invested in union learning reps and made it possible for so many people to learn.

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Commons Hansard
12 May 2009

Hospital Laundry

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The Secretary of State will recall that I raised with him on previous questions the decision of Newcastle laundries. Newcastle hospital pulled out of a laundry contract involving the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Gateshead. I thank my right hon. Friend for the response from his office, but it was based solely on information from the Newcastle side. The Queen Elizabeth side is very concerned because Newcastle is saying that it can save 35 per cent. of the cost and Gateshead is putting the figure at more like 1 per cent. Will the Secretary of State meet me and representatives from the hospital as a matter of urgency to try and work this out?

The Secretary of State for Health (Alan Johnson): I am grateful to my hon. Friend for writing to me, following the last Health questions. I wrote to him earlier today about this. The local health trust says that giving this contract - [Interruption.] Postmen can deliver very quickly. The gloriously named Sunlight Laundry, which will take over this project, can do everything being done at the moment but at a lower price. I am sure that it does not want its dirty linen to be washed in public, so what I have done in my letter to my hon. Friend is to offer a meeting with the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Ann Keen). I hope that it can take place shortly.

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Commons Hansard
7 May 2009

Royal Mail: VAT

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the implications for Royal Mail of the recent European Court of Justice ruling on value added tax liabilities; and if he will make a statement. [273170]

Stephen Timms, Financial Secretary, HM Treasury: The Government welcome the Court's confirmation that postal services provided by Royal Mail, as the only UK universal service provider, will continue to be exempt from VAT. HM Revenue and Customs are considering the implications of the judgement in detail.

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Commons Hansard
5 May 2009

Housing: Low Incomes

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to provide advice on buy and let back schemes to those home owners experiencing financial difficulties. [269994]

Margaret Beckett, Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government: We are a taking a range of actions to provide advice to homeowners who may be considering entering private sale and rent back (SRB) arrangements.

Last year we published a consumer advice leaflet with the National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS), "Are you worried about your mortgage? Get advice now". The leaflet highlighted the risks associated with signing up to SRB schemes 'that appear too good to be true' and was widely disseminated throughout England via MPs' offices, local authorities and advice agencies. As part of the Mortgage Pre-Action Protocol the NHAS leaflet must be sent to homeowners threatened with repossession.

A revised leaflet was issued in January 2009 highlighting the Government's Mortgage Rescue scheme (MRS), which offers households a 'Government Mortgage to Rent' option. This provides greater protection to "vulnerable" households (families with dependent children, or those containing elderly, ill or disabled people, who can no longer afford their repayments and who would be legally entitled to homelessness assistance if repossessed) targeted by SRB companies by allowing households to sell their property at market value to a housing association and becoming tenants of the housing association - initially on a three-year assured shorthold tenancy - paying an intermediate rent.

We have worked closely with stakeholders to raise awareness among local authority officers of the need to ensure the risks associated with SRBs are well understood by all parties.

We have also published information about the need for households at risk of repossession to be aware of SRB schemes and seek advice from an independent adviser on the Direct Gov website as part of the Government's 'Real help now' campaign.

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Commons Hansard
5 May 2009

Reoffending

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Given what the Secretary of State has just said, what would he advise me to tell the people who work in the probation service in the North-East? How are they supposed to improve reoffending rates if, because of deficit cuts, they lose £1.6 million this year and £4.2 million in 2012, and do not employ the 24 trainee probation officers who have been trained over the last three years, at a cost of £2.5 million to the public purse? Surely that cannot be correct?

The Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Mr. Jack Straw): My colleagues and I are always happy to see my hon. Friend - and, if necessary, a delegation from Northumbria probation service - about their concerns. The probation service has had a 70 per cent. real-terms increase in funding in the last 12 years, compared with an increase of just over 50 per cent. in its case load, so it has had substantial additional resources. We are seeking to end the situation in which some of those resources have gone on unnecessary layers of middle management. Given the overall levels of funding, we are in no doubt that front-line delivery of probation services can be continued at its current level.

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Commons Hansard
28 Apr 2009

Conservative employment policy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The hon. Member for Broxbourne (Mr. Walker) asks, from a sedentary position, who writes this stuff. [about Conservative employment policy in the previous recessions.] I do not know who wrote it, but people such as me lived through it.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (James Purnell): It was because of the decisions of the party of the hon. Member for Broxbourne (Mr. Walker) that far more people were put out of work than ever needed to be - I shall give way to him.

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Commons Hansard
27 Apr 2009

School Meals

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps he is taking to promote the take-up of school meals. [270749]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Children, Schools and Families: The School Food Trust's Million Meals campaign is at the forefront of its work and, in addition, it is taking forward targeted activities at local authority and school level. In 2009-10, it will be working with Government offices to develop regional strategies to increase take-up.

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Commons Hansard
27 Apr 2009

Housing: Low Incomes

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what regulations govern the provision of domestic properties via property purchase-and-rent-back schemes. [270350]

Ian Pearson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform and Economic Secretary, HM Treasury: I have been asked to reply.

Sale and rent back agreements are not currently regulated. On 6 February 2009, the Government published a consultation document, proposing that companies offering sale and rent back agreements are brought within the scope of Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulation. The consultation will close on 1 May 2009. It is available at:

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

The FSA has published a separate consultation alongside on the detail of its proposed new regime, available at:

http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Library/Policy/CP/2009/09_06.shtml

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Commons Hansard
23 Apr 2009

Housing Benefit

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons those renting a property which they have previously owned are not normally eligible for housing benefit. [269993]

Kitty Ussher, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions: The exclusion rules concerning previously owned properties are intended to ensure that individuals do not benefit from housing benefit in circumstances that have been contrived in order to take advantage of the system. Help is however provided to those who satisfy the local authority that they could not have continued to live in the property without selling it.

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Commons Hansard
22 Apr 2009

Railways

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will take steps to ensure that Network Rail does not defer essential renewal work; [268666]

(2) if he will take steps to ensure there is no reduction in the frequency of signal maintenance on railway lines; [268667]

(3) if he will take steps to ensure that there is no reduction in the frequency of rail track inspections. [268668]

Paul Clark, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: These are operational matters for Network Rail as it aims to deliver the value for money needed to meet the output and efficiency targets for maintenance and renewal of the national network over the next five years of Control Period 4, set by the Office of Rail Regulation. Details of these targets can be found in "Periodic review 2008 - Determination of Network Rail's outputs and funding for 2009-14". As the industry economic and safety regulator, the Office of Rail Regulation will independently monitor the work.

Network Rail has announced that it will be investing almost £4 billion on an intensive track renewals programme to further improve the network between 2009-14. Total outputs will remain as previously planned, though phasing adjustments in the early part of the five-year period will result in less track renewal work in 2009-10 to allow time for new, more efficient working practices to take effect. Network Rail has made clear that only non-critical work will be deferred.

Network Rail's decision relates solely to track renewals. The company has assured the Department for Transport that maintenance and track inspections will not be affected.

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Commons Hansard
22 Apr 2009

Home Care Services: Standards

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent steps he has taken to ensure that levels of care users of domiciliary care support services receive are consistent with the standard set by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [270349]

Phil Hope, Minister of State, Department of Health: The new integrated regulator of health and adult social care, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), took over from the Commission for Social Care Inspection, the Healthcare Commission and the Mental Health Act Commission on 1 April 2009.

CQC is responsible for registering and inspecting all providers of domiciliary care. It has a wide range of enforcement powers under the Care Standards Act 2000. These include issuing notices requiring improvement within a specified time period, prosecuting providers for failing to provide proper care and even closing down a provider by cancelling its registration.

From 2010, CQC will be introducing a new system of registration under the Health and Social Care Act 2008. This will give it additional powers to fine providers and suspend those which are not providing acceptable levels of care.

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Commons Hansard
20 Apr 2009

Rail infrastructure projects

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to bring forward capital expenditure on rail infrastructure projects. [268670]

Paul Clark, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: Capital expenditure on rail infrastructure projects is primarily the responsibility of Network Rail which is funded in accordance with the Office of Rail Regulation's determination of its income requirement. This income requirement is derived from the outputs set out in the High Level Output Specification set out by the Government in its White Paper - Delivering a Sustainable Railway.

We are also bringing forward around £300 million for an additional 202 train carriages to relieve overcrowding, pursuant to the previously announced High Level Output Specification. The trains are due to enter service by 2012 subject to negotiations with train operators.

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Commons Hansard
20 Apr 2009

Hillsborough

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): May I return to the topic of Hillsborough? Ten years ago I worked with trade unionists in Liverpool to support people who had gone through that trauma, and the fact that they are still seeking justice 10 years on beggars belief. I congratulate the Secretary of State and his colleagues on the work that they have done, but let me tell the Secretary of State very clearly that what is being done now may well not be enough. Will he undertake to work closely with support groups and families to ensure that the truth comes out?

Andy Burnham, Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media & Sport: I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for the work that he has done to support those families. As I said to my hon. Friend the Member for Halton (Derek Twigg), I was at the other semi-final on that terrible day, and I shall never forget seeing the news of six dead at Hillsborough on the score board at Villa Park. Our delight turned to despair as we thought of friends at the other ground, and of what they were going through.

Those events are still unbearably difficult to deal with, but we must now finally answer questions that are still unanswered, and ensure full disclosure. It is important for us to uncover the full picture. Obviously that may resurrect difficult and painful issues, but judging by the public comment and debate of recent days, I think that the mood in the country is very much in favour of a process that will enable us finally to answer the questions raised by that terrible day, to ensure that it never happens again, and to bring some - I emphasise the word "some" - respite to families who, while suffering terrible indignities and injustices down the years, have conducted themselves with enormous dignity at all times.

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Commons Hansard
2 Apr 2009

Small Businesses: Finance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department is taking to monitor the interest rates charged to small businesses on loans guaranteed under the enterprise finance guarantee scheme. [264953]

Ian Pearson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform and Economic Secretary, HM Treasury: As with a commercial loan, any interest rates charged by the lenders in connection with an EFG loan is a matter for the lenders. However, there are currently 26 approved EFG lenders and borrowers are advised to 'shop around' for the best deal available.

The Small Business Finance Forum comprising of UK's high street banks and SME representative groups agreed the establishment of a SME monitoring panel which monitors the availability, risk and overall cost of SME lending across the five major banks.

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Commons Hansard
2 Apr 2009

Railways

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to ensure that Network Rail maintains its expenditure levels on track and overhead line renewals. [268669]

Paul Clark, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: Determining the appropriate level of expenditure on track and overhead line renewals is a matter for Network Rail and the independent Office of Rail Regulation. The Office of Rail Regulation's document, "Periodic review 2008 - Determination of Network Rail's outputs and funding for 2009-14", assesses the expenditure that Network Rail will need to undertake in 2009-14 on track and overhead line renewals as £3,869 million and £182 million respectively (both in 2006-07 prices).

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Commons Hansard
24 Mar 2009

Hospital Laundry

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Will the Secretary of State look into the situation where Newcastle hospitals have withdrawn from the joint partnership on laundry services with the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Gateshead in my constituency? They are now transporting laundry to Leicester - 364 miles there and back. That is a ridiculous thing to do when the cost of the contract is exactly the same.

The Secretary of State for Health (Alan Johnson): At face value, that seems rather strange, environmentally as well as financially. If my hon. Friend contacts me about the matter, I would be willing to look into it.

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Commons Hansard
24 Mar 2009

Autism

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to improve its services to people with autism. [265625]

Phil Hope, Minister of State, Department of Health: In April, we will publish good practice guidance on commissioning for the NHS and local authorities and launch consultation on a new national strategy for autism with the aim of publishing the final strategy by December. We will ensure the needs of children with autism are addressed in Children and Young People's Plans.

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Commons Hansard
23 Mar 2009

Blacklisting (Construction Industry)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Does my hon. Friend agree that those two bodies [CBI and the Engineering Employers Federation] epitomise what is wrong with this country? There is absolutely no level playing field. If this had been the other way round, and trade unions were restricting their trade, they would have been up before a High Court judge.

Mr. Clapham: I could not agree more with my hon. Friend’s point.

I welcome the Department’s statement of intention to review whether to use its powers if there were compelling evidence that blacklisting were being used. What could be more compelling than the evidence produced by the Information Commissioner? It has shown clearly that bodies such as the Consulting Association are involved in blacklisting. Some time ago, we thought that the Economic League and the Freedom Association had disappeared and that this kind of thing no longer happened, but the evidence clearly shows that it is happening.

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Commons Hansard
20 Mar 2009

Cycling

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to implement Cycle to Work schemes for staff working in his Department and its agencies. [263932]

Jonathan Shaw, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions: The Department now has in place arrangements to make financial support available to staff working in the Department and its agencies who wish to cycle to work.

These arrangements make it possible for staff to purchase a cycle and the necessary safety equipment through a salary advance scheme. This arrangement can provide an interest-free advance of their salary so they can purchase the cycle and safety equipment of their choice. In addition staff can also use the Department’s staff benefits scheme, which provides the opportunity for staff to purchase the cycle and safety equipment at a significant discount from a choice of three retail outlets.

These arrangements are comparable to Cycle to Work schemes being operated in a number of organisations and are also viewed as being of better value in support of the Department’s staff who wish to cycle to work.

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Commons Hansard
17 Mar 2009

Financial Services: Elderly

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how his Department plans to increase access for older people to information on financial matters; [255761]

(2) what steps he is taking to improve his Department’s financial advice for older people; [255771]

(3) if his Department will provide support for voluntary sector initiatives which promote financial education amongst older people; [255763]

(4) what assessment he has made of whether improving financial literacy amongst older people would contribute to tackling poverty and promoting well-being under Public Service Agreement 17. [255762]

Ms Rosie Winterton, Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions: The Department provides directly, or supports the provision of, information on financial matters through a range of initiatives. All of these benefit older people, and some are designed specifically for them. All of this activity contributes to the goal, encapsulated in PSA 17, to tackle poverty and promote greater independence and well-being in later life, although no quantitative assessment of the impact of financial literacy on these outcomes has been made.

First, through the ‘Now Let’s Talk Money campaign’, the Department has engaged with many partner organisations and forged links with over 4,000 intermediary organisations. One contract was awarded to encourage advice agencies and credit unions to target older people, whilst also encouraging older people to take up the advice which is available.

The Department is also working closely with HM Treasury and the Financial Services Authority on the Money Guidance pathfinder that will launch later this spring in the north-west and North-East of England and will provide impartial financial guidance to up to 750,000 people in these regions. The guidance will be delivered by telephone, face to face, and on the internet. Face to face provision will be delivered by a range of partners, including third sector organisations.

The pathfinder will be supported by The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS), an independent body that provides information and guidance across the full range of pensions issues. TPAS is funded by the Department. Its running costs are then recovered from the general levy on pensions schemes.

Further information on pensions, and saving for later life will be provided through the comprehensive communication strategy that the Department is developing to support the introduction of pension reforms that will extend the opportunity of workplace pension saving to millions, many for the first time. This effort will draw on lessons learned from the Pensions Education Fund - a three-year UK-wide initiative using third sector organisations to test approaches, in a workplace setting, to provide information on saving for retirement. It involved a series of 26 pilot projects, 10 of which include older people aged 50 years or more in their target group.

The Pension, Disability and Carers’ Service provides older people with essential information on their entitlement to pensions and related benefits in later life. Its Local Service visits approximately 13,000 older customers each week, providing a holistic financial assessment and benefit service targeted at vulnerable older people. It delivers direct access and assistance to customers so that they receive benefits and services, promoting their independence and security. Information and guidance is also available through the Pension, Disability and Carers’ Service contact centres and websites, on Directgov, and in leaflet form. Services on offer include the forecasting of state pension entitlement, based on an individual’s contributions record, and the tracing of lost private pensions.

Download Dave's advice leaflet here (PDF 1.03MB)

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Commons Hansard
16 Mar 2009

Gateshead JobCentre Plus

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Although I am not in any way downgrading the extent of the recent problems, one of the positive things happening in Gateshead is that Jobcentre Plus is working very closely with the local council, the local college and the regional development agency. Is that being replicated across the country, and do we have enough resources to make sure that jobcentres can work with these people to try to limit the damage?

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (James Purnell): Yes, that absolutely is happening around the country, and where we have funding that we can devote to, for example, training people before they are employed, we are keen to do that and to expand it. Indeed, the regional Ministers, of whom the Department for Work and Pensions is blessed with three, are playing a key role in making sure that exactly that integration is happening in regions around the country.

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Commons Hansard
12 Mar 2009

National Flood Forum

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will take steps to ensure the continuation of the National Flood Forum. [262720]

Huw Irranca-Davies, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: The National Flood Forum (NFF) has an important role in providing an independent national voice for those at risk of flooding and we are keen to see it continue. Since its creation the NFF has received significant core funding from the Environment Agency, using DEFRA grant in aid. This has gradually been scaled back since 2004 to allow the NFF to become more independent. However, DEFRA has continued to fund the NFF to undertake specific projects and to support its general stakeholder role. The Environment Agency has also continued to fund NFF on a project by project basis.

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Commons Hansard
10 Mar 2009

Social Security Benefits: Telephone Services

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons his Department does not provide (a) an income support, (b) an employment support allowance, (c) an incapacity benefit, (d) a winter fuel allowance and (e) a jobseeker’s allowance hotline for hon. Members. [253733]

Mr. Tony McNulty, Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions: Jobcentre Plus district managers should be in regular contact with their local MPs in order to offer the personal assistance they need. Jobcentre Plus district managers have been asked to write to their MPs to reinforce this offer of help. Any hon. Member with a query about any benefits should contact the Jobcentre Plus district manager who has overall responsibility for the service to local residents. This will give hon. Members effective support for a range of different queries.

The Pension, Disability and Carers Service provide a dedicated telephone service for the express use of Members of Parliament who require information on pensioner or disability and carer related matters.

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Commons Hansard
9 Mar 2009

Northern Ireland Peace Rallies

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The clear message today is that the people of Northern Ireland will be the ones who will send the clearest message that they will never, ever let these people take them back to where they want to go. Will the Secretary of State join me in welcoming the decision by the Northern Ireland committee of the Irish trade union movement to call a series of peace rallies with other non-Government organisations for Wednesday lunch time, and wish them well in asking as many people as possible to support those rallies?

Mr. Shaun Woodward, Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office: I thank my hon. Friend for his remarks, and join him in wishing the peace rallies on Wednesday every success as a show of solidarity with those who were murdered and those who were injured.

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Commons Hansard
6 Mar 2009

Biofuels

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he has taken in response to the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of OSS Group v. Environment Agency in relation to the burning of used cooking oil to generate electricity; and if he will make a statement. [256970]

Jane Kennedy, Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: DEFRA will shortly publish a consultation paper on draft guidance on the definition of waste. The draft guidance will set out DEFRA’s views on, among other things, the court’s judgement in the OSS case.

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Commons Hansard
4 Mar 2009

Carbon Emissions: Research

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what research his Department has (a) evaluated and (b) commissioned on the volume of carbon dioxide emitted from processes involving the use of indigenous deep-mined coal compared to similar processes involving the use of tar sands, shale and other unconventional oils. [247399]

Mr. Mike O’Brien, Minister of State, Department for Energy and Climate Change: The Government agrees with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its Fourth Assessment Report which shows that the emissions associated with extraction and conversion of these unconventional sources of energy are several times those associated with conventional sources of oil per unit of energy produced. The Government have not made an assessment of the volumes of carbon dioxide produced by processes involving unconventional sources of oil compared with indigenous coal.

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Commons Hansard
3 Mar 2009

Fuels: Prices

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of trends in the pump price of (a) liquefied petroleum gas and (b) other motor fuels in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [258687]

Mr. Mike O’Brien, Minister of State, Department for Energy and Climate Change: DECC does not hold disaggregated data on the retail price of liquid petroleum gas. Petrol and diesel prices are published weekly and are available at:

http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/energy/statistics/source/prices/page47818.html

A more extensive assessment can be found in DECC’s ‘Quarterly Energy Prices’ publication, which is available at:

http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/energy/statistics/publications/prices/index.html

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Commons Hansard
25 Feb 2009

Mineworkers' Pension Scheme

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will hold discussions with the trustees of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme on ways to improve benefits for scheme members. [245425]

Mr. Mike O’Brien, Minister of State, Department for Energy and Climate Change: An actuarial valuation of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme is being conducted at present. Should any surplus emerge, Ministers will discuss with the scheme trustees how they might use their share to improve members’ benefits.

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Commons Hansard
23 Feb 2009

Bank Services: Elderly

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on the needs of older people in the development of new payment methods and banking technology by banks; and if he will make a statement. [256268]

Ian Pearson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform and Economic Secretary, HM Treasury: The Treasury has received recent representation on this issue.

Decisions relating to the development of new payment methods and banking technologies are commercial ones. However, the Payments Council (the organisation that sets strategy for UK payments) is tasked to ensure that payment systems meet the needs of users, payment service providers and the wider economy.

The Government recognise that some groups still value certain methods of payments and continues to support customer choice, competition and efficiency in the payments market.

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Commons Hansard
23 Feb 2009

Borrowing: Elderly

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps he is taking to inform older people of the risks they incur through borrowing too much. [255764]

Mr. Gareth Thomas, Minister of State, Department for International Development and Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform: The Government fully recognise the risks for older people of borrowing too much, particularly for those on low incomes. The vast majority of older people have no debts and are able to manage their finances. However, we are aware that many older people struggle to meet the cost of day to day living, and that some have been borrowing to finance these costs.

The Government have invested considerable resource in debt advice over recent years. It has allocated £130 million to expand the provision of free debt advice for the financially excluded through the Financial Inclusion Fund. A further £15.85 million was allocated to support the National Debt Line and Citizen’s Advice in the last Pre-Budget Report. These services are targeted at the financially excluded, including older people in financial difficulty.

The Government have also undertaken a number of measures to strengthen signposting to debt advice services, including a Direct.Gov campaign. The Direct.Gov website provides links to Help the Aged, Age Concern and other organisations able to provide financial information to this vulnerable group.

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Commons Hansard
12 Feb 2009

Education Maintenance Allowance: Telephone Services

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the merits of establishing a dedicated telephone line for hon. Members to call regarding the education maintenance allowance. [256260]

Jim Knight, Minister of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families: My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, has given no consideration to establishing a dedicated telephone line for hon. Members to call regarding issues with the education maintenance allowance. issues that are raised directly with the Department for Children, Schools and Families by hon. Members are referred to the Learning and Skills Council. The Learning and Skills Council has operational responsibility for the education maintenance allowance.

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Commons Hansard
12 Feb 2009

New Trains (Investment)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I welcome this news, which stands in stark contrast to the do-nothing attitude of the Conservative party. May I point out to the Secretary of State, however, that high speed does not necessarily mean high quality? In the past year or two, the east coast line has seen job cuts resulting in reduced services for the people on board, so can we please be clear that, while high speed is good, other things also need to be put in place? Will he also have a word with National Express, which needs to get its act together?

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Geoffrey Hoon): Certainly, my emphasis has not been on speed itself, as I made clear in response to an earlier question. This is not simply about increasing the maximum speed; it is about improving reliability and efficiency and, crucially, about improving the experience of passengers in higher-quality vehicles. I therefore agree with, and welcome, my hon. Friend’s observation.

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Commons Hansard
11 Feb 2009

Royal Mail Partner

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Is the Minister seriously suggesting to us that industrial relations will improve if we have a deal with a private partner with a track record of being a strike-breaker and a scab?

Mr. Pat McFadden, Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform: If my hon. Friend is referring to the company that I think he is, he will find that it recognises trade unions and operates with them on a day-to-day basis. This is an important point. The idea that the industrial relations of the company are better as they are than they would be under a different arrangement does not bear comparison with the urgent need to improve industrial relations in this company.

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Commons Hansard
10 Feb 2009

Prison Service: Surveys

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will instruct the management of the Prison Service to allow the Prison Officers’ Association to conduct a ballot of its members in relation to the workforce management proposals. [255010]

David Hanson, Minister of State, Ministry of Justice: At their Special Delegates’ Conference, the Prisoner Officers’ Association called for a workplace ballot on the work force modernisation proposals. A timetable for this to take place has now been set and the ballot is due to take place between 8 and 18 February. It is anticipated that results will be known by the 20 February.

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Commons Hansard
10 Feb 2009

Railway Track

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of sets of points are heated in the national rail network. [255011]

Paul Clark, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: This is an operational matter for Network Rail as the owner and operator of the national rail network. My hon. Friend should contact Network Rail’s chief executive at the following address for a response to his question:

Iain Coucher
Chief Executive
Network Rail
Kings Place
90 York Way
London, N1 9AG

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Commons Hansard
9 Feb 2009

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the resources needed to implement the forthcoming National Service Framework for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and whether there will be ring-fenced funding from his Department for this purpose. [253711]

Ann Keen, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health: The Department is currently developing a detailed Impact Assessment for the National Strategy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and any financial implications of implementing the programme will be published alongside the strategy.

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Commons Hansard
5 Feb 2009

National Quality Board

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects the first meeting of the new National Quality Board to take place; and whether the terms of reference and membership for the group have been (a) agreed and (b) published. [253708]

Mr. Ben Bradshaw, Minister of State, Department of Health: The first meeting of the National Quality Board (NQB) is planned for the 30 of March 2009.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Lord Darzi) announced in early December the appointment of the chief executive of the NHS (Mr. David Nicholson) as chair of the NQB and the following ex-officio members representing the Department and the health care system:

The Appointments Commission is in the process of recruiting a further four expert representatives and four lay representatives to the board.

We are continuing to work with stakeholders to develop the NQB terms of reference.

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Commons Hansard
5 Feb 2009

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to take responsibility for developing clinical strategies; and if he will make a statement. [253710]

Dawn Primarolo, Minister of State, Department of Health: As set out in High Quality Care for All, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will be expanded to set and approve quality standards. A new National Quality Board will offer transparent advice to Ministers on clinical priorities, including the setting of quality standards.

NICE will not be responsible for developing clinical strategies. Any future strategies produced by the Department will be aligned where appropriate with the work of NICE on quality standards.

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Commons Hansard
5 Feb 2009

Health Services: Standards

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what definition his Department uses of a quality standard, as referred to in the NHS Next Stage Review. [253709]

Mr. Ben Bradshaw, Minister of State, Department of Health: As set out in High Quality Care for All, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s (NICE’S) role will be expanded to set quality standards. The Department is currently working with stakeholders, including NICE, to develop a commonly agreed definition of a quality standard. This definition will be considered by the National Quality Board at its first meeting in March 2009.

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Commons Hansard
4 Feb 2009

Sewers: Fats

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the percentage of sewer blockages caused by used cooking oil, fat, soils and greases in the last 12 months. [253712]

Huw Irranca-Davies, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Water UK, the representative body for the water industry, estimates that there are on average around 200,000 sewer blockages in England and Wales each year, of which fats, oils and greases are responsible for up to 75 per cent.

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Commons Hansard
3 Feb 2009

Coaches: Disabled

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to increase the accessibility of national and international coach travel to people with a disability. [252761]

Paul Clark, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport: The Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations apply to all buses and coaches with more than 22 passenger seats operating to a published timetable. The Regulations require all buses and comply from the year 2015 to 2017 (depending on the type of bus) and 2020 for coaches used on scheduled services.

The European Commission have recently made proposals, relating to bus and coach passenger rights. The Department for Transport will be considering this in due course.

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Commons Hansard
22 Jan 2009

Carbon capture and storage

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The Secretary of State has mentioned support for carbon capture and storage, but is he aware that people in the industry are concerned about the slow progress that is being made and also that the demonstration projects might not be extensive enough? Is he prepared to meet me and representatives of the industry to try to resolve this?

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Edward Miliband): I will definitely meet my hon. Friend. He is right that we need to make progress in this area. There is a huge amount of expertise and talent around the country, and research that we need to draw on, and I look forward to discussing those issues with him and his colleagues.

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Commons Hansard
20 Jan 2009

AWE Aldermaston

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform for what reason the Government decided to sell the remaining portion of its stake in AWE Aldermaston; and what sum it received from the sale. [247045]

Mr. Pat McFadden, Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform: The Government have not sold any of their stake in the Atomic Weapons Establishment itself. All Atomic Weapons Establishment sites and assets remain in Government ownership, as they have done since the Atomic Weapons Establishment was first contractorised in 1993. What happened on 17 December was that BNFL reached agreement to sell its one-third share in AWE Management Limited (AWEML) to Jacobs Engineering Group subject to clearance under EU merger control requirements. AWEML is the consortium of BNFL, Serco and Lockheed Martin that has the 25 year contract with MOD to manage and operate the Atomic Weapons Establishment on MOD’s behalf. The sale of the one-third share arose as a result of the dismantling of BNFL and the terms remain confidential between the parties.

Further details of the sale and the nature of AWEML’s relationship with AWE plc are given in the written statements that I gave to the House on 12 January this year, Official Report, column 1WS and my right hon. Friend, the previous Secretary of State gave to the House on 16 July 2007, Official Report, column 1WS, respectively.

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Commons Hansard
19 Jan 2009

Northern Rock

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I wish to present a petition on behalf of Ian Surtees and 46 constituents of Blaydon, who have made the reasonable request that the Government look again at the way in which, and the level at which, Northern Rock was valued at nationalisation, and who call on the Government to reconsider the terms of reference given to the valuer.

The petition states:

The Petition of small shareholders and supporters of Northern Rock of the Blaydon constituency in the North East of England,

Declares that it welcomes the acknowledgement by the Government that it must pay compensation for nationalising Northern Rock plc, but that the terms of reference for the valuation of the shares are wrongly based as the company was not in administration and was still a ‘going concern’.

Further declares that if these terms are unchanged there will not be a fair compensation payment which will lead to many in our region having their savings and pensions undermined which in turn will have a negative impact on the North East’s economy.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons calls on the Government to reconsider the terms of reference given to the valuer so that he can fully reflect the true value of Northern Rock shares.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jan 2009

Biofuels

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what percentage of the fuel used at Drax power station was (a) tar sands, (b) shale and (c) other oils in the last period for which figures are available. [247043]

Mr. Mike O’Brien, Minister of State, Department for Energy and Climate Change: The Department does not collect fuel usage data at this level of detail. Furthermore, the Department has given an undertaking that any fuel usage data that is collected from individual generators is used only for the purpose of producing aggregate statistics - company level data may be commercially sensitive and thus cannot be released.

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Commons Hansard
12 Jan 2009

National Offender Management Service: Manpower

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice

(1) what staff resources the National Offender Management Service proposes to allocate to directors of offender management; [246138]

(2) what salary the National Offender Management Service proposes to pay its directors of offender management; [246139]

(3) what the (a) job description and (b) person specification for the post of director of offender management is; [246140]

(4) what estimate he has made of the cost savings from the change from regional offender managers to directors of offender management in the National Offender Management Service. [246141]

Mr. David Hanson, Minister of State, Ministry of Justice: Directors of Offender Management will be the single point of accountability in English regions and in Wales. They will lead the total system incorporating probation services, public sector prisons, contracted prisons and partnerships for the provision of offender management. Director appointments will be finalised early in 2009 and NOMS management are currently designing the regional structures and finalising staff numbers. Final staff numbers will be available in March 2009.

The director of offender management role has been evaluated, in all cases, to be senior civil servant (SCS) pay band 2. The salaries paid will be commensurate with this pay band and are expected to be in the region of £80,000 to £120,000. The exact salaries of the directors will be different because the roles vary in scale and this will be recognised accordingly.

It is expected that the savings generated from the regional restructuring in the National Offender Management Service, which includes the creation and appointment of directors of Offender Management will be in the order of £5 million to £10 million.

The job description and person specification have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

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Commons Hansard
18 Dec 2008

Schools: Uniforms

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what advice his Department has given to school governing bodies on assistance for parents on low incomes to purchase school uniforms, with particular reference to the range of approved retailers. [245424]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Children, Schools and Families: New guidance for schools and governing bodies on school uniform and related policies was published in October 2007. The guidance advises that local authorities have a discretionary power to provide school clothing grants or to help with the cost of school clothing in cases of financial hardship.

The guidance is available to be downloaded from the TeacherNet website at:

http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/management/atoz/u/uniform/

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Commons Hansard
18 Dec 2008

Phytophthora Ramorum

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to combat the spread of Phytophthora ramorum and Phytophthora kernoviae. [244120]

Huw Irranca-Davies, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: DEFRA and the Forestry Commission are aware of the potential threat these diseases pose to our native habitats and are continuing to take action to control and eradicate them. We appreciate the co-operative and proactive approach which landowners and other stakeholders have taken to manage Phytophthora infections at their properties.

There was an encouraging response to the recent consultation on future management of the risks from ‘Phytophthora ramorum’ and ‘Phytophthora kernoviae’. Officials are currently analysing those responses and will be working to develop a strategy that will make the most effective use of the resources available.

In the meantime, we urge everyone to continue to be vigilant and report any sign of disease, and to observe any restrictions in place where the disease has been found.

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Commons Hansard
17 Dec 2008

Energy: Imports

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the average cost per tonne equivalent was of electricity imported via the interconnector with France in 2007. [244121]

Mr. Mike O’Brien, Minister of State, Department for Energy and Climate Change: DECC does not hold information on the value of interconnector flows with France. The amount and value of interconnector flows to the GB market are determined by the commercial decisions made by market participants and grid operator to equilibrate the underlying demand and supply in the electricity market. The value of such supplies are therefore commercially confidential.

Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the average cost per tonne equivalent of imported (a) oil, (b) gas, (c) liquid gas and (d) shale oil and tar sands was in 2007. [244122]

Mr. Mike O’Brien: The average cost of imported oil and gas in 2007 was as follows:

Crude Oil: 271 £/tonne

Natural Gas: 130,000 £/tonne (converted using an average density of 0.756 kg/cubic metre).

DECC does not hold any data on the cost of imported liquid gas (LNG), shale oil or tar sands.

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Reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO