Commons Gate

Speeches and parliamentary questions in the House of Commons in the 2010 -2012 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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In the House Current Session

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30/04/12 Planning Permission: Green Belt
30/04/12 Rare Disease Strategy
30/04/12 Sunday Opening (Olympics)
25/04/12 Rented Housing: Repairs and Maintenance
24/04/12 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
24/04/12 Planning Permission
17/04/12 Budget (North-East)
17/04/12 Asbestos and Mesothelioma
17/04/12 Ethiopia
29/03/12 Party Funding
26/03/12 Tobin Tax
23/03/12 Ethiopia: Human Rights
22/03/12 Hollie Greig
20/03/12 Health and Social Care Bill
13/03/12 Health and Social Care Bill
12/03/12 Taxation: Multinational Companies
12/03/12 Excise Duties: Fuels
12/03/12 Academies
07/03/12 Fire Service (Metropolitan Areas)
06/03/12 DVLA
06/03/12 Sacking public servants
05/03/12 NHS Commissioning Board
06/03/12 Living Standards
01/03/12 Rare disease plan
29/02/12 Trade Union Funding
28/02/12 Clean Coal
27/02/12 Supermarkets: Competition
27/02/12 Constituency boundaries
22/02/12 Kevin Williams
22/02/12 NHS reorganisation
07/02/12 Supermarkets: Competition
31/01/12 Transport: Infrastructure
23/01/12 European Regional Development Fund
19/01/12 Public Sector: Pensions
19/01/12 NHS reform
16/01/12 Care Quality Commission: Manpower
16/01/12 NHS (Private Sector)
11/01/12 European Regional Development Fund
10/01/12 Care Quality Commission: Recruitment
20/12/11 Public Sector: Pensions
13/12/11 Employers' Liability: Personal Injury
12/12/11 Public Sector: Pensions
07/12/11 Jobseeker’s Allowance
06/12/11 The Economy
05/12/11 Police: Baton Rounds
30/11/11 Vocational Guidance
30/11/11 Industrial Action
29/11/11 Public Sector Pay
23/11/11 Prisons: Crimes of Violence
22/11/11 Incapacity Benefit (North-East)
21/11/11 Accident and Emergency Departments: Manpower
21/11/11 Social Security Benefits: Uprating
21/11/11 Public Sector: Pensions
21/11/11 Prisons: Uniform
21/11/11 Baton Rounds: Death
21/11/11 Northern Rock
15/11/11 Paramedical Staff
15/11/11 Cancer
09/11/11 Iron and Steel: Competition
09/11/11 Tax Avoidance
09/11/11 Licensing Laws: Olympic Games 2012
07/11/11 North-East job losses
04/11/11 Tax Havens
31/10/11 Fire and Rescue Services
27/10/11 Universal Credit
25/10/11 Agricultural Wages Board
24/10/11 Free Schools: Pensions
24/10/11 Housing Benefit: Universal Credit
24/10/11 Police: Pay
24/10/11 Health Services: Armed Forces
21/10/11 Iraq: Trade Unions
21/10/11 Egypt: Christianity
21/10/11 Defence Equipment
19/10/11 Northern Ireland: Public Sector Jobs
19/10/11 Liam Fox
18/10/11 Health Professions: Languages
18/10/11 Local Government: Pensions
17/10/11 Hillsborough Disaster
17/10/11 Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund
13/10/11 Vocational Guidance
12/10/11 New Homes Bonus
12/10/11 Pat Finucane
10/10/11 Innovation Fund
15/09/11 Iraq: Armed Conflict
14/09/11 Schools: Innovation Fund
14/09/11 Connexions Service: Innovation Fund
08/09/11 Public Sector: Pensions
11/08/11 Public Disorder: Evicting rioters
20/07/11 Lotteries: Gambling
20/07/11 Lotteries: Charities
19/07/11 Universal Credit: Free School Meals
18/07/11 Universal Credit
27/06/11 Departmental Reorganisation
22/06/11 The Economy - Commons debate
14/06/11 Insolvency
14/06/11 Working Conditions: Temperature
24/05/11 Departmental NDPBs
23/05/11 Police budgets
17/05/11 Social Care Services
09/05/11 NHS: Private Sector
09/05/11 Competition in the NHS
09/05/11 Health Services: Private Sector
03/05/11 Finance and taxation
04/04/11 Tenancy Agreements
04/04/11 Flood Control
04/04/11 Fire Services: Pensions
04/04/11 NHS Reforms: Natural Break
30/03/11 NHS (Public Satisfaction)
28/03/11 Gurkhas: Compensation
28/03/11 Disturbances (London)
18/03/11 Gurkhas
18/03/11 Armed Forces: Redundancy
14/03/11 Prison Service: Market Testing
14/03/11 Industrial Diseases: Compensation
08/03/11 Pleural Plaques Extra-statutory Scheme
08/03/11 Industrial Diseases: Compensation
07/03/11 Prisons: Risk Assessment, Violence, Safety
03/03/11 International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring
02/03/11 Regeneration
01/03/11 Biofuels: Teesside
01/03/11 Forestry Commission
28/02/11 Regional Development Agencies
28/02/11 Carbon Emissions: North East
28/02/11 Education Maintenance Allowance
17/02/11 One North East
17/02/11 Crimes of Violence: Females
17/02/11 Forestry (England)
15/02/11 Economic Development (North-East)
09/02/11 Arts: Employment
07/02/11 Supermarket Acquisitions (Tyne and Wear)
03/02/11 Schools: Finance
02/02/11 Public Forest Estate
01/02/11 Trade Unions: Iraq
31/01/11 Health and Social Care Bill
24/01/11 Police: Pensions
24/01/11 Tourism: Marketing
18/01/11 Bees: Pesticides
18/01/11 Fixed-term Parliaments Bill
17/01/11 Fire Services: Tyne and Wear
17/01/11 Fire Services: Finance
17/01/11 Tourism: Ministerial Visit
13/01/11 Tourism: North-East
12/01/11 Postal Services Bill
10/01/11 Academies: dispute resolution
20/12/10 Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations
16/12/10 Afghanistan: Winter clothing
07/12/10 Arts Council: Finance
07/12/10 Crime: Finance
06/12/10 Sexual Offences: Community Orders
06/12/10 Prisons
06/12/10 Myasthenia: Drugs
02/12/10 Academies: Finance, conversion expenses
30/11/10 Community Orders
22/11/10 Working Neighbourhoods Fund
18/11/10 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
12/11/10 Academies: Procurement
10/11/10 Neuromuscular Diseases: Health Services
08/11/10 Colombia
04/11/10 Simon Robertson
03/11/10 Colombia
28/10/10 Independent Living 2006 Fund
28/10/10 Comprehensive Spending Review
27/10/10 Schools: Capital Investment
27/10/10 Academies: complaints from parents
27/10/10 Prison Service: Personnel
27/10/10 Social Services: Learning Disability
27/10/10 Postal Services Bill
26/10/10 Parkinson's Disease
26/10/10 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: multidisciplinary teams
26/10/10 Academies: standards of other schools
26/10/10 Coalfield Communities (Regeneration)
26/10/10 Child Trust Funds
25/10/10 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
21/10/10 Academies: Services
21/10/10 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
21/10/10 Circulator Pumps: Energy
20/10/10 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
20/10/10 Blood: Contamination
20/10/10 Music: Education
20/10/10 Construction jobs and Council Cutbacks
19/10/10 Courts: Standards
19/10/10 Building Regulations: Public Consultation
18/10/10 Tax Collection: Enforcement
18/10/10 State Retirement Pensions: Uprating
18/10/10 Probation Service: Manpower
18/10/10 Police: Northumbria
18/10/10 Circulator Pumps: Energy
18/10/10 Departmental Regulation:Education
14/10/10 Circulator Pumps: Energy
14/10/10 Circulator Pumps: Energy
11/10/10 Youth Services: Finance
11/10/10 Academies: Governing Bodies
04/10/10 Academies: Redundancy
16/09/10 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
16/09/10 Music: Education
16/09/10 Academies: Governing Bodies
13/09/10 Employment and Support Allowance
13/09/10 Prescriptions: Fees and Charges
13/09/10 Health Services: Disability
09/09/10 Health Services: Learning Disability
08/09/10 Prisons: Trade Unions
06/09/10 Teachers: Employment
06/09/10 Academies: School Meals
06/09/10 Academies: Property
06/09/10 Education: Academies
06/09/10 Departmental Billing (Defence)
06/09/10 Departmental Regulation (Defence)
06/09/10 Iraq: Trade Unions
27/07/10 Academies: Sponsorship, redundancy
27/07/10 Academies: Finance, Manpower
27/07/10 Academies: Billing, Conditions of Employment
27/07/10 Jobcentre Plus: Manpower
27/07/10 Departmental Regulation (Home Office)
27/07/10 Departmental Billing (Home Office)
27/07/10 Agricultural Wages Board
27/07/10 Departmental Regulation (Transport)
27/07/10 Departmental Billing (Transport)
27/07/10 Departmental Regulation (DFID)
27/07/10 Government Equalities Office :Regulations
27/07/10 Departmental Regulation (FCO)
27/07/10 Welfare Tax Credits: Overpayments
26/07/10 Departmental Billing (BIS)
26/07/10 Employment Schemes
26/07/10 Departmental Billing (Energy)
26/07/10 Departmental Billing (DEFRA)
26/07/10 Debt Collection
26/07/10 Departmental Billing (Communities)
22/07/10 Departmental Regulation (BIS)
22/07/10 Academies:private sector classification
22/07/10 Departmental Billing (DWP)
22/07/10 Departmental Billing (Culture)
21/07/10 Departmental Billing (Education)
21/07/10 Academies: Finance
21/07/10 Departmental Billing (Cabinet Office)
21/07/10 Departmental Billing (Scotland)
21/07/10 Departmental Billing (International Development)
21/07/10 Railways: closed and disused lines
21/07/10 Departmental Billing (Justice)
21/07/10 Social Housing (Sunderland): government policy
21/07/10 Academies bill debate
20/07/10 Departmental Billing (Treasury)
20/07/10 Departmental Regulations (Energy)
20/07/10 Departmental Billing (Health)
20/07/10 Departmental Billing (FCO)
20/07/10 Departmental Billing (Northern Ireland)
20/07/10 Departmental Billing (Attorney-General)
19/07/10 Coalfields Regeneration Trust (Wentworth and Dearne)
19/07/10 Academies: Consultation with workforce
15/07/10 Railways: Fares
15/07/10 Academies Bill
14/07/10 Members: Allowances
14/07/10 Manpower: processing of claims
14/07/10 Departmental Regulation (Justice)
14/07/10 Departmental Regulation (Communities)
14/07/10 Departmental Regulation (DEFRA)
14/07/10 Departmental Regulation (Work and Pensions)
13/07/10 Departmental Regulation (Health)
13/07/10 Departmental Regulation (Cabinet Office)
13/07/10 Departmental Regulation (Treasury)
13/07/10 Law Officers' Departments
13/07/10 Departmental Regulation (Culture)
12/07/10 Iraq: Education Projects
12/07/10 Academies: Food
12/07/10 Departmental Regulation (Wales)
08/07/10 Departmental Regulation (Northern Ireland)
07/07/10 Academies: Nutrition
07/07/10 Standard Academy Arrangements
07/07/10 Funding local railway improvements
07/07/10 Jobs and the Unemployed
07/07/10 Miners: 1980s redundancies
07/07/10 Clean Coal: Grimethorpe colliery
07/07/10 Raoul Moat
06/07/10 Departmental Manpower (Home Office)
06/07/10 Teachers: Training
05/07/10 Iraq: Business Projects
05/07/10 Iraq: Justice Projects
05/07/10 Bees: Mobile Phone Masts
05/07/10 Iraq: Health Projects
05/07/10 Departmental Manpower (Transport)
05/07/10 Access
05/07/10 Building Schools for the Future: Blaydon
01/07/10 Lung Cancer: Screening
30/06/10 Iraq: FCO Projects
30/06/10 Iraq: Defence Department Projects
30/06/10 Public Expenditure: Iraq
29/06/10 Iraq: Overseas Aid
29/06/10 Trade Unions (Government Equalities Office)
28/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay (Cabinet Office)
28/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Cabinet Office)
28/06/10 Departmental Manpower (DEFRA)
28/06/10 Wheelchair Services
28/06/10 VAT rise
28/06/10 Lib Dem 'dupes'
28/06/10 OECD report
28/06/10 Many nurses' jobs to go
24/06/10 Free School Meals
24/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Work and Pensions)
23/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Education)
23/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Defence)
23/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Home Office)
22/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Business, Innovation and Skills)
22/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Energy and Climate Change)
22/06/10 Trade Unions (Treasury)
22/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Defence)
21/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Business, Innovation and Skills)
21/06/10 Business: Government Assistance
17/06/10 Trade Unions (Energy and Climate Change)
16/06/10 Paying for the deficit
15/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport)
15/06/10 Cancer: Screening
15/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay (Education)
15/06/10 Academies: Public Consultation
15/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay (Communities and Local Government)
15/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Women and Equality)
14/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Justice)
14/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Wales)
14/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Scotland)
14/06/10 North East (Prime Minister to visit)
14/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Health)
14/06/10 Mining: Languages
14/06/10 Trade Unions (Defence)
14/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay (Defence)
10/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay (Scottish Office)
10/06/10 Prison Service: Manpower
10/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay (DEFRA)
10/06/10 Departmental Public Expenditure (Transport)
09/06/10 Trade Unions (BIS)
09/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay (Home Office)
09/06/10 Prison Service: Manpower
09/06/10 Poultry: Animal Welfare
09/06/10 Efficiency and Reform Group
08/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Education)
08/06/10 Building Schools for the Future Programme: Gateshead
08/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Communities and Local Government)
08/06/10 Trade Unions (Justice)
08/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay (Justice)
08/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Justice)
08/06/10 Trade Unions (Health)
08/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay (Health)
08/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Health)
08/06/10 Trade Unions (International Development)
08/06/10 Departmental Manpower (International Development)
08/06/10 Trade Unions (Northern Ireland)
08/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay (Northern Ireland)
08/06/10 Trade Unions ( Welsh Office)
08/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay ( Welsh Office)
08/06/10 Departmental Manpower( Welsh Office)
08/06/10 Food: Procurement
08/06/10 Deficit reduction: Job losses
07/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay (BIS)
07/06/10 Ministerial Policy Advisers
07/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay (Transport)
07/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay (Women and Equality)
07/06/10 Trade Unions (FCO)
07/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay (FCO)
07/06/10 Departmental Manpower (FCO)
07/06/10 Trade Unions (Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport)
07/06/10 Trade Unions (DEFRA)
07/06/10 Departmental Manpower (DEFRA)
07/06/10 Cattle: Animal Welfare
07/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay (Work and Pensions)
07/06/10 Trade Unions (Scottish Office)
07/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Scottish Office)
03/06/10 Departmental Manpower (Treasury)
03/06/10 Departmental Redundancy Pay (Energy and Climate Change)
03/06/10 Trade Unions
03/06/10 Ministerial responsibilities
03/06/10 Employment Law Review
02/06/10 Trade Unions
02/06/10 Departmental Manpower
02/06/10 Tyne and Wear Metro
27/05/10 Energy debate on Queen's Speech
27/05/10 The high price of cheap coal
27/05/10 Not sorry
27/05/10 Regional development agency
25/05/10 BSF funding for schools in Gateshead


 

Commons Hansard
30 Apr 3012

Planning Permission: Green Belt

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) in what order green belt protections will be applied under the National Planning Policy Framework; [103394]

(2) whether the protection core principle in paragraph 17 of the National Planning Policy Framework and the new building construction policy in paragraph 89 will be applied before paragraph 55 in green belt protection cases; [103395]

(3) whether paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework permits new developments on the green belt; and under what circumstances. [103396]

Greg Clark, Minister of State (Cities): The policies in paragraphs 18 to 219 of the National Planning Policy Framework, taken as a whole, constitute the Government's view of what sustainable development in England means in practice for the planning system. The core planning principles set out at paragraph 17 should underpin both plan-making and decision-taking.

The framework maintains strong protection for the green belt. The policies set out in paragraphs 79 to 92 on protecting green belt land continue the previous policy that inappropriate development should not be approved except in very special circumstances, and that substantial weight should be given to any harm to the green belt. These policies apply to plan-making and to any development proposal that would impact on the green belt.

Planning law requires that applications for planning permission must be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The weight to be given to national policy, along with any other material considerations, is a matter for the decision-taker. It will be up to the decision-taker in each case to apply the relevant national policies appropriately to the facts of that case (including for example where relevant the policy on avoiding isolated homes in the countryside set out at paragraph 55).

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
30 Apr 2012

Rare Disease Strategy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I congratulate the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mr Timpson) on a fine speech. As the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on muscular dystrophy, may I ask the Minister about two connected points in respect of what he has just said? There has been a great development within neuro-muscular services and work by the House and the Department. Will the Minister meet the all-party group and the muscular dystrophy campaign to discuss the progress of the national neuro-muscular work plan? Will he also give us an assurance on the positive advantages in the south-west region - he mentioned regional development - and confirm whether there will be strategic clinical networks for neuro-muscular services across the country?

Mr Burns, Minister of State (Health): I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. I recognise the tremendous work he does in this area of health care and congratulate him on his efforts. With regard to a meeting, I will pass on his comments to my noble Friend the Earl Howe, who has responsibility for this area of health care. On the hon. Gentleman's second point, I am more than happy to give him the assurances he seeks.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
25 Apr 2012

Rented Housing: Repairs and Maintenance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has had any recent discussions on steps to ensure that landlords letting private properties are made more responsible for maintaining their property in a decent state of repair. [105357]

Grant Shapps, Minister of State (Housing and Local Government): I recently met a number of local authorities and interested parties to discuss how we can most effectively work together to tackle the small minority of rogue and criminal landlords. We will be issuing further advice to local authorities shortly.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
24 Apr 2012

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has commissioned on myalgic encephalomyelitis in the last three years. [104245]

Paul Burstow, Minister of State (Care Services): The following projects funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research for Patient Benefit programme started in the last three years:

Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) interventions within the primary care setting: developing resources for support and self-management in primary care; and

Graded Exercise Therapy guided SElf-help Treatment (GETSET) for patients with CFS/ME: a randomised controlled trial in secondary care.

In addition, the NIHR is funding a clinician scientist award on evidence based prevention, identification and treatment of CFS/ME in children and young people.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
24 Apr 2012

Planning Permission

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what role the community will have in developing local development plans under the National Planning Policy Framework. [104244]

Greg Clark, Minister of State (Cities): The requirement to involve communities in the planning of their communities is set out in primary legislation. A local planning authority is obliged to prepare a statement of community involvement setting out how it will involve interested parties in developing their local plan. Further regulations require councils to consult local people early in the process on what their plan should contain, as well as consulting them on the draft that the authority propose to submit for examination.

The Localism Act gives communities new powers to plan for the future of their areas through neighbourhood planning.

The National Planning Policy Framework provides a framework within which local people and their councils can produce their own distinctive local and neighbourhood plans, which reflect the needs and priorities of their communities. The Framework is clear that local councils should proactively engage a wide section of the community in plan making, and that early and meaningful engagement and collaboration with neighbourhoods, local organisations and businesses is essential.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
17 Apr 2012

Ethiopia

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Whether he has had discussions with the Ethiopian Government on the human rights situation in that country; and if he will make a statement. [102853]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Henry Bellingham): My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I have candid and regular dialogues on human rights with Prime Minister Meles and others. We recently raised the plight of opposition leaders and journalists who have been arrested under Ethiopia's counter-terrorism legislation, and we have also raised the impact that that is having on Ethiopia's already restricted political space. We are engaging with the Government to promote best practice in the implementation of the legislation, with respect for human rights.

Mr Anderson: Discussions that I have held with the Oromia Support Group and Human Rights Watch suggest that the situation on the ground is extremely serious. For instance, 80% of male detainees have been tortured and more than 50% of female detainees have been raped, and more journalists are locked up in Ethiopia than in any other country. Would the Minister be prepared to meet me, along with representatives of those groups, to try to clarify the position, so that if it becomes clear that they are wrong and the Ethiopian Government are right, the situation can be rectified, and if it is the other way around, the issues can be taken up with the Ethiopian Government?

Mr Bellingham: I should be happy to meet the hon. Gentleman and any people he wishes to bring to see me.

It is important to bear in mind the fact that, although we recognise Ethiopia's right to fight terrorism, that must be done in the context of observing human rights. It should also be borne in mind that there is a big difference between journalists' reporting terrorism and their supporting it. It seems that the Ethiopian Government often do not make that distinction.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
26 Mar 2012

Party Funding

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Perhaps my hon. Friend should get some wealthy Northumberland business men to pay quarter of a million pounds to have lunch with the Chancellor. Then he might get an LEZ in Blyth.

Mr Campbell: The only place I could take them is the canteen. I might get something there, but I am sure I would not get anything in Downing street.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
26 Mar 2012

Tobin Tax

Mr Speaker: Order. May I remind Members that they are expected to use their mobile devices discreetly and without impairing the decorum of the Chamber? I say gently to the hon. Member for Chesterfield (Toby Perkins) that he should not stand up, seeking to catch my eye, while fiddling with his device.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I promise not to fiddle with my device, Mr Speaker.

Peter Cruddas was reported yesterday giving, as an example of how to influence policy, discussion of the Tobin tax with the Prime Minister the day before he met Angela Merkel. Is that true? Did that conversation take place and, if it did, what role was Peter Cruddas playing - treasurer of the party or private business man?

Mr Maude: As anybody who has anything to do with any financial transactions and any interest in London continuing to be the most vigorous international financial centre in the world opposes the Tobin tax, if he did say that, it would not be particularly surprising.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
23 Mar 2012

Ethiopia: Human Rights

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether he has made an assessment of recent allegations made by Human Rights Watch that UK aid to Ethiopia is not closely monitored at field level by the donor community. [101218]

Mr Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development: We assess that UK Aid in Ethiopia is well spent and closely monitored at the field level. The UK employs a range of mechanisms to monitor the effectiveness of UK aid to Ethiopia and to ensure that we get maximum impact from every pound of taxpayers' money. These include regular field visits, audits and evaluation, financial and performance reports. We are also investing in national surveys to tell us more about citizens' experiences of local service delivery to supplement Government's own administrative sources. Ministers regularly raise human rights matters with the Government of Ethiopia. I raised this personally with PM Meles at Davos and in Addis in January, and with Minister Tedros in March 2012. And we will continue to review the situation on the ground. My most recent meeting with Jan Egeland (executive director) from Human Rights Watch was on 22 March 2012.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development with reference to recent allegations made by Human Rights Watch concerning UK development assistance to Ethiopia, if he will instigate an independent, impartial and transparent field-based investigation into the use of donor-funded government services for political purposes in Ethiopia. [101219]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The coalition Government take very seriously the allegations made by Human Rights Watch. When allegations were first made in 2009, the UK Government took immediate action. Working with the European Union, the United States and other donors, we published a study in August 2010, which found that there were good systems and safeguards for preventing misuse of aid and made recommendations on how to further improve transparency and independent monitoring. We continue to work with others to implement and strengthen these recommendations.

The Development Assistance Group in Ethiopia (DAG) has appointed an international expert to co-ordinate work on aid management and utilisation. All UK Aid programmes now have a strong focus on managing fiduciary risks, value for money and monitoring and evaluation. A World Bank evaluation of the largest multi donor programme in Ethiopia, - Protection of Basic Services - strongly supported Government efforts at local levels in the areas of public financial management, fiscal transparency and social accountability.

House Speech Contents  Return to Homepage


 

Commons Hansard
22 Mar 2012

Hollie Greig

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the case of Hollie Greig; and if he will make a statement. [99305]

Mr Djanogly, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Legal Aid and legal services, HM Courts Service, tribunals and administrative justice, Office of the Public Guardian, Offices of Court Funds, official solicitor and public trustee, Offices of Court Funds, family justice, coroner reform and burial policy, Criminal Cases Review Commission, Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, Parole Board): As this case is the subject of ongoing court proceedings, I am prevented by Section 12 of the Administration of Justice Act 1960 from making any comment.

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Commons Hansard
13 Mar 2012

Health and Social Care Bill

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): For the purposes of clarification, would the summit that the hon. Gentleman's amendment puts forward include the trade unions? If not, why not?

Andrew George: The summit should be as inclusive as possible - so that there is no sense of it being exclusive. The professional bodies and patient organisations in the amendment would be included as well, so I hope that the hon. Gentleman is reassured on that point.

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Commons Hansard
12 Mar 2012

Taxation: Multinational Companies

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the effect on developing countries of his proposed changes to the rules on controlled foreign companies; [98643]

(2) if he will ensure that an assessment of the effect on developing countries is undertaken before changes are made to the rules on controlled foreign companies. [98644]

Mr Gauke, Exchequer Secretary: The Government have not undertaken an assessment of the effect on developing countries of the proposed changes to the CFC rules as these rules are designed to protect the UK Exchequer by preventing artificial diversion of UK profits.

Any assessment of the impact of CFC reform on developing countries would need to focus primarily on the nature of tax regimes in the developing countries and the interactions of UK headed multinational companies with those tax systems. The strengthening of tax administration in developing countries is a key issue in tax and development and the Government are committed to supporting developing countries access sustainable sources of revenue. Our priorities for achieving this are capacity building, improving exchange of tax information, and increasing transparency in the extractives sector to address corruption.

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Commons Hansard
12 Mar 2012

Excise Duties: Fuels

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the findings of the report from the Centre for Economic and Business Research on the potential effects of a reduction in fuel duty; and if he will make a statement. [98829]

Miss Chloe Smith, Economic Secretary: The Government have noted the conclusions of the report from The Centre for Economic and Business Research. At Budget 2011 and the autumn statement 2011 the Government supported motorists and businesses through a reduction in fuel duty, abolition of the fuel duty escalator, introduction of a fair fuel stabiliser, cancellation of the increase that was planned for 1 August 2012 and deferral of the January 2012 increase to August 2012 to freeze rates for sixteen months. Consequently, as of 1 April 2012 average pump prices could be approximately 10 pence per litre lower than they would otherwise have been.

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Commons Hansard
12 Mar 2012

Academies

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many officials of his Department work on the brokerage of sponsored academies; and how many such officials are being recruited to such roles. [98159]

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): There are currently 37 FTE officials in DFE in the Department's Brokerage and Underperformance Divisions. There are currently three vacancies in this area of the Department that we are taking steps to fill.

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Commons Hansard
6 Mar 2012

DVLA

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the closure of local Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency offices on service users including those with complex registration queries concerning older vehicles; and what steps she plans to take to mitigate any adverse effects. [98144]

Mike Penning, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Roads and Motoring): All services undertaken within the local office network, including the complex registration of older vehicles, have been analysed to understand the implications of centralising the work. Initial results indicate that the centralisation of services should not affect the agency's ability to meet its customer service targets. The DVLA is also examining ways in which its services could be operated either electronically or through intermediaries that could offer these kinds of services. Decisions about which solutions will be taken forward will not be made until after the consultation period.

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Commons Hansard
6 Mar 2012

Sacking public servants

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): In the assessment the Chief Secretary is undertaking, will he let us know about the extent of the income tax and national insurance losses that will result from the sacking of between 7,000 and 10,000 public servants? Does he expect the benefit bill to go up, and if so, by how much?

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury: As the hon. Gentleman knows, we have had to make some very difficult decisions in order to deal with the enormous Budget deficit left to this country by Labour. If his party had not left a mess, we would not have to clean it up.

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Commons Hansard
5 Mar 2012

NHS Commissioning Board

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the proposed local offices of the National Commissioning Board will include a lead for specialised services. [97318]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): In documents published for its board meeting on 2 February, the NHS Commissioning Board Authority stated that, subject to the passage of legislation, the 50 proposed local offices would include a Head of Direct Commissioning.

However, there will be scope within the overall budget for local office functions for the Chief Operating Officer to determine whether particular functions should be undertaken by small numbers of local offices on behalf of groups of the others. These are likely to include specialised commissioning.

The distribution of the management resource between local offices will take account of these arrangements.

NHS Commissioning Board Authority. Board meeting papers can be found on their website at:

www.commissioningboard.nhs.uk/2012/01/26/board-meeting-020212/

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with the Clinical Transitions Director in the NHS Medical Directorate on the plans for managed clinical networks for neuromuscular services to be established and funded by the National Commissioning Board. [97319]

Mr Simon Burns: Proposals for the establishment and development of Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs) are being taken forward by the NHS Commissioning Board Authority. SCNs will play an important role in supporting Clinical Commissioning Groups and the Board to improve quality of care and outcomes for patients. Applications for establishing SCNs will be assessed against key criteria currently being developed with stakeholders.

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Commons Hansard
6 Mar 2012

Living Standards

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): In response to the question from the hon. Member for Mid Norfolk (George Freeman) about people being taken out of tax, will my hon. Friend agree that more people are being taken out of tax - and put on the dole? What is that costing us? Some 700,000 public sector workers have gone on the dole in this country. Not only will they not be paying tax but they will not be paying national insurance, which will make things even worse for this country.

Rachel Reeves: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. As we all know, unemployment is at a 17-year high and youth unemployment at an all-time high. That is taking more people out of tax and costing taxpayers more and more every day, as the bills of this failed economic policy add up.

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Commons Hansard
1 Mar 2012

Rare disease plan

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to publish the draft UK rare disease plan; and what the reason is for the time taken for its publication. [97260]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): The consultation on the UK Plan for Rare Diseases is being produced jointly by the four nations of the United Kingdom. It has been important for the document to accurately capture and reflect the subtle differences in the health care systems of each country. This has taken some time. However, the consultation was launched on 29 February 2012 for a 12 week public consultation.

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Commons Hansard
27 Feb 2012

Supermarkets: Competition

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will bring forward a Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill in the next Session. [95975]

Norman Lamb, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs): I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 7 February 2012, Official Report, column 251W.

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Commons Hansard
27 Feb 2012

Constituency boundaries

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions the Boundary Commission for England has had on its decision not to publish hard copies of the representations it received in the initial stages of its consultation on changing parliamentary constituency boundaries in England. [95886]

Mr Harper, Parliamentary Secretary (Political and Constitutional Reform): This is a matter for the independent Boundary Commission for England. The background to this decision was set out by the Boundary Commission in the newsletter posted on its website on 1 February 2012. This can be accessed at:

http://bit.ly/AxQhfo

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Commons Hansard
7 Feb 2012

Supermarkets: Competition

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether legislation will be introduced in the next Session of Parliament to establish a groceries code adjudicator. [93500]

Norman Lamb, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs): The Government are fully committed to introducing the Groceries Code Adjudicator as soon as parliamentary time allows.

As the Leader of the House said on 15 December 2011, Official Report, column 937, the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill is a strong candidate for consideration as part of the second Session of Parliament.

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Commons Hansard
31 Jan 2012

Transport: Infrastructure

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the analysis by IPPR North of the autumn statement announcements on transport infrastructure, whether she has made an assessment of IPPR North's conclusion that 84 per cent. of the announced spending on such projects will benefit London and the South East region. [89431]

Norman Baker, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Regional and Local Transport): I have not assessed IPPR North's specific assertion that 84% of the transport infrastructure spending announcements in the autumn statement of 29 November 2011, Official Report, columns 799-810, will benefit London and the south-east.

However, the following table breaks down spend on both the transport schemes announced as part of the autumn statement and the further Local Authority Major Transport schemes announced on 14 December 2011, Official Report, columns 104-6WS.

This clearly demonstrates that the autumn statement announcements will improve transport networks across the country.

It can be difficult and misleading to assign spend to a particular region as the benefits of certain projects can be far more widespread (for example, improvements to a particular section of motorway will not only benefit those living nearby). In addition, a number of projects announced in the autumn statement, such as funding for bridge renewals, are not specific to a particular region. For Trans Pennine Electrification, spend has been apportioned between the North-West and Yorkshire and the Humber for the purpose of this exercise.

DescriptionTotal spend (£ million)
North East
Morpeth northern bypass21.1
Sunderland strategic corridor82.6
Accelerate NEXUS (Tyne and Wear metro) modernisation programme(1)4.0
107.7
North West
New link road for M56 (Manchester Airport) to the A6120.0
Crewe Green link southern section15.7
Manchester cross city bus(1)32.5
Pennine Reach (East Lanes rapid transit)31.9
Rochdale interchange(1)7.0
Trans Pennine electrification (spend arbitrarily split between regions)145.0
352.1
Yorkshire and the Humber
Accelerating M1 J39-42 improvements(1)50.0
Leeds inner ring road(2)18.5
Leeds rail growth10.3
A6182 White Rose Way improvement scheme9.7
South Yorkshire bus rapid transit phase 1 (Sheffield)19.4
A164 Humber bridge to Beverley7.7
Beverley integrated transport plan20.7
A684 Bedale bypass35.9
Access York park and ride15.3
New road linking the A18 and A1804.9
Supertram additional vehicles (Sheffield)12.4
Large debt write off and lower tolls for the Humber Bridge294.0
Trans Pennine electrification (spend arbitrarily split between regions)145.0
643.8
West Midlands
Managed motorway on the M6 - Junction 10a to Junction 13118.9
Improving the A45/46 at Tollbar End113.0
A45 westbound bridge (Solihull)8.5
Darlaston (Walsall)14.3
Evesham bridge maintenance8.6
Worcester ITS14.2
Chester Road (Birmingham)8.3
295.6
East Midlands
Widening A453 between Nottingham, the M1 and East Midlands airport160.0
Improving Junction 19—the junction between the M1, M6 and A14, a key freight route, as well as improving safety153.0
Widening A14 Junction 7 to Junction 9 (Kettering Bypass)113.4
New A43 Corby link road21.2
Hucknall town centre improvement scheme8.5
Lincoln eastern bypass50.0
London road bridge (Derby)4.4
Loughborough town centre transport scheme14.8
Nottingham ring road12.8
538.1
East
A14 targeted improvements between Cambridge and Huntingdon20.0
Croxley rail link (Watford)76.2
Luton town centre transport scheme15.9
Norwich northern distributor road86.5
198.6
South West
South Bristol link phases 1 and 227.6
New A380 road linking Newton Abbot to Torbay (Kingskerswell Bypass)76.4
Bath transportation package11.7
BRT Ashton Vale to Temple Meads (Bristol)34.5
Camborne-Pool-Redruth transport package16.1
Elmbridge transport (Gloucester)14.1
Weston Super Mare package10.4
North Fringe to Hengrove package BRT (Bristol)51.1
241.9
London
Managed motorway on the M3, Junction 2 to Junction 4a150.1
Accelerating M25 Junction 23 to Junction 27 improvements(1)50.0
Retrofit existing buses for air quality purposes (this will be match funded by the Mayor)5.0
205.1
South East
Tipner interchange (Portsmouth)19.8
Northern road bridge (Portsmouth)11.1
East-West rail project270.0
Flexible commuter rail tickets45.0
New Southern rail carriages80.0
425.9
Not region specific
Integrated transport block top up—Used by local transport authorities for small transport improvement schemes costing less than £5 million50.0
Road pinch point fund—Local Managed Network Schemes and highways technology improvements217.5
New low carbon emission buses—green bus fund round 320.0
31 Jan 2012 : Column 571W
Tackle local problems on the rail network more quickly (NRDF)100.0
Metal theft taskforce5.0
Capping rail fares at RPI+1 (lost rail revenues and transitional costs)—includes TfL290.0
Rail winter resilience10.0
Access for All station accessibility improvements26.0
Bridge renewals250.0
968.6
(1) These schemes are being accelerated and spend is being brought forward from future years.(2) This is the maximum DfT spend and is dependent on the successful resolution of various funding agreements with other bodies who have liability for some of the works.

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Commons Hansard
23 Jan 2012

European Regional Development Fund

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps his Department is taking to ensure that regions of England access all funds available under the European regional development fund. [88537]

Grant Shapps, Minister of State (Housing and Local Government): I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Blackpool South (Mr Marsden) today, PQs 86452 and 86586.

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Commons Hansard
19 Jan 2012

Public Sector: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what further negotiations he plans to undertake with the PCS union on proposed changes to public sector pensions. [88836]

Mr Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General: The Government have engaged positively and constructively with the National Trade Union Committee (NTUC), of which PCS is a member, on reforms to the civil service scheme. The Government will continue discussions with the trade unions. Where appropriate the Government will also discuss further proposals for contribution increases to the existing scheme.

These talks are to finalise outstanding details on the propositions in the Heads of Agreement, set out before Christmas, and not to reopen those propositions.

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Commons Hansard
19 Jan 2012

NHS reform

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): This morning we have seen yet again the contempt that the Secretary of State for Health has for professional people working in the health service, as shown by his comments that opposition to NHS reforms is just about spite regarding the pension agenda. May we have a debate in the House about who really supports NHS reform and who does not? May we also, in that debate, discuss why the Secretary of State has so much contempt for nurses and midwives and other professionals in this country?

Sir George Young, Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Privy Seal: That is a travesty of the views of my right hon. Friend, who has on many occasions paid tribute to the work that nurses and doctors do within the NHS.

On the issue of pensions, our view is that a generous offer has been made to doctors and consultants. The average consultant retiring at the age of 60 will get a pension of £48,000 and a lump sum of £143,000, worth about £1.7 million in a pot. We think that is unsustainable, and we want a system that links pensions to lifetime earnings rather than final salary - a reform that I hope the hon. Gentleman would welcome.

On the issue of NHS reform, the hon. Gentleman knows that there will be an opportunity for a further debate when the other place has finished its consideration of the Health and Social Care Bill. We believe that that reform is essential and that it is in doctors' and nurses' interests, because they are put at the centre of clinical commissioning.

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Commons Hansard
16 Jan 2012

Care Quality Commission: Manpower

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the adequacy of staffing levels at the Care Quality Commission. [88837]

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

As an executive non-departmental public body, it is for the CQC to determine the appropriate staffing complement for its organisation, within its available resources, in order to carry out its functions efficiently and effectively.

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Commons Hansard
11 Jan 2012

European Regional Development Fund

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will meet representatives of the Industrial Communities Alliance to discuss take-up of European regional development fund resources. [88538]

Grant Shapps, Minister of State (Housing and Local Government): The Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my noble Friend Baroness Hanham, who is responsible for European regional development fund programmes in England, is arranging to meet the Industrial Communities Alliance to discuss take up of fund resources.

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Commons Hansard
10 Jan 2012

Care Quality Commission: Recruitment

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons external applicants are unable to apply for jobs with the Care Quality Commission. [88760]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): External applicants are able to apply for jobs with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) subject to the Government's efficiency controls. The CQC, like other public sector organisations, is subject to the recruitment freeze on external recruitment announced by the Government on 25 May 2010. External recruitment is only permissible by exception where a post is frontline or business critical and has not been filled from the "internal recruitment pool" comprising the Department's arm's length bodies, the Department, strategic health authorities and primary care trusts.

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Commons Hansard
20 Dec 2011

Public Sector: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education with reference to his recent speech on strike action over planned changes to public sector pensions, which individual trades union leaders he was referring to. [85375]

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): In his speech of 28 November, the Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), distinguished between those trade union leaders who negotiate hard on behalf of their members and a minority who take a more confrontational line. He made clear that he was not referring to any of the leaders of the teaching unions.

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Commons Hansard
13 Dec 2011

Employers' Liability: Personal Injury

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of trends in the number of employer liability personal injury cases in the last five years. [86104]

Chris Grayling, Minister of State (Employment): The information is tabled as follows:

Employer liability
Number
Financial yearAccidentDiseaseTotal
2006-07 70,783 27,695 98,478
2007-08 68,497 18,701 87,198
2008-09 72,342 14,615 86,957
2009-10 65,450 13,294 78,744
2010-11 66,142 15,328 81,470

The table reflects the volume of employment claims registered with the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) between the periods 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2011. The data are broken down by accident and disease claims and financial year.

Information from compensation claims registered by compensators with the CRU is provided on the DWP internet site accessible through Directgov Performance and Statistics - DWP. This information may be used by appropriate parties, including the insurance industry, to examine any trends for compensation claims that are made with insurance companies. Therefore, the CRU information on Directgov provides statistics to allow trends to be assessed by interested parties such as the insurance industry. The CRU itself does not undertake any specific trend analysis as the role of the unit is to register claims for compensation, ensure that double compensation does not occur and recover relevant moneys from compensators.

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Commons Hansard
12 Dec 2011

Public Sector: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 21 November 2011, Official Report, columns 179-80W, on public sector: pensions, to which individual trades union leaders the Chief Secretary to the Treasury was referring in his BBC TV interview. [85380]

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury: As I said during the interview of 6 November 2011 and in my answer to the same parliamentary question on 21 November 2011, most of the unions want to reach an agreement.

Discussions are ongoing and I am very keen that a deal is reached with the trades unions.

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Commons Hansard
7 Dec 2011

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average time taken to assess claims for jobseeker's allowance was in the latest period for which figures are available. [83919]

Chris Grayling, Minister of State (Employment): Jobcentre Plus monitors the average time taken to process new claims via internal measurement indicators using an average actual clearance time (AACT) for jobseeker's allowance (JSA).

AACT measures the average number of working days we take to process new claims. It does not mean that all claims for that benefit should be processed within that time, as it is an average. We do expect some claims to take longer, particularly if the customer's circumstances are complex or there is a delay in the customer returning information required to enable us to process their claim.

AACT is calculated from our benefit processing system and is a result of taking all the claim volumes processed within any given month against the total number of days each claim has taken to process. The system conducts a simple division calculation using these data sets to provide us with the average actual clearance time (AACT).

For JSA, the start date is either the date the customer first contacted Jobcentre Plus or the customers first day of unemployment, whichever is the later. The end date is the date a formal decision is made on the claim and a notification is issued to the customer on entitlement.

The AACT performance for the latest available month, along with the year to date position is shown in the following table:

Days

October 2011Year to date
JSA9.19.5
Source:Management Information System Programme (MISP) November 2011

The data are collected from Management Information System Programme (MISP). MISP is the departmental performance management, data capture and reporting tool. The statistics presented here have not been subject to the rigorous quality assurance processes that are used for official statistics and as a result they should be used with a degree of caution.

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Commons Hansard
5 Dec 2011

Police: Baton Rounds

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance is issued to police forces on the deployment of baton rounds; and how any such deployment is authorised. [81056]

Nick Herbert, Minister of State (Policing) (jointly with the Ministry of Justice): The police no longer use baton rounds. They were replaced in June 2005 when the attenuating energy projectile was introduced into service. The attenuating energy projectile is an impact round and performs very differently from baton rounds.

Use of the attenuating energy projectile is regulated by the Home Office 'Code of Practice on the Police use of Firearms and Less Lethal Weapons' (2003).

The Association of Chief Police Officers' 'Manual of Guidance on the Management, Command and Deployment of Armed Officers' (2011) provides operational context to the code of practice. Guidance on the use of the attenuating energy projectile in public order situations is also provided by the Association of Chief Police Officers' 'Manual of Guidance on Keeping the Peace' (2010).

Both the code of practice and the Manual of Guidance on the Management, Command and Deployment of Armed Officers make it clear that deployment and use of the attenuating energy projectile is an operational matter for the chief constable of the relevant force area to authorise.

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Commons Hansard
30 Nov 2011

Vocational Guidance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on ensuring a minimum professional qualification level for staff providing the telephone careers advice element of the National Careers Service. [81617]

John Hayes, Minister of State (Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning): Although the National Careers Service will be launched from April 2012, the telephone helpline element of the service has been in place since September 2011. It comprises two contracts for helpline services: one providing careers advice to young people, and the other providing information and careers advice to adults. The contract for services to young people requires the contractor to employ staff who are competent to deliver the service; the contract for services to adults requires the contractor to ensure that all advisers hold qualifications appropriate to their role. These requirements will be aligned as contracting arrangements allow to ensure that all telephone helpline advisers will be required to meet the same professional qualification levels. More broadly, the matrix Standard, to which all providers of the National Careers Service must be accredited by April 2013, will ensure that advisers providing helpline and face to face careers guidance are suitably qualified and meeting these professional standards.

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Commons Hansard
30 Nov 2011

Industrial Action

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): In relation to turnout, could the right hon. Gentleman reflect on the fact that only 39% of his constituents voted for him and only 27% of the constituents of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury voted for him? We do not need any lectures about turnout. Notwithstanding the confidentiality of some of the negotiations, will the Minister put in the Library a document showing exactly where we are with the negotiations and, in particular, where we are with the local government negotiations, where, as far as I am aware, no offer has been made.

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General: My right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary came and stood at the Dispatch Box on 2 November and made an offer. What is going on in the discussions on the four schemes is that the elements that he announced are being worked over, in conjunction with the unions, to work out what the best configuration is for the future. All these work forces are different - they have different salary profiles, different demographics, different age profiles - and the right arrangement of those moving parts within each scheme will also differ. That is where the negotiations are taking place, in order to arrive at the right agreed outcome. That is happening at the moment, so the idea that no offer has been made is completely irrelevant and immaterial.

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Commons Hansard
29 Nov 2011

Public Sector Pay

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): At a time when inflation is 5% and when the average nurse in this country has had a two-year pay freeze, faces two years of a 1% pay limit, a 3% theft on her pension and frozen or capped increments, does the Chancellor agree that over this Parliament the average nurse's living standards will fall by 10%, and that, if the plans for regional pay go through, people in the regions might be even worse off?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr George Osborne):First, we have committed to real increases in the health budget, and the official -

Mr Anderson: Talk about pay!

Mr Osborne: Well, the pay comes out of the health budget, and the official policy of the Labour party is not to increase health spending in real terms. [ Interruption. ] This is rubbish: that is the stated position of the shadow Health Secretary; that is what he says. On pay, I want to hear from the shadow Chancellor at some point this evening whether he supports a 1% average pay rise in the next few years, because then we will know whether the complaints that the hon. Gentleman has just made have any force.

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Commons Hansard
23 Nov 2011

Prisons: Crimes of Violence

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will take steps to improve the support provided in the criminal justice system to prison officers who have been assaulted by offenders in the course of their duties. [81946]

Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation, youth justice, criminal law and sentencing policy, criminal justice): The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) takes the health and safety of its staff very seriously. Safe systems of work, health and safety assessments, and a violence management information system are in place across the Prison Service estate to ensure that staff work in an environment that is as safe as possible. While NOMS cannot prevent every incident, it takes a zero tolerance approach to assaults of any kind. NOMS is confident that its systems are robust, and that suitable support and training is given to its staff.

Where staff are affected by violence, NOMS provides access to the Post Incident Care arrangements developed with experience of the operational environment in prisons and following guidelines produced by the National Institute of Clinical Health (NICE) on the Management of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Affected staff have access to critical incident debriefs, workplace support advisers, information on coping strategies, and where appropriate counselling services.

NOMS has completed a review of its violence reduction strategy which will be published in early 2012. This looks at good practice and how this can be shared effectively in the future. In addition, work is in hand across Government to harmonise contracts for occupational health and employee assistance programmes across the civil service. This will ensure economies of scale whilst ensuring that the civil service meets the best in class employee support provided in the private sector.

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Commons Hansard
22 Nov 2011

Incapacity Benefit (North-East)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I agree with my colleague. The figure of 32,000 that the report spoke about was released about a month ago. That figure has not been challenged by the Government. We have 32,000 job losses across the public sector in the north-east. If my hon. Friend is correct, another 35,000 will be taken off incapacity benefit, which will put up the unemployment figures. There will be a 70,000 increase in those two groups alone. There is also the failure of the private sector to move into the void. Does that not make the jobs situation even more serious than it already is?

Grahame M. Morris: I am grateful for that intervention, which reinforces the point that I was trying to make. It is absolutely essential that we tackle joblessness; the Government have a responsibility to do that. I am concerned about the complete failure of regional policy; I am not convinced that we have an effective regional policy. We lost our regional development agency, One North East, and our regional Minister. It cost nothing to have an advocate at the top table of government, arguing the case for business, as well as for the regeneration of the whole region. It seems perverse that the coalition should abandon that, particularly when the region is doing so badly.

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Commons Hansard
21 Nov 2011

Accident and Emergency Departments: Manpower

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the deployment of emergency care assistants; and whether he plans to put in place safeguards to ensure they will not be used as substitutes for qualified paramedics. [81149]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): Decisions on deployment of ambulance service personnel are a local, operational matter for ambulance trusts. There is a duty of care on these trusts to ensure that the response they send to the patient can provide the appropriate level of care. Where patients need a paramedic, one should be dispatched.

Emergency care assistants are not trained to have any diagnostic or therapeutic intervention function, and so only in exceptional cases will not be accompanied by a paramedic. In such exceptional circumstances, an emergency care assistant may be dispatched with an emergency medical technician or another emergency care assistant, but this would only be as backup to a paramedic rapid response vehicle, or as a first response, with paramedic back dispatched as required.

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Commons Hansard
21 Nov 2011

Social Security Benefits: Uprating

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the merits of the use of the Consumer Prices Index including housing costs as the measure of indexation for the annual uprating of (a) benefits, (b) tax credits, (c) the second state pension and (d) public sector pensions; and if he will make a statement. [81616]

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury: The Office for National Statistics is currently developing a measure of CPI including housing costs with a view to publishing this in early 2013. HM Treasury is therefore unable to comment on the merits of using any such measure at this point in time.

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Commons Hansard
21 Nov 2011

Public Sector: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which trade union leaders were described by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on the BBC Andrew Marr programme on 6 November 2011 as being strongly in favour of strike action over planned changes to public sector pensions; and if he will make a statement. [80391]

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Most of the unions want to reach an agreement and discussions with interested parties regarding public service pension reform are ongoing.

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Commons Hansard
21 Nov 2011

Prisons: Uniform

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will take steps to ensure that prison officers are issued with (a) stab vests and (b) other personal protective equipment where necessary. [81413]

Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation, youth justice, criminal law and sentancing policy, criminal justice): Stab resistant vests and other personal protective equipment are available to prison staff in circumstances where there is a particular risk that requires such equipment to be worn. Attacks on staff in prisons with bladed weapons are relatively rare and there are no plans to routinely equip all prison officers working in prisons with items such as stab-proof vests.

All prison officers are trained in control and restraint techniques and receive personal protection training. In addition, prison officers working in the adult male and young adult male closed prison estate are all equipped with batons for use as a defensive weapon.

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Commons Hansard
21 Nov 2011

Baton Rounds: Death

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been (a) killed and (b) injured by the use of baton rounds since 1981. [80971]

Nick Herbert, Minister of State (Policing) (jointly with the Ministry of Justice) [holding answer 14 November 2011]: The Home Office does not hold this data. Data on number of people killed as a result of the use of police baton rounds since 2004 are held by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). This shows that no individuals have been killed as a result of the police use of baton rounds since 2004. The IPCC does not hold data prior to this period and does not hold comprehensive data about injuries.

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Commons Hansard
21 Nov 2011

Northern Rock

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): If this is the best time to sell Northern Rock—a time when it has made a loss, with the implication of what the Minister has said being that it has already made a loss for part way through next year—does that not show what the real story here is? It is not about the bank, but about the fact that the Government are tacitly agreeing today that the economy will be no better, or worse, in the next two years than it has been in the past year and a half, under their stewardship?

Mr Hoban, Financial Secretary: I do not agree with that at all. If the hon. Gentleman had spoken to Northern Rock employees over the past few months, as I have, he would have found that they clearly have the capacity to expand their services beyond what is currently on offer; they can cope with a bigger flow of savings and mortgages. That is good news, because it will enable Northern Rock to cope with the volumes that should flow from the acquisition by Virgin Money. If we did not sell Northern Rock now, the risk is that there would be further job losses to try to cut the cost base in line with the current business book. That would not be a good outcome for Northern Rock or its employees. The prospect of moving to Virgin Money has lifted the uncertainty from over the heads of Northern Rock employees. As one of them said to me on Thursday, "This is like an early Christmas present."

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Commons Hansard
15 Nov 2011

Paramedical Staff

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of NHS paramedic posts which have been lost in the last 12 months. [80554]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): Information on the number of paramedics employed is collected and reported in the NHS Information Centre annual census.

The most recent data available show that there has been an increase of 589 (headcount) employed in the past 12 months, with 10,089 (headcount) employed in 2009 and 10,678 (headcount) in 2010, the date of the last annual census.

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Commons Hansard
15 Nov 2011

Cancer

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the findings in respect of cancer survival rates in the recent paper by Professor Colin Pritchard and Dr Tamas Hickish; and if he will make a statement. [80689]

Paul Burstow, Minister of State (Care Services): "Comparing cancer mortality and GDP health expenditure in England and Wales with other major developed countries from 1979 to 2006", published in the British Journal of Cancer (BJC), reported that mortality rates from cancer rates in England and Wales fell significantly between 1979 and 2006, a time during which the national health service spent proportionally less on health care than other countries included in the study.

We know that England has a good track record on reducing cancer mortality, especially in men under 75. This is largely related to falls in smoking prevalence in the previous two decades and has little to do with levels of NHS expenditure. However, looking at cancer mortality rates does not provide a good way of assessing NHS performance as it is an indicator of both incidence and of survival. Survival rates are a much more effective way of assessing NHS performance as they show how good the NHS is, compared with other countries, in diagnosing and treating people with cancer.

In terms of cancer survival rates, we know that we are lagging behind other countries. In "Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer" we have set out the ambition to be as good as the European average and save an additional 5,000 lives per year by 2014-15.

A copy of the BJC paper has been placed in the Library.

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Commons Hansard
9 Nov 2011

Iron and Steel: Competition

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the request to his Department from UK Steel, what his policy is on providing Government assistance to ensure the ongoing competitiveness of the UK steel industry. [78946]

Mr Prisk, Minister of State (Business and Enterprise): We are unaware of any specific request from UK Steel. However, this Department works closely with UK Steel and the steel sector on a range of issues related to maintaining their international competitiveness. This includes seeking to minimise unnecessary regulatory burdens by involving the sector in discussions on better regulation and taking steps to reduce the impact of Government policy on the cost of electricity to ensure that the UK steel industry remains internationally competitive.

Any Government support for the steel industry needs to be compatible with the EC State Aid rules. Regional investment or operating aid may not be granted to the steel sector, however other forms of aid including aid for research, development and innovation, training and environmental investments is permitted.

The steel industry has opportunities to participate in collaborative research and development projects funded by the Technology Strategy Board and the EU Research Fund for Coal and Steel.

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Commons Hansard
9 Nov 2011

Tax Avoidance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to prevent FTSE 100 companies from avoiding taxation through the use of overseas tax havens. [78947]

David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary: The Government are working to ensure that the UK is a good place to do business. But being open for business does not mean being open to tax avoidance, and we have set out a strategic approach to address avoidance. This is supported by HMRC's anti-avoidance strategy which puts the emphasis on prevention of avoidance through robust legislation and deterrence, backed up by accurate detection and robust action where avoidance does occur.

The Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) rules prevent multinational companies artificially diverting profits from the UK to low tax territories. The Government are introducing a modernised CFC regime which will prevent artificial diversion of UK profits while reflecting changes to the way in which businesses operate in a global economy.

In relation to other HMRC activities within the anti-avoidance strategy to address the use of tax havens, I also refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 3 November 2011, Official Report, column 736W.

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Commons Hansard
9 Nov 2011

Licensing Laws: Olympic Games 2012

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she plans to take steps to ensure that sufficient late night licences are made available to pubs and restaurants to enable visitors to the London 2012 Olympics to use their services. [78945]

James Brokenshire, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Crime and Security): Licensing hours are determined by local authorities under the Licensing Act 2003. Pubs and restaurants that already have a licence to open late will be able to open as they do now. Those that wish to open longer during the Olympics can do so by applying for an extension using a Temporary Event Notice (TEN). TENs are administered by local authorities and, under the current system, the police can object on crime and disorder grounds. We considered whether to use the powers available to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) under section 172 of the 2003 Act to make a licensing hours order in relation to the Olympics period. This would have allowed licensed premises to open for longer without needing a TEN. In consultation with the police and others, we decided it would not be appropriate to do so.

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Commons Hansard
7 Nov 2011

North-East job losses

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Another report came out today from the Institute for Public Policy Research showing that 32,000 jobs in the public sector were lost in the North-East last year while the number of private sector jobs also went down, and the number of public sector jobs in London and the south-east went up. Why should the Europeans trust the action plan from the Prime Minister when his inaction plan in this country is destroying the regions of this country?

The Prime Minister: Of course there has to be a rebalancing of public sector and private sector jobs in our economy, and of course there are difficult circumstances faced by different parts of the country, but in the North-East we have seen the expansion of the Nissan plant, and we have the new Hitachi train plant going into the North-East as well. What we need to do as a country is to become more competitive - to start manufacturing and making things again, which will benefit all the regions of our country.

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Commons Hansard
4 Nov 2011

Tax Havens

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to reduce tax avoidance through the use of tax havens. [78143]

David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary: The use of tax havens is one aspect of tax avoidance. To address tax avoidance the Government have set out a strategic approach. This is supported by HMRC's anti-avoidance strategy which puts the emphasis on prevention of avoidance through robust legislation and deterrence, backed up by accurate detection and robust action where avoidance does occur.

Specific activities undertaken within HMRC's strategy to address avoidance through the use of tax havens include for example obtaining and sharing information on avoidance through membership of the Joint International Tax Shelter Information Centre (JITSIC).

In addition tax havens often involve attempts at concealment and HMRC has made significant progress in tackling this by obtaining information such as banking details and introducing offshore disclosure initiatives.

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Commons Hansard
31 Oct 2011

Fire and Rescue Services

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): What estimate he has made of the average change in funding for fire and rescue services between 2011 and 2013. [77094]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Robert Neill): Driving down the nation's deficit remains the Government's principal priority, but we have protected fire and rescue services in the spending review by back-loading their reductions to 2013-14 and 2014-15. As a consequence, the revenue spending power of single-purpose fire and rescue authorities will be reduced by only 2.2% in 2011-12 and by 0.5% in 2012-13.

Mr Anderson: The local chief fire officer in Tyne and Wear advises me that although the average loss across the country is 6.5%, in the metropolitan areas it is 12.9%. He believes that if the cuts go ahead, they will lead to a weakening of national and local resilience, firefighters made compulsorily redundant, a further reduction in the number of rescuers, a significant fall in the number of readily available appliances and fire station closures. What will the Minister do to ensure that that prophesy does not come true?

Robert Neill: All local fire and rescue authorities must perform their statutory duties under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 and act in a way that is consistent with their integrated risk management plans. The Government adjusted the fire formula following consultation with local fire and rescue authorities and increased the weighting given to the needs element and risk factors in urban areas

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Commons Hansard
27 Oct 2011

Universal Credit

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department has made any estimate of the cost implications of ending existing commercial housing benefit contracts early as a result of the introduction of universal credit; and whether his Department has any plans to pay compensation to (a) local authorities, (b) housing associations and (c) contractors in consequence. [67035]

Steve Webb, Minister of State (Pensions): The Welfare Reform White Paper sets out that the Department for Work and Pensions will be responsible for organising the delivery of universal credit. It also states that we will continue to pay housing benefit to working age customers until we can migrate them successfully on to universal credit, currently expected to be by October 2017. We have yet to settle on the precise details of how the transition will work, and the effects on housing benefits staff. This approach will ensure an orderly transition and that we have people with relevant skills and experience to support claimants both in work and out of work, as they migrate to the new credit.

We will continue to work with colleagues in HM Revenue and Customs and local authorities to test new ways of working and consider how, in the longer term, we can build on the best capabilities of current organisations to provide a consistently excellent service to claimants and ensure value for money. This work will also confirm whether and how TUPE will apply for those staff affected in all organisations.

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Commons Hansard
24 Oct 2011

Free Schools: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education in respect of how many free schools support staff have access to the Local Government Pension Scheme. [75778]

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): All free schools are under a statutory duty to ensure that all the non-teaching staff they employ are provided with access to the Local Government Pension Scheme.

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Commons Hansard
24 Oct 2011

Housing Benefit: Universal Credit

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he plans to consult representatives of local authority trade unions on the plan for transition from housing benefit to universal credit. [75777]

Steve Webb, Minister of State (Pensions), Department for Work and Pensions: I have been asked to reply.

It is the responsibility of local authorities to engage with trade unions under agreed local arrangements for consultation. We are engaging with local authorities to understand the changes that will arise as a result of transition to universal credit, which will inform these dialogues.

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Commons Hansard
24 Oct 2011

Police: Pay

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she expects the Chancellor's commitment to increase the pay of police staff in England and Wales earning less than £21,000 to be implemented through the Police Staff Council for England and Wales; and if she will make a statement. [75785]

Nick Herbert, Minister of State (Policing): The Government's policy is to freeze the pay of public sector workers for two years except for those earning £21,000 or less, who will receive an increase of a minimum of £250. We would expect this to apply to police staff, although police staff pay is determined by police authorities and is subject to the usual negotiating processes.

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Commons Hansard
24 Oct 2011

Health Services: Armed Forces

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what services are available to armed forces personnel to assist them in dealing with alcohol abuse or other alcohol-related problems following their discharge from service. [75928]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): My hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison) in his report, 'Fighting Fit', made a number of recommendations in relation to access to mental health services. The Department of Health, working with the NHS armed forces networks, Combat Stress and others have put in place a number of initiatives aimed at improving access to mental health services for veterans. These include a 24-hour helpline through Combat Stress (working with Rethink), and an increase in the number of mental health professionals conducting veterans outreach, assessment and referral work (also with Combat Stress), set up a pilot of Big White Wall - an early intervention service for service personnel, veterans and families and launched an e-learning package for general practitioners with the Royal College of General Practitioners. In all of these areas, alcohol misuse is a key issue.

In addition to these veteran specific initiatives, most, areas of England have access to the full range of alcohol treatment services including advice and information, counselling and therapy, medical detoxification (both in the community and in-patient when necessary), and rehabilitation services (both residential and in the community day treatment services), as defined in the Department's best practice guidance 'Models of Care for Alcohol Misusers' published in June 2006. A copy has already been placed in the Library.

Most areas operate a "stepped care" model where new patients are assessed, and initially receive the least intensive or prolonged intervention considered suitable for the level of need and complexity identified.

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Commons Hansard
21 Oct 2011

Iraq: Trade Unions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the position of trade unions in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [75722]

Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Afghanistan/South Asia, counter terrorism/proliferation, North America, Middle East and North Africa): The UK continues to promote the importance of an active civil society in Iraq, of which trade unions play an important part. New draft labour laws are currently under review in Iraq, including those on freedom of association and collective bargaining. British embassy officials in Baghdad have in the past urged the Government of Iraq to recognise the important role played by trade unions. We will continue to do this where appropriate.

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Commons Hansard
21 Oct 2011

Egypt: Christianity

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise the treatment of Christians in Egypt with the Egyptian Government as a matter of urgency. [75385]

Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Afghanistan/South Asia, counter terrorism/proliferation, North America, Middle East and North Africa): The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), called the Egyptian Foreign Minister on 12 October to discuss the situation in Egypt, including his concerns about the unrest in Cairo that took place on 9 October. They discussed the action that the Egyptian Government were taking to address the violence.

The Secretary of State also issued a statement, on 10 October 2011, expressing his deep concern over this unrest and the loss of life in Cairo. He urged all Egyptians to refrain from violence, support the Egyptian Prime Minister's call for calm and for all sides to engage in dialogue. He said that the freedom of religious belief needs to be protected and that the ability to worship in peace is a vital component of a democratic society.

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Commons Hansard
21 Oct 2011

Defence Equipment

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions in 2010-11 were consignments in response to requests for military kit despatched by special courier. [75761]

Peter Luff, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Equipment, Support and Technology): An enabling arrangement is in place with City Spirit for the delivery of urgently required equipment such as aircraft components and medical stores anywhere in north-west Europe. In 2010-11, 13,995 deliveries were tasked under this arrangement. These predominantly related to ongoing operations.

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Commons Hansard
19 Oct 2011

Northern Ireland: Public Sector Jobs

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on the reduction in public sector jobs in Northern Ireland. [74415]

Mr Paterson, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: I last discussed economic matters with the First Minister and Acting deputy First Minister yesterday. We all agree that Northern Ireland is overly dependent on public spending. The Government are committed to rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy by creating the conditions that will encourage the private sector to provide jobs for the future.

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Commons Hansard
19 Oct 2011

Liam Fox

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Both in questions to the Prime Minister and during this statement today, the question of whether other Ministers have behaved in a similar manner has been raised. The Leader of the House has made it clear that anyone who wants to make allegations should do so. I do not think that people are making allegations - they are raising the general worry that the rest of the population of this country feels. If someone as experienced as the former Secretary of State allowed this to go on, thinking that it was reasonable, surely it is possible that other Ministers, equally unwittingly, might be doing the same thing. Would it not benefit us all if the Cabinet Secretary were to look into all these things to ensure that there is not any other concern?

Sir George Young, Leader of the House: I understand the hon. Gentleman's point, but in the last Parliament a number of Ministers from his party had to resign. We never made any suggestion that because one Minister had broken the code, all Ministers had broken the code, and it is important that similar accusations should not be made in this Parliament.

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Commons Hansard
18 Oct 2011

Health Professions: Languages

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to ensure staff in the NHS have the necessary language skills to perform their duties. [71986]

Anne Milton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Public Health): The Department of Health in England has made it clear to all national health service employers that they should ensure that those they appoint have suitable skills and competence for the role, including the ability to communicate, and clear guidance has been provided on this issue. Primary care trusts also have a legal obligation to satisfy themselves that persons admitted to their performers lists have appropriate English language ability to provide primary care services.

Steps have already been taken to strengthen the current system and as of 1 January 2011 all designated bodies must nominate or appoint a responsible officer with duties to check the qualifications and experience of doctors and to ensure that references are obtained and checked.

We are continuing to work with the General Medical Council and we propose a stronger role for responsible officers which will build on their existing duties,

We are also working with other regulatory bodies, to explore what scope there is for strengthening local checks on other health professions.

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Commons Hansard
18 Oct 2011

Local Government: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will instruct his Department not to play a role in negotiations on changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme. [R] [72089]

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury: HM Treasury has overall responsibility for public service pension policy and public expenditure.

The Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government has responsibility for the rules of the Local Government Pension scheme.

On 20 July the Secretary of State invited discussions between the Local Government Group and local government trade unions with a view to establishing a package of measures to secure short term savings. The Government began consultation on 7 September on consequent proposals. The Government will consult on wider reforms based on recommendations of the Independent Public Service Pensions Commission, in due course.

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Commons Hansard
13 Oct 2011

Vocational Guidance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education what procedures are in place to monitor local authorities' levels of compliance with their statutory duty to provide careers guidance; what recent estimate he has made of the rate of compliance by local authorities; and what steps he will take to ensure that local authorities perform their statutory duty. [71751]

John Hayes, Minister of State (Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning) [holding answer 14 September 2011]: Local authorities retain a responsibility to encourage, enable and assist young people's participation in education or training, under section 68 of the Education and Skills Act 2008. There is no statutory duty on local authorities to provide careers guidance but given their duty to support young people to participate, many do so as the best means of meeting that duty. In advance of the new duty coming into force which will give schools responsibility for securing access to independent careers guidance, the Early Intervention Grant supports local authorities' transitional responsibilities for careers guidance and their ongoing role in supporting young people not in education, employment or training to participate.

The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), has powers to intervene if a local authority is failing to meet its statutory duties. Any case for intervention will be based on clear evidence of outcomes demonstrating the extent to which young people in an area are participating in education or training, rather than specific inputs such as the way youth support services are organised.

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Commons Hansard
12 Oct 2011

New Homes Bonus

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what effect the introduction of the New Homes Bonus will have on the level of formula grant for local authorities in the North of England; [73756]

(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of the New Homes Bonus on formula grant for Gateshead metropolitan borough council; and if he will take steps to ensure that the formula grant allocated to Gateshead is not reduced as a result of the introduction of the bonus; [74194]

(3) if he will make it his policy not to reduce Formula Grant to local authorities as a result of the introduction of the New Homes Bonus. [74200]

Robert Neill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Fire and Resilience, Thames Gateway and Olympics, Local Government and Planning): We have already made clear our policy on the funding of the New Homes Bonus. The full amount of the New Homes Bonus for 2011-12 was met from Department for Communities and Local Government funding. For each of the years 2012-2013, 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, £250 million was allocated to the New Homes Bonus from Department for Communities and Local Government funding. Funding beyond these levels will come from Formula Grant.

Under the provisional 2012-13 Settlement we transferred £176 million from formula grant to fund the New Homes Bonus. Transition grant guarantees that no authority will receive a reduction in its spending power of more than 8.8% in both 2011-2012 and 2012-13.

The New Homes Bonus will ensure that the economic benefits of housing growth are returned to the local area, so encouraging and rewarding the construction of new homes in the north of England and across the Country.

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Commons Hansard
12 Oct 2011

Pat Finucane

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): It seems strange for the Secretary of State to say that the truth lies in the archives. It would then have lain in the archives for over 22 years; if the truth is there, why is someone not already in jail? Witnesses need to be called in a proper way, and that could happen only through a public inquiry. Clearly, this is more about the Conservative party looking to its manifesto and saving money than about justice being done.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr Owen Paterson): I regret the tone of that contribution, which reduces the level of our debate, and I wholly refute what the hon. Gentleman says. I believe that the Prime Minister took a bold step. I think that the hon. Gentleman's views will be refuted in December 2012.

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Commons Hansard
10 Oct 2011

Innovation Fund

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will ensure that resources from the Innovation Fund are made available to support the re-employment of skilled and experienced careers advisers recently made unemployed as a result of the closure of Connexions services. [72095]

Chris Grayling, Minister of State (Employment): The Innovation Fund will support disadvantaged young people, and those at risk of disadvantage, aged 14 years and over. Any organisation in the public, private or voluntary sector is eligible to bid for the Innovation Fund, as an investor/ intermediary or as a delivery organisation within a social investment partnership. The second phase of the Innovation Fund will be launched in the autumn and projects are being selected on the basis of a competitive process.

Payments from the fund will be made on the basis of the educational and employment related outcomes achieved by the participants. However, the Innovation Fund provision must not duplicate existing programmes or funding arrangements - the provision needs to be genuinely innovative and deliver support to individuals which would not otherwise be available to them.

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Commons Hansard
15 Sep 2011

Iraq: Armed Conflict

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Turkish and Iranian governments on military action in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. [71814]

Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Afghanistan/South Asia, counter terrorism/proliferation, North America, Middle East and North Africa) [holding answer 14 September 2011]: It is for the Government of Iraq to decide whether to make representations to the Governments of Turkey and Iran over military actions against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) and PJAK (Free Life Party of Kurdistan) within Iraq's borders. We have consistently called for co-operation with the Governments of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region over the threat in the border areas, and have expressed our concern about indiscriminate Iranian shelling.

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Commons Hansard
14 Sep 2011

Schools: Innovation Fund

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether schools will be entitled to bid for monies from the Innovation Fund to help them meet careers and guidance responsibilities set out in the provisions of the Education Bill. [71815]

Chris Grayling, Minister of State (Employment): Any organisation in the public, private or voluntary sector is eligible to bid for the Innovation Fund, as an investor/intermediary or as a delivery organisation within a social investment partnership. However, the Innovation Fund provision must not duplicate existing programmes or funding arrangements - the provision needs to be genuinely innovative and deliver support to individuals which would not otherwise be available to them.

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Commons Hansard
14 Sep 2011

Connexions Service: Innovation Fund

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to allow Connexions services to bid for funding from his Department's Innovation Fund for the purpose of assisting young people into education, employment or training. [71754]

Chris Grayling, Minister of State (Employment): Any organisation in the public, private or voluntary sector is eligible to bid for the Innovation Fund, as an investor/intermediary or as a delivery organisation within a social investment partnership. The second phase of the Innovation Fund will be launched in the autumn and details will be available on the Innovation Fund website:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/supplying-dwp/what-we-buy/welfare-to-work-services/innovation-fund/

The Innovation Fund team can be contacted at:

innovation.fund@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

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Commons Hansard
8 Sep 2011

Public Sector: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office whether he has had recent discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the timetable for negotiations on changes to public service pension schemes. [70562]

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General: I meet regularly with my ministerial colleagues including those in the Treasury to discuss a range of issues, including various aspects of the reform of public service pension schemes.

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Commons Hansard
11 Aug 2011

Public Disorder: Evicting rioters

Mr Kevin Barron (Rother Valley) (Lab): Violence against others and theft should clearly be dealt with by the criminal law, but does the Prime Minister accept that removing people from social housing for unacceptable behaviour and putting them in social housing in other communities, taking that unacceptable behaviour with them, does not solve the problem?

The Prime Minister: It can be part of solving the problem; it says to people in social housing, "If you misbehave, you can be thrown out of your house."

+++

Mr Dave Anderson (Blaydon) (Lab): I was genuinely saddened to hear the Prime Minister's response to my right hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr Barron) on the proposal to evict the people responsible for this damage from social housing. Some of us from the communities that have been on the receiving end of the damage and seen stable communities destroyed by these acts really know what we are talking about, so may I ask the Prime Minister to think about this and engage with us before pursuing the matter?

The Prime Minister: Perhaps I can arrange for the Minister for Housing and Local Government, who has worked very hard to deliver this policy, to contact the hon. Gentleman. If people in social housing behave appallingly, it should be possible to evict them and keep them evicted.

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Commons Hansard
20 Jul 2011

Lotteries: Gambling

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will meet representatives from (a) the Lotteries Council, (b) the Hospice Lotteries Association and (c) the People's Postcode Lottery to discuss the review of monetary limits in the Gambling Act 2005. [67032]

John Penrose, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Tourism and Heritage): I have recently received representations from the People's Postcode Lottery about the monetary limits in the Gambling Act. I would be happy to meet representatives from the Lotteries Council, the Hospice Lotteries Association and the People's Postcode Lottery to discuss this matter further.

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Commons Hansard
20 Jul 2011

Lotteries: Charities

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether he has discussed with representatives of operators of charity lotteries their contribution to the big society initiative. [67030]

John Penrose, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Tourism and Heritage): I have not had any specific discussions with operators of charity lotteries about the big society, but I recognise the valuable role that they play in generating income and raising awareness of the contribution of charities towards the big society.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) what steps his Department plans to take to support a more competitive environment for charity lotteries; [67031]

(2) if he will consult on the proposed review of monetary limits imposed upon charity lotteries by the Gambling Act 2005; and if he will make a statement. [67033]

John Penrose, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Tourism and Heritage): We are currently considering the recommendations of the Lord Hodgson report 'Unshackling Good Neighbours':

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/unshackling-good-neighbours

to simplify the arrangements for charitable lotteries and raffles, although this does not relate to the monetary limits for different types of lottery. The monetary limits for society lotteries were last increased in 2009, when the proceeds per draw and maximum prize were doubled to the current £4 million and £400,000 limits, and we would certainly want to consider the impact of that change before proposing any further amendments.

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Commons Hansard
19 Jul 2011

Universal Credit: Free School Meals

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost implications for schools of administering free school meals under the universal credit. [67034]

Chris Grayling, Minister of State (Employment): Defining entitlement to certain passported benefits is the responsibility of other Government Departments and devolved Administrations. Free school meals are the responsibility of Department for Education.

The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) have been commissioned to carry out an independent review on passported benefits on behalf of the Government and will present advice in a non-binding report by the end of January 2012.

SSAC launched a public consultation looking at passported benefits which is open until 22 July.

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Commons Hansard
18 Jul 2011

Universal Credit

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department has made an estimate of the number of housing benefit staff that may be made redundant under proposals to introduce universal credit; and what his estimate is of the cost of such redundancies to (a) local authorities, (b) housing associations and (c) private contractors. [66969]

Steve Webb, Steve Webb, Minister of State (Pensions): It is still too early to say how many staff, and what skills and experience will be required for universal credit. Decisions about TUPE and redundancy cannot be made until there is much more definition around the specific roles required to deliver the new universal credit. Although it is anticipated that fewer staff will be required compared to the legacy benefits, it is too early to say which staff and organisations will be affected. The impact on local authority staff will be affected by the design of the council tax benefit replacement, and decisions about the delivery model for universal credit.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many housing benefit staff employed by (a) local authorities, (b) housing associations and (c) contractors he expects will transfer to his Department under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 to administer universal credit; [66970]

(2) how many staff will be needed to assess housing costs following the introduction of universal credit. [66971]

Steve Webb, Steve Webb, Minister of State (Pensions): The Welfare Reform White Paper sets out that the Department for Work and Pensions will be responsible for organising the delivery of universal credit. It also states that we will continue to pay housing benefit to working age customers until we can migrate them successfully on to universal credit, currently expected to be by October 2017. We have yet to settle on the precise details of how the transition will work, and the effects on housing benefits' staff. This approach will ensure an orderly transition and that we have people

with relevant skills and experience to support claimants both in work and out of work, as they migrate to the new credit.

We will continue to work with colleagues in HM Revenue and Customs and local authorities to test new ways of working and consider how, in the longer term, we can build on the best capabilities of current organisations to provide a consistently excellent service to claimants and ensure value for money.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the effect on the number of local housing offices of the introduction of universal credit. [66972]

Steve Webb, Steve Webb, Minister of State (Pensions): The provision of housing advice and support is the responsibility of local authorities who can choose to configure their services in the ways best suited to the needs of their communities. Decisions about the number of local housing offices in the future will be a decision for them.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the assets and systems currently used to provide the housing benefit service will transfer from local authorities, housing associations and contractors to his Department under proposals for the universal credit; and if he will make a statement. [66973]

Steve Webb, Steve Webb, Minister of State (Pensions): The systems and processes for universal credit are still under development and the requirements will depend on future delivery options. As many local authorities use the same assets and systems to provide council tax and housing benefit, decisions about the assets and systems cannot be made until the future design of the council tax benefit is known.

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Commons Hansard
27 Jun 2011

Departmental Reorganisation

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much was saved through his Department's modernisation process in each month since May 2010; [61483]

(2) if he will publish monthly reports on the savings made under his Department's modernisation process. [61484]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): Estimates of the future savings from our proposals for modernising the national health service - including from a one third reduction in the cost of administration - were set out in an impact assessment published in January 2011. Following the report of the NHS Future Forum and the Government's response, an updated impact assessment will be published in due course. The Department will report regularly on progress towards delivering those savings but we have no plans to publish monthly reports.

While most savings will accrue in the years of this spending review, some elements of modernisation have already delivered savings in 2010-11. In January 2011, we announced savings of £162 million had been made by applying controls over central spending on consultancy, information technology, administration and advertising. Those savings were made available to reinvest in services to support people leaving hospital.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jun 2011

Insolvency

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what assessment he has made of the merits of amending Section 233 of the Insolvency Act 1986 to include on-sellers of telecommunications services and equipment; [59465]

(2) what assessment he has made of the merits of amending Section 233 of the Insolvency Act 1986 to prevent suppliers demanding ransom payments on insolvency; [59466]

(3) if he will consider the merits of introducing legislative proposals to amend Section 233 of the Insolvency Act 1986 to include information technology services, computer software services and accounting software services as essential suppliers; and if he will make a statement. [59467]

Mr Davey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs) [holding answer 13 June 2011]:We announced in May that we would discuss with interested parties the issue of termination clauses in the context of further consideration of a possible new restructuring moratorium. Officials are currently engaged in that process. Any move to include other essential supplies in section 233 would have implications for the suppliers themselves and would need to be carefully considered in this context.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jun 2011

Working Conditions: Temperature

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many complaints were made to the Health and Safety Executive in relation to stress due to exposure to high temperatures in the work place in each of the last six years for which figures are available. [59702]

Chris Grayling, Minister of State (Employment): The information requested is not collated centrally in a readily retrievable format and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on determination of the long-term and short-term physical and psychological effects on workers of exposure to workplace temperature above 30 degrees Celsius. [59757]

Chris Grayling: In 2009 HSE commissioned an independent review into workplace temperatures, which drew on the wide range of non-Government research available. Following this review HSE conducted a survey about temperatures in workplaces, to which 2,933 completed responses were submitted. Evaluation of this and other data provided little evidence of significant numbers of illnesses, long or short term, physical or psychological, caused or exacerbated by exposure to high temperatures.

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Commons Hansard
24 May 2011

Departmental NDPBs

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether any savings arising from the reduction in the number of his Department's arm's-length bodies will be re-allocated; and if he will make a statement. [56634]

Robert Neill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Fire and Resilience, Thames Gateway and Olympics, Local Government and Planning): We have published details of expected savings made in budgets for the Department's arm's length bodies at

http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/newsroom/1865652

The Department's spending review settlement reflects these savings.

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Commons Hansard
23 May 2011

Police budgets

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Can the right hon. Lady say exactly how much money is being cut from budgets that are going to police authorities?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): I think the hon. Gentleman asks me how much money is being cut from budgets to police authorities. The average cut this year in real terms from central Government funding for police is 5.5%, but each police force area raises funds through the precept.

+++

Mr Anderson: Raoul Moat began his killing spree in my constituency, a mile from my house. Twenty-four hours later, he damaged PC David Rathband to the extent that that man will never see again. Last week, at the Police Federation, he asked the Home Secretary, "Do you think I'm paid too much?", to which she replied, "I'm not saying to any individual officer that your pay is wrong." Just what is she saying to all police officers?

Mrs May: I am saying to all police officers that we value the work that they are doing, though it is important that we look at their pay terms and conditions, which have not been changed significantly for some time. We need to ensure that we have a modern, flexible work force in the police who can take us forward in the policing that we need today in the 21st century. That is why I thought it important to set up an independent review. We will look at the results of the proper processes that that independent review report is going through with the Police Negotiating Board.

I have set out a number of areas in which it is possible to make savings over and above those identified in the HMIC report in areas, such as increasing efficiency, IT, procurement, and a pay freeze. Together, these savings amount to £2.2 billion a year - more than the £2.1 billion real-terms reduction in central Government funding to the police. Even that ignores the local precept contribution from council tax payers, which independent forecasts suggest will rise by £382 million, or 12%, over the comprehensive spending review period.

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Commons Hansard
9 May 2011

NHS: Private Sector

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the potential effect on existing NHS service providers of allowing any qualified provider to provide NHS services; [54292]

(2) what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the potential effects of discontinuing the policy that the NHS is the preferred provider for NHS services in England. [54293]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): A detailed assessment and evaluation of greater choice and competition are set out in the impact assessment published alongside the Health and Social Care Bill 2011. Based on current evidence, the Government would expect Any Qualified Provider to incentivise all providers to improve and tailor their services to meet the needs of patients.

As set out in the Bill impact assessment, a recent large scale qualitative study of the impact of the choice reforms in the national health service suggests that the potential benefits of competition are not being realised to anywhere near the extent possible because of a number of barriers and institutional rigidities: (Brereton and Gubb) 'Refusing Treatment: The NHS and market-based reform'. Civitas, October 2010). This can found at:

www.civitas.org.uk/nhs/refusingtreatment_commentary.php

In addition, two recent quantitative studies on the impact of the introduction of choice and competition into the NHS from 2006 indicate that competition impacts positively on quality. The July 2010 study by health economists Martin Gaynor, Rodrigo Moreno-Serra and Carol Propper can be found at:

www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/papers/2010/wp242.pdf

The January 2010 study: 'Does Hospital Competition Save Lives? Evidence from the NHS Patient Choice Reforms', by Cooper, Gibbons, Jones and McGuire, London School of Economics, Working Paper 16/2010 can be found at:

http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/28584/

As part of the current listening exercise, we are focusing on patient choice and competition to understand better how they can drive improvements in the NHS.

A copy of the Health and Social Care Bill impact assessment has already been placed in the Library.

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Commons Hansard
9 May 2011

Competition in the NHS

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will ensure that Monitor places a higher priority on safeguarding NHS providers than promoting competition. [54046]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): The Government are taking the opportunity of a natural break in the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill to pause, listen, reflect and improve the legislation. Choice and Competition is one of four areas of focus. Under the proposals currently set out in the Health and Social Care Bill, Monitor's overriding duty is to protect and promote the interests of people who use health care services.

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Commons Hansard
9 May 2011

Health Services: Private Sector

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the private health care market in England of removing the private patient income cap; [54047]

(2) what assessment he has made of the potential effects on patients in NHS foundation trusts of removing the cap on private patient income. [54048]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): The Command Paper, "Liberating the NHS: Legislative framework and next steps", and the impact assessments for the Health and Social Care Bill 2011 consider the effect of removing the private patient cap for national health service foundation trusts.

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Commons Hansard
4 Apr 2011

Tenancy Agreements

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the likely effect of flexible tenancies on older people and the disabled. [50361]

Andrew Stunell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Community Cohesion, Race Equality, Building Regulations, Big Society, Housing and Regeneration): We will protect the security and rights of existing social tenants. At the same time, our tenancy reforms will give greater flexibility to social landlords to support more vulnerable people who need help, for as long as they need it, and ensure that the system is fair.

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Commons Hansard
4 Apr 2011

Flood Control

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the findings from Exercise Watermark national emergency flooding exercise that affect fire and rescue services. [50323]

Robert Neill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Fire and Resilience, Thames Gateway and Olympics, Local Government and Planning): Exercise Watermark took place from 4 to 10 March. It tested the country's preparedness for a national flood emergency. It is too soon to draw, or discuss, any findings.

Debriefs are currently taking place. Feedback from exercise participants, who came from many diverse organisations, is being collated. A final exercise report and implementation plan is expected by the end of September 2011. My Department will take forward any findings relating to the fire and rescue service, working with the sector as appropriate.

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Commons Hansard
4 Apr 2011

Fire Services: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the potential effects on fire service pension schemes of the recommendations of the Independent Public Sector Pensions Commission. [50277]

Robert Neill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Fire and Resilience, Thames Gateway and Olympics, Local Government and Planning): The final report of the Independent Public Service Pension Commission was published by Lord Hutton on 10 March 2011. The report set out 27 recommendations to reform public service pensions so that public service employees can have access to good quality, sustainable and affordable pensions, which are fair to both public sector workers and the taxpayer.

These recommendations included a move to career average pension schemes, the protection of accrued rights, greater transparency and oversight, and the linking of scheme retirement ages to the state pension age. For the uniformed services, including firefighters, Lord Hutton recommended that a retirement age of 60 would be more appropriate, inline with the current New Firefighters Pension Scheme (2006) rules.

At the Budget the Chancellor accepted Lord Hutton's recommendations as a basis for consultation with public sector workers, trades unions and others, recognising that the position of the uniformed services will require particularly careful consideration. The Government will then set out proposals in the autumn that are affordable, sustainable and fair to both the public sector work force and the taxpayer.

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Commons Hansard
4 Apr 2011

NHS Reforms: Natural Break

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): This debate was confused before today. Can the Secretary of State put in writing exactly what things will be put on hold and what things will carry on? For example, he said that he is taking a natural break but GP commissioning groups can still continue to be set up. If the natural break is a good idea, surely that is a pointless exercise.

The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Andrew Lansley): No, the hon. Gentleman misunderstands. I was very clear in my statement and in subsequent responses to questions. Right across the country, there are thousands of people who are developing the pathfinder consortia, taking NHS trusts through to foundation trust status, and building the health and well-being boards and new public health structures in local government. They should be confident in doing that, because the Government continue to be committed to achieving those changes. In the process of doing so, we will engage with them to ensure that the legislation specifically gives them the support that they need.

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Commons Hansard
28 Mar 2011

Gurkhas: Compensation

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) compensation and (b) other support is available to Gurkhas serving in the Army who are injured or disabled as a result of service; and what advice is made available on access to such support. [45967]

Nick Harvey, Minister of State (Armed Forces): Gurkhas are entitled to the same level of compensation and support as any other service personnel. The Chain of Command and the Army Welfare Service are able to provide practical advice and support to service personnel and their families and signpost to welfare organisations as required.

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Commons Hansard
28 Mar 2011

Disturbances (London)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Will the Home Secretary enter into discussions with her colleagues about the way the events on Saturday were reported? Any impressionable young person watching the news on Saturday evening or through the night, or reading the newspapers yesterday, would believe that the only way to make their voice heard is by being involved in such actions, which none of us in this House condones. We need more balance from the British media so that that message can get through.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): Yes, of course the media have a responsibility in how they report such incidents. I find it deeply distressing that too many people are willing to stand up and condemn the police, when they should be condemning those who perpetrated the acts of violence.

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Commons Hansard
18 Mar 2011

Gurkhas

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Gurkhas serving in the Army have sustained noise-induced hearing loss in each of the last five years. [45968]

Andrew Robathan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans): Prior to 2010, the Ministry of Defence does not hold information on the number of UK armed forces personnel medically downgraded as a result of 'noise-induced' hearing loss and these data could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

From 2010 the figures for Gurkhas serving in the armed forces who have been assessed with impaired/poor hearing are shown in the following table:

  Number of trained and serving Gurkhas Number of Gurkhas who have received impaired/poor hearing assessments
20103,73093
20113,710114

For the period 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2009, there were no Gurkhas medically discharged with a principal reason of noise-induced hearing loss.

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Commons Hansard
18 Mar 2011

Armed Forces: Redundancy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 1 March 2011, Official Report, columns 21-2WS, on armed forces redundancy process, how many of the armed forces personnel to be made redundant have (a) noise-induced hearing loss and (b) other serious injuries or disabilities. [45969]

Andrew Robathan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans): Those selected for redundancy have not yet been identified.

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Commons Hansard
14 Mar 2011

Prison Service: Market Testing

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what involvement the former Director of the National Offender Management Service has had in the market testing process currently undertaken by HM Prison Service; and if he will make a statement. [45263]

Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation): In his former role as Director General of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), Philip Wheatley chaired the NOMS board. The NOMS board delegated responsibility for overseeing, directing and monitoring all competition within NOMS Agency to the Offender Services Competition Board (known as the Commissioning and Competitions Board from March 2010). Mr Wheatley did not deal with the receipt of tenders for the current round of prisons competitions, and has not been involved in the contract awarding process.

Mr Wheatley left Crown employment in June 2010. Following his departure, Mr Wheatley requested permission from NOMS/Ministry of Justice to undertake work for G4S. Under the business appointment rules (see Annex A, section 4.3 of the Civil Service Management Code), particular attention was given to whether Mr Wheatley would give G4S an improper advantage in the current round of prisons competitions. His work for G4S was approved, as there was no evidence that the work he was employed to do would compromise confidentiality or give an advantage.

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Commons Hansard
14 Mar 2011

Industrial Diseases: Compensation

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether there has been any liaison between those responsible for administering the pleural plaques extra-statutory scheme and HM Revenue and Customs on the provision of employment history schedules by Special Section A for use by applicants to the scheme. [44369]

David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary: I can confirm that Ministry of Justice officials have been in contact with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about requests for employment history schedules related to the Pleural Plaque compensation scheme.

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Commons Hansard
8 Mar 2011

Pleural Plaques Extra-statutory Scheme

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many applications his Department has received under the pleural plaques extra-statutory scheme to date. [44312]

Jonathan Djanogly, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The extra-statutory scheme opened for applications on 2 August 2010 and, as of 25 February, a total of 6,991 applications have been registered.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average length of time taken is for an application to be processed under the pleural plaques extra-statutory scheme. [44313]

Mr Djanogly: The average time taken to process an application based on completed cases is currently 42 working days. This includes the time that applicants are given to provide supporting information as well as the time that they are given to consider the offer before advising their acceptance. Separate figures for these stages are not available.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether there has been any liaison between those responsible for administering the pleural plaques extra-statutory scheme and HM Revenue and Customs National Insurance Contributions Office Special Section A on the provision of employment history schedules for submission by applicants to the scheme. [44391]

Mr Djanogly: For applications under the pleural plaques scheme to be considered, it is important that applicants provide verifiable independent evidence of their employment history. In cases where applicants do not have any other proof of their employment history provision of an HM Revenue and Customs employment schedule is necessary. The onus is on the applicant or their representative to obtain and provide this. My officials have spoken to HM Revenue and Customs and they are aware of the position.

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Commons Hansard
8 Mar 2011

Industrial Diseases: Compensation

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how long on average it takes HM Revenue and Customs' National Insurance Contributions Office Special Section A to produce a schedule of employment history in industrial disease claims in response to (a) urgent and (b) non-urgent requests. [44291]

David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary: Requests for employment history schedules relating to customers suffering from mesothelioma are categorised as 'urgent'. HMRC's National Insurance Contributions and Employer Office (NIC&EO) issues schedules for these cases within 10 working days of receipt.

All other requests for employment histories received by NIC&EO 'Special Section A' are routinely dealt with on a 'first in first out' basis. The current customer waiting time (oldest request waiting to be processed) is 89 days. However, NIC&EO management are looking to improve the provision of employment histories and will soon trial a revised process that is expected to improve response times for non-urgent requests.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many requests for schedules of employment history from HM Revenue and Customs' National Insurance Contributions Office Special Section A are outstanding in industrial disease claims. [44292]

Mr Gauke: HMRC's National Insurance Contributions and Employer Office (NIC&EO) has 18,400 requests on hand to be processed. Requests for employment histories have increased by 30% on this time last year, but NIC&EO has redeployed resources to respond to the increased demand.

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Commons Hansard
7 Mar 2011

Prisons: Risk Assessment, Violence, Safety

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what disciplinary sanctions are available to the Prison Service against prison governors who do not fulfil requirements to maintain (a) workplace risk assessments and (b) safe systems of work; and if he will make a statement. [43875]

Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation): Under Prison Service Instruction (PSI) 42/2010, governing governors are required to ensure that an assessment of the risks to which their staff and others who may be affected by their undertakings are exposed is carried out and that measures are in place to eliminate or control the risk. Any failure to adhere to this Instruction may be dealt with in accordance with the conduct and discipline policy of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS).

NOMS' Conduct and Discipline Instruction (PSI 06/2010) provides a range of options for dealing with staff who fail to meet the required standards of behaviour. The primary objective of the policy is to encourage improvement in an individual rather than impose a disciplinary sanction and encourages the use of performance management processes where appropriate.

Each case would be considered on its individual merits, but depending on the nature and potential consequences of the breach, the following sanctions are available: oral warning, written warning, final written warning, regrading, removal from the field of promotion, financial restitution and dismissal from service. In cases where the misconduct is serious but does not warrant dismissal, a combination of penalties can be awarded.

Prisons: Safety

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on how many occasions the Health and Safety Executive has been required to investigate an incident in a prison in each of the last 10 years; which prison was involved in each case; whether an action plan was put in place following each such investigation; and if he will make a statement. [43877]

Mr Blunt: The National Offender Management Service does not collect central records of visits to establishments by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to investigate accidents.

Prisons: Violence

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what investigations his Department has undertaken into (a) levels of violence in prisons and (b) the causes of such violence in the last three years; and what the outcome of each such investigation was. [43876]

Mr Blunt: NOMS has completed a wide-ranging review of its violence reduction strategy. The review examined individual approaches to violence management in prisons to ensure that effective practice is shared and built upon.

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) routinely records the numbers and rates of assault incidents. Data for the last three years that are available (2007 to 2009) are detailed in the following table:

  2007 2008 2009
Population(1)80,21682,57283,559
Assault incidents(2)15,27215,95915,180
Assault incidents per 1,000 prisoners190195180
Serious assaults on prisoners1,4851,4911,319
Serious assaults on staff285283267
(1) Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2009.
(2) Prison violence can be measured in a number of ways. This report focuses on assault incidents including fights.
Notes:
1. These figures are published annually on the MoJ website. The figures for 2010 are currently being verified and will be published later this year.
2. These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems. Care is taken when processing and analysing returns but the detail is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. Although shown to the last case, the figures may not be accurate to that level.

The responsibility for commissioning and managing the majority of investigations in to individual incidents, including those relating to violence, is discretionary and delegated to local level under Prison Service Order 1300-Investigations. In order to provide the information relating to the outcome of each investigation it would be necessary to contact all Prison Service establishments, ask them to check their local records and to submit this information to headquarters. This would incur disproportionate cost.

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Commons Hansard
3 Mar 2011

International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will direct Companies House to take no further steps in respect of the registration as a company of the International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring until the completion of an investigation into allegations of irregularities in its registration. [43273]

Mr Edward Davey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs): There are no further steps that could be taken in respect of this registration. The International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring was incorporated in 2006.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will commission an investigation into allegations of irregularities in the registration at Companies House of the International Institute of Cricket Scoring and Umpiring. [43274]

Mr Davey: In light of further questions regarding the incorporation of International Institute of Cricket Umpiring and Scoring Limited, Companies House officials are reviewing the original decision with respect to the name of the company.

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Commons Hansard
2 Mar 2011

Regeneration

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he plans to respond to the conclusions and recommendations of the coalfields regeneration review report. [42198]

Andrew Stunell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Community Cohesion, Race Equality, Building Regulations, Big Society, Housing and Regeneration): The Government intend to formally respond to the coalfields regeneration review report and the recommendations shortly. The response will be published on the Department's website.

The review of coalfields regeneration report, is available on the Communities and Local Government website at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/regeneration/reviewcoalfieldsregeneration

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Commons Hansard
1 Mar 2011

Biofuels: Teesside

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent representations he has reviewed on the biorefinery at Seal Sands on Teeside proposed by INEOS Bio; and if he will take steps to enable the project to go ahead. [42544]

Gregory Barker, Minister of State (Climate Change): Government are supporting development of this important demonstration project through grant funding. The scoping part of the project was successfully completed in 2010. DECC, together with One North East and technical experts at the NNFCC have been advising Ineos Bio as they work on issues concerning the construction stage of the project.

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Commons Hansard
28 Feb 2011

Regional Development Agencies

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) if he will bring forward proposals to enable regional development agencies to guarantee the payment of grants for regional projects beyond the life-span of the agency; [41736]

(2) if he will guarantee outstanding grants agreed by One North East which are not made before the agency is abolished. [41742]

Mark Prisk, Minister of State (Business and Enterprise): The spending review settlement provides resources for One North East and the eight other regional development agencies (RDAs) to meet their legal commitments. It is expected that RDAs will honour existing contracts and grant agreements but there may be circumstances where they will seek to negotiate variations with the parties concerned. Arrangements will be made to ensure payment of agreed grant amounts due after abolition of the agencies.

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Commons Hansard
28 Feb 2011

Carbon Emissions: North East

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to support the development of low-carbon technology in the North East. [41740]

Mark Prisk, Minister of State (Business and Enterprise): The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is taking a number of steps to support the development of low carbon technology in the North East.

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Commons Hansard
28 Feb 2011

Education Maintenance Allowance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he has made an assessment of the cost to the public purse of terminating the education maintenance allowance (EMA), including (a) any penalty clause for the termination of the EMA element of his Department's Learning Support Services contract with Capita and (b) any staff costs; and if he will make a statement. [38934]

Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): We are working with the Young People's Learning Agency, which administers the education maintenance allowance scheme on behalf of the Department for Education, to assess any costs that may arise from the reduction in value of Capita's contract. Peter Lauener, the YPLA's chief executive, has responded separately to the hon. Member on the question regarding penalty payments and staff costs, and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Libraries.

Letter from Peter Lauener, dated 11 February 2011:

I am writing in response to your Parliamentary Question PQ38934.

The contract with Capita currently supports a number of learner support schemes in addition to Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) so the decision to end EMAs will not trigger termination of the contract and there will therefore be no consequent liability to pay a penalty.

This is however a significant change to the scale of the contract with Capita and we have begun commercial discussions with Capita as to the costs involved in reducing the scale of their operation. These costs are likely to involve staff redundancies in Capita as a result of the end of EMA. These negotiations will also cover the need for on-going delivery of the remaining schemes.

As you will appreciate, I cannot anticipate the outcome of these commercial negotiations, which are likely to take several months to complete.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much funding has been allocated under each budget heading under his Department's Learner Support Services contract with Capita between 2009 and 2013; and what proportion of the contract is allocated to delivering education maintenance allowance. [38935]

Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): This is a matter for the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) who operate the education maintenance allowance for the Department for Education. Peter Lauener, the YPLA's chief executive, has written to the hon. Member for Blaydon with the information requested and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Libraries.

Letter from Peter Lauener, dated 11 February 2011:

I am writing in response to your Parliamentary Question PQ38935 that asked:

"How much funding has been allocated under each budget heading under his Department's Learner Support Services contract with Capita between 2009 and 2013; and what proportion of the contract is allocated to delivering education maintenance allowance."

The budgets for the administration of each scheme under the Learner Support contract with Capita for 2009-10 and 2010-11 are as follows;

£
Learner support schemes 2009-10 Budget 2010-11 Budget
EMA35,000,00025,000,000
Adult Learning Grant4,500,0003,300,000
Care to Learn4,275,0001,500,000
Dance and Drama Awards100,000200,000
Sixth Form College Childcare335,000100,000
Residential Support Scheme335,000120,000
Free Childcare for Training and Learning for Work4,000,0001,120,500
Professional and Career Development Loansn/a1,000,000

There are differing levels of administrative complexity across the schemes and this is reflected in the budget required for each scheme. 77.3% of the budget for the contract is attributed to EMA in 2010-11.

The amounts budgeted for 2011-12 (and 2012-13) are still to be determined and are dependent on the shape and size of the service for these periods.

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Commons Hansard
17 Feb 2011

One North East

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has made an assessment of the effects on the economy of the North East of the removal of grants previously provided by One North East. [41741]

Mark Prisk, Minister of State (Business and Enterprise): No assessment has been made of the effects on the economy of the north east of the removal of grants previously provided by One North East.

Reorganising the delivery of economic development will ensure a more focussed approach which is not based on regional agencies with arbitrary regional boundaries, a lack of local accountability, and multiple objectives. It will also not be based on unsustainable levels of public spending.

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Commons Hansard
17 Feb 2011

Crimes of Violence: Females

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women who were the victims of (a) wounding and (b) grievous bodily harm had been previously stalked or harassed by the perpetrator in each year since 1998. [41493]

James Brokenshire, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Crime Prevention): The information requested is not available centrally as police recorded crime data does not contain this level of detail.

The Government are committed to tackling all forms of violence against women and girls, including stalking, and published their vision and guiding principles in this area on 25 November 2010. A detailed range of supporting actions, including those on tackling stalking, will be published in the spring.

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Commons Hansard
17 Feb 2011

Forestry (England)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I am sorry that the Chancellor has gone, because I wanted to thank him as well as the Secretary of State for the great boost they have given to Blaydon Labour party over the past few weeks during this fiasco. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mary Creagh) for mentioning the great work that is being done by the people fighting to save Chopwell woods. My message to them is, "Don't stop fighting." What has happened today is not the end of the story. I want to ask the Secretary of State one specific question. Will there be a representative of the work force on the independent panel? They know what is going on.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mrs Caroline Spelman): As I said clearly, the representation on the independent panel will be broad, with as wide a range of views as possible of those who have an interest in our forests and woodlands.

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Commons Hansard
15 Feb 2011

Economic Development (North-East)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Is not the reality that we have learned from a long history of being cast adrift, when nobody had any plan for the North-East? In the past 10 years, we learned to work together, ably led by my right hon. Friend. The private sector, the public sector-everybody-pulled together. There was no difference between us, and we experienced a renaissance in the North-East, which none of us ever thought possible. It was tremendous, but it is being set back by the Government who have come to office in the past year.

Mr Nick Brown: My hon. Friend is right. The theme of my speech is that we had got the structures and the working relationships right between us. There was a real feeling that we were getting somewhere.

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Commons Hansard
9 Feb 2011

Arts: Employment

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many people are employed in the arts sector in each local authority area in the North East; and if he will make a statement. [38364]

Mr Ed Vaizey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The Department does not hold this information. However, Arts Council England has provided figures relating to the number of arts sector staff, in each employment category, in their Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs). The 2009-10 figures for the North East are set out in the following table.

North East Permanent full-time Permanent part-time Contractual
Alnwick7533
Berwick-upon-Tweed3116
Darlington2621116
Derwentside40170
Durham72456
Gateshead221340735
Hartlepool2022
Middlesbrough2213199
Newcastle upon Tyne170145889
Newcastle-under-Lyme4727210
North Tyneside2422
Redcar and Cleveland1893
South Tyneside212788
Stockton-on-Tees231849
Sunderland314730
Tynedale151640
Total6026843,158

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Commons Hansard
3 Feb 2011

Schools: Finance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education how funds for capital spending will be allocated equitably to (a) new academy schools and (b) maintained schools. [9097]

Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): On 13 December 2010, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education (Michael Gove) announced 2011-12 allocations of capital funding for local authorities and schools. This included that open academies will continue to be eligible for devolved formula capital funds on the same basis as maintained schools, and that there will be a centrally retained capital fund for academy maintenance needs. From 2012-13, allocations will be informed by the capital review which the Secretary of State announced on 5 July 2010, and which will be published in due course.

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Commons Hansard
2 Feb 2011

Public Forest Estate

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Does the hon. Gentleman agree that people would take the consultation more seriously if it was a genuine debate about whether or not we take these forests out of public control, rather than how we do that, as it is now? The public want this to be about "whether or not", so that they could tell us not to do this.

Mr Leech: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. I endorse this as a proper consultation, and I hope that everyone who has an interest in this issue will participate in it and put their views clearly on the record.

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Commons Hansard
1 Feb 2011

Trade Unions: Iraq

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Iraqi counterpart on the role of trades unions in Iraq. [37157]

Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Afghanistan/South Asia, counter terrorism/proliferation, North America, Middle East and North Africa): Our ambassador in Baghdad discussed concerns over the treatment of unions in the Ministry of Electricity with the Electricity Minister in August 2010. The right to form and join trade unions in Iraq is embodied in the Iraqi constitution, a principle to which this Government attaches great importance. Embassy officials maintain a regular dialogue with Iraqi union representatives.

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Commons Hansard
24 Jan 2011

Police: Pensions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when she plans to publish the findings of the review of police pensions; [34979]

(2) what timetable she has set for the implementation of changes to the police service pension scheme. [34980]

Nick Herbert, Minister of State (Police): The police pension schemes are included in the scope of the Independent Public Service Pensions Commission, which is due to produce its final report in March. The Government will respond thereafter. No timetable has been set for the implementation of any potential changes to the police pension schemes.

In response to the Independent Public Service Pensions Commission's interim report, the Government announced at the spending review that we will implement progressive changes to the level of employee contributions to public service pensions. These changes will be phased in from April 2012.

Any changes will be subject to the normal consultation processes in line with statutory requirements.

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Commons Hansard
24 Jan 2011

Tourism: Marketing

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) what steps his Department is taking to support businesses in the North East following changes to arrangements for Government support for the promotion of tourism; [35496]

(2) what transitional support his Department provides to assist businesses in the North East in respect of changes to Government funding for the promotion of tourism. [35497]

John Penrose, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Tourism and Heritage): The Government have emphasised the significance of tourism to the economy and continue to work with the industry in promoting the visitor economy. We will invest almost £130 million from 2011-12 to 2014-15 in promoting tourism across the country through VisitBritain and VisitEngland.

Under the new arrangements we are introducing, the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) will become leading economic drivers and they will need to work with local tourism bodies and industry in their areas. In addition, VisitEngland has established a transition team to assist Destination Management Organisations and Local Enterprise Partnerships in this process, particularly where RDA resources have been withdrawn. We will also continue to discuss further avenues of support with other Government Departments. The Regional Growth Fund, worth some £1.4 billion, is open for tourism-related applications, and presents an important opportunity for the sector, including in the North-East.

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Commons Hansard
18 Jan 2011

Bees: Pesticides

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to deter the use of chemicals and pesticides harmful to bees. [33860]

Mr James Paice, Minister of State (Agriculture and Food): Controls on pesticides work at a number of levels, initially by identifying the hazard potential, then by assessing and managing risk. Under European legislation, pesticide active substances are first evaluated at community level. A key part of this process is an assessment of the risks to bees. If an active substance meets the EU safety requirements then products containing that active substance can be authorised at member state level, taking into account that country's individual agronomic, climatic and dietary requirements.

In the UK, pesticide products can only be sold or used after they have been authorised. As part of this process, the Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) of the Health and Safety Executive (the Government body responsible for regulating pesticides) undertakes an assessment of the toxicity of each product and the ways in which spray operators, the public or environment (in particular honey bees) may be exposed. The purpose being to ensure that the use of the product poses no unacceptable risks.

The controls extend to the use of products and CRD routinely restricts the way products can be used (e.g. specifying dose rates, timing and place of application) to ensure protection of human health and the environment. Users are also legally obliged to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health of human beings, creatures and plants. Advice on how this can be done is set out in a statutory "Code of Practice for Using Plant Protection Products" which, amongst other things, contains guidance on minimising the exposure of bees to pesticides.

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Commons Hansard
18 Jan 2011

Fixed-term Parliaments Bill

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): My constituents cannot wait for the next general election.

Mr Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con): I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be standing in his seat at the next general election and that the reason his constituents cannot wait is that they want once again to affirm his brilliance.

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Commons Hansard
17 Jan 2011

Fire Services: Tyne and Wear

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reasons the proposed budget reductions for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service are twice the national average for fire and rescue service budget reductions. [33717]

Robert Neill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Fire and Resilience, Thames Gateway and Olympics, Local Government and Planning): It is the responsibility of local authorities, including Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service to determine their budget, taking into account the amount of Government grant that they will receive and the income that they can raise.

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Commons Hansard
17 Jan 2011

Fire Services: Finance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his estimate is of the likely average change in the budgets of fire and rescue services in each year of the comprehensive spending review period. [33022]

Robert Neill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Fire and Resilience, Thames Gateway and Olympics, Local Government and Planning): The Department for Communities and Local Government is responsible for distributing central Government funding across the fire and rescue service in England. However individual fire and rescue authority budgets are made up of a number of elements in addition to central Government funding and all fire and rescue authority budgets are set by the individual authority, not by Government.

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Commons Hansard
17 Jan 2011

Tourism: Ministerial Visit

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport when the Minister responsible for tourism next plans to visit the North East. [33023]

John Penrose, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Tourism and Heritage): I hope to visit the North East of England as part of an ongoing programme of regional trips which should help take forward the Government's new strategy for tourism. The next set of visits is currently under review and I hope to clarify details in due course.

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Commons Hansard
13 Jan 2011

Tourism: North-East

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to ensure that the tourist industry in the North-East is not adversely affected by reductions in government funding for the industry. [33718]

John Penrose, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Tourism and Heritage): The Government are creating a new international marketing fund for tourism. We are looking to create a fund of more than £100 million, with major companies already pledging support to help match the £50 million of public money the Government have committed through VisitBritain over the next four years.

We are also investing nearly £33 million in VisitEngland over four years which will focus on promoting the domestic tourism industry and supporting destination management organisations, local authorities and emerging local enterprise partnerships. Tourism in the North East will benefit from both funding initiatives and further details will be included in the new strategy for tourism which will be published shortly

In addition, the £1.4 billion regional growth fund (RGF) presents an important opportunity for tourism. We have worked to ensure that the RGF is available for tourism-related bids, and Ministers have encouraged the tourism sector to apply.

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Commons Hansard
10 Jan 2011

Academies: dispute resolution

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether (a) the local education authority and (b) any body other than the Secretary of State will have a formal role in academy school dispute resolution procedures. [9488]

Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): Academies are required by the independent school standards regulations to have a complaints procedure which must be available on request to parents. The procedure must provide for complaints to be managed within clear timescales. If initial informal consideration does not resolve the complaint, then the procedure must also include steps to escalate a complaint through both a formal written stage and, if necessary, a hearing before a panel that includes at least one member who is independent of the academy.

If the complaint cannot be resolved at school level the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) will be the next route of redress. The YPLA will review the evidence provided by the complainant and the academy to determine if the academy has followed its own complaints procedure or is in breach of a contractual or statutory obligation. If the academy has not followed its procedures or obligations it will be asked to do so to rectify any failings.

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Commons Hansard
20 Dec 2010

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects winter clothing to be issued to members of the armed forces stationed in Kabul. [31886]

Peter Luff, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Equipment, Support and Technology): Service personnel who will require winter clothing for use in Afghanistan are either issued it prior to their deployment or in theatre when weather conditions necessitate it. There is no shortage of winter clothing for troops in Afghanistan and Commanders are able to draw upon stocks of winter clothing in theatre if necessary, for example if an item is lost or damaged.

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Commons Hansard
16 Dec 2010

Afghanistan: Winter clothing

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Last week, I was approached by my constituent, Sharon Martin, who informed me that she had that day sent out a fleece and winter clothing to her son, who is serving in Kabul. He had been advised by the Ministry of Defence that winter clothing would not be available in Afghanistan until February 2011. For the past week, I have tried to get the MOD to respond to this and I was told, "Will you put it in writing? We will respond within 15 working days." That is clearly not acceptable. Will the Leader of the House therefore try to get a statement made before the Christmas recess, so that we can all have a merry Christmas, including those men and women who are abroad fighting for us?

Sir George Young, Leader of the House of Commons: I applaud what the hon. Gentleman said about our fighting forces. He will get a letter from an MOD Minister before the House rises for the Christmas recess.

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Commons Hansard
7 Dec 2010

Arts Council: Finance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether his Department has undertaken an impact assessment in respect of the economic effects on the arts sector of the reduction in funding to organisations regularly funded by the Arts Council in the North East as a result of the outcomes of the comprehensive spending review. [27926]

Mr Ed Vaizey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Culture, Communications and Creative Industries): As part of the spending review, the Department will be reducing its own administrative budget by 50% and has asked a number of its arm's length bodies, including Arts Council England, to do the same. At a difficult time our aim has been to ensure that the maximum amount of funding is spent at the front line, rather than on bureaucracy. We had regular discussions with those arm's length bodies during the spending review and those discussions continue. We are confident that in cutting administration in order to limit cuts to the front line, arts organisations across the country, including those in the North East, will continue to thrive.

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Commons Hansard
7 Dec 2010

Crime: Finance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will hold discussions with (a) the National Association of Probation Officers and (b) the Police Federation on the effects of budget restraint on the criminal justice system; what representations he has received from each such organisation on funding and criminal justice in the last six months; and if he will make a statement. [28337]

Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation): As Minister with responsibility for Probation I meet with senior officials of the National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO) on a quarterly basis to discuss issues of mutual interest, including the effects of budget restraint on the criminal justice system. I also attended Napo's Annual General Meeting on 8 October 2010 where funding and resources were discussed. In his role as the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, my right hon. Friend the Member for Arundel and South Downs (Nick Herbert), has regular meetings with the Police Federation at which matters of concern to either party can be raised.

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Commons Hansard
6 Dec 2010

Sexual Offences: Community Orders

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average time taken was between the making of a community order with a condition of a (a) sex offender programme and (b) group general offender behaviour programme and the commencement of that programme in each probation trust in the latest period for which figures are available. [27933]

Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation): I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 30 November 2010, Official Report, column 709W.

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Commons Hansard
6 Dec 2010

Prisons

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he plans to market-test publicly-owned prisons. [27932]

Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation): The Government are currently developing their programme for competition in offender services. As indicated in the Ministry of Justice business plan, we will publish this programme in June 2011.

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Commons Hansard
6 Dec 2010

Myasthenia: Drugs

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has had discussions with BioMarin on the provision of drugs for (a) Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome and (b) congenital myasthenic syndrome. [27927]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): Departmental officials have had discussions with BioMarin about the pricing and provision of Firdapse (amifampridine) for the treatment of Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. Firdapse is not licensed for the treatment of congenital myasthenic syndrome.

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Commons Hansard
2 Dec 2010

Academies: Finance, conversion expenses

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much funding has been allocated (a) for provision to schools of academy conversion expenses grants and (b) for other expenses incurred as a result of schools transferring to academies. [9100]

Mr Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): We recognise that schools converting to academies may incur costs, such as obtaining legal advice on the documents necessary for setting up an academy and advice on the process for transferring staff and other costs. As a contribution to these costs, a grant of £25,000 will be made.

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Commons Hansard
30 Nov 2010

Community Orders

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average time taken between the issue of a community order with a condition of attendance on (a) a group general offender behaviour programme and (b) a sex offender programme and the commencement of the programme was in each probation trust in the latest period for which figures are available. [27348]

Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation): Waiting times for programmes are managed locally by each probation trust. This information is not collated centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by obtaining information held on offender files or on local data systems, validating it, and then collating it in a common format in order to provide a response. Offenders waiting for a place on a programme are under the supervision of their offender manager who will monitor and actively manage the risk posed during the course of the supervision period.

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Commons Hansard
22 Nov 2010

Working Neighbourhoods Fund

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the effects of the withdrawal of the Working Neighbourhood Fund. [25652]

Robert Neill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: We are not withdrawing the Working Neighbourhoods Fund. It was always envisaged that it would end in March 2011.

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Commons Hansard
18 Nov 2010

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps his Department takes to ensure that the provisions of Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child are applied to all policies which affect young people. [13444]

Sarah Teather, Minister of State (Children and Families): The Government believe that involving children and young people in discussion about services that affect their lives is likely to improve services and help in developing confident and responsible citizens.

The Department has engaged with children and young people through a range of channels including its Children and Youth Board; the Office of the Children's Commissioner; and key stakeholders from the children's sector.

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Commons Hansard
12 Nov 2010

Academies: Procurement

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether the provisions of the EU Public Procurement Directive will apply to new academy schools. [9225]

Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): The European Union public procurement directive does apply to academies once they have been set up. It does not apply to the process of setting up new academies.

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Commons Hansard
10 Nov 2010

Neuromuscular Diseases: Health Services

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has for the delivery of specialist neuromuscular services under the proposed national commissioning board; [22716]

(2) what steps he plans to take to ensure that neuromuscular services improve during the period in which his proposals for the reform of the NHS are implemented; [22717]

(3) what plans he has for the future of the NHS regional specialised commissioning groups; and if he will make a statement; [22718]

(4) what guidelines his Department has issued to NHS regional specialised commissioning groups on investment in specialist neuromuscular services for the purposes of reducing the level of unplanned emergency admissions to hospital for people with neuromuscular conditions. [22719]

Paul Burstow, Minister of State (Care Services): The White Paper sets out our future intentions for the commissioning of specialised services. It proposes that specialised services, including some for people with neuromuscular conditions, will in future be commissioned by the NHS Commissioning Board.

The White Paper makes it clear that general practitioner (GP) consortia will work closely with secondary care, community partners and other health and care professionals to design joined-up services that are responsive to patients and the public. Commissioning by GP consortia will enable the redesign of care pathways to reflect the needs of their patients, which ultimately will lead to the more effective management of long-term neuromuscular conditions.

The future plans for specialised commissioning groups are currently under consideration as part of the White Paper consultation. The consultation closed on 11 October and we are currently analysing the responses. We will respond to the consultation in due course.

No guidelines have been issued to specialised commissioning groups for the purposes of reducing unplanned emergency admissions to hospital for people with neuromuscular conditions.

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Commons Hansard
8 Nov 2010

Colombia

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the number of indigenous people killed in Colombia in 2010; what discussions he has had with the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Rights on that matter; and if he will make a statement. [22207]

Mr Jeremy Browne, Minister of State (South East Asia/Far East, Caribbean, Central/South America, Australasia and Pacific): My Department has not made an estimate of the number of indigenous people killed in 2010. Figures from the National Indigenous Organisation of Colombia suggest that at least 114 indigenous women, men and children were killed in 2009.

Our embassy in Bogota funded the visit of UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya to Colombia in July 2009. During his visit Mr Anaya congratulated the government for the "significant initiatives" undertaken, particularly in the area of health and education, to improve the difficult situation faced by the indigenous community.

However, significant obstacles remain in the effort to realise the rights of indigenous people, particularly in the areas of land rights, forced displacement, nutrition, threats and murders. Officials at our embassy in Bogota have visited a number of indigenous communities to show support and hear at first hand about the difficulties they face. This has included visits to the Awa community in Narino and the Emberas community in Choco. Our embassy is also funding a project to enhance the judicial system and combat impunity in Cauca. Indigenous communities here represent 21.5% of the entire indigenous population in Colombia and are the victims of most human rights' abuses.

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Commons Hansard
3 Nov 2010

Colombia

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of investigations into the conduct of the Vice-President of Colombia during his tenure as governor of Valle del Cauca. [21495]

Mr Jeremy Browne, Minister of State: On 13 October 2010 the Colombian Public Ministry asked the Attorney-General's Office to re-open an investigation into the conduct of Vice-President Angelino Garzón during his time as governor of Valle del Cauca. A previous investigation was opened and then closed in 2005 because the denouncing prosecutor, according to Colombian law, did not have the competence required to carry out an investigation against a governor. The Attorney-General's Office has yet to respond to the request.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the killing of Edgar Bohorquez in Colombia; and whether his Department has made representations to the Colombian government on this matter. [21496]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Our embassy in Bogota has received reports that Mr Bohorquez was murdered on 24 September 2010 while driving a motorcycle with his son, who was also shot and remains in a critical condition. On 29 September Colombia's human rights ombudsman called on the authorities to conduct a full investigation. On 2 November 2010 the embassy wrote to the Presidential Programme for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law to raise Mr Bohorquez's case. We will continue to monitor the investigation and raise the matter with the Colombian authorities again should it prove necessary.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice he has received on representations to the Colombian authorities in the case of the imprisonment of Liliany Obando. [21497]

Mr Jeremy Browne: We have made several representations to the Colombian Government in the case of Liliany Obando. Staff at our embassy in Bogota wrote to Carlos Franco, Director of the Human Rights Presidential programme in Colombia on her behalf on 5 March. On 24 March the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombia informed officials at our embassy in Bogota that Mrs Obando continues to be imprisoned at El Buen Pastor. We have also been informed that the Public Ministry Office (Procuraduria) is involved in her case to guarantee the impartiality and independence of her legal process.

Our embassy in Bogota will continue to monitor the proceedings of this case and raise it again with the Colombian authorities should it prove necessary.

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Commons Hansard
28 Oct 2010

Independent Living 2006 Fund

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has for the future of the independent living fund; and if he will make a statement. [19307]

Maria Miller, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Disabled People): We are considering options for the long-term future of the independent living fund in consultation with the Department of Health and the trustees of the independent living fund. In order to safeguard existing users' awards the independent living fund is not accepting new applications for the remainder of the year. In reaching any decision on the future of the independent living fund we will work with the trustees of the fund, disabled peoples' organisations and other key stakeholders to ensure that the needs of existing users of the independent living fund are taken into account.

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Commons Hansard
28 Oct 2010

Comprehensive Spending Review

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I thank my hon. Friend for the sterling work she is doing here today. We have discussed the fact that this is not about fairness, and that women and children will be hit by these measures. Does she recognise this quote from Richard Hawkes, the chief executive of Scope? He says:

"Despite the continuing rhetoric that spending cuts will be fair, the Chancellor's announcements today are anything but. This will hit disabled people and their families particularly hard."

Does she believe him, or does she believe Gideon?

Ms Eagle: I think we know who to believe. There is a great deal of real worry out there about the effects of the draconian cuts in public expenditure that have been announced in the spending review.

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Commons Hansard
27 Oct 2010

Schools: Capital Investment

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education what capital spending allocations he plans to make for (a) new academy schools and (b) maintained schools in each of the next three years. [9548]

Mr Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): The Department has commissioned a review of all of its capital expenditure to inform decisions about future capital investment. This will include capital investment in new academies and maintained schools.

All funding after this financial year is subject to the outcomes of the comprehensive spending review. The review team will provide an interim report in the autumn and a final report by the end of the year that will guide future spending decisions over the next spending review period (2011-12 to 2014-15).

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Commons Hansard
27 Oct 2010

Academies: complaints from parents

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education what mechanisms exist for parents to submit complaints about the operation of academy schools. [8981]

Mr Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): Academies are required by the independent school standards regulations to have a complaints procedure which must be available on request to parents. The procedure must provide for complaints to be managed within clear timescales. If initial informal consideration does not resolve the complaint, then the procedure must also include steps to escalate a complaint through both a formal written stage and, if necessary, a hearing before a panel that includes at least one member who is independent of the academy.

If the complaint cannot be resolved at school level the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) will be the next route of redress. The YPLA will review the evidence provided by the complainant and the academy to determine if the academy has followed its own complaints procedure or is in breach of a contractual or statutory obligation. If the academy has not followed its procedures or obligations it will be asked to do so to rectify any failings.

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Commons Hansard
27 Oct 2010

Prison Service: Personnel

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on what occasions he has met representatives of the trade union representing Prison Service staff since his appointment. [19311]

Mr Kenneth Clarke, Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice: I met the chair of the Prison Officers Association formally in my Department and informally on other occasions. I met the president of the Prison Governor's Association briefly when I spoke at the recent conference of the association.

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Commons Hansard
27 Oct 2010

Social Services: Learning Disability

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure that the social care budget is adequate to meet the needs of adults with a learning disability; and if he will make a statement. [19309]

Paul Burstow, Minister of State (Care Services): The Learning Disabilities Development Fund forms part of the personal social services grant, which is currently allocated from the Department to local authorities. The personal social services grant will increase by £1 billion in real terms by 2014-15. However, to reduce the administration burdens and increase flexibility for local authorities, after March 2011 this grant will be rolled into local government formula grant.

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Commons Hansard
26 Oct 2010

Parkinson's Disease

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he plans to take to ensure that people with Parkinson's disease continue to receive care of at least the same standard in subsequent years as has been provided in the last 12 months. [19308]

Paul Burstow, Minister of State (Care Services): Primary care trust commissioners continue to have responsibility for commissioning services, using the National Service Framework for long-term neurological services, that reflect the needs of their patients living with Parkinson's disease.

In future, outcomes, which the national health service will be expected to achieve, will be set via the NHS Outcomes Framework, and the NHS Commissioning Board will hold general practitioner commissioners to account for delivery through the framework.

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Commons Hansard
26 Oct 2010

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: multidisciplinary teams

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will review the level of multidisciplinary team provision for chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) to take account of the decision not to receive blood from people diagnosed with ME. [19306]

Paul Burstow, Minister of State (Care Services): The ban on blood donations from those living with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), to be introduced from 1 November 2010, is a precautionary measure. At the moment there is no clear evidence for the cause of CFS/ME, and health professionals should continue to use their clinical judgement to provide health and social care based on existing guidelines.

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Commons Hansard
26 Oct 2010

Academies: standards of other schools

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education what evidence he took into account in his assessment that academy schools would raise the standards of other schools in the same area; and whether he plans to review that assessment when the proposed academy schools have been established. [9487]

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): The Fifth Annual Independent Academies Evaluation Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers found that there is evidence of academies increasing collaboration with neighbouring primary schools and secondary schools. It also found that neighbouring schools have increasingly realised the benefits they can derive from academies with some adopting policies introduced by academies-the report found that this had a positive impact on other local schools.

More recently, the National Audit Office report on Academies did 'identify effective examples of partnership working with other schools, particularly 'feeder' primary schools'.

All outstanding schools that convert will be expected to partner and provide support to weak schools to help improve standards. Currently, the former and existing city technology colleges are sponsoring over 20 academies or are supporting weaker schools. We will continue to monitor the progress and performance of academies and ensure that they remain accountable against the results and outcomes they are expected to deliver.

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Commons Hansard
26 Oct 2010

Coalfield Communities (Regeneration)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I welcome you to the Chair, Mr Bone, and thank my hon. Friend the Member for Wigan (Lisa Nandy) for securing this debate. Does my hon. Friend the Member for Wansbeck (Ian Lavery) agree that one of the reasons why the problems have lasted so long in the mining industry is that the previous Tory Government had a view that it was not their role to intervene in the social impacts of the closure programme? If they had, our regions would be much further down the line than they are now. Our worry now is that we have been here before, and if the support is cut, we will go backwards.

Ian Lavery: My hon. Friend is exactly right. That is why we must, at all costs, ensure that there is a commitment to the CRT, and that help gets into the mining communities. We have not, in any way, shape or form, overcome the problems from 25 years ago. Some of the communities are still absolutely devastated by the impact of the closure of the coal industry. The health and crime rates are compounded by the fact that the industry was closed. Overnight, some communities were shut off from the rest of the world.

+++

Mr Anderson: I thank my hon. Friend for giving way again. Does he not feel simply annoyed when the hon. Member for Sherwood (Mr Spencer), who was probably waving his Order Paper last week, talks about job creation, when last week we were told that the Business Link in Seaham in county Durham is sacking 115 people? Those people are part of an organisation of 400 people who, within the last three years, have created 15,000 jobs. That is the truth of what we are seeing. The hon. Gentleman should not denigrate what is happening with the CRT; the CRT is trying to fill a gap while other organisations are being attacked by the present Government in the same way that the collieries were attacked 25 and 30 years ago.

Ian Lavery: Yes. Just on that point, I must say that one of the worst things that I have ever experienced in my life as a trade union representative and a representative of the Labour and trade union movement was the announcement last week that up to 490,000 jobs were to go in huge cuts across the whole of the country, and at the same time we had people in the House of Commons-people who were elected to be responsible people-waving their Order Papers jubilantly, as if something tremendous had happened. It was an absolute disgrace and I would like that placed on record.

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Commons Hansard
26 Oct 2010

Child Trust Funds

Gregg McClymont: ... As such, I am afraid to say that abolishing the child trust fund represents another nail in the coffin of a once great tradition of social liberalism. Social liberals used to recognise-indeed, social liberals still do-that in the absence of a fair distribution of income and wealth, real freedom is impossible for most individuals. "Assets for all" is an inspiring cry that we used to hear from those on the Liberal Benches. No longer do we hear it.

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): "Limousines for all"!

Gregg McClymont: That may well be the case; I could not possibly comment.

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Commons Hansard
25 Oct 2010

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether blood donated by people with myalgic encephalomyelitis will be removed from the blood bank in circumstances in which such donors are found to have the xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus. [19310]

Anne Milton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Public Health): There are no plans to remove from storage blood donated by any donors found to have the xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus (XMRV).

An expert subgroup of National Expert Panel for New and Emerging Infections (NEPNEI) met in May 2010, to consider all available evidence about XMRV and conduct a risk assessment. The subgroup concluded that XMRV can infect humans but there is currently no evidence that it causes human disease and that on the evidence before the group, no public health action is required at this time. Since the subgroup meeting in May there has been no new scientific evidence that would change the conclusions of the subgroup. In July 2010, the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs, similarly did not recommend further measures at present. Both groups will continue to monitor the situation.

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Commons Hansard
21 Oct 2010

Academies: Services

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will assess the effect of an increase in the number of academy schools on the availability to other schools in the same areas of (a) educational psychology, (b) educational welfare, (c) behavioural support services, (d) school meals and free school meals assessment, (e) 14 to 16 practical learning options and (f) museum and library services. [9598]

Tim Loughton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Children and Families): Discussions are taking place with representatives of local authorities and academies to ensure that the funding available for education from 2011-12 onwards properly reflects the pressures schools will face.

Local areas are expected to decide how best to use their resources so that local priorities in terms of the needs of children and young people are met in the most coherent, efficient and cost effective way. Greater numbers of academy schools does not of itself force any reduction of education and children's services.

I should add that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education announced on 8 July 2010 the formation of a ministerial advisory group on the role of the local authority in relation to education and children's services. This group includes representatives of the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Children's Services and will provide a forum in which to explore a range of issues relating to the strategic role of local authorities and their working relationship with different types of school as the number of academies increases. The ministerial group is pursuing more detailed aspects of its work through a number of task and finish groups, one of which covers providing for vulnerable children.

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Commons Hansard
21 Oct 2010

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will provide funding for research on the relationship between retrovirals and myalgic encephalomyelitis. [18037]

Mr Willetts, Minister of State (Universities and Science): The Medical Research Council (MRC) is one of the main agencies through which the Government support medical and clinical research. In keeping with the Haldane Principle, prioritisation of an individual Research Council's spending within its allocation is not a decision for Ministers. Such decisions are rightly left to those best placed to evaluate the scientific efficacy of proposed research.

The MRC is committed to supporting scientific research into all aspects of ME, including studies into the biological basis of the condition and evaluations of treatments. In 2009/10 the MRC spent £109,000 on research directly relating to ME.

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Commons Hansard
21 Oct 2010

Circulator Pumps: Energy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department plans to take steps to inform the public of the energy reductions and carbon savings consequent on the installation of energy efficiency circulators. [16763]

Gregory Barker, Minister of State (Climate Change): Information on the benefits of more energy efficient circulators is available to the public through the series of Briefing Notes, BNM C01 to 05, that can be downloaded from Market Transformation Programme's website. A Guidance Note on Commission Regulation 641/2009, which specifies minimum performance criteria for circulators, is also available from DEFRA and BIS. Additionally, there is a significant amount of information in the public domain on the benefits of energy efficient circulators that supports the industry's A to G energy labelling scheme. We have no plans to supplement this information, particularly as Commission Regulation 641 will be in force by 2013.

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Commons Hansard
20 Oct 2010

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the implications for (a) organ donation and (b) people with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) who are undergoing surgery of the ban on people with ME from donating blood. [17575]

Anne Milton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Public Health): The change to the United Kingdom Blood Services donor selection guidelines (which comes into force on 1 November 2010) to permanently exclude from blood donation, anyone who reports that they have had chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is being made purely on the grounds of donor safety, as CFS/ME is a relapsing condition. It brings practice for CFS/ME into line with other relapsing conditions or neurological conditions of unknown origin, to avoid the potential for blood donation to adversely affect the donor.

The change was not made because of a perceived risk to recipients of blood from CFS/ME patients and therefore does not affect the safety of organ donations and CFS/ME patients undergoing surgery.

The Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs on the basis of current evidence does not recommend further measures at present but wishes to continue to monitor the situation.

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Commons Hansard
20 Oct 2010

Blood: Contamination

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department plans to screen blood already stored in blood banks for the xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus. [17574]

Anne Milton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Public Health): There are no plans to screen blood already stored in blood banks for the xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) or to remove from storage blood donated by persons diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis.

A recent study in the United States (of America) reported that XMRV has been detected in a number of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) sufferers. CFS/ME sufferers can currently give blood when they are well. These data have not been replicated in Europe. An expert subgroup of National Expert Panel for New and Emerging Infections (NEPNEI) met in May 2010, to consider all available evidence about XMRV and conduct a risk assessment. The subgroup concluded that XMRV can infect humans but there is currently no evidence that it causes human disease and that on the evidence before the group, no public health action is required at this time. Since the subgroup meeting in May there has been no new scientific evidence that would change the conclusions of the subgroup. In July 2010, the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO), similarly did not recommend further measures at present. Both groups will continue to monitor the situation.

However, from 1 November 2010, CFS/ME sufferers will no longer be able to donate blood. The UK Blood Services recognised that exclusion from donation by people with ME/CFS needed to be brought in line with that from other relapsing conditions for the protection of the donor, and not because of potential infection risks.

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Commons Hansard
20 Oct 2010

Music: Education

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps he plans to take to identify and nurture musical talent in schools following the end of the Standards Fund in 2011. [12528]

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): A solid, knowledge-based music education for all children and young people is very important to this Government. We also believe that every child should learn to play a musical instrument and to sing. No decision has been taken on funding for music education beyond March 2011 as the spending review continues. Following the review we will set out how we plan to promote the teaching of music and the development of musical talent in schools. The Secretary of State announced on 24 September that he has asked Darren Henley, managing director of Classic FM, to carry out a review focusing on the funding routes and delivery mechanisms for music education making recommendations on how the funding for music education can be made to work harder and smarter to produce that quality experience for children and young people.

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Commons Hansard
20 Oct 2010

Construction jobs and Council Cutbacks

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The North East chamber of commerce has reported that 17,000 construction jobs are at risk as a direct result of proposed cuts in local councils. For some of us in the House, unemployment is not just a subject for theoretical discussion. Some of us have lived through and experienced the real desolation that unemployment means. Will the Prime Minister now tell us clearly whether he believes today what he believed in 1992-that unemployment is a price worth paying?

The Prime Minister: I do not take that view at all. I take the view that we must do everything we can to get our people into good and well-paid jobs. I have to say, however, that if we do not tackle the deficit, every job in the country will be under threat. That is the point. We are not doing this because we want to; there is no ideological zeal in doing this. We are doing this because we have to.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned the British Chambers of Commerce. What the British Chambers of commerce said at the time of the Budget was that this

"will have positive effects on business and investor confidence"

and

"will be welcomed by companies the length and breadth of the country-and across the globe."

+++

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): On a point of order, Mr Speaker. In response to my question in Prime Minister's questions, the Prime Minister said that I mentioned the British Chambers of Commerce, but I did not. I referred specifically to a report from the North East chamber of commerce, which said that 17,000 jobs in the construction industry were at risk. I am the first to admit that my accent is not always the easiest to understand, but I am also sure that the Prime Minister was not misleading the House. Can you advise me on how this matter can be corrected?

Mr Speaker: The hon. Gentleman has just corrected it very successfully. I do not want to be personal, but let me say to him that I have never found the slightest difficulty in understanding what he has had to say. I hope that he is grateful for that.

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Commons Hansard
19 Oct 2010

Courts: Standards

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the potential effects on the (a) caseload, (b) processing times and (c) number of adjournments in courts in Northumbria of HM Courts Service expenditure reductions of (i) 10, (ii) 20 and (iii) 30 per cent. [17577]

Mr Djanogly, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (HM Courts Service and Legal Aid): No assessment has been made of the potential effects of spending reductions on courts in Northumbria. The Government are committed to ensuring that there is an efficient and effective justice system. The impact of potential spending reductions on HM Courts Service cannot be assessed until the announcement of the outcome of the spending review.

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Commons Hansard
20 Oct 2010

Building Regulations: Public Consultation

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will publish the responses received to Question 86 of his Department's building regulations consultation referred to on page 178 of Proposals for amending Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations Summary of Responses, dated 1 April 2010. [16773]

Andrew Stunell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The Department received over 400 responses to the Part L and F consultation and, having published a comprehensive Summary of Responses, has no plans to publish the individual responses to the 113 questions in the consultation document. We will, however, provide copies of individual responses on request, in accordance with confidentiality, data protection and freedom of information requirements.

The majority of respondents to Question 86 felt that circulator pumps should have a minimum band C rating. However, from 2013 there will be a mandatory EU-wide requirement under the energy using products directive for all circulator pumps placed on the market to be band A. The main trade association for the UK pump market argued that it would be unreasonable to expect pump manufacturers to modify designs twice in just over a two-year period.

It was therefore decided that the Part L guidance from October 2010 should be that circulator pumps should have an A to G energy label, as this would be an effective way of encouraging consumers to choose energy efficient products without imposing an undue burden on manufacturers already preparing for 2013.

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Commons Hansard
18 Oct 2010

Tax Collection: Enforcement

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much tax revenue on average an enforcement and compliance officer in HM Revenue and Customs collected the last financial year. [16583]

Mr Gauke, Exchequer Secretary : HMRC enforcement and compliance officers of all grades are engaged in a variety of compliance activities, which may include the recovery of underpaid tax, the prevention of further tax losses, debt collection and the deterrence of tax evasion through, for example, criminal investigation. For this reason, HMRC does not collect statistics on the average revenue collected by a compliance officer. Results of HMRC's compliance activity were published in their 2009 autumn performance report which can be found at:

http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm77/7774/7774.pdf

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Commons Hansard
18 Oct 2010

State Retirement Pensions: Uprating

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has made an assessment of the likely effects on pensioners in (a) Blaydon constituency and (b) the North East of changes to state pension payments from April 2011 consequent on the use of the consumer price index as an uprating mechanism. [16584]

Steve Webb, Minister of State (Pensions): I have been asked to reply.

The Government's proposals for increases in the rates of social security benefits including state pensions from April 2011 will be announced to Parliament in due course. As outlined in the emergency Budget the principles by which the elements of state pension will be increased are as follows.

The basic state pension is subject to a "triple guarantee" that it will be increased by the highest of prices, earnings or 2.5%, with an additional commitment that it will be increased in April 2011 only, in line with the retail prices index (RPI), should that index show the highest growth.

Someone retiring today on a full basic state pension will receive £15,000 more over their retirement than they would have done under the old prices link.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has made an estimate of the effect on private pensions payments of uprating them in line with the consumer price index. [16585]

Steve Webb, Minister of State (Pensions): I have been asked to reply.

Legislation sets out the minimum increase for defined benefit private sector occupational pensions earned from service after April 1997. The consumer prices index (CPI) will be used to determine the minimum amounts for increasing private sector pension schemes going forward.

The impact on pensions in payment will vary depending on the rules of individual schemes and the circumstances of the individual. Schemes often choose to pay more than the minimum, for example, paying increases for service before 1997.

It will also vary depending on how schemes respond to changes to the statutory minimum amounts. Some schemes may, for example, change their rules to adopt CPI as the measure of inflation, but others may choose to stay with RPI.

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Commons Hansard
18 Oct 2010

Probation Service: Manpower

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what recent assessment he has made of the potential effects on (a) staff headcount and (b) prisoners in Northumbria of Probation Service expenditure reductions of (i) 10, (ii) 20 and (iii) 30 per cent; [17576]

(2) what assessment he has made of the potential effects on prisoner numbers in Northumbria of Probation Service expenditure reductions of (a) 10, (b) 20 and (c) 30 per cent; [17578]

(3) what recent assessment he has made of the potential effects on the (a) caseload of Northumbria Probation Service and (b) provision by that service of (i) court reports and (ii) supervision of people on parole licences of Probation Service expenditure reductions of (A) 10, (B) 20 and (C) 30 per cent. [17593]

Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation): To reduce the budget deficit, the Government are examining all areas of public expenditure, including the criminal justice system, to see where savings can be made. The Ministry of Justice is discussing options with the Treasury: the outcome of the spending review will be announced on 20 October. Following the announcement, the Ministry of Justice will decide how funding is to be allocated. We will work with probation trusts to ensure that they are able to provide the reports requested by the courts and to supervise offenders sentenced to community orders or on release from custody, in accordance with sentencing guidelines.

Work to protect the public and to reduce reoffending is a key priority. All probation trusts should ensure that savings are achieved by streamlining administration and improving working practices. Funding should be focused on front line services, to protect the public and reduce reoffending.

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Commons Hansard
18 Oct 2010

Police: Northumbria

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the potential effects on police (a) staffing headcount and (b) detection rates in Northumbria of police service expenditure reductions of (i) 10, (ii) 20 and (iii) 30 per cent. [17594]

Nick Herbert, Minister of State (Police): The future funding settlement for policing as a whole will be determined by the spending review which will be announced on 20 October. Allocations for individual forces, including Northumbria police, will be placed before Parliament in early December. It would be wrong to speculate on the outcome for specific forces at this time.

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has been clear that the police service must play its part in reducing the deficit. Decisions about the number of police officers, police community support officers and other police staff engaged by Northumbria police and how they are deployed within the force are a matter for the chief constable and the police authority.

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Commons Hansard
18 Oct 2010

Circulator Pumps: Energy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when his Department plans to determine the payback period for installing energy efficient circulator pumps in (a) domestic and (b) non-domestic properties. [16764]

Gregory Barker, Minister of State (Climate Change): The Department have no plans to determine the payback period for installing energy efficiency circulator pumps in either domestic or non-domestic properties.

Payback periods are difficult to determine precisely. They are influenced by the unit cost of the pump, the cost of installation, the actual running hours per year and the value of the fuel saved. As these variables are bespoke to each building payback periods are likely to vary considerably. The 2010 Building Services Compliance Guide recommends the use of circulators that have an A to G rating.

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Commons Hansard
18 Oct 2010

Departmental Regulation:Education

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education which of his Department's regulations are under review; and if he will make a statement. [7156]

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): In order to make a real impact on reducing bureaucratic burdens on the front line we are reviewing all of the duties, regulations and statutory guidance schools, colleges and local authorities have to follow in relation to education and children's services.

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Commons Hansard
14 Oct 2010

Circulator Pumps: Energy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the (a) carbon dioxide and (b) energy savings consequent on the inclusion of circulator pumps with an A-G energy label in Part L of the Buildings Regulations in each of the next five years. [16765]

Gregory Barker, Minister of State (Climate Change): The Department has not estimated the carbon and energy benefits of A to G labelled circulator pumps in Part L.

The benefits are influenced by the actual circulator efficiency and the number of running hours and this would be bespoke to each installation. From 2013, under Regulation 641/2009 the eco-design requirements for glandless standalone circulators, which implements Directive 2005/32/EC, new circulators will have to have an energy efficiency index of not more than 0.27, which is equivalent to an 'A' rating. This reduces to 0.23 from 2015.

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Commons Hansard
14 Oct 2010

Circulator Pumps: Energy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department plans to take steps to inform circulator pump fitters of the inclusion of circulator pumps with an A-G energy label in Part L of the Building Regulations. [16766]

Andrew Stunell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: CLG published four revised Part L Approved Documents and two new Building Services Compliance Guides in April 2010, containing practical guidance on complying with the revised requirements of Part L of the Building Regulations that came into force on 1 October 2010. The two Buildings Services Compliance Guides specifically recommend that circulator pumps should be labelled in accordance with the Europump Labelling Scheme and have a rating in the range A to G.

There are no plans to specifically inform circulator pump fitters about the recommendations on circulator pumps, but CLG officials have recently supported a number of dissemination and training events for industry in relation to the 2010 Part L revisions.

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Commons Hansard
11 Oct 2010

Youth Services: Finance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will take steps to ensure that youth services are maintained at existing levels following the ending of ring-fenced funding for such services. [14558]

Tim Loughton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Children and Families): We are committed to ensuring that our young people continue to receive high quality youth services. This is reflected in our vision for the new National Citizen Service, which will aim to offer every 16-year-old in the UK a personal and social development programme that builds a sense of purpose, optimism and belonging.

The Government do not set a budget for spending on youth services. Local authorities receive funding from Government through the revenue support grant for youth services and it is for them to decide how much funding should be spent based on Government priorities and local needs.

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Commons Hansard
11 Oct 2010

Academies: Governing Bodies

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether new academy schools will be required to have (a) elected parent governors, (b) elected staff governors and (c) local authority nominated governors. [9106]

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): The academies governing body should include at least two parent governors and the principal. Academies are free to choose whether to have a staff governor or local authority governor.

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Commons Hansard
4 Oct 2010

Academies: Redundancy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether arrangements for any redundancies of staff at new academy schools will be covered by a redundancy modification order. [9077]

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): The Department meets a proportion of the Academy Trust's costs arising from the inclusion of Academies in the Schedules to the Redundancy Payments (Continuity of Employment in Local Government) (Modification) Order 1999.

Academies are included in the Redundancy Payments Modification Order and so service in local authority schools and Academies counts as continuous for the purposes of determining entitlement to statutory redundancy pay.

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Commons Hansard
16 Sep 2010

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps his Department plans to take to ensure the views of young people are taken into account on proposals for changes to youth services in accordance with the provisions of Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. [13442]

Tim Loughton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Children and Families): We are currently developing our proposals for the future of youth services and on new approaches to giving young people a voice and strengthening youth scrutiny over national policy. I have taken action to ensure that young people are integral to the wider consultation process through a range of events, including one I hosted at the Department with around 20 teenagers from different parts of the country. Officials from my Department, with colleagues from Communities and Local Government, are working to assess the impact of current approaches to youth empowerment and democratic engagement and are drawing on the mechanisms and experience of youth organisations to involve young people directly in this work. Both Departments are also working with the Office for Civil Society to support the National Citizen Service programme and we are currently drawing up plans to ensure that young people are fully involved in the development of this.

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Commons Hansard
16 Sep 2010

Music: Education

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps he intends to take to promote the teaching of music in schools following the end of the Standards Fund in 2011. [12529]

Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): A solid, knowledge-based music education for all children and young people is very important to this Government. We also believe that every child should learn to play a musical instrument and to sing. No decision has been taken on funding for music education beyond March 2011 as the spending review continues. Following the review we will set out how we plan to promote the teaching of music and the development of musical talent in schools.

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Commons Hansard
16 Sep 2010

Academies: Governing Bodies

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether new academy school governing bodies will have powers to alter their articles of association to remove categories of governors from the governing body. [9104]

Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): The converting school will be required to set up a new charitable company limited by guarantee, the Academy Trust. The Academy Trust will be required to comply with and adopt DFE's model Memorandum and Articles of Association. The Articles of Association set out the requirements for both the appointment of and the constitution of both the members and directors/governors of the Academy Trust. The Articles of Association can only be amended with the consent of the Secretary of State. Subject to receiving such consent, then it is for the members of the Academy Trust (not the governors) to amend the Articles of Association.

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Commons Hansard
13 Sep 2010

Employment and Support Allowance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) average and (b) total cost was to his Department of processing new claims for employment and support allowance in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [13892]

Maria Miller, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Disabled People): Published information and statistics for ESA claims and work capability assessments is available on the Department's website:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/

The latest audited and publicly available financial information for Jobcentre Plus is in the annual report and accounts for 2009-10. These cover the period from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010.

The average and total costs to Jobcentre Plus of processing new claims for ESA in 2009-10 are shown in the following table:

ESA new claims, 2009-10
Total cost (£ million)28
Average cost (£)41
Source: Jobcentre Plus Activity Based Management system.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) average and (b) total cost was to his Department of work reconsidering claims for employment and support allowance that were initially rejected by it in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [13893]

Maria Miller: It is not possible to provide the costs specifically for reconsideration of the decisions made on these claims as this level of information is not captured.

Published information and statistics for ESA claims and work capability assessments is available on the Department's website:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) average and (b) total cost to his Department of cases involving appeals against its decisions to refuse claims for employment and support allowance was in the latest period for which figures are available. [13894]

Maria Miller: Published information and statistics for ESA claims and work capability assessments is available on the Department's website:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/

Jobcentre Plus, an agency of the Department for Work and Pensions, is responsible for an element of the ESA appeal process. The rest is handled by the Tribunal Service.

The latest audited and publicly available financial information for Jobcentre Plus is in the annual report and accounts for 2009-10. These cover the period from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010. Jobcentre Plus does not hold information on the costs incurred by the Tribunal Service therefore we cannot provide the total cost of an appeal. However, the average and total costs to Jobcentre Plus of processing an ESA appeal in 2009-10 are shown in the following table.

2009-10 ESA appeals
Total cost (£ million)6
Average cost (£)50
Source:
Jobcentre Plus Activity Based Management system.

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Commons Hansard
13 Sep 2010

Prescriptions: Fees and Charges

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward proposals to provide free prescriptions for people (1) with lifelong illnesses; [14020]

(2) aged below 60 years who have Parkinson's disease. [14021]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): I refer the hon. Members to the written answer I gave the right hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough (Mr Blunkett) on 26 July 2010, Official Report, columns 847-48W.

26 July 2010 : Column 848W

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): Decisions on any future changes to the system of prescription charges and exemptions in England would need to be taken in the context of the next spending review, which is due to report in the autumn. In the meantime, there are no plans to make any changes to the current list of conditions which are exempt from prescription charges.

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Commons Hansard
13 Sep 2010

Health Services: Disability

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from disability organisations on future levels of spending by his Department for people with disabilities; and if he will make a statement. [13888]

Mr Burstow, Minister of State (Care Services): Ministers have not received any representations from disability organisations on future levels of spending by this Department.

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Commons Hansard
9 Sep 2010

Health Services: Learning Disability

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment his Department has made of (a) trends in numbers of adults with learning disabilities and (b) the effects of such trends on future funding requirements for services for such people; and if he will make a statement; [13889]

(2) if he will meet representatives of the learning disability sector to discuss future funding of services for people with a learning disability; and if he will make a statement; [13890]

(3) what steps the Government plans to take to improve care and support services for people with a learning disability in (a) Blaydon, (b) the North East of England and (c) England; and if he will make a statement; [13891]

(4) how much and what proportion of the (a) adult social care and (b) NHS budget was spent on people with a learning disability in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement; [13948]

(5) how much the NHS spent on each category of its services for adults with learning disabilities in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. [13949]

Mr Burstow, Minister of State (Care Services): The Centre for Disability Research (2008) predicted a sustained increase in the number of people with learning disabilities known to services, from 2009 to 2026. The research detailed a number of scenarios, based on expected levels of need and anticipated levels of eligibility criteria in local authorities. All scenarios suggest sustained growth in the need for social care services for adults with learning disabilities over the full time period. However, average estimated annual increases vary from 1.04% (lower estimate, services are only provided to new entrants with critical or substantial needs) to 7.94% (upper estimate, services are provided to new entrants with critical, substantial or moderate needs).

The impact of these increases upon future funding requirements will depend on the ability of the social care system to deliver efficiency savings through a range of measures-including a renewed focus on preventing needs from escalating, greater personalisation, and improved community-based services to keep people independent. Future funding requirements will also depend upon decisions taken at a local level around charging policies and eligibility criteria.

Plans to improve care and support services for people with a learning disability within Blaydon and in the North East region are a matter for local decision. We have made clear our commitment to drive forward action to improve support and outcomes for people with learning disabilities across England and to support independent living. For this year, our priorities are to improve health outcomes and support people into jobs and homes of their own.

Gross expenditure on problems of Learning Disability from the NHS Programme Budgeting data, from 2003-04 onwards is shown as follows; we do not have data for previous years.

  £000
2003-042,272,971
2004-052,355,887
2005-062,595,671
2006-072,494,242
2007-082,856,102
2008-092,929,036
Source:
NHS Programme Budgeting data

Data on local authority expenditure on state funded care is collected and published by the NHS Information Centre for health and social care.

Table 1 following shows the gross expenditure for councils in England with Adult Social Services Responsibilities on adults aged 18 to 64 with learning disabilities as their primary client group between 2000-01 and 2008-09.

Table 1: Gross current expenditure for clients with a learning disability from 2000-01 to 2008-09, England( 1)
  Total gross current expenditure for adults aged under 65 with a learning disability Total gross current expenditure for adult services Percentage of total gross current expenditure for adults aged under 65 with a learning disability
2000-01(2)1,751,9089,619,21018
2001-02(2)1,903,99110,111,58519
2002-03(2)2,253,48111,316,08820
2003-04(2,3)2,609,44112,483,58121
2004-05(2,3)2,850,22413,497,92221
2005-06(2,3)3,110,32614,356,57922
2006-07(2,3)3,292,28114,898,16322
2007-08(3)3,453,00615,274,79423
2008-09(3)3,807,21616,075,81024
(1) Expenditure figures have not been adjusted for inflation.
(2) 2000-01 to 2006-07 figures include estimated Service Strategy and Asylum Seekers Assessment and Care Management apportioned to Adult Services and Children and Families Services using proportions calculated using 2007-08 data. Since 2007-08 this information has been collected separately.
(3) Includes expenditure funded from the Supporting People grant that councils have classified as Social Services expenditure rather than housing expenditure.

I have already agreed to meet with the Learning Disability Coalition to discuss future funding of services for people with learning disability.

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Commons Hansard
8 Sep 2010

Prisons: Trade Unions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he next expects to meet representatives of Prison Service trade unions. [12007]

Mr Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: I met with representatives of the POA, PCS and the Prison Service Joint Industrial Council on 7 September and representatives of the Prison Governors' Association on 8 September.

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Commons Hansard
6 Sep 2010

Teachers: Employment

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will take steps to increase the number of placements for newly qualified teachers. [9882]

Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): The Department for Education determines the number of initial teacher training places to be made available in any particular year. Officials are currently collecting the data necessary to run the models to help determine the initial teacher training places which should be made available for 2011/12 and we expect to be able to confirm the numbers to the Training and Development Agency for Schools later this year.

As determined by the modelling undertaken by the Department, there should be sufficient teaching positions available in England to enable newly qualified teachers to begin teaching and complete their induction year. It is a matter for employers to determine whether a teaching position should be offered to a newly qualified teacher.

The Department does not set targets for the number of placements in schools that will be available for teacher trainees to carry out their teaching practice. It is the responsibility of training providers to ensure that each trainee teacher has taught in at least two schools prior to the recommendation for the award of Qualified Teacher Status as part of their course provision.

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Commons Hansard
6 Sep 2010

Academies: School Meals

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his policy is on the application of national nutritional standards for school food to academy schools. [9549]

Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): The freedom and autonomy enjoyed by academies is crucial to enabling them to drive up standards. We believe that academies should have the freedom to respond to parental demand and provide a high standard of food that meets the needs of their pupils.

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Commons Hansard
6 Sep 2010

Academies: Property

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will bring forward proposals to ensure that an academy school governing body cannot sell off land, buildings or playing fields without the permission of the relevant local education authority or church representative. [9486]

Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): Publicly funded land that is transferred to an academy by way of a lease from the local authority to the academy trust will be protected by provisions in the lease which will prevent the land from being sold or otherwise disposed of. If a freehold interest in publicly funded land is transferred to an academy, then protection against disposal would be secured via the Funding Agreement and by a restriction entered on the title.

Arrangements for land that is privately owned, for example church owned land that is used by an academy, is a matter for the parties involved and any protection in relation to selling off that land will be a matter for the parties.

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Commons Hansard
6 Sep 2010

Education: Academies

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether the governing bodies of new academy schools will inherit sole responsibility for private finance initiative or local education partnership contracts previously held by the relevant local authority. [9099]

Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): Although arrangements for each PFI school converting to academy status are specific to that school, the normal arrangement would be that the local authority's contract with the PFI contractor remains in place. The obligations of the academy trust and the local authority necessary for continued fulfilment of the contract would be contained in a new schools agreement made between the academy trust and the local authority. There would also be a principal agreement made between the local authority, the Secretary of State and the academy trust which contained indemnification for the authority in relation to various obligations of the academy trust.

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Commons Hansard
6 Sep 2010

Departmental Billing (Defence)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information his Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub-contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9258]

Mr Gerald Howarth, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The Ministry of Defence does not hold any central information on the time taken by contractors to pay their sub-contractors. However, we are working closely with contractors to ensure that sub-contractors receive payment promptly.

We remain committed to paying invoices within five working days and continue to work closely with our contractors to ensure that the benefits are felt by all in the supply chain.

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Commons Hansard
6 Sep 2010

Departmental Regulation (Defence)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which of his Department's regulations are under review; and if he will make a statement. [7157]

Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State, Defence: In the budget the Government announced plans to reduce the regulatory burden and to review all regulation inherited from the previous Government.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is currently reviewing its secondary legislation in two areas. Firstly, regulations governing the Service Pensions and Compensation Schemes are reviewed annually and updated where necessary. This includes implementing the recommendations of Admiral the Lord Boyce in his review of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme laid before Parliament in February 2010. Also being reviewed are existing Defence byelaws and other local instruments in relation to land occupied for Defence purposes.

Although regulations made by the MOD rarely impact on business, the reviews within these policy areas will be conducted in the spirit of this announcement, to ensure fairness and to provide clarity and consistency.

Finally, the 'Your Freedom' website launched by the Deputy Prime Minister on 1 July 2010 will also give members of the public the opportunity to suggest existing regulations for removal, in order to reduce the regulatory burden.

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Commons Hansard
6 Sep 2010

Iraq: Trade Unions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the government of Iraq on the effect of its recent ministerial decree regarding trade unions in the electricity industry. [12010]

Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: Our ambassador to Iraq met the Acting Electricity Minister on 1 August 2010 to discuss the Ministerial Order of 20 July 2010 relating to activities of unions at the Ministry of Electricity and its departments and sites. Officials from our embassy in Baghdad also raised the issue with the Inspector General of the Ministry of Electricity on 5 August 2010. The UK will continue to encourage the Government of Iraq to ensure a just, fair and International Labour Organisation-compliant union law. The right to form and join trade unions in Iraq is embodied in Article 22 of the Iraqi constitution. This is a principle to which the Government attach great importance and take very seriously.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the position of trade unions in Iraq in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [12011]

Alistair Burt: Officials from our embassy in Baghdad and Consulate General in Erbil have discussed the situation of unions with union representatives in Iraq in the last 12 months. These include representatives from the Electricity, Journalists, Teachers and Kurdish Workers Unions. The right to form and join trade unions in Iraq is embodied in Article 22 of the Iraqi constitution. This is a principle to which the Government attach great importance. The draft Iraqi Labour Code, which will include regulations affecting unions, remains with the Council of Ministers for comment. The UK will continue to encourage the Government of Iraq to ensure a just, fair and International Labour Organisation-compliant union law.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department holds on the position of trade unions in the electricity sector in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [12012]

Alistair Burt: Officials from our embassy in Baghdad held discussions with the Leader of the Electricity Workers and Employees Union in July and they expressed concern about the current situation relating to unions in Iraq. The Ministry of Electricity has informed officials at our embassy that an investigation into the conduct of activities relating to unions at the Ministry of Electricity is being carried out. The results of the investigation will be made public. We await the outcome of this investigation. We will continue to discuss the situation with Iraqi officials and US and EU colleagues.

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Commons Hansard
27 Jul 2010

Academies: Sponsorship, redundancy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether new academies will recognise the service of staff in the period before the school obtained academy status for the purposes of calculating redundancy payments. [9103]

Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): Staff who transfer to employment by an academy would be entitled to redundancy payments in respect of service prior to conversion. This is in so far as their statutory and contractual rights to redundancy payments are trans erred under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what discussions his Department has had with the Charity Commission on proposals to make academy schools exempt charities with no public reporting requirements. [9076]

Mr Gibb: The Permanent Secretary and the chief executive of the Charity Commission have discussed proposals to make academies exempt charities and other officials have met or spoken to their Charity Commission counterparts on several occasions.

It is not the case that there will be no public reporting requirements. Academy trusts will be required to publish their annual accounts, annual report, memorandum and articles of association, funding agreement and a list of the names of the governors of the academy trust.

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Commons Hansard
27 Jul 2010

Academies: Finance, Manpower

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether academy schools will continue to have to obtain admitted body status to the Local Government Pension scheme as a condition of their funding. [8979]

Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): Academies are scheduled bodies under the Local Government Pension scheme and are therefore automatically members. Academy Trusts will continue to be required to ensure that all employees at Academies other than teachers have access to the LGPS. This requirement is included in their funding agreement. A similar requirement applies to teachers in respect of the Teachers' Pension scheme. The ongoing funding of Academy Trusts is contingent upon the conditions in their funding agreements being met.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether (a) individual funding agreements and (b) supplementary funding agreements between him and academy schools will be published on his Department's website. [9082]

Mr Gibb: All new funding agreements between the Secretary of State for Education and academy trusts, whether individual or supplementary, will be published in due course on the Department's website.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he plans to consult parents, governors and school staff on the contents of the new model funding agreement for academy schools. [9083]

Mr Gibb: The new model funding agreement has not been finalised yet. However, we have published a draft on the Department's website and would welcome comments from any interested parties. In addition, we have amended the Academies Bill so that it requires governing bodies of converting schools to consult with those persons whom they think appropriate before entering into funding arrangements with the Secretary of State.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he plans to re-negotiate the funding agreements of existing academy schools if the Academies Bill is passed. [9102]

Mr Gibb: We intend to discuss with each academy trust whether they wish to adopt the new model funding agreement which is being developed.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the effect on the ability of staff transferring to new academy schools in September 2010 to participate in a consultation on that transfer under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations of the holding of such a consultation during the school summer holidays. [9623]

Mr Gibb: Guidance issued to schools recommends that schools have early discussions with their staff and unions when considering conversion to Academy status. Whilst there is no set period in law for the duration of a Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) Regulations, where the employer is proposing changes before the transfer, the guidance recommends that consultation should be of a suitable length to agree changes with staff. The governing body of a school will be best placed to determine the timing and length of the TUPE consultation. Outstanding schools that have applied for academy status for September 2010 will be aware of their obligations to consult.

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Commons Hansard
27 Jul 2010

Academies: Billing, Conditions of Employment

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether local authority scrutiny committees may examine the performance or operations of academy schools [8980]

Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): We want local authorities to continue to be powerful champions of educational excellence. It is up to local authority scrutiny committees to determine the areas or issues that they wish to examine and for each academy to determine the level of their involvement.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether (a) schools and (b) local authorities will be required to consult staff and trade unions before plans to transfer schools to academy status are taken forward. [9081]

Mr Gibb: The current employer of school staff (either the local authority or the governing body, depending on the type of school) will need to conduct a TUPE consultation with all staff and the unions as part of the staff transfer process. We have also amended the Academies Bill so that it now requires governing bodies of converting schools to consult with those persons whom they think appropriate before entering into funding arrangements with the Secretary of State.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether new academy schools will take responsibility for legal liabilities and cases from the predecessor schools. [9098]

Mr Gibb: Where the predecessor school is an employer of staff, and in relation to its position as an employer, transfer of legal liabilities and responsibilities will be governed by Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) Regulations.

In general, the legal liabilities of the predecessor school will not automatically pass to the academy trust, but what will transfer will vary from project to project. This will depend on the nature of the legal liabilities concerned. However, it is open to the predecessor school and/or the local authority to agree with the academy trust the transfer of assets and contracts from the predecessor school/local authority to the academy trust, and as part of this agreement it may be that they would agree that some related legal liabilities would be transferred to the academy trust.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much his Department and its agencies spent on the academies programme in the latest period for which figures are available; how many staff are employed by his Department and its agencies on the programme; how much is planned to be spent on the programme in 2010-11; and how many staff will be working on the programme in 2010-11. [9466]

Mr Gibb: In financial year 2009-10, the revenue spend on the academies programme was £1,272.09 million. The expected revenue spend in 2010-11 is currently estimated at £1,996.0 million. This excludes any expenditure on schools converting under the Academies Bill, which will depend on the numbers of schools. The capital spend in 2009-10 was £388.6 million through grant paid by the Department for Education and £307.3 million for projects funded through Partnerships for Schools (PfS). In 2010-11 the estimated spend is £301.0 million through departmental grant and £665.0 million for projects funded through PfS.

The Department is employing 115 staff engaged directly on the academies programme. The Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) has 47 members of staff working specifically on the academies programme; this is expected to increase to 81 during FY2010-11 through transfers from elsewhere in the Agency. In PfS, 17 members of staff work on the academies programme with no increase expected in 2010.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will put in place contingency plans to compensate companies contracted to provide goods or services to academy schools in circumstances in which such schools default on payments under those contracts. [9622]

Mr Gibb: Academies are independent schools established by academy trusts, which are charitable companies receiving grant from the Secretary of State for the academy's running costs. It is for potential suppliers to decide whether to enter into contracts with trusts, and in the event of any default, to pursue payment in line with the terms of the contract.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether protection of staffing structures and terms and conditions of employment in new academy schools under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) Regulations will remain in place beyond the point of transfer. [9101]

Mr Gibb: Under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) Regulations contracts are transferred with their existing terms and the protection is indefinite. The contracts remain in force until they are brought to an end or changed in accordance with normal contractual principles.

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Commons Hansard
27 Jul 2010

Jobcentre Plus: Manpower

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate he has made of the effect on the number of Jobcentre Plus jobs of the implementation of proposals in the June 2010 Budget; [10993]

(2) what estimate he has made of the likely change in the number of front-line Jobcentre plus posts in the next two years. [11020]

Chris Grayling, Minister of State (Employment): The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Darra Singh. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Darra Singh:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions asking i) what estimate he has made of the change in the number of Jobcentre Plus jobs resulting from the proposals in the June 2010 budget; and ii) what estimate he has made of the change in the number of front-line Jobcentre Plus posts in the next two years. These are issues that fall within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

The impact of the proposals in the June 2010 budget will be a staffing reduction in Jobcentre Plus of 2,000 full time equivalents in 2010/11. That figure comprises a headcount efficiency of 1,000 people, with the remaining reduction of 1,000 people being due to falling work volumes. However, we continue to monitor workloadsand economic forecasts, and Jobcentre Plus staffing levels are reviewed on a regular basis as part of that.

Future staffing and spending plans for Jobcentre Plus will be dependent on the levels to be announced on 20 October 2010 in the Spending Review settlement set out by HM Treasury.

I hope that this is helpful.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect of proposed staffing changes at Jobcentre plus on the ability of Jobcentre Plus Centres to help those on incapacity benefit back into work; and if he will take steps to alleviate any negative effects of any such changes on such activities. [11036]

Chris Grayling: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Darra Singh. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Darra Singh:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what assessment been made of the effect of proposed staffing changes at jobcentre plus on the ability of Jobcentre Plus Centres to help those on incapacity benefit back into work; and if we are taking any steps to alleviate any negative effects of any such changes on such activities.

The impact of the proposals in the June 2010 budget will be a staffing reduction in Jobcentre Plus of 2,000 full time equivalents in 2010/11. However, we continue to monitor workloads and economic forecasts and Jobcentre Plus staffing levels are reviewed on a regular basis as part of that. We have developed plans to ensure that these headcount changes will not negatively affect Jobcentre Plus' ability to help incapacity benefit claimants back to work.

Future staffing and spending plans for Jobcentre Plus will be dependent on the levels to be announced on 20 October 2010 in the Spending Review settlement set out by HM Treasury. However, we will ensure that plans are in place to support incapacity benefits claimants following these decisions.

I hope that this is helpful.

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Commons Hansard
27 Jul 2010

Departmental Regulation (Home Office)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which of her Department's regulations are under review; and if she will make a statement. [7150]

Nick Herbert, Minister of State: In the Budget the Government announced plans for reducing regulatory burdens, including the introduction of a one-in-one out system for new regulations and a fundamental review of all regulation inherited from the previous Government scheduled for introduction over the coming year. These regulations will not be implemented until they have been reviewed and re-agreed by the Reducing Regulation Cabinet Committee.

The Your Freedom website launched by the Deputy Prime Minister on 1 July 2010, will also give members of the public the opportunity to suggest existing regulations for removal:

http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/

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Commons Hansard
27 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (Home Office)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information her Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub-contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if she will make a statement. [9251]

Nick Herbert, Minister of State: The Home Department does not hold this information centrally and to obtain it would incur disproportionate cost.

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Commons Hansard
27 Jul 2010

Agricultural Wages Board

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with representatives of trade unions representing workers who are covered by the Agricultural Wages Board on her plans for the future of that Board. [12009]

Mr James Paice, Minister of State (Agriculture and Food): There have been no specific discussions, but views of the representatives of the two sides of the Agricultural Wages Board have been well known for many years. I have spoken to Ian Waddell, the leader of the workers' side to explain the reasons for the Government's decision, which is that the agricultural wages legislation is outdated, inflexible and imposes regulatory burdens on farmers which are often small businesses. I firmly believe that by lifting the cumbersome requirements of the agricultural wage framework, the industry will be better able to attract new and young entrants to the industry and to meet the challenges of 21st century farming and increasing domestic food production. The abolition of the Board will require amendments to primary legislation and therefore will be subject to proper parliamentary scrutiny and debate.

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Commons Hansard
27 Jul 2010

Departmental Regulation (Transport)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which of his Department's regulations are under review; and if he will make a statement. [7140]

Norman Baker, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Regional and Local Transport): In the Budget the Government announced plans for reducing the regulatory burdens on business, including the introduction of a one-in-one out system for new regulations and a fundamental review of all regulation inherited from the previous Government scheduled for introduction over the coming year. These regulations will not be implemented until they have been reviewed and re-agreed by the Reducing Regulation Cabinet Committee.

As part of a wider review of employment law, the Department will also be reviewing laws within relevant policy areas to "ensure they maximise flexibility for both parties while protecting fairness and providing the competitive environment required for enterprise to thrive".

The Your Freedom website launched by the Deputy Prime Minister on 1 July 2010, will also give members of the public the opportunity to suggest existing regulations for removal, in order to reduce the burden on business.

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Commons Hansard
27 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (Transport)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information his Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub-contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9243]

Norman Baker, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Regional and Local Transport): In general, the Department for Transport does not hold information on the time taken by contractors it employs to pay sub-contractors. Although the Highways Agency, for instance, has undertaken some limited sampling of supplier performance in relation to the prompt payment of sub-contractors, it does not have any full, routine, verified system for monitoring supplier performance in this area.

We are taking the following steps to promote the prompt payment of sub-contractors:

We remain committed to paying invoices within five working days and encouraging our suppliers to ensure that the benefits are felt by all in the supply chain.

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Commons Hansard
27 Jul 2010

Departmental Regulation (DFID)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which of his Department's regulations are under review; and if he will make a statement. [7149]

Stephen O'Brien, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: In the Budget the Government announced plans for reducing the regulatory burdens on business, including the introduction of a one-in-one out system for new regulations and a fundamental review of all regulation inherited from the previous Government scheduled for introduction over the coming year. These regulations will not be implemented until they have been reviewed and re-agreed by the Reducing Regulation Cabinet Committee.

The Department for International Development (DFID) is not responsible for any regulations that affect businesses.

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Commons Hansard
27 Jul 2010

Government Equalities Office :Regulations

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities which of the Government Equalities Office's regulations are under review; and if she will make a statement. [7139]

Lynne Featherstone, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Equalities): In the Budget the Government announced plans for reducing the regulatory burdens on business, including the introduction of a one-in-one-out system for new regulations and a fundamental review of all regulation inherited from the previous Government scheduled for introduction over the coming year.

The Government have agreed to implement the core simplification provisions of the Equality Act 2010 in October this year and is looking at how the rest of the Act can be implemented in the best way for business.

The Your Freedom website launched by the Deputy Prime Minister on 1 July 2010, will also give members of the public the opportunity to suggest existing regulations for removal, in order to reduce the burden on business.

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Commons Hansard
27 Jul 2010

Departmental Regulation (FCO)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which of his Department's regulations are under review; and if he will make a statement. [7152]

Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: We currently have no regulations under formal review, but we will consider any suggestions relevant to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office made through the Your Freedom website:

http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk

launched by my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister on 1 July 2010. This gives members of the public the opportunity to suggest existing regulations for removal.

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Commons Hansard
27 Jul 2010

Welfare Tax Credits: Overpayments

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many tax credit overpayments have been written off in circumstances where claimants were diagnosed with mental health and related illnesses in each of the last three years; [10994]

(2) whether HM Revenue and Customs has discretion to write off tax credit overpayments in circumstances where claimants have been diagnosed with mental health and related illnesses. [10995]

David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) does not separately record the information requested.

Code of Practice 26 'What happens if we have paid you too much tax credit?' sets out how HMRC deal with overpayments of tax credit. If a customer, or more likely their representative, contacts HMRC and advises them that they are suffering from a mental health problem, then HMRC staff will deal with these cases carefully and sympathetically and in some circumstances will agree not to pursue the claimant for payment.

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Commons Hansard
26 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (BIS)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what information his Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub-contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9245]

Mr Davey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The Department does not hold any central information on the time taken by contractors (tier one suppliers) to pay their sub-contractors (tier two suppliers). However, we are working closely with tier one suppliers to ensure that tier two suppliers receive payment promptly by:

BIS remains committed to pay its own invoices within five working days and continues to work closely with its suppliers to ensure that the benefits are felt by all in the supply chain.

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Commons Hansard
26 Jul 2010

Employment Schemes

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what steps he plans to take to assist people who are on benefits back into employment; [11018]

(2) what steps he plans to take to assist long-term unemployed people back into employment. [11019]

Chris Grayling, Minister of State (Employment): We have announced plans for radical reforms of the welfare to work system and the implementation of the Work Programme. The Work Programme will be an integrated package of support providing people with personalised back-to-work help based on need and not the benefit they claim. No final decisions have been taken on which customers will be supported by the Work Programme but we expect long-term unemployed people to be among those eligible.

We are also looking to make radical changes to the benefit system to make it much simpler, and to make the financial gains from moving into work stronger and more transparent.

We are determined to move quickly and are aiming to have the Work Programme in place nationally by the summer of 2011. Alongside the core Work Programme a series of individual support measures will be introduced to get Britain working, including Work Clubs and help with moving into self-employment.

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Commons Hansard
26 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (Energy)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what information his Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub-contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9256]

Gregory Barker, Minister of State (Climate Change): The Department does not hold any central information on the time taken by contractors (tier one suppliers) to pay their sub-contractors (tier two suppliers). However, we are working closely with tier one suppliers to ensure that tier two suppliers receive payment promptly by:

We remain committed to paying invoices within five working days and continue to work closely with our suppliers to ensure that the benefits are felt by all in the supply chain.

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Commons Hansard
26 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (DEFRA)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information her Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub-contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if she will make a statement. [9255]

Richard Benyon, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The Department does not hold this information and would incur disproportionate cost to obtain it.

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Commons Hansard
26 Jul 2010

Debt Collection

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what estimate has been made of the number of individuals that will enter into debt management plans where fees have been charged in each month until the end of 2010; [9832]

(2) which organisations responded to the consultation on debt management schemes that closed on 18 December 2009; and when a Government response to that consultation will be published. [9833]

Mr Djanogly, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: There are currently very little empirical data relating to debt management plans. It is estimated that 100,000 to 150,000 individual plans are created each year. However, there are no definitive data on the proportion of these where fees are charged.

The consultation on debt management schemes that closed on 18 December 2009 looked at the way that debtors deal with their indebtedness. It asked for evidence on whether the powers contained in chapter 4 of part 5 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act (TCEA) 2007 to approve operators of debt management schemes (DMS) should be introduced or whether the taking of other steps to make sure that debtors are protected and creditors' interests are safeguarded would be more appropriate.

An initial impact assessment was published alongside the consultation paper which considered the potential effectiveness of all of the options contained in the consultation paper. The impact assessment contained a number of questions which sought to obtain information relating to debt management plans. However, the few responses to these questions contained very little factual information relating to these plans.

A total of 57 responses to the consultation were received from a variety of organisations, including those from the creditor, debt management scheme operator, debt advice, legal and Government sectors as well as individuals.

Officials at the MoJ have recently completed a full analysis of the views and opinions offered by all interested parties to the debt management consultation and the Government intend to publish their response to the consultation shortly

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Commons Hansard
26 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (Communities)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what information his Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub-contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9260]

Robert Neill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The Department does not hold any information about the time taken by its contractors to pay invoices from their sub-contractors.

OGC is establishing a voluntary charter with suppliers in 2010 which will cover mutual commitments on a range of policy agendas that Government are pursuing through public procurement including SMEs. The charter will include commitments from signatory suppliers to open appropriate sub-contracting opportunities to SMEs and to pass on favourable terms, including prompt payment, in supply chains.

We will issue guidance to category managers in Corporate Procurement Division (CPD) encouraging this approach when the charter is in place.

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Commons Hansard
22 Jul 2010

Departmental Regulation (BIS)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which of his Department's regulations are under review; and if he will make a statement. [7147]

Mark Prisk, Minister of State (Business and Enterprise): In the Budget the Government announced plans for reducing the regulatory burdens on business, including the introduction of a one-in-one out system for new regulations and a fundamental review of all regulation inherited from the previous Government scheduled for introduction over the coming year. These regulations will not be implemented until they have been reviewed and re-agreed by the Reducing Regulation Cabinet Committee.

As part of a wider review of employment law, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills will also be reviewing laws within relevant policy areas to

"ensure they maximise flexibility for both parties while protecting fairness and providing the competitive environment required for enterprise to thrive."

The Your Freedom website launched by the Deputy Prime Minister on 1 July 2010, will also give members of the public the opportunity to suggest existing regulations for removal, in order to reduce the burden on business.

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Commons Hansard
22 Jul 2010

Academies:private sector classification

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office whether academies are considered to be in the private sector for the purposes of compiling the national (a) accounts, (b) economic and (c) labour market statistics. [9062]

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated 16 July 2010:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking whether academies are considered to be in the private sector for the purposes of compiling the national (a) accounts, (b) economic and (c) labour market statistics. 9062.

ONS produces the United Kingdom's National Accounts. The National Accounts are an internationally comparable accounting framework that describes the activities in a national economy, including the transactions that take place between sectors of that economy. The relevant international manuals are the System of National Accounts 1993 (SNA93) and the European System of Accounts 1995 (ESA95) in particular.

As part of the process of producing the National Accounts, ONS decides on the classification of institutions and transactions within the economy. This well-established process is published on the ONS website at

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/about/national_statistics/cop/downloads/NAclassification.pdf

and classification decisions are recorded in the Sector Classification Guide which is available at

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=7163

City Academies were initially examined by ONS in 2001, and classified in the Central Government Sector. They were reviewed again in 2005 and the initial classification decision was reconfirmed by the National Accounts Classification Committee, consequently ONS continues to classify City Academies within the public sector, as Central Government entities.

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Commons Hansard
22 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (DWP)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what information his Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub-contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9246]

Chris Grayling, Minister of State (Employment): It is Government and departmental policy to pay in arrears after the goods or services have been satisfactorily provided and to pay promptly. DWP is a signatory to the Prompt Payment Code which aims to encourage good practice throughout the supply chain. DWP is committed to paying invoices within 10 days of receipt of a valid invoice. However the terms of the standard departmental contract state that payment will be within 30 days. Suppliers have a contractual requirement to pay subcontractors on these same standard terms.

As there is not currently a contractual requirement for suppliers to pay subcontractors within 10 working days DWP does not monitor or record the time taken by contractors to pay invoices of their subcontractors under prompt payment arrangements.

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Commons Hansard
22 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (Culture)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what information his Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub-contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9259]

John Penrose, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: This Department does not hold data on payments to sub-contractors by our first tier suppliers.

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Commons Hansard
21 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (Education)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education what information his Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub-contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9257]

Tim Loughton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The Department does not have a central record of the time taken by contractors to pay their sub-contractors and the information could be provided only at disproportionate costs.

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Commons Hansard
21 Jul 2010

Academies: Finance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he plans to make specific tax arrangements in respect of the (a) revenue and (b) capital funds of academy schools. [9489]

Justine Greening, Economic Secretary: The Government keep all taxes under review and any changes are considered as part of the normal Budget process. Academy trusts are exempted charities that can claim exemption from corporation tax. However, they are not exempt from VAT.

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Commons Hansard
21 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (Cabinet Office)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what information the Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by his Department to pay the invoices of its sub-contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9262]

Mr Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office: The requirement to pay sub-contractors within 30 days is passed on to all contractors through the Department's standard terms and conditions of contract. However, the Department does not routinely monitor the prompt payment of sub-contractors. To do so would require individuals to establish contact with all suppliers to the Cabinet Office in order to ascertain their prompt payment times.

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Commons Hansard
21 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (Scotland)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information his Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub-contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9248]

David Mundell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The Scotland Office encourages its contractors to pay their sub-contractors as quickly as possible. However, no information or statistics are held by the Scotland Office regarding this process.

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Commons Hansard
21 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (International Development)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what information his Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub-contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9250]

Mr Alan Duncan, Minister of State: The Department for International Development (DFID) does not maintain records on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub-contractors. In line with the Government's policy to improve supplier payment, DFID routinely pays its suppliers within 10 days in over 90% of transactions.

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Commons Hansard
21 Jul 2010

Railways: closed and disused lines

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the re-opening of closed rail lines; and which closed lines have been identified for re-opening since May 2010. [4423]

Mrs Theresa Villiers, Minister of State (Rail and Aviation): The Government have made clear that their most urgent priority is to tackle the UK's record deficit. The scope for future rail investment will depend on decisions that will be made in the comprehensive spending review in the autumn. In these circumstances we have not identified any closed lines for re-opening since May 2010.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on a moratorium on construction on disused rail lines. [4422]

Mrs Villiers: Planning Policy Guidance (PPG13) gives guidance on the safeguarding of transport routes. We are considering issues around disused rail paths but have not yet had discussion with ministerial colleagues in the Department for Communities and Local Government. In due course, the Government will publish and present to Parliament a consolidated national planning framework covering all forms of development and setting out national economic, environmental and social priorities.

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Commons Hansard
21 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (Justice)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what information his Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub-contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9249]

Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation): The Department does not hold information on the time taken by its contractors to pay their sub-contractors.

However, the Department's standard contractual terms and conditions include a stipulation that contractors ensure that a provision is included in sub-contracts which requires payment to be made of all sums due by the Contractor to the sub-contractor within a specified period not exceeding 30 days from the receipt of a valid invoice.

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Commons Hansard
21 Jul 2010

Social Housing (Sunderland): government policy

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I welcome my hon. Friend the Member for Houghton and Sunderland South (Bridget Phillipson) to the House. It is great that she is now the MP for the place where I spent some of the happiest years of my life.

The Minister makes a point that we hear continuously-that there was no choice. The truth is that there was a choice. We all agree that we have a terrible deficit to sort out, but the choice that the Government parties are taking is different from the one that my party would have taken if it had been in government. We do not have to choose what the Minister has chosen. That needs to be nailed to the wall now.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Andrew Stunell): I thank the hon. Gentleman for his contribution, which is one that I have heard several times from Members on the other side of the House. Unfortunately, it is no more relevant or close to reality than the projections that were made before the election, which were that everything was fine and that we could just carry on.

+++

Mr Anderson: I thank the Minister for taking this intervention; I did not want to interrupt his flow. Will he provide us with the figures? I lost track a little, but I think he said that 600,000 houses could be built for £7 billion. Can those figures be put in the Library or shared with Members so we can check them out?

Andrew Stunell: It is a good job that I did not say that, because if I had it would have been completely incorrect. If I conveyed that impression, it is a good job I am responding now, because that allows me to say that the difference in the cost of housing benefit in real terms between 10 years ago and now is £7 billion a year. I believe that the hon. Gentleman has seen my point. I do not think that there was anything wrong with what I meant to say. If there was something wrong with what I actually said, I am happy to put that right.

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Commons Hansard
21 Jul 2010

Academies bill debate

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I am really depressed by what is happening, particularly in relation to consultation. For years and years, quite rightly, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives attacked the previous Government for not having full consultation with people when measures such as this were going through. But to have a consultation process, or not to have a consultation process, when the people who run our schools - the teachers, the support staff, the people who do school meals and the people who clean the schools - are not even at work but are on holiday, if they can afford to take one, and to say that the head will decide and that when they come back in December they will be told what will happen to them, is clearly out of order. It is almost certainly not legal and I am convinced that there will be challenges.

Let us just think about some of the things that could happen during the summer. People who may finish work this week and return in the first week in September may not have these questions answered. Will I, or will I not, still be entitled to the sickness agreements that I have had for years in my previous employment? Will I still be entitled to the same rights of annual leave? Will my salary be the same? Will my pension be the same? Will my redundancy rights be the same? Will my access to training be the same? Will my redeployment rights be the same? Will my career development still be the same? Will any rights that I have accrued in possibly decades of service for the people of my community be the same?

In any normal consultation process - I have had long experience in six to 10 years of working for a local authority - under both the last Labour Government and the previous Conservative Government, even at the hardest of times, when there were real issues and really dogma-driven changes, people were still allowed the right to consult and to have their questions answered. There is no way, in six weeks, even if the staff were still at work, that these questions could be answered, and to say that this is the right way forward and to pretend that somehow it fits into the concept of the big society is clearly and utterly wrong. Staff will be going back to work in six weeks' time and they will be told by the head, by the board of governors, "You either take it or leave it." That has to be wrong.

+++

Mr Anderson: Does the Minister also think it correct that the professionals who deliver the education of our children have the right to be consulted and that that should be set out in the Bill?

Mr Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): I do not think that it needs to be set out in the Bill, but the hon. Gentleman is absolutely right: of course staff should be consulted, and they would be. TUPE--the transfer of undertakings (protection of employment) regulations-will govern the contracts of all the employees of the school and the transfer of employment on the same terms. He should feel assured that the necessary statutory consultation, by the employer and with the employee, will take place as part of the process

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Commons Hansard
20 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (Treasury)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information his Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub - contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9254]

Justine Greening, Economic Secretary: The Treasury does not hold any information on the time taken by contractors to pay sub - contractors invoices.

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Commons Hansard
20 Jul 2010

Departmental Regulations (Energy)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change which of his Department's regulations are under review; and if he will make a statement. [7155]

Gregory Barker, Minister of State (Climate Change): DECC are actively engaged in adopting the principles of regulation of the coalition Government. As part of this work all policies inherited by the last Government and yet to be implemented are being reviewed. Lord Marland has also written to DECC stakeholders asking for their views on possible existing or planned DECC regulations that may be simplified or repealed. I will consider the need for a statement once the review has been finalised.

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Commons Hansard
20 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (Health)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information his Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub - contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9252]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): The Department does not collect this information centrally.

However, all departmental contracts contain the following clause:

"Where the Contractor enters into a sub - contract for the provision of any part of the Services, the Contractor shall ensure that a term is included in the sub - contract which requires the Contractor to pay all sums due to the sub - contractor within a specified period, not exceeding 30 days from the date of receipt of a valid invoice as defined by the terms of that sub - contract."

This clause is consistent with Office of Government Commerce best practice on payments to sub - contractors.

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Commons Hansard
20 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (FCO)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub - contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9253]

Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not capture data covering payments between contractors and sub - contractors. All FCO contracts include the following paragraph to ensure that payments are made promptly:

"Where the Contractor enters into a sub - contract for the provision of any part of the Services, the Contractor shall ensure that a term is included in the sub - contract which requires the Contractor to pay all sums due to the sub - contractor within a specified period, not exceeding 30 days from the date of receipt of a valid invoice as defined by the terms of that sub - contract."

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Commons Hansard
20 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (Northern Ireland)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what information his Department holds on the time taken by contractors employed by it to pay the invoices of their sub - contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9244]

Mr Paterson, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: The Department does not hold this information.

In line with the recent Budget announcement, the Department is including a clause in all new contracts awarded with suppliers to ensure that suppliers pay their sub - contractors within 30 days. The Department will also be encouraging its suppliers to pay faster than 30 days where the Department itself is paying in 10 days or fewer.

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Commons Hansard
20 Jul 2010

Departmental Billing (Attorney-General)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Attorney - General what information he holds on the time taken by contractors employed by the Law Officers' Departments to pay the invoices of their sub - contractors under prompt payment arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [9261]

Dominic Grieve, the Attorney-General: Like other Government offices the Law Officers' Departments follow the principles of the Prompt Payment Code, but no records are maintained on the time taken by contractors to pay sub - contractors. Such information could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

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Commons Hansard
19 Jul 2010

Coalfields Regeneration Trust (Wentworth and Dearne)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I am speaking as a former miner and as the chair of the all-party coalfield communities group. We recognise and welcome the trust's work. However, the Audit Commission, in its 2008 report, praised the physical and economic regeneration, but made the point that in former mining areas throughout the country, there were still high levels of worklessness, low skills and poor health.

John Healey: Indeed, and my hon. Friend chairs the all-party coalfields group very ably and plays an important role. He is right, and the National Audit Office recognised that progress had been made. Some of the gap with the rest of the country in jobs and skills has been closed, but a big challenge remains ahead. That is why the work of the trust and the wider programme is necessary for the future.

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Commons Hansard
19 Jul 2010

Academies: Consultation with workforce

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Will my right hon. Friend also comment on the potential for challenges from some of the tens of thousands of workers who will be affected by this decision? They do not know whether they are going to be made redundant, or what their terms and conditions will be. Surely there is a legal imperative for them to be consulted properly, but that consultation will take place while most of them are on their summer holidays.

Mr Speaker: Order. The debate is starting to broaden somewhat. I know that the right hon. Gentleman will want to focus his reply in a way that relates to the Bill.

Ed Balls: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

On the subject of the consultation, we had an interesting answer on the question of schools becoming academies. We were told that there would be consultation. The fact is that the Bill that was published a few weeks ago contained no obligation for any consultation at all. It was only as a result of intervention in the other place that a provision was added to say that there should be consultation, but what obligation does that provision place on schools and governing bodies? It says that they need only consult whomever they think appropriate, and that they can consult before they decide to become an academy or after they have done the deed. The idea that that represents consultation is complete and utter nonsense.

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Commons Hansard
15 Jul 2010

Railways: Fares

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will bring forward proposals to reduce passenger fares through changes to franchise agreements with train operating companies; [4425]

(2) if he will instruct the Office for Rail Regulation to undertake a review of the affordability of (a) walk - on fares and (b) advanced purchase national rail fares. [4426]

Theresa Villiers, Minister of State (Rail and Aviation): The Government have pledged to put fairness at the heart of their approach to rail fares. The level of rail fares will be considered as part of the overall spending review that the Government are conducting. The Rail Value for Money Study, jointly sponsored by the Office of Rail Regulation (being carried out by Sir Roy McNulty), and the Association of Train Operating Companies' review of fares are expected to provide valuable input going forward in the medium term.

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Commons Hansard
15 Jul 2010

Academies Bill

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Can the Leader of the House explain why we are rushing through the Academies Bill when no consultation has taken place with parents, with governor groups or, in particular, with staff? The consultation period will apparently be during the school holidays when people either will not be in the country or will not be getting paid. Surely there is no need to rush this through, so why is that happening.

Sir George Young, Leader of the House: The hon. Gentleman is referring to the Academies Bill.

Mr Anderson: Yes, that's what I said.

Sir George Young: I believe we have offered the House adequate time to deal with the Bill. It will be taken on the Floor of the House and additional time is being made available for Members to discuss it. It has also been through the other place, so there have been opportunities for the public to comment on it since its introduction there.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jul 2010

Members: Allowances

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority whether the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has assessed the merits of introducing a paper - based system for claiming allowance payments. [8097]

Mr Charles Walker: IPSA has advised me that the merits of introducing a paper - based system for claiming expenses were considered during the start - up phase of IPSA. It was concluded that in line with current expectations of IT - led delivery within the public sector, it would be inappropriate to design a new expenses process which was not based at least in part on an IT - led solution.

IPSA remains of the view that an IT - led, rather than paper - based, system is most appropriate. Using an IT - led solution allows IPSA to achieve a high level of transparency more easily and cheaply than an equivalent manual approach. It will also allow any future changes to processes to be more easily implemented.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jul 2010

Manpower: processing of claims

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority what the policy of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is on provision of additional staff resources for hon. Members to assist with the processing of claims for allowance payments. [8098]

Mr Charles Walker: IPSA does not provide additional staff resources specifically to assist with the processing of claims under the MPs' expenses scheme. If MPs are unable to remain within their staffing budget for the current financial year, they can apply to IPSA for support from the contingency fund. All such applications will be considered on a case by case basis.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jul 2010

Departmental Regulation (Justice)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which of his Department's regulations are under review; and if he will make a statement. [7142]

Jonathan Djanogly, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The Government are currently completing a review of regulatory measures planned for introduction by the previous Government over the coming year and listed in The Forward Regulatory Programme published March 2010

http://www.bis.gov.uk/bre

The purpose of the Forward Regulatory Programme is to improve the management and scrutiny of new regulations as they are developed to reduce burdens on businesses. The programme only includes those regulations that have an impact on the private and third sectors.

These regulations will not be implemented until they have been reviewed and re - agreed by the Reducing Regulation Cabinet Committee.

The MoJ will be considering suggestions made through the 'Your Freedom' exercise which is currently asking the public for their ideas to reduce pointless regulation and unnecessary bureaucracy.

http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/1atest - news/2010/07/your - freedom - 52709

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Commons Hansard
14 Jul 2010

Departmental Regulation (Communities)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which of his Department's regulations are under review; and if he will make a statement. [7145]

Grant Shapps, Minister of State (Housing and Local Government): The Department is reviewing all regulation in the pipeline for implementation inherited from the previous Administration. This is in line with the cross Government action plan for reducing regulation launched by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills on 3 June.

I am also reviewing the secondary legislation, statutory guidance and regulation sponsored by this Department already on the statute. The direction of travel on the first 11 pieces of secondary legislation was published on 7 July 2010 and is available on the Department's website at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/localgovernment/doc/1633576.doc

Copies have also been placed in the Library of the House.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jul 2010

Departmental Regulation (DEFRA)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which of her Department's regulations are under review; and if she will make a statement. [7154]

James Paice, Minister of State (Agriculture and Food): The Government are taking steps to reduce the burden of regulation, including a fundamental review of regulations in the pipeline. DEFRA is playing a full part in this process.

As part of this commitment, Richard Macdonald will head an industry - led Task Force on Farming Regulation to identify ways to reduce the regulatory burden and advise on how best to achieve a risk - based system of regulation.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jul 2010

Departmental Regulation (Work and Pensions)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which of his Department's regulations are under review; and if he will make a statement. [7148]

Chris Grayling, Minister of State (Employment): The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for a wide range of regulations; by necessity the Department is constantly reviewing regulations in relation to delivering its business. Details of those specific regulations currently under review could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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Commons Hansard
13 Jul 2010

Departmental Regulation (Health)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health which of his Department's regulations are under review; and if he will make a statement. [7151]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): The Department is currently in the process of identifying regulations for review. The current focus is on those regulations which impact on the private sector.

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Commons Hansard
13 Jul 2010

Departmental Regulation (Cabinet Office)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office which of his Department's regulations are under review; and if he will make a statement. [7146]

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office: The Cabinet Office currently has the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and its associated regulations under review. The Charities Act 2006 contains a requirement that it is reviewed in 2011.

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Commons Hansard
13 Jul 2010

Departmental Regulation (Treasury)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which of his Department's regulations are under review; and if he will make a statement. [7153]

Justine Greening, Economic Secretary: In the Budget the Government announced plans for reducing the regulatory burdens on business, including the introduction of a one - in, one - out system for new regulations and a fundamental review of all regulation inherited from the previous Government scheduled for introduction over the coming year. These regulations will not be implemented until they have been reviewed and re - agreed by the Reducing Regulation Cabinet Committee.

The Your Freedom website, launched by the Deputy Prime Minister on 1 July 2010, will also give members of the public the opportunity to suggest existing regulations for removal, in order to reduce the burden on business.

The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 are currently under review by HM Treasury following a "call for evidence" undertaken last year.

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Commons Hansard
13 Jul 2010

Law Officers' Departments

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Attorney-General which regulations of the Law Officers' Departments are under review; and if he will make a statement. [7137]

Dominic Grieve, The Attorney-General: None.

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Commons Hansard
13 Jul 2010

Departmental Regulation (Culture)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport which of his Department's regulations are under review; and if he will make a statement. [7144]

John Penrose, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: In the Budget the Government announced plans for reducing the regulatory burdens on business, including the introduction of a one - in - one out system for new regulations and a fundamental review of all regulation inherited from the previous Government scheduled for introduction over the coming year. These regulations will not be implemented until they have been reviewed and re - agreed by the Reducing Regulation Cabinet Committee.

As part of a wider review of employment law, the Department will also be reviewing laws within relevant policy areas to "ensure they maximise flexibility for both parties while protecting fairness and providing the competitive environment required for enterprise to thrive".

The Your Freedom website:

http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk

launched by the Deputy Prime Minister on 1 July 2010, will also give members of the public the opportunity to suggest existing regulations for removal, in order to reduce the burden on business.

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Commons Hansard
12 Jul 2010

Iraq: Education Projects

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the budget is of each current project in Iraq funded by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [4783]

Tim Loughton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The Department for Education funds no projects in Iraq.

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Commons Hansard
12 Jul 2010

Academies: Food

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will bring forward proposals to ensure that academy schools meet the same requirements as other schools in respect of the (a) provision of school meals and other food in schools and (b) teaching about food and nutrition. [4719]

Mr Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): The freedom and autonomy enjoyed by Academies is crucial to enabling them to drive up standards.

We believe that Academies should have the freedom to respond to parental demand and provide a high standard of food and an appropriate curriculum that best meets the needs of their pupils. We will require Academies to provide free school meals for pupils who are entitled to them in the same way as for maintained schools.

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Commons Hansard
12 Jul 2010

Departmental Regulation (Wales)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which of her Department's regulations are under review; and if she will make a statement. [7141]

Mr David Jones, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The following regulations will be reviewed and updated:

The National Assembly for Wales (Disqualification) Order 2006

The National Assembly for Wales (Representation of the People) Order 2007

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Commons Hansard
9 Jul 2010

Departmental Regulation (Northern Ireland)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which of his Department's regulations are under review; and if he will make a statement. [7143]

Mr Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: Following devolution, much of the regulatory framework in Northern Ireland is now the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive. The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) is not currently reviewing any regulations within its own area of responsibility.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jul 2010

Academies: Nutrition

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether proposed Academy Arrangements will require academies to comply with nutritional standards for school meals. [4074]

Mr Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): Some existing academies are required to comply with these standards through their funding agreements. However, new academies will not be required to comply with nutritional standards for school meals: they will be free to promote healthy eating and good nutrition as they see fit.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jul 2010

Standard Academy Arrangements

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether there will be a standard Academy Arrangement which will be used between new Academy Schools and his Department. [4075]

Mr Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): We intend to publish a model funding agreement shortly to be used between new Academy schools and the Department.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jul 2010

Funding local railway improvements

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on funding local railway improvements; and if he will make a statement. [4424]

Mrs Villiers, Minister of State (Rail and Aviation): Local authorities have the power to fund railway improvements and can use locally determined budgets for this purpose. Government funding for local transport will be considered as part of the Spending Review.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jul 2010

Miners: 1980s redundancies

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Further to the point made by the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr Jackson), a lot of people were made wealthy in the 1980s, and 200,000 coal miners got £20,000 to go on the dole queue - paid out of the public purse.

Nadhim Zahawi: And your point is? At the end of the day, you only have to look at the facts. The facts are that you have left us with a legacy of £500 million a day-

Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Nigel Evans): Order. I did not leave anybody with a legacy of anything.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jul 2010

Clean Coal: Grimethorpe colliery

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Does the hon. Gentleman recollect the closure in 1986 of this country's coal mining industry by the Conservative Government? That included closing the most advance clean-coal technology site in the world-at Grimethorpe colliery in Barnsley.

Zac Goldsmith: I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention. Times change: the case now for clean coal has been renewed on the back of emerging evidence for climate change. If he does not mind, I will not go back 25 years, but I shall continue with a very brief description of what I regard as a huge failure over the past 10 years.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jul 2010

Raoul Moat

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The whole House will be aware of and concerned by the ongoing incident in the north-east. The killing of Chris Brown and the wounding of Samantha Stobbart took place in my town of Birtley, and our thoughts and prayers should go out to their families and friends, and to PC David Rathband and his folk. Can the Prime Minister update the House on this issue, and can he assure us that all lessons will be learned from this incident? Can we especially look again at getting guns off our streets?

The Prime Minister: The hon. Gentleman is right to raise this case, and the whole country is thinking of those who have lost their lives and those who have been injured. It is a horrific case. I do not think that it is right now to start to talk about learning lessons: this is an ongoing case. The Home Secretary has been briefed by the chief constable and I know that the House and the country will wish the police well in their search for this individual, so that we can put a stop to the horrendous spree that is taking place.

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Commons Hansard
6 Jul 2010

Departmental Manpower (Home Office)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) front line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) her Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what her most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type at each of those bodies. [539]

Nick Herbert, Minister of State (Police): There is no standard, commonly agreed definition of front line staff. For the purposes of this question we have taken it to mean staff working in operational business areas including ports, airports and passport offices. This is consistent with the definition applying in the context of the current recruitment freeze. This definition of front line excludes staff carrying out other vital public services, for example, supporting national security. The Home Office front line and non front line employee full-time equivalent for 2008/09 in table one is calculated on that basis.

The average staff pay cost per full-time equivalent in 2009/10 was £33,130 covering national pay, earnings related national insurance contribution, superannuation and London weighting (excluding specific grade allowances and overtime). It is not possible to provide separate costs for front line and other staff without incurring disproportionate cost.

Table 1: Home Office employee FTE, by front line and non front line categorisation, 2009/10
  Front line( 3) Other( 4)
IPS3,106892
CRB(1)308328
UKBA19,1752,922
HQ(2)3902,660
(1) CRB excludes temporary staff. (2 )Excludes Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary. (3 )Front line equals those based in cost centres identified as activity public facing/effecting decisions directly supporting such actions, or serving a mixed function where roles cannot be separated. (4) Other refers to central or local corporate support. Notes: 1. Figures rounded to nearest whole number. 2. Includes permanent and temporary staff unless stated. 3. Agency workers, consultants and contingent labour are excluded unless stated. Source: Local Home Office HR data: there are discrepancies with other published statistics where definitions differ.

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Commons Hansard
6 Jul 2010

Teachers: Training

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will bring forward proposals for a minimum-funded annual entitlement for teachers' professional development before assessing the merits of a teachers' licensing scheme. [1956]

Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): There are provisions within the existing School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document which provide for teachers to be able to access professional development.

We are currently undertaking a review of all our policies and as soon as we are able to provide more information, we will, of course, make a formal announcement. However, we have no plans to introduce licensing for teachers.

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Commons Hansard
5 Jul 2010

Iraq: Business Projects

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what projects in Iraq are being funded by his Department; what the budget of each such project is; and if he will make a statement. [4014]

Mr David Willetts, Minister of State (Universities and Science) - Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: This Department currently supports two education programmes with Iraq:

(i) A programme of capacity building and support for the rebuilding of a modernised and robust technical and vocational education system responsive to the economic and social needs currently facing Iraq-the Rawabit Programme. This programme has been running since 2004. BIS has contributed funding of £950,000 towards the programme since 2006. A further £300,000 will be provided this financial year bringing the total to £1.2 million.

(ii) The Higher Education Leadership and Management for Iraq programme (HELMI). Two year programme started in 2009/2010 to strengthen academic and leadership management in Iraqi HE. The budget for this programme over the two years is £237,144. The programme will finish in March 2011.

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Commons Hansard
5 Jul 2010

Iraq: Justice Projects

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the budget is of each current project in Iraq funded by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [4782]

Mr Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation): There are no current projects in Iraq which are directly funded by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

One member of staff from HM Prison Service (HMPS) is currently on secondment to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office supporting the European Community's Rule of Law Programme in Iraq. MoJ's contribution towards this secondment is £25,000 pa.

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Commons Hansard
5 Jul 2010

Bees: Mobile Phone Masts

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will undertake an investigation to establish whether mobile telecommunications masts have any effects on populations of honey bees. [4819]

Mr James Paice, Minister of State (Agriculture and Food): The Food and Environment Research Agency's National Bee Unit (NBU) has recently been investigating the causes of colony losses in England and Wales and the key results have been published on its website:

www.nationalbeeunit.com

The results have shown that the most important risk factor in the mortality or weakening of colonies is deformed wing virus, a virus transmitted by the parasitic varroa mite, clearly indicating failed or unsuccessful treatments of mite infestations.

There is currently no evidence to suggest that mobile telecommunications masts are having an effect on bee populations and this is not an avenue of research that is being considered in the USA, where Colony Collapse Disorder has been confirmed.

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Commons Hansard
5 Jul 2010

Iraq: Health Projects

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the budget is of each current project in Iraq funded by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [4784]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): The Department is currently funding no projects in Iraq.

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Commons Hansard
5 Jul 2010

Departmental Manpower (Transport)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-front line staff in his Department and its agencies. [497]

Mr Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Transport: Possible reductions in numbers of non-frontline staff in this Department and the potential resulting costs will be considered, alongside all other departmental functions, in the context of the review of all Government spending now under way.

Like any good employer, the Department seek to manage downsizing through natural wastage, redeployment and voluntary departures.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) front line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type at each of those bodies. [542]

Mr Philip Hammond: Typically, front line services in the Department for Transport are provided by the Department's Executive agencies. The 2008-09 Annual Report and Resource Accounts (tables A5 and A6 in Appendix A, pages 227-28 copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House) identify 16,613 full-time equivalent's (FTE's) working in the Department's Executive agencies and 1,932 FTE's working within the central Department.

As stipulated in the 2010 Spending Review Departmental Guidance, costings will come with greater clarity where our Executive agencies are concerned:

"In order to control the administration costs of ALB's (Arm's Length Bodies) the Treasury is proposing to bring the administration costs of ALB's within the overall administration budget regime. To do this, departments will need to determine 10/11 administration spending within each of their ALBs."

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Commons Hansard
5 Jul 2010

Access

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, answering for the House of Commons Commission when the security entrance between the Victoria Embankment and Norman Shaw Buildings will be reopened. [6472]

Sir Stuart Bell: Security audits in 2004 and 2009 both recommended that the Embankment entrance by the Norman Shaw South building should be closed. This recommendation was endorsed by Members of both Houses on the Joint Committee on Security (JCOS). A significant amount of upgrade work would be needed to make the entrance safe-both for the occupants of the adjacent Norman Shaw Buildings and for the security staff on duty at the post. The entrance was therefore closed in May 2010.

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Commons Hansard
5 Jul 2010

Building Schools for the Future: Blaydon

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead (Ian Mearns) for doing the job of the Secretary of State and bringing us the documents from the Library. As a result, I now know that four schools in Blaydon will not get support. Are we not seeing the real cost of the Tory Budget? Is it not the truth that the Government are giving corporation tax cuts, introducing a very timid bank levy and doing nothing about tax evasion and avoidance, but the people paying for it are the schoolchildren of Blaydon?

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point. I am afraid that Blaydon will not benefit because it falls within one of the local authorities that has not reached financial close. However, two schools in his constituency have already opened under Building Schools for the Future - [Interruption.] In Blaydon. I hope the pupils in those schools are benefiting. They will certainly benefit in future from the expansion into the north-east of Teach First, which will result in supremely talented teachers in secondary and primary schools who can help to raise attainment in his constituency.

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Commons Hansard
Date

Lung Cancer: Screening

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to publish the results of the Health Technology Assessment's pilot study undertaken as part of the UK Lung Cancer Screening Trial; and if he will make a statement. [4688]

Mr Burstow, Minister of State (Care Services): The Department's current expectation is that the United Kingdom lung cancer screening trial pilot study will start in early 2011. The result of the study is likely in these circumstances to be published in the second half of 2013.

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Commons Hansard
30 Jun 2010

Iraq: FCO Projects

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what projects in Iraq are being funded by his Department; what the budget is of each; and if he will make a statement. [4016]

Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Afghanistan/South Asia, counter terrorism/proliferation, North America, Middle East and North Africa): The tri-departmental conflict pool's middle east programme, which is jointly managed by the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for International Development, has an allocation of £6.8 million to support projects in Iraq in the current financial year. The objective of the middle east conflict pool is to support the development of effective and accountable public institutions to protect citizens and deliver services in Iraq. All three Departments deliver projects funded by the conflict pool. Projects to be delivered by the FCO in 2010-11 are:

Name Allocation (£)
Provision of justice and forensic advisers to support the Iraqi criminal justice system in its efforts to increase the use of forensic evidence and reduce reliance on confessions. (April 2010-March 2011)1,639,489
Provision of secondees to the EU Integrated Rule of Law mission to Iraq (EUJUST LEX), which trains police, judiciary and penitentiary officers through workshops and secondments, with an emphasis on human rights. (April 2010-March 2011)365,000
Supporting the Iraqi Parliament in the creation of scrutiny committees, which will lead to more thorough and rigorous scrutiny of the executive. (April 2010-March 2011)356,000
Total2,360,489

In addition to conflict pool funded projects, the FCO also has an allocation of £147,555 for 2010-11 to deliver targeted projects aimed at enhancing bilateral relations with Iraq. Previous projects include training for journalists, a human rights public awareness campaign and an electoral awareness project.

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Commons Hansard
30 Jun 2010

Iraq: Defence Department Projects

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what projects in Iraq are being funded by his Department; what the budget of each such project is; and if he will make a statement. [4015]

Nick Harvey, Minister of State (Armed Forces): The tri-departmental conflict pool's middle east programme is jointly managed by Ministry of Defence (MOD), Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Department for International Development, and has an allocation of £6.8 million to support projects in Iraq in the current financial year. The objective of the middle east north Africa conflict pool is to support the development of the effective and accountable public institutions to protect citizens and deliver services in Iraq. The solely MOD element of these projects amounts to £342,000 and has been allocated in support of the MOD-sponsored Iraqi officer training programme, which is developing the capability and capacity of the Iraqi security forces.

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Commons Hansard
30 Jun 2010

Public Expenditure: Iraq

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what the budget is of each current project in Iraq funded by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [4781]

Mr Ed Vaizey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: This Department does not directly fund any project in Iraq. However, the British Library and the British Museum are providing valuable support for the preservation of the Iraqi cultural heritage through their work in Baghdad and Basra.

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Commons Hansard
29 Jun 2010

Iraq: Overseas Aid

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what projects in Iraq are being funded by his Department; what the budget of each such project is; and if he will make a statement. [4013]

Mr Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development: Details of projects funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) in Iraq are provided in the following table.

Name Duration of Project Budget (£)
Iraq Infrastructure Services Programme (MSP)-repairing power and water infrastructure in southern Iraq.June 2005 to July 201034,664,000
Development Partnerships in Higher Education (DelPHE) IraqSeptember 2009 to March 20123,000,000
Technical Support for Iraq (TSI)-building effective government structures.July 2008 to March 201117,400,000
World Bank Private Sector Development (PSD) Trust Fund-improving conditions for private sector development.September 2009 to September 20114,000,000
Small Business Finance-loans programme in Basra.June 2009 to March 20111,380,000
Youth Employment Pilot Programme (YEPP) in BasraJuly 2009 to March 2011985,647
Az Zubayr Water Treatment Plant (Phase One) in Basra.July to December 2010610,000
Contribution to 2010 UNICEF Annual Humanitarian AppealJanuary to December 20102,500,000
Contribution to 2010 UNHCR Annual Humanitarian AppealJanuary to December 20101,500,000
Contribution to 2010 International Red Cross Humanitarian AppealJanuary to December 20101,000,000

The tri-departmental Conflict Pool's Middle East programme is jointly managed by MOD, FCO and DFID. DFID is managing the following Conflict Pool project:

Name Duration of Project Budget (£)
Basra Governance Support Programme-strengthening Basra provincial functions and structures.October 2009 to September 2010900,000

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Commons Hansard
29 Jun 2010

Trade Unions (Government Equalities Office)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what plans the Government Equalities Office has to consult trade unions concerning deficit reduction plans. [616]

Lynne Featherstone, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Equalities): The Government Equalities Office (GEO) has already informed, in writing, the trade union representatives within the GEO about possible deficit reductions.

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Commons Hansard
29 Jun 2010

Departmental Redundancy Pay (Cabinet Office)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed by (i) his Department and (ii) its agency. [629]

Mr Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office: No front line or other staff have been made redundant and consequently there are no redundancy costs at this time.

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Commons Hansard
28 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Cabinet Office)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-frontline staff in his Department and its agencies. [483]

Mr Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office: No cost estimate has been produced at this stage. The detailed allocation of the Cabinet Office's share of the £6 billion savings is still being finalised.

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Commons Hansard
28 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (DEFRA)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) front-line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) her Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what her most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type at each of those bodies. [535]

Richard Benyon, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Natural Environment and Fisheries): The Department and its Executive Agencies contain a mix of staff working in a wide range of areas, including policy development, analysis and research, operational services to the public, and support functions. We have not at this stage carried out a detailed analysis of how many posts fall into which category and so information on the breakdown between front-line and other staff is not held by the Department.

The following table shows the total number and cost of staff employed by the Department.

Department/Agency Number of staff Cost of staff (£ million)
DEFRA (core department)2,516121.7
Animal Health1,59056.2
CEFAS56120.2
FERA85230.4
MFA2689.7
RPA3,528123.1
VLA1,20341.2
VMD1556.8

The numbers of staff shown are full-time equivalents as at 31 March 2010.

The cost of staff includes salaries plus employers' National Insurance and Superannuation contributions, and covers the 2009-10 Financial Year.

The Marine and Fisheries Agency is included in the table as it was not subsumed into the Marine Management Organisation NDPB until 1 April 2010.

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Commons Hansard
28 Jun 2010

VAT rise

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Does the right hon. Gentleman agree with his colleague, the hon. Member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark (Simon Hughes), who said, only on 15 June:

"I hope we don't get a VAT rise because it is the most regressive form of tax"?

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Danny Alexander): No party went into the election promising to increase VAT, but the hon. Gentleman should make no mistake: the rise in VAT is a result of the public finances that we inherited from his Front-Bench colleagues. One could say that it is a Labour inheritance tax.

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Commons Hansard
28 Jun 2010

Lib Dem 'dupes'

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I remember a similar situation. Does my hon. Friend remember also that in the 1980s people continually said, "There is no alternative"? Now, the code for that is, "This is unavoidable", and it is sad that the Liberal Democrats have been taken in by the Conservative party. The Lib Dems are the real dupes in this House.

Katy Clark: I agree. I listened with care to the hon. Member for Solihull (Lorely Burt), who basically said that we could not afford the benefit system and, therefore, it was necessary to take these steps, but the House must remind itself again and again that we are a hugely wealthy country. We have the fifth wealthiest economy in the world, but the wealth and power in society are unevenly distributed, and that has to be the backdrop whenever we have these discussions.

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Commons Hansard
28 Jun 2010

OECD report

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Does the hon. Lady disagree with the OECD, which said that the previous Government's actions prevented this country from going from a recession into a depression? If those actions had not been taken, we really would have been in a mess.

Lorely Burt: The hon. Gentleman makes a fair point. Indeed, the Liberal Democrats supported some of the steps that the Labour Government took, but that does not allow Labour Members to wash their hands completely of this country's financial state.

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Commons Hansard
28 Jun 2010

Back to the 80s

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I understand the long and proud record that the Secretary of State has in this House. Does the hon. Gentleman understand, however, that some Labour Members have not just been there for 10 years, but have lived this? We lived this same experiment in the 1980s and we saw the devastating impact on the people we represent-the people who had to pay for the failure of the Government at that time, when unemployment was not a price worth paying in the areas where I and many other Labour Members come from.

Mr Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con): Nobody doubts the hon. Gentleman's commitment to relieving poverty, but does he think that the system that we have at the moment is perfect? Of course it is not. We are trying to create a fairer system in which there are real opportunities to create a society where people are given incentives to climb out of unemployment, despair and poverty. That is what this Budget is trying to do.

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Commons Hansard
28 Jun 2010

Many nurses' jobs to go

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Does my right hon. Friend share the concerns of the Royal College of Nursing, which, in relation to a Department that allegedly is protected, suggests that at least 5,500 and, possibly, as many as 30,000 front-line nurses' jobs will go?

Yvette Cooper: My hon. Friend is right that the Government's proposals do not even include the consequences of the spending review and the proposed additional £17 billion of cuts in public services.

We think that it is better for people to be in work than on the dole, and that is why we funded the future jobs fund and additional support and jobs. They were often in the community and run by the voluntary sector, and they helped young people to obtain the skills that they needed and to stay off the dole. Yet, shockingly, the Government have cut 90,000 jobs through the future jobs fund, putting all those people-additionally-back on to the dole and pushing up unemployment bills. As a result, even on the OBR's calculations, those measures will cost the Government £2 billion more over the next four years. They will have to pay additional benefits for the unemployed, and the financial, economic and social price of higher long-term unemployment will cost us more for years.

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Commons Hansard
24 Jun 2010

Free School Meals

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education when he expects to announce the results of the universal free school meals pilot schemes; and if he will make a statement. [1531]

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): The pilots in Newham, Durham and Wolverhampton, started in the autumn term 2009 and will run until July 2011. We have commissioned NatCen (National Centre for Social Research) to undertake the evaluation of the pilots. We will closely evaluate them for evidence on how each option affects take up of school lunches; impacts on children's outcomes including diet at school and at home, health, behaviour and attainment; and value for money. We expect the full evaluation results to be available early in 2012. Some results, such as the effect on school lunch take-up, will be available earlier.

As the Secretary of State made clear in his letter of 7 June to the right hon. Member for Morley and Outwood (Ed Balls) which has been placed in the Library, the Government will not be funding the additional free school meals pilots in Islington, Bradford, Nottingham, Cumbria and Medway that were due to start in September 2010.

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Commons Hansard
24 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Work and Pensions)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) front line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type at each of those bodies. [544]

Chris Grayling, Minister of State (Employment): The number of staff employed by the Department and each of its agencies as at 31 March 2010 is set out as follows:

  Jobcentre Plus Pension, Disability and Carers Service Departmental staff (shared services)
Front-line staff80,74212,7371,392
Other staff1,9051,23210,847
Total82,64713,96912,239
Note:
Staff figures are shown as full-time equivalents.

The Department categorises 'front-line' staff as operational staff serving external customers and other staff directly supporting these functions.

The costs associated with the figures cannot be supplied without disproportionate cost.

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Commons Hansard
23 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Education)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-front-line staff in his Department and its agencies. [487]

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education: The Department for Education is subject to the same recruitment restrictions as all other Government Departments. It has not yet identified any necessary additional reductions to its non-front-line staff and therefore cannot provide any estimate in relation to cost.

The cost to the Department of any release payments this year will be disclosed in the Department's resource accounts for 2010/11.

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Commons Hansard
23 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Defence)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) front-line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type at each of those bodies. [532]

Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for Defence: We do not distinguish between front-line and non-front-line staff. Information in this format could therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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Commons Hansard
23 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Home Office)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-front line staff in her Department and its agencies. [493]

Nick Herbert, Minister of State: We do not yet have a precise estimate of the reductions in non-front-line staff which will be needed this year. But we will be seeking to minimise the costs of those reductions, by using, in the first instance, recruitment freezes and normal turnover.

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Commons Hansard
22 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Business, Innovation and Skills)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) front-line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type at each of those bodies. [529]

Mr Edward Davey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs): The latest figures published by the Office of National Statistics for Q4 2009 show total BIS staff numbers at 4,100 which includes 353 BIS staff in regional offices that are not paid by BIS. These figures are not yet broken down by frontline and other staff. The pay costs of employing BIS staff for 2009-10 was £186 million.

I have approached the chief executives of the Insolvency Service, Companies House, the National Measurement Office, the Intellectual Property Office and the Skills Funding Agency and they will respond to the hon. Member directly.

Letter from Peter Mason, dated 22 June 2010:

I am responding in respect of the National Measurement Office (NMO) (formerly National Weights and Measures Laboratory) to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 26 May 2010 2010/39 to the Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, asking how many a) front line and b) other staff were employed by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type at each of those bodies.

NMO employed 21 FTE front line staff at a cost of £933.222, and 43 other FTE staff at a cost of £2,361,778 in 2009/10.

Letter from Geoff Russell, dated 21 June 2010:

I am replying on behalf of the Skills Funding Agency to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 26 May (UIN 529), to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, concerning numbers and costs of employing frontline and other staff in the Department and its agencies.

The Skills Funding Agency was set up as an agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on 1 April 2010. Staff numbers and estimated costs for Skills Funding Agency 2010-2011 are as follows:

  FTE Payroll costs (£ million)
Staff employed and charged to the programme budget (includes ESF funding)(1)83442.0
Other staff employed by the Skills Funding Agency and charged to the Skills Funding Agency's budget94450.2
Staff employed by Skills Funding Agency and seconded to RDAs321.8
Staff employed by Skills Funding Agency within the shared service whose costs are funded by the YPLA (Department for Education)462.2
Total1,85696.2
(1) Staff employed and charged to the programme budget are those we classify as front line staff.

Letter from Stephen Speed, dated 3 June 2010:

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has asked me to reply to your question how many (a) front-line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type at each of those bodies.

The total number of staff employed by The Insolvency Service as at March 2010 numbered 3,125 split between front-line services at 2,817 and other 308.

In 2009-10, some 27% of The Insolvency Service's costs were met by the public purse, with the remainder being met from fee income. The front-line staff working in those activities funded from the public purse totalled 517, at a total cost of £15.5m. It is only possible to estimate the other staff numbers and costs as they are not allocated directly to public purse and non-public purse funded activities. We estimate that out of "other", some 61 staff at £3.3m cost would have been funded from the public purse.

Letter from John Alty, dated 2 June 2010:

I am responding in respect of the Intellectual Property Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled 26 May 2010, to the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) was established as a Trading Fund to provide services to rights holders. There were an average of 913 full time equivalents (FTEs) working for the Office in 2009/10. All of these costs were met by fees from users at no cost to the public purse.

In line with its Executive Agency and Trading Fund status, the IPO is required to produce a set of Annual Report & Accounts, included in which, are its people costs. The latest set of accounts can be found at:

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ourpublications-review.htm

Letter from Gareth Jones:

I am replying on behalf of Companies House to your Parliamentary Question tabled 26 May 2010, UIN 529, to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Companies House was established as a Trading Fund to provide services to the general public. There was an average of 1063 full time equivalents (FTEs) working for the Agency in 2009/10. All of these costs were met by fees from users at no cost to the public purse.

In line with its Executive Agency and Trading Fund status, Companies House is required to produce a set of Annual Report and Accounts, which includes its people costs. The Annual Report and Accounts for 2009/10 will be laid before Parliament prior to the summer recess.

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Commons Hansard
22 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Energy and Climate Change)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many (a) front-line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type in his Department. [534]

Gregory Barker, Minister of State (Climate Change): The numbers of staff employed by the Department in 2009-10 (subject to audit) are:

The Department has no agencies.

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Commons Hansard
22 Jun 2010

Trade Unions (Treasury)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to consult trade unions in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies on cost reduction plans. [606]

Justine Greening, Economic Secretary: The Government published its proposals for the spending review on 9 June: 'The Spending Review Framework' (Cm 7872). As part of this, the Government will consult at the sectoral level, to ensure that all issues are properly considered and priorities balanced against each other. Departments, including HM Treasury, will be asked to do this over the summer to inform the spending review.

Officials from HM Treasury hold regular meetings with their recognised trade unions, and would consult them on any changes to terms and conditions of service.

As neither the Asset Protection Agency nor the UK Debt Management Office currently recognises a trade union, those bodies intend to consult staff directly on any changes to terms and conditions of service arising from pay or pension reductions as a contribution to the Government's deficit reduction plans.

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Commons Hansard
22 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Defence)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-front-line staff in his Department and its agencies. [486]

Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for Defence: We do not distinguish between front-line and non-front-line staff. Information in this format could therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Decisions on how many military and civilian personnel we need for the future will be made in the context of the Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review. The defence section of this review will conclude by the autumn, alongside the Government's Spending Review. Should it be necessary for any staff to be made redundant, the Department will pay compensation in accordance with its legal obligations.

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Commons Hansard
21 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Business, Innovation and Skills)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-frontline staff in his Department and its agencies. [482]

Edward Davey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs): Plans for reductions in numbers of non-frontline staff at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills are not sufficiently developed at this stage to enable us to estimate the cost.

I have approached the Chief Executives of the Insolvency Service, Companies House, the National Measurement Office, the Intellectual Property Office and the Skills Funding Agency and they will respond to the hon. Member directly.

Letter from Gareth Jones, dated 3 June 2010:

I am replying on behalf of Companies House to your Parliamentary Question tabled 26 May 2010, UIN 482 to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Companies House is a Trading Fund and Executive Agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Companies House has not budgeted for any redundancy/severance costs, however, as a Trading Fund any costs would be met by fees from our customers and would represent no cost to the public purse.

Letter from Peter Mason, dated 1 June 2010:

I am responding in respect of the National Measurement Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 26 May to the Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, asking about estimates of the annual cost of redundancy payments for staff employed by the Department and its Agencies.

The cost to the Agency of any redundancy or other exit payments this year will be disclosed in its Annual Report and Accounts of 2010/11. As matters stand, however, we do not envisage having to make such payments during the current year.

Letter from John Alty, dated 2 June 2010:

I am responding in respect of the Intellectual Property Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled 26 May 2010, to the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is a Trading Fund and Executive Agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The IPO has not budgeted for any redundancy/severance costs however as a Trading Fund any costs would be met by fees from users and would represent no cost to the public purse.

Letter from Stephen Speed, dated 3 June 2010:

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has asked me to reply to your question what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-frontline staff in his Department and its agencies.

The Insolvency Service Executive Agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills set out its plan for 2010/11 in its Corporate Plan. This included a planned reduction in non-frontline staff working in corporate services functions during 2010-11 of 12.6 (FTE). With the recent announcements of plans to cut £61/4 billion of wasteful spending across the public sector The Insolvency Service is reviewing its Corporate plan for 2010-11 which may lead to further changes in planned numbers of non-frontline staff.

A large proportion (73%) of the Insolvency Service's functions are funded by fee income and the impact of any reductions will therefore only apply to the 27% funded from the public purse.

Letter from Geoff Russell, dated 21 June 2010:

I am replying on behalf of the Skills Funding Agency to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 26 May (UIN 482), to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, concerning the cost of proposed reductions in non-frontline staff in the Department and its agencies.

The Skills Funding Agency was set up as an agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on 1 April 2010. As a new agency, we are currently looking at the implications of the recent announcements and the impact on the future shape of the organisation.

The cost to the agency of any reduction in numbers of non-frontline staff this financial year will be disclosed in the accounts for 2010/11.

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Commons Hansard
21 Jun 2010

Business: Government Assistance

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which of his Department's programmes to assist industry are under review. [2354]

Mark Prisk, Minister of State (Business and Enterprise): In common with other Government Departments, this Department, in conjunction with the Treasury, has undertaken a review of all significant expenditure approvals since 1 January 2010, which included several Industry Support projects. The full list of these projects is as follows:

The results of these reviews and those of non-Business Support projects were announced to the House by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 17 June.

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Commons Hansard
17 Jun 2010

Trade Unions (Energy and Climate Change)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what plans he has to consult trade unions in his Department on cost reduction plans. [604]

Gregory Barker, Minister of State (Climate Change): The Recognition Agreement (September 2009) between the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the recognised trade unions, the Public and Commercial Services Union, Prospect, and the First Division Association, clearly sets out the agreed processes for consultation.

The formal DECC Consultative Council meetings are held twice annually, normally in September and February. DECC Consultative Council has also appointed sub-committees to discuss particular issues which may not be appropriate to the main HQ Consultative Council.

Additionally, the DECC senior management team meets frequently and less formally with the trades unions through the year to address any emerging issues as they arise.

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Commons Hansard
15 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-frontline staff in his Department and its agencies; [485]

(2) what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed by (i) his Department and (ii) its agency. [631]

John Penrose, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: To deliver savings in 2010-11, the Department is making savings on its non-pay budgets, and through reducing spend on non-permanent staff. The Department and its agency will take all possible steps to avoid compulsory redundancies. We are working closely with staff and unions to ensure this outcome. We will not be making final decision on these items until overall spending figures have been confirmed through the usual Budget and public spending review processes later this year.

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Commons Hansard
15 Jjun 2010

Cancer: Screening

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he plans to introduce a cancer screening programme using the oncimmune blood test; and if he will make a statement. [1655]

Mr Paul Burstow, Minister of State (Care Services): The oncimmune blood test is an assay for the measurement of autoantibodies against a panel of antigens known to be expressed in lung cancer. Research continues into its potential role as part of a strategy including imaging for early detection of lung cancer in individuals at increased risk.

The United Kingdom National Screening Committee (UK NSC) advises Ministers and the national health service in all four UK countries about all aspects of screening policy and supports implementation. The UK NSC draws on latest research evidence and assesses new programmes against a set of internationally recognised criteria, covering the condition, the test, the treatment options, the effectiveness and acceptability of the screening programme.

The UK NSC last reviewed screening for lung cancer in July 2006 and is due to review its position on screening again following the publication of the Health Technology Assessment's (HTA) pilot study results which are part of the HTA's UK Lung Cancer Screening Trial (UKLS). The UK NSC will also consider any additional new evidence available at that time.

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Commons Hansard
Date

Departmental Redundancy Pay (Education)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff. [633]

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education: The Department for Education and its predecessor, the Department for Children Schools and Families, has made no employees redundant.

The Department is subject to the same recruitment restrictions as all other Government Departments. It has not yet identified any necessary additional reductions to its non-frontline staff and therefore cannot provide any estimate in relation to cost.

The cost to the Department of any release payments this year will be disclosed in the Department's Resource Accounts for 2010/11.

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Commons Hansard
15 Jun 2010

Academies: Public Consultation

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps he plans to take to ensure that the views of staff and their trade unions are taken into account in the establishment of academy schools. [1764]

Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): The governing body, which includes staff representation, must agree that the school can become an academy before an application is made. Guidance issued for schools wishing to convert to an academy provides further detailed information and is available at:

www.education.gov.uk/academies

In addition, during the conversion process, the current employer of school staff (either the local authority or governing body) will be required to conduct a TUPE consultation with all staff and the unions as part of the staff transfer process.

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Commons Hansard
15 Jun 2010

Departmental Redundancy Pay (Communities and Local Government)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies. [630]

Robert Neill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The cost for redundancies in Communities and Local Government for the financial year 2009-10 was circa £69,000.

The Department's agencies are the Fire Service College, QE11 Conference Centre and Planning Inspectorate.

The estimated cost of redundancies in the Fire Service College for the financial year 2009-10 was circa £480,000. The Planning Inspectorate and QE11 Conference Centre have not had any redundancies.

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Commons Hansard
15 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Women and Equality)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what her estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-front line staff in the Government Equalities Office and its agencies. [500]

Lynne Featherstone, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Home Office: The Government Equalities Office is not proposing to cut any staff numbers in 2010-11.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many (a) front-line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) the Government Equalities Office and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what her most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type in that office. [543]

Lynne Featherstone: The Government Equalities Office is a small policy department and our main function is supporting Ministers, for example in developing legislation, rather than delivering front-line services. GEO employed on average130 staff in 2009-10 in this role, at a cost of £7.4 million. The Government Equalities Office does not have any agencies.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Justice)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) front line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type at each of those bodies. [541]

Mr Kenneth Clarke, Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice: In 2009, it is recorded that 27,500 employees were employed in the Ministry of Justice and its agencies, Her Majesty's Court Service and the Tribunals Service and The Office of the Public Guardian (but excluding NOMS).

It is not possible to clearly distinguish front line staff from other staff as many staff in local offices, courts and tribunals across England and Wales work in both public facing and back office roles. However, we can confirm that of the above 27,500 staff, 21,130 worked in Her Majesty's Court Service, 2,990 worked in the Tribunals Service and 370 were employed in the Office of the Public Guardian all of which have primarily a public service delivery or "front line" functions. The annual cost to the public purse of employing staff in the Ministry of Justice and its agencies (excluding NOMS) from August 2008-09 is £736,269,325.

The remaining 3,010 staff are employed in the Ministry of Justice corporate functions, including Ministerial Offices, Finance, HR, Legal, Criminal Justice Policy and Communications.

The National Offender Management Service is an Agency of the Ministry of Justice. Information on the number and cost of directly employed NOMS civil service staff (i.e. not including Probation Trust employees) at 31 December 2009 shows that 45,538 staff were employed in Public Sector Prisons and therefore in "front line" roles. The employment cost of these staff was £1,405,000,000. Non front line staff (including those working in shared operational support, area support and central headquarters) totalled 4,198 and the employment costs were £181 million.

All the salary details above are calculated from average salaries, including Earnings Related National Insurance Contributions and Accruing Superannuation Liability Contributions.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Wales)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many staff her Department employed on the most recent date for which figures are available; and what the annual staff cost was. [1572]

Mrs Gillan, Secretary of State for Wales: As at 31 March 2010, 58 staff (of a total staff complement of 65) were employed in the Wales Office; and the annual staff cost was £3,641,984.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Scotland)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many staff his Department employed on the most recent date for which figures are available; and what the annual staff cost was. [1571]

Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland: Information on Scotland Office staff numbers and costs are published routinely in the Office's annual report, copies of which are in the House Library.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jun 2010

North East (Prime Minister to visit)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Prime Minister when he next plans to visit the North East; and if he will make a statement. [2355]

The Prime Minister: I hope to make visits across the United Kingdom over the coming months.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Health)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) front line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type at each of those bodies. [538]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): The Department does not employ front-line staff. Its Executive Agency, the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has defined some front-line staff in its core public health operating functions of medicines licensing, pharmacovigilance, inspections, enforcement and its various devices functions as frontline.

As at 31 March 2009, the core Department employed 2,630 whole time equivalent civil servants. As at 31 March 2009, the MHRA employed 901 whole time equivalent civil servants. According to its definitions, the MHRA employs 366 front-line whole time equivalent civil servants and 535 'other', whole time equivalent civil servants.

The cost of the core Department's paybill during the 2009-10 financial year was £151.9 million. The MHRA has estimated the annual cost to the public purse of the MHRA employing staff of each type during the 2009-10 financial year was £19.3 million for front-line staff and £33.2 million for 'other' staff.

Since 31 March 2010 there has been only one Executive Agency of the Department: the MHRA.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jun 2010

Mining: Languages

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what information his Department holds on the number of miners who do not speak English who are employed in coal mines in the UK. [1762]

Charles Hendry, Minister of State (Renewable Energy): No such information is held.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jun 2010

Trade Unions (Defence)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to consult trade unions in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies on lost reduction plans. [602]

Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for Defence: We are working with the trade unions in accordance with agreed arrangements. We will consult them regarding the implementation of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, and the implications for staff of the associated settlement for Defence in the wider Government Spending Review.

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Commons Hansard
14 Jun 2010

Departmental Redundancy Pay (Defence)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies. [632]

Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for Defence: We hold information centrally only on the Department-wide Voluntary Early Release schemes instigated to deliver the Spending Review 2004 and 2007 reductions in the Ministry of Defence's (MOD) civilian staff. The total liability cost averaged some £44 million a year over the period 2005-06 to 2009-10.

Beyond this, a number of smaller-scale voluntary release schemes have been run across the wider MOD to achieve specific business needs. The cost of these is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

As part of the Government's commitment to greater transparency, we plan to publish information on the cost and numbers of exit packages, including redundancy and early retirement, in our Annual Report and Accounts from 2010-11.

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Commons Hansard
10 Jun 2010

Departmental Redundancy Pay (Scottish Office)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff. [643]

David Mundell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: All the staff in the Scotland Office are on secondment, mainly from the Ministry of Justice or the Scottish Government and redundancy issues are a matter for these parent bodies.

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Commons Hansard
10 Jun 2010

Prison Service: Manpower

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prison service staff of each Civil Service grade were employed at each prison in each of the last three financial years. [1227]

Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation): Information on the number of staff employed in each Prison Service establishment in the last three years has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

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Commons Hansard
10 Jun 2010

Departmental Redundancy Pay (DEFRA)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her most recent estimate is of the annual cost to her Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed by (i) her Department and (ii) its agencies. [635]

Richard Benyon, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Natural Environment and Fisheries): The Department has not made any estimate of redundancy costs.

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Commons Hansard
10 Jun 2010

Departmental Public Expenditure (Transport)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to consult trade unions in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies concerning deficit reduction plans. [614]

Mr Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Transport: The Department for Transport and its agencies have met with the recognised trade unions informally to agree a regular forum to discuss potential impact on departmental activity of the deficit reduction plans.

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Commons Hansard
Date

Trade Unions (Business, Innovation and Skills)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans he has to consult trade unions in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies on cost reduction plans. [598]

Edward Davey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs): On 26 May 2010 the HR Director for BIS and his team met with the departmental trade unions (PCS, prospect and FDA) regarding the implications of the Chancellor's announcement on 24 May. A programme of weekly meetings is being set up to maintain the dialogue and consultation on this.

The agencies of BIS have their own trade union representatives and consultative arrangements. Meetings between management and the trade unions in the agencies are taking place to discuss the implications of the Chancellor's announcement.

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Commons Hansard
9 Jun 2010

Departmental Redundancy Pay (Home Office)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her most recent estimate is of the annual cost to her Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed by (i) her Department and (ii) its agencies. [639]

Nick Herbert, Minister of State (Police): We do not yet know the full extent of early releases (voluntary or compulsory) that may be required in 2010-11. Furthermore, until we have clarity about the outcome of the legal challenge to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme by the Public and Commercial Services Union, we will not be able to make reliable calculations of any early release costs.

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Commons Hansard
9 Jun 2010

Prison Service: Manpower

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he plans to reduce staffing levels in prisons in financial year 2010-11; and if he will make a statement. [1225]

Mr Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation): Staffing levels in prisons and young offender institutions in England and Wales are set on the basis of the delivery plan and budget that is agreed between the governor and the regional manager with responsibility for custodial services; it is subject to ongoing review. There are no plans to reduce staffing levels outside of this arrangement.

In line with the announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 24 May 2010, a recruitment freeze has been imposed on all external recruitment to posts within the civil service. Steps have been taken not to undermine the delivery of prison services and the recruitment of key staff, such as prison officers, will continue as necessary.

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Commons Hansard
9 Jun 2010

Poultry: Animal Welfare

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects the prohibition of the trimming of beaks of laying hens to take effect; and if she will make a statement. [1127]

Mr James Paice, Minister of State (Agriculture and Food): The previous Government consulted on the proposed amendments to the Mutilations (Permitted Procedures) (England) Regulations 2007, to remove the total ban on beak trimming allowing for the routine beak trimming of day old chicks intended for laying to be carried out using the infra-red technique only. It closed on the 14 April and responses are currently being considered.

I will be discussing this matter with DEFRA officials shortly.

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Commons Hansard
9 Jun 2010

Efficiency and Reform Group

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): If he will ensure that trade unions are involved in the work of his Department's efficiency and reform group. [1353]

The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General (Mr Francis Maude): We are committed to proper engagement with public service staff and their representatives. Last week I had a good meeting with the Council of Civil Service Unions, and yesterday I attended a meeting of the TUC's public service liaison group. We will invite the TUC and its member organisations, plus other representatives of public service employees, to meet regularly to discuss matters affecting the workforce who deliver our vital public services, and to build on the work of the Public Service Forum, which I am committed to continuing and which will meet in July. There will be difficult issues to discuss, no doubt, but we are determined to air them through regular dialogue.

Mr Anderson: I thank the Minister for that reply. Will he look at the report that the Public and Commercial Services Union produced last year, showing that 20,000 tax collectors were sacked at a time when at least £40 billion of tax evasion and avoidance was going on in this country? Will he work with the unions to try to resolve that matter?

Mr Maude: I hear what the hon. Gentleman says, but he will recollect the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury who said that there was no money left. We have to run the Government with less money than there was, and there will have to be cuts. We hope, to the maximum extent possible, that public spending can be cut without affecting jobs, but it is unreal to expect that that will be totally avoidable.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Education)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many (a) front-line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type at each of those bodies. [533]

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education: The Department for Education does not have any agencies, nor does it directly employ what is described as front line staff.

The number of staff employed by the Department is available on the website of the Office for National Statistics:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=2899&;Pos=&ColRank=1&Rank=422

The most recently published data in relation to the cost of employing staff in the Department are published in the 2008-09 Resource Accounts which is available at:

http://publications.dcsf.gov.uk/default.aspx?PageFunction =product details&PageMode=publications&Productld=HC+448

The Department's 2009-10 Resource Accounts will be published in mid-July 2010.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2010

Building Schools for the Future Programme: Gateshead

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much funding from the Building Schools for the Future programme he plans to allocate to Gateshead. [880]

Nick Gibb, Minister of State (Schools): The Department is reviewing the Building Schools for the Future programme to ensure that when we build schools for the future, we do so in a more cost-effective and efficient fashion.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Communities and Local Government)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) front-line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type at each of those bodies. [530]

Robert Neill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: Communities and Local Government does not hold data for its arms length bodies centrally. Our three Executive agencies have however provided data directly. There would be a disproportionate cost in trying to obtain any further information.

Available data give the following breakdown for the calendar year 2009-10 (provisional). In accordance with HM Treasury guidance a number of staff are funded from programme budgets. These staff are classified as being front-line.

  2009-10 (provisional)
  Front line staff (FTE) Front line pay cost ( £000 ) Other staff ( FTE ) Other pay cost ( £000 )
Communities and Local Government (CLG)286.1920,4771,880.5496,731
Planning Inspectorate (PINS)71435,53800
Fire Service College (FSC)2109,28200
QEII Conference Centre482,41000

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2010

Trade Unions (Justice)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has to consult trade unions in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies concerning deficit reduction plans. [611]

Crispin Blunt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation): A schedule of meetings is being established in the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and its agencies to consult the recognised trade unions concerning deficit reduction plans.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2010

Departmental Redundancy Pay (Justice)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies. [641]

Mr Kenneth Clarke, Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice: Wherever possible, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) seeks to achieve headcount reductions by means of natural wastage, recruitment controls and re-deployment of staff to avoid impacting services to the public.

Between 31 March 2009 and 31 March 2010, 16 people from across the Ministry of Justice, comprising headquarters and executive agencies (HM Courts Service, the National Offender Management Service, the Tribunals Service and the Office of the Public Guardian) were made redundant or faced compulsory severance. The overall cost was £1.4 million(1), an average of £87,500 per staff member. Redundancy packages vary based on grade and length of service.

The MoJ also operated a voluntary early departure scheme in the last financial year. The future costs of this scheme are currently being finalised and will be published in the MoJ's annual resource accounts prior to the summer recess in the "provisions" note to the accounts. Staff are offered early departure on the basis of a clear business case that the departure will deliver long term savings and efficiencies.

It is not possible to clearly distinguish front line staff from other staff as many staff in local offices, courts and tribunals across England and Wales work in both public facing and back office roles.

(1) These figures are unaudited and are subject to change following the National Audit Office's inspection of MoJ Accounts for 2009-10.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Justice)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-front line staff in his Department and its agencies. [495]

Mr Kenneth Clarke, Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice: The savings to be achieved in 2010-11 from the Emergency Budget were predicated on tighter recruitment controls and natural attrition.

The Ministry of Justice expects shortly to engage in the Government's spending review, as part of which work force plans will be developed. Estimates of the cost to the public purse for any reductions are not yet available.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2010

Trade Unions (Health)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to consult trade unions in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies concerning deficit reduction plans. [608]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): The Department and its agency the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have well-established and constructive industrial relations. Our Partnership Agreement was signed again by both management and unions in 2009. This partnership approach commits the Department to involving unions at every stage of any change process-working together to solve difficulties and to promote best practice in all matters.

Regular dialogue with unions remains underway and the Department will continue to engage and consult unions about any deficit reduction plans.

Since 31 March 2010 there has been only one Executive Agency of the Department: the MHRA.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2010

Departmental Redundancy Pay (Health)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies. [638]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): No estimate of the cost of future reductions has yet been made by the Department. We do, however, have a standard, nominal budget of £2.3 million for unavoidable redundancy in the financial year 2010-11.

Since 31 March 2010 there has been only one Executive agency of the Department of Health: the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Health)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-front line staff in his Department and its agencies. [492]

Mr Simon Burns, Minister of State (Health): No estimate of the cost to proposed reductions in numbers of non-front line staff has yet been made by the Department or its Agency, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The civil service wide recruitment freeze announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 24 May 2010, will help the Department to minimise the need for reductions.

Since 31 March 2010 there has been only one Executive Agency of the Department: the MHRA.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2010

Trade Unions (International Development)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has to consult trade unions in his Department concerning deficit reduction plans. [610]

Mr Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development: Consistent with the Cabinet Office Code of Practice on Informing and Consulting Employee, it is the Department for International Development's (DFID's) normal practice to consult and communicate with staff and their representatives. There are a number of mechanisms through which we do this, including departmental Whitley council meetings, frequent meetings between DFID's HR director's and the chair of the Trade Union side and regular meetings senior managers hold with their staff.

We also carry out meaningful consultation with staff and their representatives on specific change proposals. When we have any specific proposals we will engage and consult.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jan 2010

Departmental Manpower (International Development)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-front line staff in his Department and its agencies; [494]

(2) what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff. [640]

Mr Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development: The Department for International Development (DFID) has initiated a programme to review our operating costs. Savings from this programme will be diverted into front-line departments to strengthen the delivery of our development programme.

It is our policy to minimise any costs involved by redeploying affected staff and by not replacing staff that retire or leave DFID. Since specific proposal have not yet been developed, it is not possible to estimate the impact on staff numbers or potential costs.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many (a) front line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type in his Department. [540]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: On 31 March 2010 the Department for International Development (DFID) employs 1819 front-line members of staff and 518 members of staff performing a range of corporate service functions, including HR, finance, IT, procurement, security, estates and office services. Staff costs for front-line activities in the 2009-10 financial year were £98 million. Staff costs for the corporate service functions for the same period were £28 million.

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Commons Hansard
08 Jun 2010

Trade Unions (Northern Ireland)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to consult trade unions in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies concerning deficit reduction plans. [612]

Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) is preparing a deficit reduction plan. Once plans are finalised, and if they affect staff, trade unions will of course be consulted.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2010

Departmental Redundancy Pay (Northern Ireland)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies. [642]

Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) is not currently anticipating any expenditure on redundancies in the Department or its agencies. If any redundancy or other exit payments are made throughout 2010-11 they will be disclosed in the resource accounts for 2010-11.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2010

Trade Unions ( Welsh Office)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans she has to consult trade unions in her Department concerning deficit reduction plans. [615]

Cheryl Gillan, Secretary of State for Wales: Should the need arise, we will apply the principles set out in the Ministry of Justice's managing organisational change framework.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2010

Departmental Redundancy Pay ( Welsh Office)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what her most recent estimate is of the annual cost to her Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff. [645]

Cheryl Gillan, Secretary of State for Wales: My department has not made any redundancy payments.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower( Welsh Office)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what her estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-front line staff in her Department and its agencies. [498]

Cheryl Gillan, Secretary of State for Wales: Nil. It is envisaged that any reductions could be achieved through a process of natural wastage.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2010

Food: Procurement

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will bring forward proposals to set standards of animal welfare for the procurement of food and meals by the public sector; and if she will make a statement. [1126]

Mr Paice, Minister of State (Agriculture and Food): The Government support moves to raise animal welfare standards both domestically and internationally, and our livestock industry already has some of the highest standards for farm animal welfare in the world.

The public sector must lead by example on this and DEFRA is taking forward the commitment in the coalition agreement to ensure that, food procured by Government Departments, and eventually the whole public sector, meets British standards of production wherever this can be achieved without increasing overall cost.

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Commons Hansard
8 Jun 2010

Deficit reduction: Job losses

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): When the most recent Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr Laws), made his debut two weeks ago - which became, of course, his swansong - my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester Central (Tony Lloyd) asked him whether he could give any idea how many jobs would be lost as a result of the deficit reduction package. His answer was that it is not right to pluck figures out of the air. Can we have some more concrete evidence from the Chancellor?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr George Osborne): Our plan is to increase employment in this country by putting the public finances on a sound footing. It is about time the Labour party understood that it left behind the largest budget deficit in the EU and the G20. All over the world, people are looking at sovereign credit risks. This Government are determined to do something about the problem before people start looking at Britain.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jun 2010

Departmental Redundancy Pay (Business, Innovation and Skills)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front-line and (b) other staff employed by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies. [628]

Mr Edward Davey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs): The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has at present no plans for compulsory redundancies and has therefore made no estimate of new costs. The forecast legacy costs of previous exit schemes (both compulsory and voluntary) is estimated at £6.1 million in 2010-11.

I have approached the chief executives of the Insolvency Service, Companies House, the National Measurement Office, the Intellectual Property Office and the Skills Funding Agency and they will respond to the hon. Member directly.

Letter from Gareth Jones:

I am replying on behalf of Companies House to your Parliamentary Question tabled 26 May 2010, UIN 628 to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Companies House is a Trading Fund and Executive Agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Companies House has not budgeted for any redundancy costs; however, as a Trading Fund any costs would be met by fees from our customers and would represent no cost to the public purse.

Letter from Stephen Speed, dated 27 May 2010:

The Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has asked me to reply to your question regarding what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies.

The Insolvency Service Executive Agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills had no annual cost for redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed in the last financial year 2009/10.

Surplus staff were identified during 2009/10 but we were able to absorb them elsewhere within The Service by the release of temporary workers.

Letter from John Alty, dated 2 June 2010:

I am responding in respect of the Intellectual Property Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled 26 May 2010, to the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is a Trading Fund and Executive Agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The IPO has not budgeted for any redundancy costs; however as a Trading Fund any costs would be met by fees from users and would represent no cost to the public purse.

Letter from Peter Mason, dated 1 June 2010:

I am responding in respect of the National Measurement Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 26 May to the Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, asking about estimates of the annual cost of redundancy payments for staff employed by the Department and its Agencies.

The cost to the Agency of any redundancy or other exit payments this year will be disclosed in its Annual Report and Accounts of 2010/11. As matters stand, however, we do not envisage having to make such payments during the current year.

Letter from Geoff Russell, dated 2 June 2010:

I am replying on behalf of the Skills Funding Agency to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 26 May, to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, concerning annual costs of redundancy payments for the Department and its agencies (UIN 628).

The Skills Funding Agency was set up as an agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on 01 April 2010. As a new agency, we are currently looking at the implications of the recent announcements and the impact on the future shape of the organisation.

The cost to the agency of any redundancy and other exit payments this financial year will be disclosed in the accounts for 2010/11, which will be published on-line in 2011.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jun 2010

Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the name is of each special adviser assigned to work with each Minister. [420]

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office: I refer the hon. Members to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 3 June 2010, Official Report, column 99W.

The Prime Minister: Information relating to special adviser appointments will be published shortly at which time I will arrange for copies to be placed in the Libraries of the House.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jun 2010

Departmental Redundancy Pay (Transport)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies. [644]

Mr Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Transport: The Department for Transport has introduced restrictions on recruitment in order to reduce the numbers of staff in non-frontline roles, with exceptions for frontline staff and business critical positions with appropriate control measures.

There are no departmental or agency specific redundancy programmes and the cost of capturing this information for individual cases is available only at disproportionate cost.

The cost to the Department of redundancy and other exit payments this year will be disclosed in our Annual Report and Resource Accounts for 2010-11.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jun 2010

Departmental Redundancy Pay (Women and Equality)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what her most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the Government Equalities Office of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff. [646]

Lynne Featherstone, Home Office Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The Government Equalities Office has not made any redundancy payments since its inception and is not proposing to make any redundancy payments in 2010-11.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jun 2010

Trade Unions (FCO)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to consult trade unions in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies on cost reduction plans. [607]

Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: Discussion of how the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will meet its current savings targets is underway. We will share relevant information with the trade unions and consult as necessary.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jun 2010

Departmental Redundancy Pay (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies. [637]

Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: We have not made any estimates of redundancy costs as we currently have no plans to make any staff redundant.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-frontline staff in his Department and its agencies. [491]

Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office expects to achieve all its currently anticipated reductions in UK civil service staff through a recruitment freeze and natural wastage. These would not incur compensation costs.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) front-line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type at each of those bodies. [537]

Alistair Burt: The average number of permanent front-line Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) civil servants, in London and overseas, in financial year 2009-10 was 2,868. The forecast salary cost for these staff is £157.3 million. In addition, approximately 10,000 locally engaged staff at overseas posts were employed during financial year 2009-10 costing £186.5 million.

There were an average of 1,562 other UK based FCO civil servants employed during financial year 2009-10 costing £85.7 million.

The FCO Services Trading Fund employed an average of 927 UK based staff during financial year 2009-10 costing £44.8 million.

Wilton Park Agency employed an average of 77 UK based staff during financial year 2009-10 costing £2.5 million.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jun 2010

Trade Unions (Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what plans he has to consult trade unions in (a) his Department and (b) its agency on cost reduction plans. [601]

John Penrose, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The Department is already in informal discussions with both staff and trade unions, both at departmental and agency level. We will continue to talk to our staff and, where relevant, their trade unions too, and will enter into formal consultations wherever there is a requirement to do so.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jun 2010

Trade Unions (DEFRA)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to consult trade unions in (a) her Department and (b) its agencies on cost reduction plans. [605]

Richard Benyon, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Natural Environment and Fisheries): It is standard practice to consult the Department's trade unions on all matters concerning the contractual terms and conditions of its employees.

DEFRA including its agencies will use its existing consultation processes to discuss future deficit reduction plans with our trade unions.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (DEFRA)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-frontline staff in her Department and its agencies. [489]

Richard Benyon, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Natural Environment and Fisheries): The Chancellor's statement about savings of £6.2 billion across the public sector outlined that DEFRA and its arms length bodies would contribute to £162 million of this saving. As a department we have identified some specific areas where savings will be achieved in addition to the efficiencies being implemented across the Civil Service.

At present, no decisions have been taken on reductions in the numbers of staff.

It is therefore not possible to make an estimate of the cost.

Any staff reductions will be made in line with business need and with a view to providing value for money.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jun 2010

Cattle: Animal Welfare

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will bring forward proposals to (a) set standards for welfare in cows and (b) prohibit the factory farming of dairy cows; and if she will make a statement. [1125]

Mr Paice, Minister of State (Agriculture and Food): The welfare of livestock, including cows, is protected by the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 and the Animal Welfare Act 2006. There are codes of recommendations published on the DEFRA website which farmers are required by law to have access to, and be familiar with, which encourage high standards of husbandry. Enforcement action can be taken against farmers who do not comply with this legislation.

The Government welcome innovative and entrepreneurial efforts by dairy farmers to improve their global competitiveness, while protecting the environment and meeting animal welfare standards. All dairy cattle, in whatever system they are kept, are protected by comprehensive animal welfare legislation in England. It is important to recognise that poor welfare can occur in both intensive and extensive systems, and the most significant influence on the welfare of livestock is the stock-keeper, not the system in which it is reared.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jun 2010

Departmental Redundancy Pay (Work and Pensions)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies; [627]

(2) what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-front line staff in his Department and its agencies. [501]

Chris Grayling, Minister of State (Employment): The information requested is not available.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jun 2010

Trade Unions (Scottish Office)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to consult trade unions in his Department concerning deficit reduction plans. [613]

David Mundell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: Any deficit reduction plans which affect staff will be shared with staff and the relevant trade unions, as appropriate.

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Commons Hansard
7 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Scottish Office)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-front line staff in his Department and its agencies. [496]

David Mundell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: The Scotland Office keep its staffing complement under constant review to ensure that the most efficient use is made of public resources. It has made not made any recent decisions to reduce staff numbers.

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Commons Hansard
3 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower (Treasury)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-frontline staff in his Department and its agencies; [490]

(2) what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff employed by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies. [636]

Justine Greening, Economic Secretary : Our aim will be wherever possible to manage any necessary staff reductions within the Treasury and its agencies through natural wastage at no additional cost.

Mr Anderson: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) front-line and (b) other staff were employed by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in the latest year for which figures are available; and what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of employing staff of each type at each of those bodies. [536]

Justine Greening: Details of Treasury Group staff numbers and the administration budget outturn for the Group in 2008-09 are shown in the Treasury's Annual Report and Accounts available from

www.hm-treasury.gov.uk

Neither the Treasury nor any of its agencies employs front line staff.

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Commons Hansard
3 Jun 2010

Departmental Redundancy Pay (Energy and Climate Change)

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to his Department of redundancy payments for (a) front line and (b) other staff. [634]

Gregory Barker, Minister of State (Climate Change): The Department has made no estimate of any such costs.

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Commons Hansard
3 Jun 2010

Trade Unions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what plans he has to consult trade unions in (a) his Department and (b) its agency on cost reduction plans. [599]

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office: I already do and will continue to consult with the trade unions about a wide range of topics of mutual interest. This will include the Department's contribution to deficit reduction plans.

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Commons Hansard
3 Jun 2010

Ministerial responsibilities

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office when he plans to provide to hon. Members a list of Ministerial responsibilities including contact details. [521]

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office: The 'List of Ministerial Responsibilities' will be published as soon as possible.

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Commons Hansard
3 Jun 2010

Employment Law Review

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): What the terms of reference are of the review of employment law referred to in the coalition agreement. [000774]

The Minister for Universities and Science (Mr David Willetts): We are reviewing employment law to maximise flexibility for employers and for employees. Our aim is fairness for employees within a competitive environment for business.

Mr Anderson: I thank the Minister for that response. During the election campaign, the Secretary of State said that he and the Liberal Democrats believed that the link between the Labour party and the trade unions was corrupt. Can we have an assurance from the team that that prejudice will in no way influence the employment law review?

Mr Willetts: The Secretary of State has made it clear that he did not make those remarks. We are looking at a review that will not cut the rights of individuals, but we want a streamlined process to cut the costs of compliance for employers. We have noticed the comments that have been made by, for example, British Chambers of Commerce and the Institute of Directors, which have called for changes to the employment tribunal system so as to streamline the process. That is what we are considering.

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Commons Hansard
2 Jun 2010

Trade Unions

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has to consult trade unions in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies on cost reduction plans. [600]

Robert Neill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: Full consultation with our trade unions will take place in accordance with the agreed protocols of the Department and its agencies.

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Commons Hansard
2 Jun 2010

Departmental Manpower

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-frontline staff in his Department and its agencies. [488]

Gregory Barker, Minister of State (Climate Change): The Department has made no estimate of any such costs.

+++

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of proposed reductions in numbers of non-frontline staff in his Department and its agencies. [484]

Robert Neill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State: Communities and Local Government is implementing an external recruitment freeze in line with the rest of Government. The recruitment freeze has no direct or underlying costs to the public purse.

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Commons Hansard
2 Jun 2010

Tyne and Wear Metro

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding he plans to allocate to Nexus for the purposes of the Tyne and Wear Metro reinvigoration programme. [331]

Norman Baker, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Regional and Local Transport): On 17 May 2010 the Chancellor and Chief Secretary asked all Departments to re-examine spending approvals by the previous Government since 1 January this year. This includes the funding of £350 million for Tyne and Wear Metro Reinvigoration that was approved in February 2010. This work will be carried out as quickly as possible.

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Commons Hansard
27 May 2010

The high price of cheap coal

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): My right hon. Friend raises the issue of clean coal. We must also raise with the Government the immoral cost of importing coal from countries such as China and Ukraine, where thousands of miners are killed every year so that we can get relatively cheap coal. When he was the Secretary of State, he agreed to take forward this issue in the international arena. Will he join me in asking the new Secretary of State to do the same?

Edward Miliband: My hon. Friend raised this important issue at the end of the last Parliament. We hope to work with the Government on that, as I am sure it is a cross-party concern. No doubt he will campaign on this issue as eloquently as he does on many others.

We will scrutinise the Secretary of State's plans for an emissions performance standard. There is concern about whether that will lead to uncertainty in investment in coal and gas, but, again, we will judge the Government on the measures they introduce. There is some urgency on this issue, so I hope that plans will be produced speedily.

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Commons Hansard
27 May 2010

Not sorry

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): I welcome the suggestion by the hon. Member for Enfield, Southgate (Mr Burrowes) for a debate about saying sorry, so that those of us on the Labour Benches can say that we are not sorry that we prevented the global recession from turning into a global depression; we are not sorry that we kept half a million people in work who otherwise would not be in work; we are not sorry that we kept businesses going that would have closed; and we are not sorry that we will never ever say that unemployment is a price worth paying.

Sir George Young: Again, there was absolutely no recognition at all from the hon. Gentleman of the problems that this country now faces because of the irresponsible way in which the outgoing Government borrowed £3 billion a week, with no plans for rebalancing the country's books.

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Commons Hansard
27 May 2010

Regional development agency

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): Does my right hon. Friend agree that part of the industrial revolution in the north-east is driven and supported by the regional development agency, another thing that will disappear under the coalition Government?

Edward Miliband: I agree with my hon. Friend, and that speaks to the attitude, which I hope that the Secretary of State does not share, that the only thing that is needed to make our economy work is for Government to get out of the way. I do not think that that will create the economy of the future.

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Commons Hansard
25 May 2010

BSF funding for schools in Gateshead

Mr. Dave Anderson (Blaydon): The right hon. Gentleman has a strong record of standing up for the north of England. Does he support the halting of BSF funding for schools in Gateshead?

Sir Alan Beith: The hon. Gentleman has to realise that very difficult public spending decisions have to be taken. Unless he and his hon. Friends start to recognise that they would have had to do something similar, they are in an unreal world.

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Reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO

Promoted by Chris McHugh on behalf of Dave Anderson, both of St Cuthbert's Community Hall, Shibdon Road, Blaydon, NE21 5PT