Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether community health councils were included in the distribution of documents on contracts for hospital services ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : Community health councils were sent copies of the White Paper "Working for Patients" which set out the Government's proposals on contractual arrangements and the subsequent working paper "Funding and Contracts for Hospital Services". Detailed aspects of these proposals were addressed in two more recent documents "Contracts for Health Services : Operational Principles" and "Contracts for Health Services : Pricing and Openness". Copies of these were sent to the Association of CHCs in England and Wales and to individual CHCs, including Bradford, which expressed particular interest. Decisions on the distribution of further documents to CHCs will be made in the light of their contents.
Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what were, for each of the last three years at convenient dates (i) the number of premature births, 21 to 28 weeks, where the baby survived for less than one week, one to four weeks, four to 13 weeks, above 13 weeks and (ii) the number of abortions after the 21st week where, following resuscitation, survival was less than one week, one to four weeks, four to 13 weeks, above 13 weeks ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to publish the report on Dietary Sugars and Human Disease from the Chief Medical Officer's Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA).
Mr. Freeman : The COMA report "Dietary Sugars and Human Disease" is being published today. Copies have been placed in the Library. I welcome this important scientific document which, I know, has been awaited with great interest by doctors, dentists, nutrition scientists, consumer groups and food manufacturers. I congratulate Professor Keen and his team on the way they have dealt with this very complex and controversial issue. They have produced what, I believe, will be seen as a definitive statement on present knowledge of the relationship between dietary sugars and health.
The report's conclusions and recommendations are important and far reaching. It does not support the view, which some people would have us believe, that sugars at usual intake have direct adverse effect on general health. But it leaves no room for doubt that dietary sugars are by far the most important cause of dental caries, and recommends for this reason we should restrict our sugars intake.
Publication of the report reaffirms the Government's policy on increasing scientific and public knowledge about diet and health. Action is being taken on the majority of the report's
recommendations. In particular the HEA
Column 631recently announced that nutrition would be a major component of their public health education strategy of which the report's recommendations will form an integral part. A range of health professionals will be made aware of the Report so that they can take account of its recommendations when dealing with their patients. We are also committed to improving the quality of information about nutritional status in relation to general and dental health and making it available so that people can make sensible choices about their diet.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many babies were born with neuroblastoma in each of the last five years for which figures are available ; and how many children died of the condition over the same period.
Mr. Freeman [holding answer 27 November 1989] : The latest available data on newly reported cases of childhood neuroblastoma cover the years 1971-80, and indicate that during that period 374 new cases were reported for males aged 0-14 years and 277 cases for females.
The number of deaths from neuroblastoma during this period, or for a later five-year period, could be determined only at
Mr. Soley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy that local authorities receive a sum in their budget to cover the estimated costs of treatment to homeless people in the area ; and if he will take steps to ensure that this allocation will be used to secure services suitable for, and available to, homeless people.
Mr. Freeman [holding answer 11 December 1989] : No. It is for the relevant statutory authorities to ensure that appropriate health and personal social services are provided within their resources and in the light of their assessment of local needs. The Department has, however, taken several central initiatives, including the funding of voluntary organisations helping the homeless and of two projects in London designed to promote new models of primary care for homeless people. An evaluation of the projects has been drawn to the attention of all health authorities, local authorities and family practitioner committees.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the total spending of his Department on research in mental handicap in each of the years 1979 to 1989 ; and how much was spent on new starts to projects in each of the past five years.
Year |Spending on |mental |handicap |£k ------------------------------------ 1978-79 |360 1979-80 |394 1980-81 |573 1981-82 |789 1982-83 |657 1983-84 |669 1984-85 |674 1985-86 |692 1986-87 |456 1987-88 |615 1988-89 |773
These sums of money are inclusive of expenditure on new starts to projects. A separate annual figure for new starts is not readily available.
Mr. Freeman [holding answer 11 December 1989] : My colleagues and I are currently studying a report by a team of consultants who were asked to give professional advice on options for the future status of the centre for applied microbiology and research. We have not yet reached any decision.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has as to the increase in real terms in health spending in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries for the latest year for which figures are available.
Mr. Freeman [holding answer 11 December 1989] : The increase in total health expenditure in real terms between 1983 and 1984 in each of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member states is shown in the table.
The latest year, 1984, for which all the data required to make the necessary calculations are available for all Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development member states (with the exception of Turkey, for which 1984 data are not available, and Luxembourg, for which complete data are not available).
Total expenditure on health care in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member states in 1983 and 1984 in 1980 prices (national currencies) --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Australia |9,982,601 |10,509,122 |5.3 Austria |81,285,812 |83,227,616 |2.4 Belgium |254,891,104 |258,690,637 |1.5 Canada |27,474,068 |28,584,524 |4.0 Denmark |25,691,817 |25,489,971 |-0.8 Finland |13,710,825 |14,608,122 |6.5 France |234,997,462 |247,842,846 |5.5 Germany |118,990,277 |124,304,462 |4.5 Greece |72,887,620 |71,762,841 |-1.5 Iceland |1,295,891 |1,230,064 |-5.1 Ireland |780,630 |809,263 |3.7 Italy |26,496,847,100|26,728,840,302|0.9 Japan |18,346,992,730|18,679,250,559|1.8 Luxembourg |n/a |n/a |n/a Netherlands |28,855,940 |28,700,618 |-0.5 New Zealand |1,608,559 |1,551,831 |-3.5 Norway |20,570,550 |20,721,468 |0.7 Portugal |70,952,300 |71,978,498 |1.4 Spain |984,321,170 |954,041,204 |-3.1 Sweden |52,051,498 |53,144,748 |2.1 Switzerland |13,331,083 |13,563,983 |1.7 Turkey |175,230,226 |n/a |n/a United Kingdom |14,666,297 |15,049,874 |2.6 United States |294,609,865 |309,909,452 |5.2 Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Luxembourg excluded due reported inconsistencies in its national accounts.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [pursuant to her reply, 6 December 1989, c. 276] : A representation regarding the system of quotas introducein 1986 by the Lancashire ambulance service for non-urgent journeys was made in a letter from the hon. Member dated 25 October 1989. I have replied to that letter and I regret that, through an oversight, my earlier reply did not refer to this representation.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to arrange export credits with Romania for the sale of environmental clean-up technology and industrial pollution abatement technology developed in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Redwood : ECGD cover for Romania is at present available only for short term credits on secured terms of payment. There has been no approach for medium term credits and such an approach would seem unlikely as the Romanian Government have a policy of not accepting any more such credits.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what changes are being proposed in the operation of the British Standards Institute and its various advisory committees on information technology standards ; what decisions have been taken by Government so far ; and by what means he proposes to consult the commercial and other private interests concerned.
Mr. Forth : My Department, in co-operation with the British Standards Institution, is undertaking a consultation process with industry and commerce to determine the feasibility of establishing new arrangements for IT standardisation activities in the United Kingdom falling within the framework of BSI.
A steering group drawn from industry and commerce is overseeing this feasibility work and a project team comprising officials, industry secondees, BSI staff and consultants has been assembled. Industry and other interests are being consulted to determine the degree of commitment by business and others in supporting new arrangements. Methods of consultation include direct interviews, group meetings and by correspondence. The primary objective of any new arrangements would be the more effective use of United Kingdom resources to contribute to the development of European and international IT standards. If sufficient commitment is forthcoming, clear proposals would be put to BSI next year.
Mr. Haselhurst : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will order an independent efficiency scrutiny of the Civil Aviation Authority to be carried out ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 635Mr. Redwood [holding answer 6 December 1989] : A reference under section 11 of the Competition Act 1980 has today been sent to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission to investigate the efficiency of the Civil Aviation Authority and the effectiveness of its provision of navigation and air traffic control services with particular emphasis on the effectiveness of its management and planning systems in respect of its major new investment programme. A copy of the reference has been placed in the Library.
The success of the Government's privatisation programme means that there are fewer statutory bodies open to scrutiny under section 11 of the Competition Act 1980. In future, therefore, the practice of announcing annually a programme of references will be discontinued and instead each reference will be announced as it is made.
Mr. Ridley : I have already written to the hon. Member explaining how I am handling requests for documentation relating to the sale of the Government's shareholding in Rover Group to British Aerospace. I have placed copies of my letter in the Library of the House.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will publish any notes or correspondence involving his Department over the tax affairs of British Aerospace ; (2) if he will publish the letters between his Department and British Aerospace on tax matters relating to the Rover deal.
Mr. Ridley : Tax matters of British Aerospace are for the Inland Revenue and would be subject to normal confidentiality rules ; however, to assist understanding of this matter arrangements have been made exceptionally and with the agreement of British Aerospace to provide to the Public Accounts Committee and the Trade and Industry Select Committee copies of the exchange of letters between the accountants of BAe and the Inland Revenue which is referred to in the letter of 12 July 1988 from the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to the chairman of British Aerospace. Copies of this exchange are available in the Library of the House with my letter today to the hon. Member.
The Department of Trade and Industry of course has no direct locus in such tax matters and its dealings with British Aerospace on tax were therefore concerned with the contractual arrangements by which Rover Group was effectively denied the benefit of pre-acquisition carried forward trading tax losses in excess of £500 million to which Rover Group was entitled under the normal rules applying to United Kingdom companies. Contractual arrangements had also been inserted in the original conditional sale agreement in March 1988 by which the use of disclaimed capital allowances and capital losses were effectively ring-fenced within Rover Group ; this restriction was lifted in the final terms so that the situation on these tax benefits was no more, and no less, restrictive than that determined by tax law.
Mr. Ridley : The side-letter on on-sale offered by the former Secretary of State in his letter of 12 July 1988 to the BAe chairman was finalised on 14 July and copies have been made available to the Public Accounts Committee and Trade and Industry Select Committee and placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish the memorandum of understanding between the British Government and the European Commission over the sale of Rover.
Mr. Ridley : The Commission's decision under article 93(2) of the treaty of Rome in respect of the aid proposal to Rover Group in the context of its sale to BAe was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on 28 January 1989.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if, in negotiations over the sale of Rover, he was made aware that British Aerospace would seek to accelerate use of tax losses through the creation of leasing companies.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions took place on military and civil contracts unrelated to Rover as part of the negotiations over the sale of Rover.
Mr. Ridley : In the negotiations over the sale of the Rover Group the only discussions about contracts unrelated to the Rover Group concerned the Columbus programme, as set out in my statement of 30 November ( Hansard, columns 859-60 ).
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the cash value of the deferred payment of £150 million for 20 months for the Rover Group ; and at what rate of interest the value is calculated.
Mr. Ridley : Our most recent estimate of the net cost of deferring the £150 million consideration from the date of completion (12 August 1988) until the end of March 1990 is £22 million, calculated at a post -tax rate of interest in line with base rate. The £22 million estimate made at the time was a gross calculation which made no allowance for tax.
Column 637Mr. Ridley : The Government were not in a position to calculate what use British Aerospace might make in future of tax benefits arising from its acquisition of Rover Group and available to it under normal tax law ; such valuations are highly subjective and dependent on assumptions of future taxable capacity of the enlarged British Aerospace group. The Touche Ross valuation commissioned and published by the NAO put a nil or negligible value on these losses.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the final amount of trading tax losses written off in the final agreement between British Aerospace and the Government.
Mr. Ridley : Rover Group's trading tax losses remain precisely what they are entitled to under normal tax law. However, the contractual sale arrangements between DTI and British Aerospace provide that if in post- acquisition tax computations Rover Group claims the benefit of pre- acquisition trading tax losses in excess of £500 million, such benefit will be 100 per cent. clawed back.
Mr. Ridley : As I have explained in my letter today to the hon. Member, the Government were not in a position authoritatively to calculate the value to British Aerospace of tax benefits arising from its acquisition of Rover Group and available to it under normal tax law. Such values would depend on the extent and timing of taxable events in the future and estimates are highly subjective--as, is
Column 638shown by the differing valuations of certain of these tax benefits discussed in the Comptroller and Auditor-General's report on the sale.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the value of the capital allowances pool from Rover that could be set against tax (a) in March 1988 and (b) in August 1988.
Mr. Ridley : The Government were not in a position to calculate what use British Aerospace might make in future of tax benefits arising from its acquistion of Rover Group and available to it under normal tax law ; such valuations are highly subjective and dependent on assumptions of future taxable capacity of the enlarged British Aerospace group. The only change in treatment of the Rover Group capital allowance pool between the dates referred to was a contractual one. Under the March conditional terms future use by British Aerospace (where permitted under normal tax law) of disclaimed Rover Group capital allowances outside the Rover Group would result in the benefit being 100 per cent. clawed back by the contractual sale arrangements. Under the final terms of the sale this clawback was lifted.