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NATIONAL FINANCE

Personal Allowances

Mr. Hoon : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the saving to the revenue if personal allowances were treated as tax credits and deducted from a taxpayer's tax liability after the calculation of the amount of tax due, (as for the married couple's allowance in the 1994 Finance Bill), on the assumption that the value of the personal allowance for a basic rate taxpayer remained the same as at present and a basic rate of income tax of 20 per cent.

Mr. Dorrell : The hypothetical regime specified, with the value of the personal allowance for a person aged under 65 retained at £861.25p --£3,445 at 25 per cent--but given as a deduction from tax at a rate of 20 per cent. would result in a revenue cost of over £11 billion in a full year.

Mr. Congdon : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost of full transferability of the personal tax allowance between married couples based on a tax rate of 25p in the pound on the basis that married couples allowance no longer existed.

Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 1 March 1994] : There is insufficient information in the question on which to base a meaningful reply.

Family Incomes

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how he arrived at his forecast that the increase in taxation on an average family would be more than offset by an increase in average earnings of £30 per week ; and if he will break that figure down to show (i) the increase in earnings by median and deciles and (ii) manufacturing and non- manufacturing.

Mr. Dorrell : The figure of £30 per week is not my forecast. It is the hypothetical increase in earnings assumed by the hon. Member for Peckham (Ms Harman) in the question to which I replied on 17 February 1994, Official Report, columns 891-96.

Mortgage Tax Relief

Mr. Hoon : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the revenue saving of the abolition of mortgage interest tax relief, assuming present rates of interest in (a) 1993-94, (b) 1994-95 and (c) 1995-96.

Mr. Dorrell : The cost of mortgage interest relief is estimated to be £4.3 billion in 1993-94, £3.4 billion in 1994-95 and £2.8 billion in 1995-96. These estimates are based on actual mortgage interest rates throughout 1993-94 and the assumption that they remain at their current levels for the next two years. They assume relief is available at 25 per cent. in 1993-94, 20 per cent. in 1994-95 and 15 per cent. in 1995- 96.


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Wine, Spirits and Cigarettes

Mr. Mills : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the change since the establishment of the single market in the quantity of wine, spirits and cigarettes for personal consumption imported.

Sir John Cope : Customs and Excise estimate that legitimate imports for personal consumption in the year to 31 December 1993 increased by approximately 40 million litres in the case of wine, 10 million litres of bottled spirits and 400 million cigarettes.

Domestic Fuel (VAT)

Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has had from environmental groups against the imposition of VAT on domestic fuel.

Sir John Cope : I have received a number of representations from environmental groups on the imposition of VAT on domestic fuel. Friends of the Earth, for example, have been

"broadly supportive of Government moves to increase energy prices by imposing VAT on domestic fuel and power".

Energy Companies (Government Stores)

Mr. Burns : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when Her Majesty's Treasury intends to dispose of its holdings of shares in National Power and PowerGen.

Mr. Dorrell : The Treasury intends shortly to appoint a merchant bank to advise on the sale of some or all of its National Power and Powergen shares. Subject to market conditions, this will take place in 1994 -95. No decisions have been taken on the precise timing, size or structure of any sale.

Convergence Programme

Mr. Burns : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to update the convergence programme produced by the United Kingdom in May 1993.

Mr. Nelson : An update of the United Kingdom's convergence programme has today been sent to the European Commission. Copies are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Private Health Insurance

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if Treasury rules permit loss of revenue from business tax relief on the expense on providing private health care for employees to exceed the income derived from the tax due on the private health care given as a benefit to those same employees.

Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 3 March 1994] : If an employer incurs expenditure on providing health care for employees, the expenses incurred will qualify as a deduction when calculating the trading profits of the business if the expense is incurred wholly and exclusively for business purposes. A director or employee earning at the rate of £8,500 or more a year is liable to tax on the expense incurred in connection with the provision of the benefit. The reduction in tax for the employer and the additional tax charged on the employees depend on their individual circumstances.


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SCOTLAND

Training

Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the training companies in the Inverclyde area and the sums of money paid out of public funds to each of them over the past five years ; how many trainees each of them trained over the same period of time ; of these trainees, how many found full-time employment when their training programmes were completed ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 2 March 1994] : The information requested by the hon. Member is not available for the Inverclyde area in the period before April 1991, when responsibility for the delivery of Government training programmes in lowland Scotland was transferred from the Training Agency to Scottish Enterprise and its network of local enterprise companies. Since then the allocation of funding for training, and the numbers of trainees trained in each local enterprise company area has been an operational matter for Scottish Enterprise. I have asked the chairman of Scottish Enterprise to write to the hon. Member.

Campaigns

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer of 17 February, Official Report, columns 949-50, if he will place in the Library the results of research conducted on the campaigns listed ; and if he will publish an estimate of (a) the number of responses received to the children's panel recruitment campaign, (b) the number of responses received to the teacher recruitment campaign, (c) the number of requests for the right to buy information booklet and (d) the number of responses received to the national continence week telephone hotline.

Mr. Lang : The details requested are as follows :

(a) Children's panels. A total of 2,262 responses were received via the telephone number and advertisement coupon which featured in the Scottish national press. Weekly newspapers published a local authority telephone number ; number of responses not yet available. (

(b) Teacher recruitment--2,408 responses.

(c) Right to Buy--7,182 responses.

(d) National continence week from 13 to 19 March publicises the existing all-the-year round help service. The telephone number featured is that of the continence resource centre at the Southern General hospital NHS trust, Glasgow where help can be sought. Accessibility to the Scottish Office. Data based on post campaign research have just been received and are still being analysed. Drugs and solvent misuse. The pre-campaign qualitative research on the drugs and solvents campaign was commissioned by the Department of Health. These are working documents used to inform management decision making and are not generally made available.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Slaughterhouses

Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were employed in slaughterhouses in each year since 1985.


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Mr. Tim Smith : The information requested is available from the Northern Ireland census of employment only for the years 1987, 1989 and 1991. The table provides the total employees in employment at those dates.


Year         |Employees in             

             |employment               

---------------------------------------

1987         |1,031                    

1989         |865                      

1991         |910                      

Public Interest Immunity Certificates

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to his answer of 18 February, Official Report, column 1034, if he will provide whatever information is available on those occasions on which he, or other Ministers in his Department, signed public interest immunity certificates, and for what reasons.

Sir Patrick Mayhew : Since I became Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, I have signed the following public interest immunity certificates. In one certificate, signed in May 1992, I made a claim for certain members of the security forces to be screened from the public in inquest proceedings and for the protection of certain documentary and oral evidence from disclosure on grounds of national security relating to methods used to gather intelligence about terrorists. I signed a similar certificate in relation to an inquest which took place in March 1993. In another certificate, signed in February 1993, made for the purposes of criminal proceedings, I made a claim in relation to certain police files. The remaining certificates were to protect the identity of prison officers and methods of control in prisons in connection with civil proceedings by prisoners.

No other Northern Ireland Office Minister has signed any public interest immunity certificate during this time.

HEALTH

Mental Health

Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are the commonly held misconceptions about mental health and community care, cited in their evidence to the Health Select Committee on 9 December 1993-- HC, 1993-94, 102-i--that the mental health task force aims to correct.

Mr. Bowis : I have nothing to add to the evidence given on 9 December 1993.

Ambulance Negotiating Body

Ms Lynne : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what groups are currently represented on the ambulance negotiating body ; (2) what plans she has to widen representation on the ambulance negotiating body, in particular to include ambulance officers and control room assistants.

Mr. Sackville : The staff side of the ambulance negotiating body consists of representatives of the Association of Professional Ambulance Personnel. The management side consists of representatives of national


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health service bodies and the health departments. The ANB was set up in 1989 to operate in parallel with the existing ambulance Whitley council. There are no plans to include ambulance officers and control room assistants under the purview of the ANB.

GP Fundholders

Mr. Enright : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what happens to the interest which accrues from surplus sums deposited in the regional savings account by fundholding practices.

Dr. Mawhinney : Fundholders may accrue savings for up to four years. These are held by the appropriate regional health authority as part of their usual cash management programme. The question of interest does not therefore arise.

Mr. Enright : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what financial arrangements are made with the fundholding practices which end the year in deficit.

Dr. Mawhinney : Any overspending by a general practitioner fundholder will be met from regional health authority contingencies. Where overspending is the result of mismanagement, the GP fundholders may have their fundholding status withdrawn.

Mr. Enright : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what sum has been deposited as surplus by fundholding practices in the Wakefield area in the regional savings account.

Dr. Mawhinney : Regional health authorities are responsible for managing the general practitioner fundholding scheme in their areas. For local information in the Yorkshire region the hon. Member may wish to contact Sir Bryan Askew, chairman of the Yorkshire regional health authority.

Office of Population Censuses and Statistics

Mr. Nigel Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what have been the running costs of the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys for the last 10 years for which figures are available ; what type of projects it carries out ; and how its work is monitored.

Mr. Sackville : Office of Population Censuses and Surveys' net running costs from 1984-85 to 1993-94 were :


Net running costs             

Year      |£ million          

------------------------------

1984-85   |22.4               

1985-86   |24.2               

1986-87   |24.8               

1987-88   |26.8               

1988-89   |20.3               

1989-90   |22.7               

1990-91   |36.8               

1991-92   |88.3               

1992-93   |24.1               

1993-94   |27.7               

Notes:                        

1. Running costs are net of   

receipts.                     

2. For comparison purposes,   

superannuation, which became  

a vote                        

cost from April 1993, has     

been excluded from all the    

figures. The                  

amount involved is £3 million 

in 1993-94.                   

3. Running costs decreased in 

1988-89 due to the move to    

repayment                     

for Social Surveys.           

4. Running costs peaked       

1991-92 because of            

expenditure on the 1991       

Census.                       

5. Final outturn figures are  

given for all years except    

1993-94, for                  

which the actual Vote         

provision is shown.           

OPCS's main functions are :

to administer the Marriage Acts and to direct and control the local registration of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales :

to produce the estimates and projections of local and health authority populations which are used in allocating resources to them ;

to produce and publish statistics on population levels, on migration, on fertility and on abortions, mortality, morbidity and other health matters ;

to take the census of population in England and Wales ; and to process, analyse and publish the resulting statistics ;

to conduct social surveys for Government Departments and public sector bodies and to give survey advice to Departments ;

to run the national health service central register for the Department of Health ;

assisting in the supply of statistics and statistical analysis for particular purposes, such as the nation's health ;

to provide secretarial and analytical support to the Parliamentary Boundary Commissions for England and Wales.

Further detail is given in OPCS's business plans and annual reports, copies of which will be placed in the Library. OPCS is a Government Department, and is accountable to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health in the normal way.

NHS Management

Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the cost of national health service management in the Huddersfield health authority area in (a) 1987-88 and (b) 1992-93.

Dr. Mawhinney : General and senior management posts were introduced in phases from 1986 before which the national health service was clearly undermanaged. The pay costs for NHS managers within Huddersfield health authority amounted to £137,537 in 1987-88 and £1, 559,120 in 1992 -93. Comparisons over the years are meaningless because the growth in numbers and costs is mainly due to the reclassification of staff previously included in other administrative and professional categories as managers.

Pathology

Mr. Enright : To ask the Secretary of State for Health under what rules a fundholding practice is allowed to spend its money on major equipment with particular reference to pathology analysis.

Dr. Mawhinney : The rules setting out how general practitioner fundholder savings may be used are in paragraph 24 of the National Health Service (Fundholding Practices) Regulations 1993.

Prescription Medicines

Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate she can make of changes to the pattern of inward investment by American and Japanese pharmaceutical companies should her Department's recent proposals on changes to the system of prescribing medicines by doctors and their generic substitution be implemented ;


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(2) what evaluation she has made of the possible effects on pharmaceutical research and development in the United Kingdom of any introduction of a scheme or schemes of generic substitution of medicines by pharmacists when dispensing doctors' prescriptions.

Dr. Mawhinney : The Department has opened discussions with the medical and pharmaceutical professions about possible schemes for generic substitution and will shortly be meeting the pharmaceutical industry.

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is her estimate of the income from prescription charges in 1993-94.

Dr. Mawhinney : The answer is £267 million.

Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Health in what circumstances a community pharmacist can substitute a generic product for a branded medicine prescribed by a doctor.

Dr. Mawhinney : A pharmacist is not allowed to substitute any product, whether generic or otherwise, for a specifically named product without the approval of the prescriber, except in an emergency.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the annual rate of growth of the total real cost of national health service medicines since 1978.

Mr. Sackville : The information is shown in the table.


Annual real terms increase in cost  

of national health service drugs    

(FHS drugs bill plus expenditure on 

HCHS drugs)                         

            |Percentage             

            |increase in            

Year        |Real terms             

------------------------------------

<1>1978-79  |8.1                    

1979-80     |-0.9                   

1980-81     |2.0                    

1981-82     |4.5                    

1982-83     |7.3                    

1983-84     |6.5                    

1984-85     |0.2                    

1985-86     |1.2                    

1986-87     |4.9                    

1987-88     |5.7                    

1988-89     |5.4                    

1989-90     |3.7                    

1990-91     |-0.2                   

1991-92     |7.7                    

1992-93     |8.4                    

<1>Percentage increase in 1978-79   

is based on family health service   

drug                                

cost as no hospital and community   

health services cost is available   

for the                             

previous year.                      

Operations (Statistics)

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will state the most recently available average costs of (a) hip replacement operations, (b) cataract removal and (c) coronary artery bypass graft operations ; and if she will make a further statement on the number of these operations in 1992 and in 1993.

Mr. Sackville : The latest available information is shown in the table.


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                                     Finished Consultant Episodes                   

                    |Estimated      |1989-90<2>     |1990-91<2>                     

                    |average cost<1>                                                

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hip replacement                                                                     

 operations         |£3,810         |50,790         |50,725                         

                                                                                    

Cataract extraction |£1,230         |<3>92,184      |<3>97,894                      

                                                                                    

Coronary artery                                                                     

 bypass grafts      |£5,870         |10,612         |12,041                         

<1>The estimated national average costs at 1991-92 prices-including an              

allowance for capital charges.                                                      

<2>Source: Hospital episode statistics.                                             

<3>Eye lens operations-mainly cataracts.                                            

Clunis Inquiry

Sir Thomas Arnold : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will publish the findings of the health authorities' inquiry into the case of Christopher Clunis.

Mr. Bowis : The Ritchie report into the care and treatment of Christopher Clunis was published on 24 February.

Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has following the report of the Clunis inquiry to modify (a) her Department's draft circular on the discharge of psychiatric patients from hospital and their continuing care in the community and (b) Government policy on the reduction in the number of psychiatric beds.

Mr. Bowis : Our policy remains to encourage the development in every health district of a comprehensive range of services for mentally ill people, including sufficient in-patient facilities for those who need admission to hospital on either a short term or long term basis.

The draft guidance on the discharge of psychiatric patients is currently being considered in the light both of the comments received during the period of consultation, including the Ritchie report recommendations.

Accident and Emergency Departments

Ms. Jowell : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the accident and emergency departments in London together with the number of people treated in each year since 1989 and the number of patients they were designed to treat.

Mr. Sackville : Details of the number of accident and emergency departments in London, and their attendances during the period 1989 to 1993, will be placed in the Library. It should be noted that the London ambulance service also transport patients to 10 accident and emergency departments outside London when appropriate.

Information about the number of patients accident and emergency departments were designed to treat is not routinely collected.

Wandsworth Health Authority

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the total budget for the Wandsworth health authority for each of the last 10 years.


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Mr. Sackville : This is a matter for the South West Thames regional health authority. The hon. Member may wish to contact the regional chairman, Professor Marian Hicks, for details.

Lone Parents

Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will provide a ranking by county of the percentages of families headed by a female lone parent.

Mr. Sackville : The information is not readily available precisely in the form requested. However, two closely related statistics have been derived from published 1991 census tables, and this information will be placed in the Library.

Medical Research

Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria are applied by her Department in making funding available for research into medical conditions.

Dr. Mawhinney : The main agency through which the Government support biomedical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council, which receives its grant in aid from the office of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The MRC is an independent body deciding what research to support on its own expert judgement. The council is always willing to consider for support soundly based new scientific proposals in competition with other applications.

The purpose of the Department's centrally commissioned programme of research is to secure a scientific basis for departmental policies, with an emphasis on public health, policy on health services and personal social services rather than on medical conditions. The principles governing the commissioning of departmental research are set out in its code of practice for the commissioning and management of research and development, copies of which will be placed in the Library.

The strategic framework for the national health service research and development strategy, which is co-ordinated through the Department, is set by the central research and development committee. NHS issues, appropriate for research and development, are being identified in relation to six overlapping perspectives, one of which is disease related. Within each of these perspectives, broad areas are defined on the basis of burden of disease, service relevance, timeliness and likely benefits of research.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the incidence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Mr. Sackville : The incidence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy has been estimated as 2.5 in 100,000 population per year-- The British Medical Journal, 13 February 1993.

Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what consideration she has given to research undertaken into hypertrophic cardiomyopathy outside the United Kingdom ;

(2) if she will make funding available from her Department for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy research ;


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(3) how much money her Department has allocated for research into hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Mr. Sackville : The main agency through which the Government support biomedical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council which receives its grant in aid from the office of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Within the Department of Health research funding is determined by priorities identified in accordance with national policy and the advice of specialist committees which take into account existing domestic and international research. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is not one of the Department's research priorities. The Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association does, however, currently receive a section 64 grant from the Department.

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people, broken down into age categories, have received private eye tests in each year since the introduction of NHS sight test charges.

Dr. Mawhinney : This information is not available.

Dame Jill Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the number of eye tests carried out following the introduction of regulations on visual display unit usage.


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