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Economic Statistics

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his assessment of the reasons for the scale of (a) the United Kingdom deficit and (b) the German surplus in table 6.4 of "Eurostat Basic Statistics of the Community in 1993" ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nelson : A country's visible trade balance depends on the strength of its own domestic demand and that of its trading partners, and on the level of its competitiveness.

Capital (Rate of Return)

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the rate of return on capital required by industry to justify investment in new manufacturing capacity solely for import saving and export and of the premium demanded to insure against an appreciation of the currency as a result of the Government's monetary and exchange rate policies.

Mr. Nelson : The upward movement of equity prices over the past couple of years does not necessarily signal any increase in industry's required rates of return. The January CBI "Industrial Trends Survey" showed, for the first time since July 1989, that on balance manufacturers are planning to increase investment in plant and machinery over the next 12 months.

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Mr. Colvin : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what conclusions Her Majesty's Customs and Excise have drawn on whether United Kingdom citizens are permitted to purchase alcoholic liquor abroad, pay duty in that country and have the goods delivered by a third party to a United Kingdom addresss ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir John Cope : Goods subject to United Kingdom excise duty which have been bought duty paid in another member state of the EU may be brought into the United Kingdom without further duty payment only if they have been purchased by a private individual for personal use and have been personally transported to the United Kingdom by the purchaser. Purchases made in a country outside the EU in excess of a traveller's allowance are subject to United Kingdom duty however they are transported.

Manufacturing Industry

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the change in the number of weekly hours worked in manufacturing industry since 1989 ; and what has been the impact on (a) shareholders, (b) the Exchequer and (c) the living standards of the British people.

Mr. Nelson : Statistics on the weekly hours of manual workers in the manufacturing sector are published each month in the Employment Gazette, table 1.12. Manufacturing productivity performance has been exceptionally good in recent years, and this sector is well placed to continue contributing to sustained economic recovery.

European Community

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what evidence he has of the extent to which the economic losses from EEC membership foreseen in the economic assessment White Paper of 1970--Cmnd. 4289--have been offset by gains ; what the gains have been ; and what he now assesses as being the balance of advantages.

Mr. Nelson : As paragraph 104 of the White Paper said, this is not a question to which any calculations could give a precise mathematical answer. Further, there have been major changes since 1970 in the economic, financial and trading relationship between the United Kingdom and the EC. A full update of all the contents of the White Paper could be undertaken only at a disproportionate cost.

Open Government

Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what will be the implications for the operation of his Department of the code of practice on open government.

Mr. Nelson : The Treasury will use the code of practice to build on its current arrangements for the provision of information. Details of the administrative arrangements will be available shortly.

Economic Growth

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the average rate of economic growth per annum in the United Kingdom in the period from 1964 (a) until the United Kingdom joined the EEC and (b) since the United Kingdom joined the EEC. Blue Book : "United Kingdom National Accounts", which is available in the House of Commons Library.

VAT (Domestic Fuel)

Mr. Nigel Jones : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to ensure that VAT is imposed only on fuel consumed after 1 April, and not before this date.

Sir John Cope : Transitional rules already exist giving fuel suppliers the option not to charge VAT on supplies made before 1 April. Customs have had meetings with British Gas and the electricity companies and arrangements are in the place for these suppliers to apportion bills straddling 1 April to take account of estimates of zero-rated supplies made before 1 April.

The Oval

Ms Hoey : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer under what powers the Treasury may object to any proposal by the Duchy of Cornwall to sell the freehold of the Oval.

Mr. Dorrell : The Duchy requires Treasury approval under section 11 of the Duchy of Cornwall Management Act 1863 for any sale or disposal of Duchy land or property. Before approving any such transactions, the Treasury needs to be satisfied that the Duchy will receive the full commercial value of the land or property being disposed. Under section 7 of the Duchy of Cornwall Management Act 1982, upon application by the Duchy, the Treasury can approve a sale or disposal at less than full value where the latter would be conducive to the good management of the Duchy. In exercising its authority, the Treasury has to take into account any effect on persons living on, or in the vicinity of, the land and to have regard to the interests of future Dukes.

If the Duchy does not satisfy the conditions for an approval under section 11 of the 1863 Act or under section 7 of the 1982 Act, the Treasury would object to the proposed transaction.

The Duchy of Cornwall is responsible for the day-to-day management of its assets, and for seeking Treasury approval to a sale or disposal of any land or property.

Funding Policy

Mr. Burns : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for funding policy in 1994-95 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nelson : The Chancellor has decided to set an annual remit for the Bank of England's operations in the gilt market to clarify responsibilities between the Treasury and the Bank, and to explain the Government's intentions to the markets. The remit will be published before the start of each new financial year.

Every year, the Government aim to sell enough gilts and national savings products fully to fund the PSBR, maturing debt that needs to be refinanced, and any net increase in the

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United Kingdom's foreign exchange reserves. There is no change to the Government's funding policy as set out in the November 1993 medium-term financial strategy.

The Treasury is responsible for all borrowing for the National Loans Fund, under the terms of the National Loans Act 1968. The Bank of England has long been the Government's adviser and agent in the gilt market, where the bulk of these funding operations are carried out.

The Chancellor will also give the Bank guidelines for the detailed operation of its remit. In the past, individual decisions on funding were taken after discussion between Treasury Ministers, Treasury officials, and the Bank of England. In future, any operations the Bank proposes that fall within the remit and the guidelines will normally be approved by Treasury officials. The Bank will send a monthly report to Treasury Ministers on progress, and there will be regular review meetings between the Treasury, the Bank and the Department for National Savings.

The remit for 1994-95 is as follows :

Funding requirement

As set out in the November 1993 Financial Statement and Budget Report, the Government will continue to operate a full fund policy. The PSBR for 1994- 95 was forecast in the Budget to be £38 billion. Some £9 billion of gilts are expected to mature in market hands and need to be refinanced. Maturing and withdrawn National Savings products will be netted off the National Savings contribution to funding, rather than included in the funding requirement. It is not possible at this stage accurately to forecast net changes over the year in the foreign currency reserves, so these will be assumed to remain unchanged on balance. Any overfunding in 1993-94 will reduce the funding requirement in 1994-95, and any underfunding increase it. The funding outturn for 1993-94 is not yet known.

The funding requirement for 1994-95 is currently forecast to be around £47 billion, adjusted for any over- or under-funding carried forward from 1993-94, and subject to any changes in the Reserves. National Savings

The net contribution of National Savings to funding (including accrued interest) is assumed to be around £3 billion. this is not a target, but an estimate based on experience in previous years and forecasts for 1994-95.

Other debt sales

Net sales of government debt instruments other than gilts and National Savings are expected to make a negligible contribution to funding.

Sales of gilts to banks and building societies

As announced at Budget time, the sales of gilts to banks and building societes in 1992-93 will be taken into account before the end of 1994-95. These amount to £6.8 billion, and the required level of gilt sales will be reduced by that amount.

Quantity of gilt sales

The Bank of England will aim to meet the remainder of the funding requirement by selling gilts to the private sector on the government's behalf. On the basis of the Budget forecast, this means selling approximately £37 billion of gilts, adjusted for any over or under- funding carried forward from 1993-94, and any change in the Reserves.

Pace of funding

The Bank should aim to sell at a broadly even pace through the year.

Methods of sale

Auctions will continue to form the backbone of gilt-edged funding. They will be held at broadly monthly intervals, each normally on the last Wednesday of a calendar month. Each auction should be between £2 and 4 billion of stock.

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The remainder of gilt sales may be made by ad hoc taps and tenders.


This remit may be reviewed and, if appropriate, revised by Her Majesty's Treasury from time to time. Revisions will be published.

G7 Jobs Conference

Mr. Burns : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will report on the G7 jobs conference in Detroit.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke : The Secretary of State for Employment and I attended the G7 jobs conference in Detroit on 14 to 15 March. Finance and Labour Ministers of the G7, together with some Economics Ministers and representatives of the European Union, attended this meeting, which was opened by President Clinton and presided over by Vice-President Gore. It was the first meeting of G7 Finance and Labour Ministers.

In his keynote opening speech President Clinton said that, in a world of accelerating technological advance, the major countries had to face a choice between protectionism and following the path of change. He said that America had chosen the latter. The President emphasised that people needed to be prepared for a higher skill world ; to be ready to change jobs many times in a career ; and to change attitudes towards employment of both the young and the old. In conclusion, he believed that the industrialised countries should discuss these issues because it would become easier for them to adopt the right policies at home if they were a part of an international consensus.

There was widespread support for these sentiments throughout the rest of the conference. None of the Ministers supported protectionism. The Secretary of State for Employment and I emphasised the need for sound macroeconomic policies to achieve sustainable growth, open and competitive economies with no protectionism to encourage innovation and enterprise, the importance of improved education and training and active labour market policies, together with flexible labour markets, the need to reduce the costs of employment, and the vital role of small and medium-sized enterprises.

US Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen read out a chairman's statement on behalf of the G7 at the end of the conference. A copy of this has been placed in the Library of the House. The chairman's statement supports the principles and policies that the Secretary of State for Employment and I advocated. It ends with a request for the Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development to examine the relationship between productivity, job creation and technology, especially information technology ; and to expand its analysis of data on job creation and job loss. The Ministers present agreed to send employment experts to learn about the employment and training programmes of the others.

I believe that this unique conference was very valuable. It will ensure that policies to reduce unemployment will be high on the agenda of G7 Governments, and will be discussed by Heads of Government at the forthcoming G7 economic summit in Naples. Examining and assessing the policies of other countries and achieving a wide measure of agreement on the way ahead will help our Governments to implement the policies necessary to reduce unemployment. The UK Government are absolutely committed to

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co-operating with this policy agenda in the G7 and the European Union, and to strengthening policies that will reduce unemployment.

Gross Domestic Product

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of gross domestic product and gross domestic product per head, for (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland, (d) Northern Ireland and (e) the United Kingdom ; and if he will indicate the appropriate percentages of the United Kingdom average in each case from (a) to (d) .

Mr. Nelson : The latest available estimates were published in the December 1993 issue of "Economic Trends", available in the House of Commons Library.

Tax Coding Notices

Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the number and proportion of incorrect notices of tax coding for 1994-95 which the Inland Revenue has sent out ; what are the principal reasons for the errors ; and what action is being taken to ensure more accurate notices of coding in future.

Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 14 March 1994] : Code numbers based on the latest information available to the Indland Revenue are issued in January and February each year. They may subsequently need to be amended if updated information is received or if the Inland Revenue has made an error. It is therefore too soon to estimate the number and proportion of 1994-95 code numbers that for any reason will need amending. The Inland Revenue is constantly striving to improve the quality of service it gives to taxpayers. It is setting targets for getting tax affairs right first time and has systems in place to monitor its performance.


Civil Servants

Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list for each civil service grade in his Department (a) the total number of persons employed and (b) the percentage of this figure that are women.

Mr. Lang : The number of staff and the percentage of women in post in the Scottish Office and associated departments as at 1 January 1994, excluding the Scottish Prison Service, are shown by grade equivalent in the table.

Grade (and               |Women       |Total staff |Percentage               


                                                   |of Women                 


1                        |-           |1           |-                        

2                        |-           |9           |-                        

3                        |4           |27          |14.8                     

4                        |3           |18          |16.7                     

5                        |18          |131         |13.7                     

6                        |36          |194         |18.6                     

7                        |86          |484         |17.8                     

Senior Executive Officer |57          |477         |11.9                     

Higher Executive Officer |290         |960         |30.2                     

Executive Officer        |504         |1,154       |43.7                     

Administrative Officer   |931         |1,363       |68.3                     

Administrative Assistant |905         |1,413       |64.0                     

Industrial Staff         |18          |491         |3.7                      

                         |---         |---         |--                       

Total                    |2,852       |6,722       |42.4                     

Slopping Out

Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list for each prison in Scotland his plans for ending slopping out.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 14 March 1994] : Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Scottish Prison Service under the chief executive, Mr. E. W. Frizzell. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given. Letter from E. W. Frizzell to Mr. John McFall, dated 17 March 1994 :

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton has asked me to reply to your Question about slopping out in Scottish prisons.

With the recent completion of the installation of in-cell toilets at Inverness and Aberdeen Prisons, there are 6 prison establishments, out of the total of 20 in Scotland, which in varying degrees require further sanitation facilities. These are Barlinnie, Dumfries, Edinburgh, Perth, Perterhead and Polmont YOI. (Greenock Prison has 4 cells without sanitation but these are held for observation purposes only).

A high priority is being attributed to the ending of slopping out, as indicated in the Estates Strategy for the Service (contained at Chapter 9 of, and Annex B to, the Scottish Prison Service Corporate Plan, a copy of which was deposited in the Library in August of last year). Work is continuing to be undertaken through a rolling programme which, among other things, has to take account of the feasibility of cells being taken out of use for this purpose at a time of high prisoner numbers.

Work is currently underway in installing an electronic locking system, to provide access to night sanitation, throughout a large part of the cellular accommodation at Polmont YOI and it is planned that this will be followed up by projects to provide in-cell toilets in the remaining accommodation.

In the coming financial year, sanitation work is planned to commence in Perth (E Hall), Edinburgh (D Hall), Dumfries (C Wing) and, provisionally, in the latter part of the year, in Barlinnie (D Hall). If we can maintain subsequent progress I would expect the programme to be completed by the end of the 1990s at the latest. Prisoner numbers will however have an important influence on how quickly work can be undertaken.


Life Expectancy and Infant Mortality

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the change in (a) life expectancy and (b) infant mortality in the last 10 years in (i) the United Kingdom and (ii) other OECD countries.

Mr. Sackville : Death rates in almost every age and sex group in the United Kingdom have been steadily declining over the period 1982 to 1991. This has resulted in increases in life expectancy. From 1982 to 1991 the United Kingdom life expectancy at birth has increased : males from 71.1 years in 1982 to 73.3 years in 1991, an increase of 2.2 years ; and females from 77.0 years in 1982 to 78.8 years in 1991, an increase of 1.8 years. For the same period the United Kingdom infant mortality rate has decreased from 1,098.1, per 100,000 livebirths, in 1982 to 735.0 in 1991, a decrease of 33 per cent. Further information is shown in the table.

The information for other Organisation of Economic Co-operation Development countries will be placed in the Library.

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Life expectancy and infant mortality rate for the 

United Kingdom                                    


           <1>Life             Infant             



Year      |Males    |Females  |<2>Rate            


1982      |71.1     |77.0     |11.0               

1983      |71.4     |77.2     |10.2               

1984      |71.5     |77.4     |9.6                

1985      |71.7     |77.5     |9.4                

1986      |71.9     |77.6     |9.5                

1987      |72.2     |77.9     |9.1                

1988      |72.4     |78.0     |9.0                

1989      |72.7     |78.3     |8.4                

1990      |73.0     |78.5     |7.9                

1991      |73.3     |78.8     |7.4                

<1>At birth.                                      

<2>Per 1,000 livebirths.                          


Population Trends (Tables 8 and 12), for          


World Health Organisation Statistics Volume 1992, 

for 1991.                                         

Nurse-patient Ratio

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to her answer of 25 February, Official Report, column 514 , if she will provide figures for the ratio of qualified nursing and midwifery staff to patients (a) by region and (b) by district in each year since 1988-89.

Mr. Sackville : This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Disability Symbol

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action she is taking to encourage health authorities and trusts to qualify for the disability symbol.

Dr. Mawhinney : National health service trusts and health authorities are free to work with their local employment service placing, assessment and counselling team to qualify for registration on the approved PACT list of disability symbol users.

Ovarian Cancer

Ms Corston : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many deaths of women for each of the last five years for which information is available were due to ovarian cancer ; what is the latest estimate of the risk of death within five years of the onset of this disease ; and what steps are being taken by her Department, and by hospital trusts, to improve detection in the earliest possible stages.

Mr. Sackville : Deaths from ovarian cancer in England and Wales for the years 1988-92 are shown in the table. The average relative five-year survival rate after diagnosis of ovarian cancer is 28 per cent. based on cancers registered in 1981. Early diagnosis of ovarian cancer offers the best prognosis. Research to develop an effective means of ovarian screening in reducing mortality is being undertaken by 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, who spent £318,000 on ovarian cancer research in 1992-93 ; as well as by national health service bodies and cancer charities.

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Deaths from ovarian  

cancer in England    

and Wales in the     

years 1988-92        

Year   |Deaths       


1988   |3,798        

1989   |3,934        

1990   |3,995        

1991   |3,866        

1992   |3,880        

PM10 Particulates

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of the Committee on Medical Effects' report into the health threat posed by PM10 particulates in the air ; (2) what is her estimate of the annual number of deaths caused by PM10 particulates ;

(3) what assessment she has made of the link between (a) cardiovascular and (b) respiratory disease and levels of PM10 particulates in the air ;

(4) what assessment she has made of the link between respiratory disease and particulates of less than 2.5 micrometres across.

Mr. Sackville : The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution has not yet reported on the adverse health effects of PM10 particulates in the air. In 1992, the Advisory Group on the Medical Aspects of Air Pollution Episodes concluded that particulate levels were low and not thought to pose a significant threat to health. They stated that this conclusion was tentative and noted gaps in the available information.

COMEAP has since stated that there appears to be sufficient evidence from recent studies in a number of countries to give cause for concern about the possible effects of current levels of fine particles upon health. This is a complex area and it is not yet clear what role changes in low levels of particles play vis-a-vis changes in levels of other pollutants and temperature and humidity in causing the changes in indices of mortality recorded in a number of studies. Despite these difficulties, reductions in levels of fine particles should be welcomed.

In response to a request from the Department for definitive advice on this issue COMEAP has set up a sub-group on particles to assess the latest evidence on the health effects of all particulate matter and advise on needs for further research.

Deaths are not recorded as caused by exposure to particulate matter. The sub-group examining the assumptions underlying the published calculations of mortality and will advise the Department as to whether an estimate of deaths due to particulates can be determined.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the health benefits of a limit on acceptable levels of PM10 particulates in the air.

Mr. Sackville : The Department is advised by the Committee on Medical Effects of Air Pollution, which have set up a particulates sub- group specifically to advise on the health effects of particulate matter. Additionally, the Expert Panel on Air Quality Standards makes recommendations on these to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. EPAQS and the Department of the Environment are considering a standard for particles.

Some members of COMEAP also serve on EPAQS and the professional staff from the Department are members of the secretariat.

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Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the link between asthma and PM10 particulates in the air.

Mr. Sackville : The Advisory Group on the Medical Aspects of Air Pollution Episodes reported in 1992 that suspended particulate matter contains acidic components which, in laboratory studies, have produced inconsistent changes in indices of lung function in asthmatic subjects. The Department has asked for further advice from the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution and they have set up a sub-group to assess the relationship between asthma and all air pollutants.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what evidence she has of a correlation between high levels of PM10 particulates in the air and hospital admissions.

Mr. Sackville : The Department is funding a study into the health effects of the London air pollution episode in December 1991. This study will relate hospital admissions to levels of air pollutants. A study conducted in Birmingham of the period 1988 to 1990 and published earlier this year has shown that levels of particulates measured as British standard black smoke are a significant predictor of hospital admissions for asthma and all other acute respiratory disorders.

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what expansion there has been in the facilities during the last three years at the Doncaster royal infirmary and Mexborough Montagu hospital trust for treating children with brain tumours and other cancers.

Mr. Sackville : The hon. Member may wish to contact the chairman, Mr. C. Bryant, for details.

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research has been undertaken by (a) her Department, (b) Trent regional health authority and (c) Doncaster health authority into the incidence of brain tumours or the incidence of cancers within the Trent regional health authority and Doncaster health authority areas.

Dr. Mawhinney : Regional cancer registries are the major source of information on cancer incidence rates. The Department funds the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys to produce data on national incidence rates, but does not fund analysis of this data on a regional basis. The Department also funds the Childhood Cancer Research Group at the University of Oxford through which research is carried out into childhood cancers of all kinds. This research is largely carried out on a national basis and provides data on national incidence rates of childhood cancers.

Analysis of cancer incidence rates at a regional or district health authority level can be carried out by the Regional Cancer Registry, if requested by regional or district health authorities. Last year, the director of public

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health for the Doncaster health authority obtained data from the Trent Regional Cancer Registry about the occurrence of brain tumours, both in the Doncaster district and in the Trent region, for the period 1982-88. These data showed that the rate of occurrence of brain tumours in Doncaster is consistent with the rates in Trent and in England and Wales, since 1982.


Ms Corston : To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to her answer of 8 March, Official Report , column 159 , what information her Department has available centrally on (a) the number of dental surgeons (i) providing national health service treatment and (ii) not providing national health service treatment and (b) the division of costs between NHS and non- NHS treatment.

Dr. Mawhinney : Available information is shown in the table. The table shows, for the Avon family health services authority area, national health service expenditure on gross fees paid to dentists providing general dental services and the number of dentists in contract with Avon FHSA to provide NHS dental treatment.

Gross fees and number of dentists-Avon Family   

Health Services                                 

Authority, 1983-84 and 1988-89 to 1993-94       

Year        |Gross fees |Number of              



            |(£ million)                        


1983-84     |12.9       |336                    

1988-89     |19.4       |364                    

1989-90     |19.3       |374                    

1990-91     |21.3       |372                    

1991-92     |25.6       |374                    

1992-93     |25.7       |374                    

1993-94     |<3>-       |382                    

<1> Fees paid to dentists for provision of NHS  

treatment, including patient charges.           

<2> Includes principals, assistants and         

vocational trainees at 30 September.            

<3> Information not available.                  

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have been deregistered by their dentists in each regional health authority area in England and Wales during each of the last four years ; and how many dentists in each of the regional health authority areas have been involved in the deregistration.

Dr. Mawhinney : The information requested, which has been collected centrally for England since 3 July 1992, is shown in the table. Over the period July 1992 to December 1993 there was a net increase of over 600,000 patients registered with dentists and 264 dentists in contract with family health services authorities.

Information relating to Wales is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

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