Mr. Milburn : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will estimate the cost of employing consultants in connection with privatisation programmes in which his Department has been engaged since 1980.
Mr. John M. Taylor : No Department for which the Lord Chancellor is responsible has incurred any consultancy costs in connection with privatisation programmes since 1980.
Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the average proportion of generic prescribing undertaken by general practitioner fundholders now and before they became fundholders.
Dr. Mawhinney : Information is not available to make such an assessment. The generic prescribing rate for fundholders in 1992-93 was 49 per cent. compared with 43 per cent. for other general practitioners.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the current salary paid to each chairman of an NHS trust.
Dr. Mawhinney : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Milburn) on 14 February at column 987.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to increase Government funding for research into Alzheimer's disease.
Mr. Bowis : The Medical Research Council is always willing to consider support for soundly based new scientific proposals in competition with other applications. Funding for the MRC is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
Ms Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the availability of NHS dental care in the Stoke-on-Trent family health services authority area ; and if she will make a statement.
Dr. Mawhinney : Staffordshire family health services authority, which includes Stoke-on-Trent, reports that
Column 500national health service dentistry is available in the area. Patients who need help in obtaining NHS dental treatment should contact the FHSA.
Ms Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list those dental practices in the Stoke-on-Trent family health services authority area which in the last 12 months have withdrawn NHS dental services.
Dr. Mawhinney : No dentist in Stoke-on-Trent has given such notice to the Staffordshire family health services authority during the last 12 months.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health by how much Humberside Ambulance Trust is overspent on budget.
Mr. Sackville : The 1993-94 finalised accounts will be published later this year.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list purchases of ambulance vehicles by Humberside Ambulance Trust since April 1993.
Mr. Sackville : This is a matter for the Humberside Ambulance Service National Health Service Trust. The hon. Member may wish to contact Mrs. Margaret Cracknell, chairman of the trust, for details.
Ms Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will revise the patients charter so that every patient seeking dental care under the NHS has access to NHS dental treatment on a planned and emergency basis ; and if she will make a statement.
Dr. Mawhinney : A working group, including representatives of the profession, has been set up to consider a charter for primary dental services. All family health services authorities report that they can if necessary assist patients seeking their help to receive national health service dental treatment.
Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many postgraduate deans have taken action against hospitals where juniors are working 83 hours a week since 1 April 1993.
Dr. Mawhinney : Postgraduate deans are core members of all our regional task forces. As such they are actively involved in developing and implementing plans to reduce junior doctors' hours.
Miss Lestor : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when was the annual report on the Children Act 1989 due to be published ; when it is now likely to be published ; and what are the reasons for the change of date.
Mr. Bowis : There is no set timetable for producing the Children Act report. The second report is in preparation and will be published shortly.
Mr. Hendry : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will publish the Government's response to the report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics.
Dr. Mawhinney : The Government's response to the report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics has been published today. A copy has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will estimate the cost of employing consultants in connection with privatisation programmes in which her Department and its predecessor have been engaged since 1980.
Mr. Sackville : The Department has no record of any consultants having been employed in connection with privatisation from 1980.
Mr. Jamieson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to make an announcement regarding the business plan for the cardiac unit in Plymouth.
Mr. Sackville : The business case for a cardiac unit at Derriford hospital, Plymouth is currently being considered by the south and west regional office of the national health service executive.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the report on the introduction of competency-based training for hospital officers and nurses, commissioned by the Home Office ; and if she will ensure with her ministerial colleagues that it is published.
Mr. Bowis : This is a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department.
Mr. Kaufman : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what annual salary is paid to (a) the chairman, (b) the chief executive, (c) the finance and administration director, (d) the medical director and (e) each of the non-executive directors of the National Blood Authority ; what other remuneration and perquisites each of these received ; and what is the total cost to the public funds of the National Blood Authority.
Mr. Sackville [holding answer 22 April 1994] : The information available centrally is shown in the table. Information about payments other than annual salary and about the total cost of the National Blood Authority is not yet available, as the authority came into being on 1 April 1993. In 1992-93 central funding for the National Blood Authority's predecessor body, the Central Blood Laboratories Authority, for revenue and capital expenditure totalled £6.788 million. This figure derives from the Central Blood Laboratories Authority's audited accounts
Column 502which are still subject to review by the National Audit Office. The bulk of the Central Blood Laboratories Authority's funding came from sales of plasma products primarily to national health service bodies.
Current annual |£ salary rate --------------------------------------------------------------------- Chairman |8,968 Chief executive<1> |<2>76,388 Finance and administration director<1> |<2>58,114 Medical director<1> |<3>51,165 Non-executive members Mr. L. Banks |5,000 Mr. D. Allison |5,000 Professor Van Aken |5,000 <1> The chief executive, finance and administration and medical directors are members of the NHS pension scheme. <2> Salary of chief executive and finance and administration director includes performance related pay. <3> The current post holder also receives an A+ distinction award at the rate of £48,605.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 29 November, Official Report, column 317-18, if he will update the information provided on awards of disability working allowance, also indicating the respective proportions of new and repeat claims which resulted in an award of benefit.
Mr. Scott : As of 31 March 1994 there were 3,680 current awards of disability working allowance.
The total number of claims for DWA with percentages, in the five-month period November 1993 to March 1994, was :
|Number |Percentage |resulting in |awards ----------------------------------------------------- New claims |3,356 |35.13 Repeat claims |2,302 |85.88 Total |5,658 |-
The number of claims adjudicated upon in the last five months is 5, 230.
The reasons for unsuccessful claims with numbers and percentages for each ground for disallowance in the last five months are in the table.
Reason |Number |Percentage ---------------------------------------------------------- Capital exceeds £16,000 |5 |0.24 Not in remunerative work |710 |34.23 Income exceeds DWA level |342 |16.49 No qualifying benefit |891 |42.96 Disability test |2 |0.1 Other reasons |124 |5.98
Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment he has made of whether the Child Support Agency is adequately staffed to deal speedily and effectively with its caseload.
Mr. Burt : We are keeping all parts of the agency's operations, including staffing levels, under close review. If changes should be needed we will make them.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 30 March, Official Report, column 788, to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris), if he will publish his correspondence with the Central Advisory Committee on War Pensions.
Mr. Hague : Correspondence between members of the Central Advisory Committee on War Pensions and Ministers is in confidence. It has never been the practice to publish such correspondence.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the cost of employing consultants in connection with privatisation programmes in which his Department has been engaged since July 1988.
Mr. Scott : This Department has no privatisation programme.
Mrs. Jane Kennedy : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what analysis the Benefits Agency makes of claims for disability living allowance which are referred to disability appeals tribunals ; and if he will provide a numerical breakdown of these cases.
Mr. Scott : The administration of disability living allowance is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mrs. Jane Kennedy, dated 3 May 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question, asking for an analysis of disability living allowance claims which are referred to disability appeal tribunals.
I have provided, in the attached appendix, a table of the analysis made by the Benefits Agency within this area. The table covers the period February 1992 to the end of March 1994.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Appendix: DLA claims referred to disability appeal tribunals between 1 February 1992 and 31 March 1994 |Number ---------------------------------------- Number referred |34,679 Number decided: Award increased |2,082 Award maintained |7,075 Award varied<1> |84 Award reduced |8 Allowed |7,320 Disallowed |1,292 Superseded increased<2> |874 Withdrawn |794 Lapsed |4 Defective |14 |--- Total |19,547 <1> The length of award changes, or monetary value remains the same but the components change. <2> The appeal was lodged but current decision was revised in the appellants favour without reference to the appeals tribunal.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people will face larger mortgage statements at the end of this month following the Government's decision to reduce mortgage interest relief to 20 per cent.
Mr. Dorrell : There are about 10 million single people or married couples with mortgages. Not all of them will make larger interest payments straight away as a result of the restriction of mortgage interest relief to 20 per cent. This is because some mortgages are subject to annual reviews and these may take place at different times of year. Lenders may apply the new rate of relief, and make any necessary adjustments, then.
In addition, some 200,000 borrowers receiving tax relief have loans that are not in the MIRAS--mortgage interest relief at source--scheme. For them, the restriction of relief has no effect on their interest payments, but will be made through their PAYE coding or in an annual assessment.
The number of borrowers with annual review mortgages is not known : a precise answer to the question is therefore not available.
Mr. Mills : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on the application of value-added tax to the standing charge portion of central heating and electrical supply bills ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir John Cope : I have received a large number of representations. I have made it clear on a number of occasions that the standing charge has always been regarded as part of the consideration for a single supply of fuel and power. If it were not, it would already have been standard rated as the services covered, when taken in isolation, have attracted VAT at the standard rate since 1 April 1973.
Ms Eagle : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many proposals to alter the valuation list have been referred to the valuation tribunal by each district valuation officer.
Mr. Nelson : The number of proposals to alter the valuation list which have been referred to the valuation tribunal by each valuation officer was 660,384 in total as at 31 March 1994. The numbers referred by each office individually are not held centrally ; however, the numbers referred in respect of each valuation office region are as follows :
Region |Appeals trans- |mitted ------------------------------------------------------ East Anglia |71,730 East Midland |60,547 London |98,031 Northern |63,008 North Western |58,738 South Eastern |65,501 Southern |80,150 Western |68,321 West Midland |57,936 |------- England total |623,962 Wales |36,422 |------- Total England and Wales |660,384
Ms Eagle : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many proposals to alter the valuation list have been received by each district valuation officer.
Mr. Nelson : As at 31 March 1994, a total of 945,795 proposals to alter the valuation list had been received by district valuation officers.
A breakdown by valuation office area of initial proposals received up to 30 November 1993 is available in the Members' Library.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward in the current parliamentary Session a Bill to give effect to the own resources decision agreed at the Edinburgh summit.
Sir John Cope : Before a Bill to approve the new own resources decision can be introduced, a text must be adopted unanimously in the Council of Ministers. Agreement is at present being blocked by Italy. Once agreement has been reached, and before the new decision can finally be adopted by the Council and sent to member states for their approval, conciliation must take place with the European Parliament. It is therefore not possible to know when the new own resources decision will be ready for final adoption by the Council and accordingly the Government are not in a position to say when the Bill might be introduced.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for which categories of public service employee provision has been made for an average pay rise of more than 1.5 per cent. in the current year ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : The Government expect public sector pay to be considered in accordance with the approach which the Chancellor announced in his statement of 14 September 1993. In 1994-95 Government Departments are expected to keep their running costs, including pay bills, to their 1993-94 levels in cash terms. A similar approach applies to other public sector pay groups. Provision has been set on this basis. This is not a freeze on pay settlements and does not pre-empt annual pay determination arrangements. Pay should be set at levels necessary to recruit, retain and motivate staff within what can be afforded. All parts of the public sector should be able to make efficiency savings and other economies necessary to accommodate the costs of pay increases on this basis.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact on foreign currency earnings from overseas visitors to the United Kingdom as a result of EC Commission proposal Com (94) 5813 to amend directive 77/388/EEC.
Sir John Cope : There are trade concerns that there could be an adverse effect on sales in the event of the adoption of the European Commission proposals for a minimum threshold of 175 ecu before non-EC visitors can claim a VAT refund. The United Kingdom has accordingly registered its opposition to this proposal and will continue to listen carefully to trade concerns.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the annual value to Customs and Excise of the special provisions in respect of VAT recovery of company cars ; and when the provisions were imposed and under what authority.
Sir John Cope : Taxation of the private use of business cars is mandatory under Community law. Since the inception of the tax in April 1973, the United Kingdom has achieved this through restricting tax recovery on the purchase of cars. The current legal basis for this simplified procedure is permitted under article 17(6) of the sixth directive (77/388/EEC) implemented in the United Kingdom by an Order made under section 14(10) of the VAT Act 1983. The provision is expected to contribute around an estimated £1.6 billion to the Exchequer in 1994.
Mr. Nigel Evans : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many excise verification officers are employed by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise on tasks connected with duty-paid imports to the United Kingdom from elsewhere in the European Union ; and what is the cost to public funds.
Sir John Cope [holding answer 29 April 1994] : During the financial year 1993-94 Her Majesty's Customs and Excise allocated 253 staff years to single market duties. The majority of this work, for which the salaries bill was £4 million, was performed by excise verification officers. In addition, VAT staff and others assist in the course of their normal work in the control of the sale of excise goods which have not paid United Kingdom duty.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many civil servants in his Departments applied in each year since 1986 through the business appointments system to take up an outside appointment (a) as an independent consultant, (b) with a firm of consultants and (c) in other employment ; how many were referrred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments ; and how many were granted.
Mr. Nelson [holding answer 3 May 1994] : The following table gives information from 1987 on applications from civil servants in my Department through the business appointments system to take up outside
Column 507appointments. Information prior to that date could be obtained only at disproportionate cost as it would involve sifting through individual files. The table also shows which cases were referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments and the total number of cases granted.
|(a) |(b) |(c) |Independent |Firm of |Other |Referred to |Total granted |consultant |consultants |employment |advisory/ |committee -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1987 |0 |0 |4 |0 |4 1988 |1 |2 |4 |0 |7 1989 |0 |6 |9 |1 |15 1990 |0 |6 |12 |0 |18 1991 |1 |1 |5 |1 |7 1992 |0 |1 |2 |0 |3 1993 |0 |0 |4 |1 |4
Mr. Burden : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what targets the Valuation Office Agency has set for clearing council tax valuation appeals.
Mr. Nelson [holding answer 3 May 1994] : The Valuation Office Agency expects four out of five appeals to be settled by 31 December 1994 and the remainder as quickly as possible thereafter.
Mr. Marlow : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 27 April, Official Report, columns 164-65, what was the projected monetary resources ceiling at the time of the Edinburgh summit ; how that has been affected in monetary terms by current projections of growth and GNP ; what are the implications for each year to 1999 in terms of change in available resources ; and what are the implications for moneys available for cohesion.
Sir John Cope [holding answer 3 May 1994] : The information is in the following table :
d |1993|1994|1995|1996|1997|1998|1999 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Own resources ceiling agreed at Edinburgh (per cent. of Community GNP) |1.20|1.20|1.21|1.22|1.24|1.26|1.27 Value of Edinburgh own resources ceiling on basis of growth projections available at the time (becu-1992 prices) |65.8|67.3|69.5|71.9|74.9|78.0|80.6 Value of Edinburgh own resources ceiling on basis of latest growth projections (becu-1992 prices) |64.4|65.2|67.1|69.4|72.3|75.2|77.8 Change in estimated available resources since Edinburgh (becu-1992 prices) |-1.4|-2.1|-2.4|-2.5|-2.6|-2.8|-2.8
The own resources ceiling is a legally binding limit on the amount of own resources which can be called up by the European Community to finance payments from the budget. In setting the annual budget, the budgetary authority--the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament--must ensure that the own resources ceiling is respected, if necessary by agreeing expenditure totals which are less than those in the financial perspective agreed at Edinburgh. The policies to be affected by these reductions would be for decision at the time.
Mr. Kaufman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the latest available figure for the total number of civil servants (a) including and (b) excluding those employed by "next steps" agencies.
Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 3 May 1994] : On 1 October 1993 there were in total 546,339 civil servants, the lowest in the post-war period. Of these 209,936 were not working in "next steps" agencies.
Dr. Marek : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the present number of civil servants taking legal action against their employer as a result of work-related upper limb disorders.
Mr. Waldegrave : I have been asked to reply.
This information is not held centrally.
Mr. Spellar : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what proposals his Department has for expanding the capacity of the cross- channel electricity interconnector.
Mr. Heseltine : None. It is for the industry to make any proposals of this kind.
Mr. Spellar : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what are the costs in lost revenue from the delay in commissioning the Sizewell B nuclear reactor ; and what are the reasons for the delay.
Mr. Heseltine : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Smith) on 22 April 1994, Official Report, column 708.
Mr. Spellar : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on progress in negotiations with the United States of America regarding access for British telecommunications companies to the United States market.
Mr. McLoughlin : The Government strongly support the effort of United Kingdom telecoms companies to enter the United States market and work closely with them. In particular, the Government have taken up with the United States authorities specific issues, including discriminatory regulation already in force or being proposed. The Government are continuing to press for further liberalisation and market opening in and outside Europe to provide better access for United Kingdom companies, and to benefit United Kingdom consumers through lower prices for international calls.