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Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his assessment is of the degree of convergence between the UK and economies in the euro zone between 1992 and 2000; and what his estimate is of the degree of convergence between 2001 and 2004. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: Sustainable convergence between Britain and the economies of a single currency is one of the five economic tests set out by the Government. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said we will make another assessment of the five economic tests early in the next Parliament.
Miss Melanie Johnson: The determining factor underpinning any Government decision on joining the single currency is whether the economic case is clear and unambiguous. Because of the magnitude of the decision, the Government believe that, if a decision to enter is taken by Government, it should be put to a referendum of the British people.
Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 15 January 2001]: As stated in the National Audit Office report on "The Sale of Part of the UK Gold Reserves", published on 12 January, the average price secured for the gold sold at the nine auctions held to date is $275.01 per ounce (paragraph 8 and 2.16).
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(16) Not seasonally adjusted
(17) The most recent data available are from October 200. Therefore the annual growth rate for 2000 is based on data from January to October for 1999 and 2000.
Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 16 January 2001]: So far 22 countries have reached Decision Point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. This is the point where debt relief has been agreed; 100 per cent. relief in the case of the UK.
The Chancellor announced on 2 December last year that the UK would no longer benefit from the historic debts of the 41 HIPC countries. This means that, for those countries yet to secure debt relief because of civil wars, external conflict, or absence of a poverty reduction programme, all payments will be held in trust for the day that they become eligible for debt relief.
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Mr. Denham: The table outlines cash funding from the Department to Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth Health Authority in the three year period 1997-2000. The funding is broken down into cash limited and non-cash limited services.
|Cash limited(18)||Non-cash limited|
(18) Includes payments made on HAs behalf
The figures given in the second table are for total income of the St George's Hospital National Health Service Trust from the Department. However, it should be noted that this includes income other than that received from the Department (via health authorities and primary care groups) by means of contracts.
St. George's Healthcare NHS Trust summarisation schedules 1997-98, 1998-99 and 1999-2000
Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total cost per annum to the NHS is of (a) all public relations staff, materials and related expenditure including external contracts and (b) annual reports of health authorities, trusts and PCGs. 
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what impact his proposals for the NHS to pay for nursing care in nursing homes from October 2001 will have on the amount residents are charged when they are being helped with their fees by the social services. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 15 January 2001]: There will be no change in their personal contribution for most people currently receiving means-tested nursing home care through social services, because their incomes will not be high enough for them to be contributing to the cost of their nursing care. Any personal contribution they make to their care will go towards the cost of the services provided by social services.
Nursing home fees are made up of three components--nursing care, personal care and accommodation costs (accommodation, heating, food etc). Subject to legislation, the National Health Service will become responsible for the nursing care provided by a registered nurse. This will
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reduce the proportion of the fees for which social services are responsible. The proportion of the fees for which a means-tested contribution may be made will be reduced by the amount paid by the NHS. Where people's personal contribution means they are currently paying towards their nursing care, they will in future receive their nursing care free through the NHS.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what account was taken in respect of payment of fees for services in nursing homes, of the high level of fees paid by self-funders, and of the likely change in fee levels over the period covered by the Comprehensive Spending Review. 
Mr. Hutton: The spending review has included provision for forecast future inflation, including fee levels in residential and nursing homes. It has also made provision for the introduction of free nursing care in nursing homes from October 2001. The main beneficiaries of this change will be the people who currently pay all their care costs.
Mr. Hutton: Annual information is collected from local authorities in England on the number of clients aged 65 or over who, following an assessment of needs, are receiving day care provided by or on behalf of the local authority. Detailed statistics are available in the statistical report "Community Care Statistics 1999-2000--Referrals, Assessments and Packages of care for adults". Data on expenditure by local authorities in England on non-residential services for the elderly are also collected annually and are published in the Statistical Bulletin "Personal Social Services current expenditure in England: 1998-99". Copies of both publications are available in the Library.
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