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Rail Disruptions

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the cost to the Scottish economy of the recent rail disruptions. [145660]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman) on 28 November 2000, Official Report, column 582W.


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. [145635]

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.

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the attitude of Scottish business towards (a) entering and (b) staying out of the euro. [145658]

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.


Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what average price per ton was secured by the Bank of England for the recent sale of gold which he instructed them to carry out. [145631]

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).

Service Industries

Mr. Willis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the average growth in earnings for service industries in each year from 1974, at 2000 prices. [145741]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 16 January 2001]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

17 Jan 2001 : Column: 245W

Letter from Karen Dunnell to Mr. Phil Willis, dated 17 January 2001:

Annual growth rates in average earnings for service industries AEI, Great Britain


(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.

Debt Relief (HIPC)

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many countries are receiving debt relief through the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative. [145849]

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.


Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth Health Authority (Funding)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much funding in each of the last three years he has given to the Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth Health Authority; [145158]

17 Jan 2001 : Column: 246W

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.

Funding for Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth, 1997 to 2000

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--total income from Department of Health



St. George's Healthcare NHS Trust summarisation schedules 1997-98, 1998-99 and 1999-2000

NHS Costs

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. [144934]

Mr. Denham: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Nursing Home Charges

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. [144922]

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

17 Jan 2001 : Column: 247W

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. [145870]

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.

Day Care (Elderly People)

Mr. Gorrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what statistical data he collects on the provision of local authorities of day care for the elderly. [145580]

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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