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Tax Credits (Wales)

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many families in Wales are eligible for the Working Families Tax Credit; [154552]

Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of the number of families in Wales in receipt of the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) are shown in the WFTC Quarterly Enquiries, copies of which are in the Library.

On the Children's Tax Credit, I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answers given to the right hon. Member for Caernarfon (Mr. Wigley) on 6 February 2001, Official Report, column 497W.

Fuel Duties

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on the level of fuel duties; and if he will make a statement. [154708]

21 Mar 2001 : Column: 236W

Mr. Timms: The Government have received numerous recent representations on a wide range of issues including fuel duties. These have all been given careful consideration.

Taxation (Shrewsbury and Atcham)

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have gained since 1 May 1997 in Shrewsbury and Atcham from the (a) reduction in VAT on fuel, (b) reduction in the basic income tax and (c) introduction of the 10p starting tax rate; and if he will make a statement. [154659]

Dawn Primarolo: All people in Shrewsbury and Atcham who have purchased domestic fuel and power since 1 September 1997 will have benefited from the reduced rate that came into effect on that day.

Nationally, almost all income tax payers gain from the introduction of the 10p starting tax rate and more than 85 per cent. of taxpayers gain from the cut in the basic rate.

For the number of taxpayers in Shrewsbury and Atcham, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 19 January 2000, Official Report, column 513W.

Annuity Reform

Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out the calculation underlying the statement in the Red Book 2001, page 95, paragraph 5.67, on the costs of undertaking annuity reform; and if he will make a statement. [154144]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Relaxing the existing requirement to purchase an annuity would provide an incentive for some to use pension schemes for purposes other than providing a secure income throughout retirement. Costs will vary depending on the nature of any reforms, including what level of income must first be secured and what tax charge is applied to withdrawals above that level. Proposals for tax-free withdrawals could cost billions of pounds a year in lost income tax and extra tax relief.

Income Tax Returns

Mr. Rendel: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many days leeway are allowed before a fine is imposed for late submission of personal income tax returns after the due date. [154584]

Dawn Primarolo: Where a tax return is received on the day after the statutory filing date, no penalty is imposed for late submission.

The statutory filing date for most returns is 31 January, so such a return received on 1 February is not penalised. A return found in tax office post box by 7.30 am on 2 February is assumed to have been delivered before midnight on 1 February, and is not penalised.



Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many midwives there were in (a) May 1997, (b) 1979 and (c) at the latest date for which

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figures are available (i) in total and (ii) in full-time equivalents; and if he will assess the impact of the 1994-95 change from a pay scale based system to an occupation code-based one. [142990]

Mr. Denham: The information requested is set out in the table.

The system of classifying National Health Service staff by occupation code introduced in 1995 has proved successful, improving quality of information and at the same time reducing the burden on data suppliers.

NHS hospital and community health services: midwifery staff in England as at 30 September each year

YearWhole time equivalentHeadcount

(11) Not available


1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10

2. Figures exclude learners and agency staff

3. A new classification of the non-medical work force was introduced in 1995

4. Information based on this classification is not directly comparable with earlier years


Department of Health Non-Medical Workforce Census

Community Health Councils

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the role of local councils following the abolition of community health councils. [144193]

Ms Stuart: The democratic deficit in the National Health Service has long been recognised. In future, democratically elected councillors will take on from community health councils the important function of scrutinising local NHS service through local authority overview and scrutiny committees (OSCs).

The provisions that give local authority OSCs the new powers to scrutinise the NHS are contained within the Health and Social Care Bill, which is currently before Parliament. The Bill will enable the OSC to scrutinise and review the operation, management and development of the NHS bodies within its area, it will then make reports and recommendations of those NHS bodies based on the results of that scrutiny.

The aim of the new scrutiny arrangements is to allow flexibility and to enable the building of local authority scrutiny models that are fit for ensuring that the NHS is scrutinised rigorously, and that scrutiny is democratically accountable to the local population.

Treatment Costs

Ms Rosie Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of the average cost per NHS patient of treatment by (a) an orthopaedic and (b) a podiatric surgeon. [147270]

Mr. Denham: We have made no such estimates.

21 Mar 2001 : Column: 238W

Nurses (Housing)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what housing is being built for nurses employed in NHS hospitals in the Greater London area. [148312]

Mr. Denham: In the spring of last year a housing co-ordinator was appointed to facilitate access to appropriate affordable housing for National Health Service staff in London and already some 500 units have been available.

An accommodation bureau has also been established and a database now exists containing all the units available. The bureau will enable individual members of staff to be made aware of what is available and to ensure that maximum efficiency is made of the accommodation we currently now access.

A number of bids involving some 7,500 new homes for own occupation for NHS staff have been made under the Starter Home Initiative Challenge Fund via the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. These are currently being evaluated and an announcement will be made in June.

Overseas Doctors

Mr. McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what support and assistance he will be providing to assist overseas doctors in completing the required professional and language tests to enable them to register in this country as part of his proposal to recruit overseas doctors under the NHS plan. [149804]

Mr. Denham: We have no plans to support doctors (many of whom will still be resident in their home countries) while they prepare for professional and language tests that are, in themselves, no guarantee of employment in the United Kingdom. The early stages of testing are, however, more accessible as they are now available in a number of countries outside the UK.

Free Eye Tests

Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in (a) the UK and (b) each health authority area benefited from free eye tests in the last year. [153147]

Mr. Denham: In 1999-2000, there were some 11.8 million free National Health Service sight tests carried out in the United Kingdom. Figures for health authorities in England are shown in the table.

Barking and Havering71,990
Bexley and Greenwich73,790
Brent and Harrow88,530
Bury and Rochdale71,460
Calderdale and Kirklees113,930
Camden and Islington57,770
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly95,410
County Durham98,070
Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow97,490
East and North Hertfordshire102,700
East Kent128,480
East Lancashire103,720
East London and the City129,190
East Riding106,560
East Surrey63,540
East Sussex145,170
Enfield and Haringey93,560
Gateshead and South Tyneside70,050
Isle of Wight26,560
Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster49,490
Kingston and Richmond50,760
Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham105,590
Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth95,570
Morecambe Bay59,260
Newcastle and North Tyneside101,320
North and East Devon95,610
North and Mid Hampshire90,270
North Cumbria60,250
North Derbyshire59,240
North Essex176,190
North Nottinghamshire81,100
North Staffordshire85,070
North West Lancashire103,740
North Yorkshire125,300
Portsmouth and South East Hampshire117,820
Redbridge and Waltham Forest98,430
Salford and Trafford85,830
South and West Devon137,330
South Cheshire125,870
South Derbyshire116,550
South Essex146,830
South Humber70,180
South Lancashire41,710
South Staffordshire112,150
West Hertfordshire99,270
West Kent179,630
West Pennine80,190
West Surrey123,040
West Sussex149,260
Wigan and Bolton101,500

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