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4 May 2004 : Column 1461W—continued


Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the cost in each of the next 10 financial years from 2006–07, net of savings in means-tested benefits and additional income tax revenues, of paying from April 2006 a basic state pension to all single people aged 75 or above at the rate of the guarantee credit for single people regardless of contribution record, and a basic state pension to all couples where one or both partners is aged 75 or above at the rate of the guarantee credit for couples, with that pension being indexed to earnings in subsequent years, and assuming that the savings credit is abolished for those aged 75 or above. [170649]

Malcolm Wicks: The information is not available in the format requested. However such information as is available is in the table.
£ billion

(25)Net cost

(25) Before tax
1.   The net cost includes all savings except for additional Income tax revenue, (see note 3). Figures are for Great Britain in 2004–05 price terms, using the GDP deflator index, rounded to the nearest £100 million.
2.   Basic State Pension costs are estimated by the Government Actuary's Department and are consistent with Budget 2004 assumptions and use 2002 based population projections. Basic State Pension costs refer to the additional costs after allowing for consequential changes to National Insurance Fund benefits and non-means tested vote benefits.
3.   Additional income tax revenue is estimated by the Inland Revenue using current tax rates. The Income tax estimate for 2006–07 is based on the 2001–02 Survey of Personal Incomes and is projected in line with March 2004 Budget assumptions. The cost net of income tax revenue in 2006–07 is £2.6 billion. For illustrative purposes, we have assumed income tax revenue to be a fixed percentage of the gross cost for this option in 2007–08 and 2008–09. Therefore, the illustrative total net cost in 2007–08 is £2.6 billion and in 2008–09 is £3.1 billion. Estimates for later years would be subject to a greater degree of uncertainty.
4.   The State Second Pension is assumed to be unchanged.
5.   The savings credit is abolished for those aged 75 from April 2006 with no payments to existing pensioners and no new recipients after 2006.
6.   The savings from savings credit and other income related benefits (guarantee credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit) are calculated using the Department's policy simulation model for 2006–07. It is assumed that the proportion of savings calculated for the first year is constant for subsequent years.

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Winter Fuel Allowance

James Purnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many senior citizens in Stalybridge and Hyde have benefited from the winter fuel allowance since 1997. [168738]

Malcolm Wicks: The number of senior citizens in the Stalybridge and Hyde constituency who have benefited from a winter fuel payment in each year since 1999–2000 (including provisional figures for 2003–04) is in the table. Information relating to the 1997–98 and 1998–99 winters is not available.
Payments made

1.   Numbers are rounded to the nearest five.
2.   Please note that the figures for 2003–04 refer only to the main payment run i.e. they do not include the late payment run figures. We estimate that there are approximately 100,000 people in Great Britain paid via late payment runs (0.8 per cent. of all payments). However, since late payment runs are mainly in respect of non-system cases whose claim had not been received by Qualifying Week, they are heavily skewed towards men aged 60.
IAD Information Centre, 100 per cent. samples.


Norfolk and Norwich Hospital

15. Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will make a statement on the PFI contract in respect of the Norfolk and Norwich hospital. [169837]

Dr. Ladyman: The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital PFI scheme was the fourth major PFI scheme to reach financial close and sign contracts. The Norfolk and Norwich is a high quality hospital and was recently named among the top 40 hospitals in the UK by an international company involved in measuring healthcare performance.

Hospital-acquired Infection

16. Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will make a statement on MRSA in hospitals. [169838]

Miss Melanie Johnson: We already have standards to ensure there is a managed environment which minimises the risk of infection to patients, staff and visitors. We are confident that implementation of our action plan
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"Winning Ways" will reduce infection rates for all healthcare associated infections including methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus.

NHS Dentistry

17. Mr. Best: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what plans he has to increase the number of NHS dentists in Leeds. [169839]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Currently 145 dentists are treating NHS patients in the Leeds area. The overall number of dentists treating NHS patients in Leeds has remained similar for the 12 months to December 2003, the latest data that we have available. The primary care trusts in Leeds are currently preparing action plans to submit to West Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority, which include plans to increase the numbers of dentists accepting NHS patients locally.

19. Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on NHS dental provision in south Devon. [169842]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The whole of the South West Peninsula strategic health authority area has been identified as an "Options for Change" field site, and dentists are increasingly opting for the new ways of working that Personal Dental Services allows. Teignbridge PCX, along with others in the Peninsula, is currently working on a Dental Action Plan which is expected to be agreed later this month.

Health Inequality

18. Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the public health reports from primary care trusts in areas suffering from health inequality. [169841]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Strategic health authorities are responsible for agreeing local national health service plans informed by public health reports. SHAs are leading work on monitoring the performance of primary care trusts, and take a particular interest in areas experiencing health inequalities. We are in discussion with SHAs about ways of assessing the impact of these reports.

Elderly People (Abuse)

20. Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his Department's policy on the abuse of elderly people. [169843]

Dr. Ladyman: Since 1997 the Government have been active in promoting better and more consistent standards of care for older people through the publication and implementation of the National Service Framework for Older People and National Minimum Standards of care for a range of services. Raising standards of care is the best way to minimise abuse and neglect. In addition the statutory guidance "No Secrets" provides a national framework for local councils and partner agencies to use in developing local multi-agency codes of practice to prevent and tackle abuse. Local codes of practice had to be in place by October 2001. Shortly, the Government will also implement the
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Protection of Vulnerable Adults scheme, which will act as a work force ban on those that have harmed vulnerable adults in their care.


21. Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to assist the work of local diabetes self-help groups. [169844]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department is funding Diabetes UK—the major charity for people with diabetes—to undertake a user involvement project to help people with diabetes become fully involved in local decision making about their diabetes services.

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