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22 Feb 2005 : Column 479W—continued

Swimming Pool Accidents

Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many fatal accidents have occurred to (a) adults and (b) children in domestic swimming pools in each of the last five years. [216789]

Mr. Timms: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Alan Whitehead, 22 February 2005:

Number of deaths from accidental drowning in domestic swimming pools(14)in (a) adults aged 16 and over, and (b) children aged under 16, England and Wales, 2001 to 2003(15)

Number of deaths in Year
(a) Adults(b) Children

(14)Cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes W67.0 and W68.0.
(15)Figures are for deaths occurring in each calendar year.

22 Feb 2005 : Column 480W

Tax Credits

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what monitoring his Department is carrying out to ensure that the Tax Credit Office liaises with those individuals who are required to repay overpayments and who await the outcome of their application concerning the reconsideration of recovery of tax credits, to ensure that the repayments are affordable; [216902]

(2) whether the Inland Revenue liaises with individuals who have accrued overpayments of tax credits in order to agree a level of affordable repayment. [216903]

Mr. Timms: The Inland Revenue regularly assesses and reviews its procedures for recovering tax credit overpayments. Their Code of Practice 26 What happens if we have paid you too much tax credit?" explains that where a claimant has been paid too much they will normally be expected to pay back the overpayment. It describes a number of measures the Revenue has put in place to protect against hardship being caused by the recovery of an overpayment. A copy is available on the Inland Revenue website at

Tax Exempt Savings

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1)if he will list increases to the premium limit of tax exempt savings plans since 1992; [217171]

(2) what estimate he has made of the cost to the Treasury of raising premiums of tax exempt savings plans to (a) £600 per annum and (b) £1,200 per annum. [217172]

Mr. Timms: The premium limit for tax exempt savings plans was increased from the 1992 level to the current level on 1 May 1995, the day on which the Finance Act 1995 was passed.

The estimated current cost of tax-exempt savings plans, with an annual premium limit of £300 is around £70 million per year and in recent years this cost has been increasing at an annual rate of about 10 per cent.

Increasing the limit to £600 or £1,200 per annum would potentially cost the Exchequer an extra £30 million or £120 million per year respectively in the long run. Doubling the limit would not necessarily double the cost because many tax-exempt savings plan customers do not save at the current maximum.

Women (Dismissals/Redundancies)

Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many women were (a) dismissed and (b) made redundant in each year between 1997 and 2004. [215474]

Mr. Timms: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Keith Vaz, dated 22 February 2005:

22 Feb 2005 : Column 481W

Women who were dismissed or made redundant(16)

12 months
ending November
Dismissed Made Redundant

(16)Based on responses to the LFS about dismissals and redundancies experienced in the three months prior to being interviewed.
ONS Labour Force Survey


General Practitioners

15. Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioners in the NHS have lists closed to new patients. [216980]

Mr. Hutton: The Department does not collect data on the number of practices with closed lists. Since 1997 there are 3,169 more GPs working in the NHS and spending on primary care is set to increase under the new GMS contract from £6.1 billion to £8 billion by 2005–06—a 33 per cent. increase.

19. Mr. McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines he issues on standardisation of computer equipment used by general practitioners. [216985]

Mr. Hutton: Requirements For Accreditation" (RFA) specify a core set of requirements for primary care computer systems which all general practitioner systems must be capable of performing. The RFA process, first introduced in April 1993, is operated by the NHS Information Authority, which is the sole provider of accreditation testing services.

Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of general practitioners are women in (a) England and (b) the area covered by Durham and Tees Valley strategic health authority. [215569]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The latest figures available—30 June 2004—show that 38 per cent. of all general practitioners 1 in England are women. In the area covered by Durham and Tees Valley strategic health authority, 34 per cent. of general practitioners are women.

22 Feb 2005 : Column 482W

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to inform general practitioners about additional training requirements necessary to assist the delivery of patient choice; how this training will be organised; and from what sources the funding of this training will be drawn. [210819]

Mr. Hutton: The Department published a delivery framework for the implementation of choice and booking at the point of general practitioner referral in August 2004. The framework is intended to support primary care trusts (PCTs) in fulfilling their responsibility for implementing patient choice and booking in local health communities, including ensuring appropriate training and support for primary care staff. The delivery framework is available at

Material has been made available nationally at to help PCTs deliver training. It is for PCTs to determine locally the funding for training from within the financial allocations made by the Department. The Department allocates revenue funding to PCTs on the basis of the relative needs of their populations. The Department has also made available an additional £44 million annually in 2003–04, 2004–05 and 2005–06 to support PCTs in implementing new booking systems that support patient choice.

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