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21 Mar 2001 : Column: 236W
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. 
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. 
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.
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.
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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. 
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.
|Year||Whole time equivalent||Headcount|
(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
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.
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. 
21 Mar 2001 : Column: 238W
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.
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. 
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.
|Barking and Havering||71,990|
|Bexley and Greenwich||73,790|
|Brent and Harrow||88,530|
|Bury and Rochdale||71,460|
|Calderdale and Kirklees||113,930|
|Camden and Islington||57,770|
|Cornwall and Isles of Scilly||95,410|
|Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow||97,490|
|East and North Hertfordshire||102,700|
|East London and the City||129,190|
|Enfield and Haringey||93,560|
|Gateshead and South Tyneside||70,050|
|Isle of Wight||26,560|
|Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster||49,490|
|Kingston and Richmond||50,760|
|Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham||105,590|
|Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth||95,570|
|Newcastle and North Tyneside||101,320|
|North and East Devon||95,610|
|North and Mid Hampshire||90,270|
|North West Lancashire||103,740|
|Portsmouth and South East Hampshire||117,820|
|Redbridge and Waltham Forest||98,430|
|Salford and Trafford||85,830|
|South and West Devon||137,330|
|Wigan and Bolton||101,500|
21 Mar 2001 : Column: 240W
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