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Railtrack

Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the average loss to private shareholders as a result of the administration of Railtrack. [16027]

Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.

The administrator will be seeking to obtain the best value he can for the assets in Railtrack plc. If there is a surplus value, net of liabilities, this will be made available to Railtrack Group plc and its shareholders.

International Tax Recoveries

Mr. Gray: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 25 October 2001, Official Report, column 374W, on international tax recoveries, if the two recoveries of over £100 million were from companies linked as sisters or subsidiaries; if they were over £200 million; and what the largest sum recovered was. [15135]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 20 November 2001]: The two cases involving recoveries in excess of £100 million in the year 2000 are unrelated. The amount recovered from each taxpayer exceeded £200 million. Because of the Inland Revenue's duty to maintain taxpayer confidentiality it is not possible to disclose precisely how much was recovered from any single taxpayer.

Clergy (Working Families Tax Credit)

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of clergy claiming working families tax credits. [16294]

Dawn Primarolo: The Working Families Tax Credit Quarterly Enquiry shows the number of recipient families in which the main earner has a professional occupation. It is not known how many of these main earners are clergy.

BCCI

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what proposals have been made for the settlement of the BCCI action against the Bank of England; [15915]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Government are not a party to this litigation.

Special Purpose Vehicles

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many special purpose vehicles to facilitate public- private finance the Treasury has approved in the last 12 months. [15803]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Treasury does not approve individual special purpose vehicles.

The term special purpose vehicle is often used to describe the corporate body created when private sector companies join together to provide services under a specific public-private partnership. It will be the contractual counterparty to the public sector partner.

21 Nov 2001 : Column: 363W

Individual Departments will evaluate special purpose vehicles bidding for contracts against standards set for capability, technical capacity, and financial and economic standing. Departments may also have concerns about changes in the special purpose vehicle's shareholders during the life of the contract. Office of Government Commerce guidance on Standardisation of PFI contracts contains advice to Departments on this subject.

Friendly Societies

Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if changes in the status of friendly societies arising from the coming into force of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 will affect the liability of friendly societies for particular taxes; and if he will estimate for each particular tax liability change the impact on revenues which will arise over the first year in which the changes are implemented. [15917]

Mr. Andrew Smith: There are no changes to the tax liabilities of friendly societies as a result of the coming into force of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

Inland Revenue

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from the Public and Commercial Services Union on his Department's proposal to privatise the Inland Revenue's distraint work in England and Wales; for what reasons his Department has introduced the proposal; and if he will make a statement. [16355]

Dawn Primarolo: I have received a number of representations from members of the Public and Commercial Services Union, and will be taking into account their comments as further consideration is given to this proposal.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact on the quality of public service which would result from the privatisation of the Inland Revenue's distraint work in England and Wales; what plans he has to introduce a regulatory framework for bailiffs working on behalf of the Inland Revenue; and if he will make a statement. [16356]

Dawn Primarolo: The implications of the proposed change are still under consideration.

HEALTH

Coronary Heart Disease

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the incidence of coronary heart disease among women and men, broken down by UK standard region, was (a) in the last 12 months and (b) (i) 10, (ii) 20 and (iii) 30 years ago. [9853]

Jacqui Smith: Figures for the incidence of coronary heart disease across the United Kingdom are not available on a consistent basis over 30 years.

The table shows the number of finished consultant episodes for hospital in-patients in England (this is not the same as incidence data) where the main diagnosis was ischaemic heart disease. Hospital episode statistics (HES)

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data only go back as 1989–90. Prior to this, information is not available in the format requested. Until 1985, data were collected via the hospital in-patient inquiry, which is not directly comparable with HES data due to a number of changes in the methods of collection. Changes in the boundaries between regional health authorities which existed in 1989–90 and the regional offices which are in place now mean it is not possible to make direct comparisons by region over the 10 years.

Finished consultant episodes where the main diagnosis was ischaemic heart disease, by Regional Office (Regional Health Authority) area of residence NHS Hospitals, England 1989–90 and 1999–2000

MaleFemaleNot known/ not specified
1999–2000
Northern & Yorkshire Region32,95120,4558
Trent Regional Office26,69316,4202
West Midlands Regional Office24,12512,8558
North West Regional Office35,63922,0982
Eastern Regional Office25,42312,4928
London Regional Office28,43214,03928
South East Regional Office34,69818,039130
South West Regional Office23,81512,6905
Other3,2381,3091
Not known221790
Total235,235130,494192
1989–90
Northern RHA10,3486.6470
Yorkshire RHA12,8627,6100
Trent RHA14,6478,3730
East Anglian RHA5,7112,5380
North West Thames RHA11,0695,0902
North East Thames RHA13,2366,92611
South East Thames RHA11,7235,6810
South West Thames RHA7,7033,9760
Wessex RHA6,9503,7332
Oxford RHA6,2922,9889
South Western RHA8,9594,6580
West Midlands RHA14,6127,5930
Mersey RHA8,2355,3241
North Western RHA14,4689,5291
Other5,4962,5104
Not known3,4311,8120
Total155,74284,98830

Note:

1. An FCE is defined as a period of patient care under one consultant in one health care provider. The figures do not represent the number of patients, as one person may have several episodes within the year.

2. The main diagnosis is the first of seven diagnosis fields in the HES data set, and provides the main reason why the patient was in hospital.

3. Regional Health Authority/Regional office boundaries have changed since 1989–90, but the HES database system does not have the facility to present earlier years in terms of 1999–2000 RO boundaries.

4. Data for 1989–90 are adjusted for both coverage and unknown/invalid clinical data, 1999–2000 figures are not yet adjusted for shortfalls.

Source:

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Department of Health.


Fire-safe Cigarettes

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of fire-safe cigarettes. [11864]

21 Nov 2001 : Column: 365W

Jacqui Smith: Officials have had discussions with representatives of the main manufacturers in the United Kingdom on the possible effects of certain additives on the burning rates of cigarettes.

One manufacturer is engaged on the development of a cigarette paper modified to control the burn rate.

Officials are aware of the development of standards governing ignition propensity and at least one branch conforming to these standards has been introduced in the United States.

Fluoride

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of whether proposals to raise the level of fluoride in drinking water involve the use of hexafluorosilic acid. [13685]

Jacqui Smith: Hexaflurosilicic acid (also called hydrofluorosilicic acid) is approved for use in artificial fluoridation schemes under the Water Industry Act 1991 and is subject to compliance with a Code of Practice on the Technical Aspects of the Fluoridation of Water Supplies published by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The code covers the design, construction, operation and maintenance of fluoridation plant to ensure that the correct level of fluoride is added and there are fail-safe precautions against overdosing. The code includes a detailed specification for added chemicals with advice to water companies on how to check the purity of the chemicals against the specification.

All substances used in the treatment of water supplies are approved by the Drinking Water Inspectorate, acting on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for DEFRA.


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