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NHS Trusts: Financial Arrangements

Baroness Goudie asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Pursuant to the dissolution of 59 National Health Service trusts on 1 April 2002 and their reconfiguration through the establishment of 19 new NHS trusts, we propose to create originating capital for the new NHS trusts equal to the net assets transferred to them and therefore to remit the outstanding debt of the dissolved trusts.

A number of primary care trusts were also established during the year. Public dividend capital is

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not required for the establishment of new primary care trusts as they are subject to a different financial regime. Net assets transferred from dissolving NHS trusts to primary care trusts are reflected in the general fund of the primary care trust.

These operations involved no overall loss to the Exchequer. Her Majesty's Treasury has today presented a minute to the House giving particulars and circumstances of the proposed remission which it has approved in principle.

CITB and ECITB: Quinquennial Review

Lord Hughes of Woodside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When will they begin the quinquennial reviews of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB).[HL2081]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): In accordance with the Government's policy of conducting quinquennial reviews of all non-departmental public bodies, my department is today beginning reviews of the industrial training boards, CITB and ECITB. Following Cabinet Office guidelines, the terms of reference for the first stage of the review will be:


    To review the functions of the boards, and the likely need in the future for these functions;


    To consider whether some or all of the functions can be better performed through other means;


    To review the efficiency and effectiveness of the boards in carrying out their functions;


    To consider the powers, terms of reference, constitutional status, membership and activities of the boards;


    To ensure initial findings are available for consideration in and, if appropriate, incorporation into, the Government's skills strategy;


    To report the outcome of Stage 1 of the review by June 2003.

We should welcome comments on those matters to be covered by the reviews from all those with an interest in the work of the CITB and ECITB. Comments, which may be made public unless respondents specifically request otherwise, should be sent by 30 April to:


    Anne Donkin


    Department for Education and Skills


    E4c


    Moorfoot


    Sheffield S1 4PQ


    or by e-mail to: [email protected]

We have asked that this first stage of the review should be completed by 27 June 2003.

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Coal-fired Generation Plants

Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the total amount of coal burnt at coal-fired generation plants with flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) equipment in each year between 1997 and 2002 compared with the amount at plants without FGD; and[HL1783]

    What was the total amount of sulphur dioxide emissions from coal-fired generation plants with flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) equipment in each year

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    since 1997 and 2002 compared to the amount emitted from plants without FGD; and[HL1784]

    What was the average amount of sulphur dioxide emissions per gigawatt generated from coal-fired plants with the flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) equipment in 2002 or the latest 12-month period available, compared with the equivalent figure from plants without FGD.[HL1785]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The following table contains the information requested:

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Statistics for UK coal-fired plant 1997 to 2000 with and without flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) equipment

Year(1)
QuestionUnit1997199819992000
Total amount of coal burnt with FGD000s tonnes12,29812,83811,39611,540
Total amount of coal burnt without FGD000s tonnes33,02533,78928,18738,565
Total amount of SO2 emitted with FGD000s tonnes501355445
Total amount of SO2 emitted without FGD000s tonnes941922704756
Average amount of SO2 emitted per gigawatt generated with FGD000s of tonnes per GWh—(3)4.09(2)1.791.48
Average amount of SO2 emitted per gigawatt generated without FGD000s of tonnes per GWh—(3)10.779.798.74

(1) Data for 2001 and 2002 not yet available.

(2) The FGD plant at AES Drax was out of commission for much of the year.

(3) Data not available.


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Non-producing Milk Quota Holders: ECJ Ruling

Lord Carter asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the consequences of the European Court of Justice ruling in the Thomsen case for non-producing milk quota holders.[HL2080]

Lord Whitty: The ruling of the European Court of Justice in the Thomsen case has important implications for UK dairy farmers. It means that quota holders who do not produce against their quota for one year will have it confiscated to the national reserve. In effect, non-producing milk quota holders (NPQHs) will no longer be able to hold quota. Leasing out of quota will not be enough to avoid confiscation.

There has understandably been considerable interest in the timetable for implementation of the ruling in the UK. We can confirm that the new rules will apply from 1 April 2004. Accordingly NPQHs who have not produced against their quota in 2003–04 will be allowed until 31 March 2004 to sell it. If they do not do so by that date, it will be confiscated to the national reserve. During the 2003–04 quota year NPQHs may lease out quota if they so wish.

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Currently, NPQHs who lose their quota may apply for its restoration within six years of confiscation if they resume active production. However, under current EC proposals this period may be reduced to two years.

In association with this, we shall be going out to consultation later in the year on the possible introduction of a 70 per cent usage rule. Under such a rule, producers who do not use at least 70 per cent of their quota over a period to be fixed would have all or part of the unused portion confiscated to the national reserve. The introduction of such a rule would depend on the outcome of the consultation exercise. Subject to final confirmation of the legal base, we also propose to consult on breaking the link between quota and land, which will make it easier for tenants to buy in their own right any quota released by NPQHs.

We recognise that the change concerning NPQHs is an important one and have publicised the new rules widely, including sending individual letters to all NPQHs. We believe that we have put in place a fair transitional arrangement that both allows NPQHs a reasonable period of time to adjust to the new circumstances and also recognises the UK's obligations under Community law.

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