Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:30 pm on 13th October 2003.

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Photo of Baroness Noakes Baroness Noakes Conservative 10:30 pm, 13th October 2003

I suppose that I should thank the Minister for the lesson on PDC, but perhaps I am one of the few people here who did not need it, along with the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath. The Minister said that Amendment No. 158 was not necessary because there was already a procedure for a Treasury minute on PDC. The amendment proposes that in instances where the PDC of an NHS trust is written off or cancelled in the 12 months prior to the NHS foundation trust being set up, that should require the approval of each House of Parliament. I think the Minister will agree that that is a different matter from a Treasury minute. A Treasury minute basically informs Parliament. I was talking about an approval process.

I am not sure that the Minister addressed the specific question that I raised, which was about the processes that are in place to clean up potential foundation trust balance sheets prior to their being set up. I understand the process whereby in the minute before a foundation trust is created, what is on the balance sheet carries over to the new one. That is fairly straightforward. I was focusing on what was going to be forgiven—knocked out of the balance sheet—in the lead-up to that process. Will the Minister comment on that?