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Financially Challenged Trust Regime: Health Services

Volume 471: debated on Tuesday 29 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has powers to (a) write off and (b) sell the debt of NHS trusts within the Financially Challenged Trust Regime. (174472)

The value of any loans or public dividend capital to national health service trusts are recorded in the balance sheet of the Department's accounts as an investment. Subject to HM Treasury approval the Secretary of State has the powers to write off the value of any investment held with an NHS trust. Such a write-off would constitute a loss to the Exchequer and would as a consequence be reported in the Department of Health Resource Accounts. In such cases, in advance of the remission of debt, HM Treasury presents a minute to the House of Commons to give the particulars of the remission and to explain the circumstances.

The Department currently has no plans to sell the debt of financially challenged trusts or to write it off. If the Department were to consider these options it would seek the advice of HM Treasury.