§ Mr. Francois
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total cost of early retirement to the NHS budget was in the financial year 2000–01. 
§ Mr. Hutton
The Department does not hold details of total early retirement costs for 2000–01 for the national health service. However, under the provisions of the NHS compensation for premature retirement scheme, during 2000–01, NHS employers have paid ongoing contributions totalling £86,118,000 and capital sums totalling £106,603,000, which includes £46,419,000 for a special exercise to clear residual liabilities for scheme members over age 60. These contributions defray expenditure on benefits, in respect of early retirements in the years up to and including 2000–01.