§ Chris Grayling
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost of the minimum income guarantee to GP practices in the next five years. 
§ Mr. Hutton
The minimum practice income guarantee (MPIG) forms part of the proposed new general medical services contract. It will ensure that any practice which would have lost income as a result of the introduction of the global sum arrangements will receive funding equal to its previous level of income from those aspects covered by the global sum providing it meets minimum standards of quality.
The British Medical Association and NHS Confederation have announced details of the MPIG for the first two years of the new contract. Beyond 2005–06, the application of the MPIG will be considered in the light of the review of the allocation formula.
The costs of the MPIG are estimated at £393 million in 2004–05 and £293 million in 2005–06 in England. These costs form part of the financial envelope for primary care investment already agreed between the NHS Confederation, the BMA and Government and which remains unchanged.
§ Mr. Bercow
To ask the Secretary of State for Health by when he expects the GP contract will come into force. 
§ Mr. Hutton
Should the profession vote in favour of the contract, and subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary legislation, the Government's intention is that the implementation timetable would be as set out in chapter 8 of "Investing in Primary Care—the new GMS contract". This lists which elements would be introduced from 2003–04 and elements which would be introduced from 2004–05.
§ Mr. Colman
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made on the new GP contracts for those practising in the London area. 
§ Mr. Hutton
If accepted by the profession, the new national general medical services (CMS) contract will apply to all CMS practices including those in London. Personal medical services contracts will continue as a permanent complementary local option.
In recognition of the particular problems faced by practices in the London area, the new CMS contract provides for an off-formula addition to the funding available to London practices. In 2004–05, this would amount to £53 million. Taken with the recently announced minimum practice income guarantee this means that no practice in London would lose against their global sum equivalent, so long as they continue to provide the same or a greater range of services and meet minimum quality standards. They would gain from the considerable additional funding provided for primary care—a 33 per cent. increase United Kingdom-wide by 2005–06.