§ Mr. Dobson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the criteria which he intends to apply when deciding the value of the asset base and the charge on assets for foundation trusts will be the same for private finance initiative hospitals and other hospitals. 
§ Mr. Hutton
[holding answer 14 October 2003]: All national health service bodies are at present required to earn an annual return of 3.5 per cent. of their average relevant net assets held during the year. This charge is paid by NHS trusts as Public Dividend Capital (PDC) dividend. The assets of NHS foundation trusts will be valued on the same basis as those of NHS trusts at present, using the current cost accounting base.
The cost of capital charged on NHS foundation trusts' asset base in 2004–05 will also be calculated on the same basis as for NHS trusts at present. Clause 13(4) of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill will require that the PDC dividend payment required from foundation trusts would be calculated on the same basis as that for NHS trusts. Details of the criteria are available in the "NHS Capital Accounting Manual", which is obtainable from the Department's website at www.doh.gov.uk.