§ Tim Loughton
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on inflationary pressures on NHS budgets. 
§ Mr. Hutton
The level of healthcare cost inflation for the financial year 1999–2000 was 4.5 per cent. The figures are taken from the national health service hospital and community health service (HCHS) pay and price inflation index. The latest year for which data are available is 1999–2000. Assumptions for future years are based on our inflation target and possible recommendations from the pay review bodies.
In comparison, NHS expenditure in England increased by 8.9 per cent. (6.3 per cent. in real terms) in 1999—–2000.