§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what information he has concerning the
(a) (b) (c) (d) Value in April 1955 money terms Column (a) expressed at July 1986 prices1 Value in July 1986 money terms Column (c) as Index Column (b) = 100 Comparative levels of Social Security Benefits and Values of Tax Allowance to Basic Rate Taxvavers £ £ £ Married couple retirement pension (per week) 3.25 29.45 61.95 210.4 Single person tax allowance (per annum)2 274.00 2,482.50 2,335.00 94.1 Married couple tax allowance (per annum)2 374.00 3,388.55 3,655.00 107.9 Family Allowance 1 Child Benefit plus Child Tax Allowances (where appropriate) for a married couple plus 2 children aged under 11
number of ancillary staff who are employed by doctors in general practice and who are the spouse or other relation of the doctor concerned;
(2) what information he has concerning the average reimbursement to doctors in general practice for ancillary staff to whom they are related; and how that average reimbursement compares to that which is paid on average for unrelated staff;
(3) if he will introduce legislation to ensure that equal payments are made for the ancillary staff of doctors in general practice regardless of whether they are relations of the doctor or not; and if he will make a statement;
(4) what recent discussions and correspondence have been entered into by his Department with interested parties concerning payments for ancillary workers who are related to doctors in general practice.
§ Mr. Newton
In 1984–85, the latest year for which figures are available, 282 related ancillary staff were employed at some stage during that year. The allowance currently payable to practitioners for employing related staff is £2,005 per annum, provided such staff work not less than 19 hours a week.
We have no centrally held information about hours worked by related ancillary staff, so it is difficult to make valid comparisons between the allowances paid to doctors in respect of their related and unrelated staff. However the fact that a "pay differential" exists is acknowledged. Indeed my predecessor met representatives of the General Medical Services Committee of the BMA and of the Doctors' Wives Association to discuss the matter on 19 February 1986. It was agreed that the Department, in conjunction with the GMSC, should draw up detailed proposals for reimbursing doctors for their related ancillary staff in the same way as unrelated staff, provided this could be done with reasonable safeguards against abuse and at no extra cost to the National Health Service. The GM SC and the Doctors' Wives Association accepted that proposals would be drawn up subject to these constraints. On 25 June 1986 officials wrote to the GMSC with proposals and we await their response.