§ Mr. Hutton
The Government is committed to tackling low pay in the National Health Service. As part of NHS pay awards for 2002–03, extra resources were targeted to give proportionally greater pay increases to the lowest paid National Health Service staff. From 1 April 2002, all non-medical staff groups received an increase of either 3.6 per cent., or 400 if greater. There was also a range of targeted action focused on the lower paid. This gave a new national minimum hourly rate for staff directly employed by the NHS of £4.47 from 1 April 2002.
The minimum national adult rate, excluding trainees, has increased since 1997 from £3.46 an hour to £4.47 an hour; an increase of 29 per cent. in cash terms for staff directly employed in the NHS.
A proposed agreement on pay modernisation for NHS non-medical staff, Agenda for Change, was published on 3 March.2003 Staff organisations are currently consulting their members on the proposed agreement. If ratified, the agreement will, when implemented, provide a new minimum wage for directly employed staff of £10,100 (at 2002–03 pay levels), equivalent to £5.16 an hour. This will represent an 11 per cent, increase in basic starting salary for the lowest paid. Subject to the outcome of consultation, the proposed agreement will be implemented in a number of "early implementer' sites from June 2003 and nationally from October 2004. Under the proposed agreement, rates of pay will in addition be uplifted by 10 per cent, over the next three years, compared with the 2002–03 level set out above.
The information in this answer relates to England, although the Agenda for Change proposals apply across the United Kingdom. Pay for NHS staff in Scotland and Wales is a matter for the devolved administrations. Whilst the institutions in Northern Ireland are dissolved, responsibility rests with Ministers In the Northern Ireland Office.