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National Health Service (London Weighting)

Volume 21: debated on Tuesday 30 March 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the system of London weighting allowances used in the National Health Service provides for staff in different grades working at the same hospital to be paid different levels of allowance.

Yes. The system of cost-compensation allowance recommended by the Pay Board in 1974 produces a higher rate of allowance for employees in inner London than for those working further out. Until 1980, however, the available money was distributed evenly amongst all London-based NHS employees. In 1980 the NHS management proposed a two-zone system to ensure that employees in inner London were more adequately compensated for the cost of working there and that others were not over-compensated. Some groups of staff accepted this and others refused. The result is that some employees receive £932 per annum for working in inner London and £557 in outer London whereas others receive a flat-rate allowance of £722 wherever they are based. The present position has been produced by negotiations within the Whitley Council machinery and does not result from any Government policy.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the objective of the London weighting allowance payable to National Health Service employees.

The objective of the payment of an allowance is to compensate employees for the additional cost of working in London.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received about the policy of the Greenwich and Bexley area health authority in paying a lower level of London weighting allowance to professional, technical and administrative staff at Greenwich district hospital than to other grades employed in the same building.

A nationally negotiated agreement introduced a two-zone system of London weighting into the NHS in 1980 as a more equitable way of compensating for the additional costs of working in London. Some staff organisations would not agree to a two-zone system and preferred to retain for the staff groups which they represented the previous flat rate allowance covering the whole of London. I have received a number of representations from employees that the effect of this national agreement has been that different grades working in the same building may be in receipt of different rates of allowance. The responsibility rests with the Whitley Councils which negotiate these matters.