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Nhs Employees

Volume 124: debated on Thursday 17 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list for the most recent convenient date the number of posts (a) established and (b) filled in each region for the following groups of National Health Service employees (i) medical laboratory scientific officers, (ii) speech therapists, (iii) occupational therapists, (iv) clinical physicists, (v) clinical biochemists and (vi) clinical psychologists.

Figures for staff in post are shown in the table. Information on established posts is not collected centrally.4·5 to 5 per cent. instead of 6·5 to 7 per cent., after excluding the compensation for the payment of 20 per cent. rates.

It would have cost an additional £156 million in public expenditure to set the rates for 1988–89 at the levels suggested.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the effect on a married couple with two children at primary school and a gross income of £100 per week with rent and rates of £43 per week, of (a) the loss of income due to the non-indexing of child benefit to inflation in each year from 1985 to 1988, (b) changes in housing benefit, (c) changes from family income supplement to family credit and (d) the abolition of free school meals.

[holding answer 7 December 1987]: Comparisons must be somewhat hypothetical, since assumptions must be made for how the current scheme would have been carried forward, had it not been replaced from April 1988. Assuming, for this atypical example, that the main assumptions are similar to those used in the "Impact of the Reformed Structure of Income Related Benefits" published at the same time as the uprating statement on 27 October and that, of the £43 specified for rent and rate payments, £33·20 is for rent, £8·02 is for local authority rates and £1·78 is for water rates, the answer is as follows. The loss in net disposable income from the child benefit uprating in November 1985 (expressed at current prices), was 44p per week. For the July 1986 upratings this figure fell to 37p a week, and in April 1987 it fell further to 33p per week. No loss of net income arises from child benefit in April 1988 because the family credit structure provides automatic compensation and, in cash equivalent terms, replacing family income supplement and free school meals by family credit raises disposable income for such a family by £5·95. Reform of the housing benefit scheme would reduce such a family's rate rebate by £4·94 and rent rebate by £7·62.