HC Deb 10 February 1987 vol 110 cc154-5
13. Mr. Frank Cook

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what recent representations he has received about establishing improved salaries for speech therapists.

Mr. Newton

There have been numerous representations about this subject, which is a matter for Whitley council negotiations.

Mr. Cook

The Minister will know that in the National Health Service there is a serious shortfall in the level of salaries paid to speech therapists as compared with those paid to other graduate professionals. The Minister should know that that shortfall can amount to as much as 70 per cent. The Minister will agree, I think, that the level of responsibility in no way justifies that differential. How can he justify that kind of situation?

Mr. Newton

The hon. Gentleman will, I am sure, accept that I, too, very much value the important work of speech therapists within the Health Service, and indeed elsewhere. He will also be aware that the speech therapists, at their own request, were not included in the review body provisions when they were set up. It remains the case, therefore, that these are matters for negotiation within the Whitley council.

Ms. Richardson

When will the Minister realise that the efforts of people such as speech therapists, who are making cases for equal pay for work of equal value, are seriously impaired by the cumbersome and obstructive nature of the procedure? When will he ask his right hon. Friend to simplify the procedure so that people such as these can claim equal pay, and women attracted into speech therapy may find it a rewarding profession in a monetary way as well as in every other way?

Mr. Newton

I shall draw my right hon. Friend's attention to what the hon. Lady has said, but she will understand that I would not wish to comment further on these cases as I understand that appeals have been lodged with the employment appeals tribunal.

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