HL Deb 01 December 1966 vol 278 cc812-3

3.49 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that these Regulations be approved. The noble Lord, Lord Hughes, has, with your Lordships' consent, spoken for England and Wales as well as for Scotland. There is, however, one Regulation for which there is no corresponding Scottish Regulation and to which I should perhaps draw your Lordships' attention. Under Regulation 48 no new employee of the Medical Research Council will, after a date to be specified, be admitted to the National Health Service Scheme. The Council are introducing their own superannuation scheme which new staff will join. An employee who was covered by the previous direction may be released from it to join the Council's own scheme if he gives notice to that effect in writing and if the Minister is satisfied that the Council will make adequate provision for his superannuation. This amendment has the full agreement of the Medical Research Council. I commend these Regulations to your Lordships. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That the Draft National Health Service (Superannuation) (Amendment) Regulations 1966, laid before the House on November 8, 1966, be approved.—(Baroness Phillips.)


My Lords, not only has Regulation 48 the "full agreement" of the Medical Research Council but, as the noble Baroness, Lady Phillips, will know, the Council has in fact been pressing it for four years, ever since 1962. So she is putting it in a lukewarm way. There are about 2,000 employees of the Medical Research Council involved here. They were not in the National Health Service super-annuation scheme until 1959. The academic staff were in the F.S.S.U. for universities, and joined the N.H.S. scheme only in 1959. By 1962 the Medical Research Council was anxious to return the academic staff to the F.S.S.U. for two reasons. First, the F.S.S.U. benefits, as a result of the recommendations of the Hale Committee, had increased substantially in value because of the additional supplements from the Treasury. Secondly—and this relates to the general point I mentioned earlier in relation to the whole National Health Service super-annuation scheme—the academic staffs found it extremely difficult to move from universities into the employ of the Medical Research Council because they could not transfer their pension rights from one scheme to the other. This underlines the necessity for full transferability.

Since it is four years ago that the Council first made representations on this matter to the Ministry of Health, I have no doubt it will be extremely pleased by this Regulation. It is likely that almost all the academic staff will take advantage of the option to transfer out of the N.H.S. scheme in order to return once again into the improved F.S.S.U. scheme.


My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord for his courteous response to this amendment. On a purely personal note, I could not agree with him more about transferability, speaking as a member of another profession where the same problems have arisen. I have been given a note to the effect that those in the F.S.S.U. were allowed to stay in it despite the direction; a transfer payment will be made from the National Health Ser vice scheme to the F.S.S.U. for those who transfer to it. I am not sure whether the noble Lord will understand the point; I do not. Perhaps it would be safer if I say that I will write to the noble Lord. I am glad the. Medical Research Council's employees are in agreement.

On Question, Motion agreed to.