HL Deb 02 July 1979 vol 401 cc7-9

2.48 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government when community nurses are to receive adequate mileage rates for running their own cars in the interests of the service and what reply has been sent by the Department of Health and Social Security to the letter from the Royal College of Nursing drawing attention to the injustice of the present situation.


My Lords, mileage allowances were substantially increased in line with motoring costs on 1st April this year and the General Whitley Council for the health services has agreed a further increase in allowances from 1st June which takes into account recent petrol price movements and VAT changes announced in the Budget. A reply was sent on 19th June to a Royal College of Nursing letter on the subject dated 30th May. A reply to the College's further letter of 19th June will be sent as soon as possible.


My Lords, while thanking the noble Lord for that Answer, may I ask him just two brief supplementary questions. When will publication of the new rates take place? How do nurses compare with other employees of other local authorities? I should be delighted if he could give me proper answers to those questions.


My Lords, I shall endeavour to satisfy the noble Baroness with proper answers. The publication will take place tomorrow, and a copy of the new schedule will be placed in your Lordships' Library, as indeed it will also appear in the Official Report. In regard to the comparison between local authority employees and the community nurses, the situation is this: the lump sums paid—and I am referring here to the present system—are currently exactly the same as paid to local authorities. NHS mileage rates are very slightly less for mileage below 9,000 miles and slightly higher for the higher mileages.


My Lords, is my noble friend aware that petrol prices are supposed to be going up again this week, I think, and that therefore any allowances so raised as a result of the Budget might be slightly out of date, even by the end of this week?


My Lords, the new schedule which is to be published tomorrow gives the assumed petrol price at £1.10 per gallon. In the unhappy event that petrol prices increase further, that will have to be taken into account at the next review.

Following is the schedule referred to: