§ Mr. William Clark
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has yet received a further report by the Joint Superannuation Consultative Committee; and if he will make a statement.
§ Sir K. Joseph
I have now received a supplementary report by the Joint Superannuation Consultative Committee covering two main items: the extent to which improvements to the main National Health Service scheme previously announced in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Mr. Buck) on 25th April 1972—[Vol. 835, c. 239–41]—can be extended to optants, namely, those employees who, on transfer to the National Health Service, opted to retain the provisions of the superannuation scheme to which they were previously subject; and a new scheme of injury allowances for persons engaged in the provision of health services. A copy of the report has been sent to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and a copy has also been placed in the Library.
For optants, other than those subject to schemes based on insurance policies, the committee recommends that pensions should be dynamised before being put into payment to counter the effect of inflation on a long averaging period; that service should be reckoned in years and days; and that similar provisions in regard to preservation of accrued benefits transferability and abatement on reemployment should be made as under the main scheme.
The new injury allowance scheme will apply to all persons engaged in the National Health Service, whether superannuable or not, who die or who cease employment on permanent incapacity as 83W a result of injury sustained or disease contracted in the coure of employment. The main feature is a scale of benefits designed to bring the total of all benefits, including certain social security benefits, to a proportion of average remuneration related to the degree of impairment as follows:—
Service 0–5 years 5–15 years 15–25 years Over 25 years Per cent. Per cent. Per cent Per cent. Slight impairment 15 30 45 60 Impairment 40 50 60 70 Material impairment 65 70 75 80 Total impairment 85 85 85 85
Additionally, there will be lump sum payments and there are provisions for widows and dependent children. The purchasing power of continuing allowances awarded under the scheme will be maintained by increases under the Pensions (Increase) Act.
The Committee's proposals will be implemented as quickly as possible.
Discussions with the British Medical Association and British Dental Association regarding their claim for special injury allowances for junior hospital doctors and dentists are continuing.