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Government Departments: London Weighting Allowance

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): Responsibility for determining whether to pay civil servants a London weighting allowance, and at what level, is a matter for individual government departments and agencies. This information is not held centrally.

Airports: Frontier Control System

Lord Wallace of Saltaire asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they have taken to facilitate segregation at United Kingdom airports between passengers arriving from outside the European Union/European economic area and those arriving from inside, against the contingency that a future United Kingdom government might decide to reduce the level of border controls between the United Kingdom-Ireland common travel area and the Schengen countries.[HL939]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The operators of the airports most affected try to retain some flexibility in the design of their terminals and airfields. But the scope for this is limited and they are guided by the Government's clearly stated view that the United Kingdom will retain its existing system of frontier controls.

Non-departmental Public Body Appointments

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider it to be in the public interest for senior ministerial appointments to public office to be subject to parliamentary scrutiny before they are made; and, if not, what are their reasons for that view.[HL945]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Ministers are accountable to Parliament for the public appointments they make to non-departmental public bodies. These appointments are regulated and monitored by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. The Government are committed to the principle of appointment on merit and do not consider that further parliamentary vetting or agreement of these appointments would improve the appointments process or increase the calibre of appointees.

English Channel: Collisions

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are satisfied with the present arrangements for avoiding collisions and wrecked vessels in the English Channel.[HL948]

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Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The Government are satisfied with the present arrangements for the routeing of shipping.

Shipping in the English Channel is controlled through a mandatory traffic separation scheme (TSS) jointly administered by the UK and French authorities, with France looking after the north-east lane and the UK the south-west lane. The Channel Navigation Information System (CNIS) based at Dover Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) contributes to the safety of navigation within this area by encouraging vessels to comply with the IMO adopted procedures for vessels navigating within the TSS and collating and providing the latest information to shipping on activities, conditions and navigational irregularities which may affect safe navigation.

With respect to the "Tricolor", which sank on 14 December, the French authorities have marked the wreck with five Cardinal buoys, 600 metres from the wreck, one of which is fitted with a Racon, an electronic radar echo enhancing device. The French vessel the "Glaive" is on guard duty at the wreck site in addition to the salvage tug "Alphonse Letzer" and the salvage barge "Asian Hercules". Navigational warnings are being issued hourly to ships in the area.

Rear Seat Belts

Baroness Masham of Ilton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will introduce legislation similar to Section 5 of Anton's Law, passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Bush, to require the installation of lap and shoulder seatbelts in all rear seats of new cars.[HL959]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: An amendment to the European Community directive on seat belts has required new types of car approved from April 2002 to be fitted with lap and diagonal seat belts in all forward-facing rear seats and will apply to all new volume produced cars registered from October 2004.

Paddington Underground Station

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why Paddington Underground station was closed on the afternoon of Tuesday 7 January.[HL963]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Station closures are an operational matter for London Underground.

Bus Stop Clearways

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether further action is planned to make waiting at marked bus stops by vehicles other than buses an offence.[HL1005]

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Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 (SI No 3113), which come into force on 31 January, require that all new bus bays marked on the carriageway must be marked as bus stop clearways. They specify the conditions of use of new bus stop clearways and remove the requirement for a traffic regulation order. Failure to comply with the markings is an offence under Section 36 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. Decisions on which bus stops should be protected with bays as clearways, and the times during which waiting by vehicles other than buses should be prohibited, remain the responsibility of the relevant traffic authority.

Safeguarding Children

Lord Northbourne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they accept the findings of the recently published joint chief inspector's report on arrangements to safeguard children that "many services [are] under pressure and experiencing major difficulties in recruiting and retaining key skilled and experienced staff" (paragraph 1.15); and "that failures to provide an adequate response by social services departments are often due to staff shortages within children's teams in social services" (paragraph 1.19); and, if so, what action they propose to take.[HL659]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Government are aware, more recently from the joint chief inspectors' report Safeguarding Children, that many areas are experiencing problems in relation to recruitment and retention of social workers. The Government accept that they have responsibilities to work alongside local authorities and other employers. That is why we have invested £1.5 million in a national recruitment campaign, which has been running since October 2001. It is also why we are introducing a specific grant of £9 million in 2003–04 to local councils to help them deal with the linked problems of recruitment and retention. In addition, a new three-year social work degree will be introduced in September 2003.

The recommendations of the joint chief inspectors' report Safeguarding Children, including that relating to the recruitment and retention of sufficient levels of appropriately qualified staff, are currently being carefully considered across government.

NHS: Staffing

Lord Tebbitt asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 11 December (WA 42–43), how many of the increase in staff working for the National Health Service between 1997 and 2001 were (a) persons with medical or nursing qualifications and (b) qualified in professions allied to medicine.[HL806]

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Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The information requested is shown in the following table.

Between September 1997 and 2001, the number of doctors employed in the National Health Service has increased by 9,550 (10.7 per cent), nurses have increased by over 31,500 (9.9 per cent) and allied health professionals have increased by 6,300 (14 per cent).

NHS HCHS and general practice workforce in England; 1997–2001
numbers (headcount)

19972001% Change 1997 to 2001(1)Average annual % change 1997 to 2001(1)
Total including retainers1,058,6901,167,17010.22.5%
Total excluding retainers1,058,6901,166,02010.12.4%
All doctors excluding
of which hospital
medical consultants20,20024,40020.84.8%
Registrar group11,91013,22011.02.6%
of which hospital
medical registrar group11,36012,65011.42.7%
Other doctors in training19,55020,6905.81.4%
of which hospital
medical doctors in
Hospital practitioners
and clinical
Other hospital medical
Other medical and dental
GMPs excluding
Unrestricted principals
and equivalents27,10027,8402.70.7%
Other practitioners(3)9509601.30.3%
GP registrars1,3401,88040.28.8%
GP retainers1,150n/an/a
Qualified Nurses318,860350,3809.92.4%
HCHS qualified nurses300,470330,54010.02.4%
Practice nurses18,39019,8507.91.9%
Qualified scientific,
therapeutic and technical
of which: qualified Allied
Health Professionals(4)45,02051,32014.03.3%


(1) Changes calculated excluding GP retainers, who were first counted in 1999.

(2) Most of these doctors also work as GPs. To avoid double counting, medical hospital practitioners and medical clinical assistants are not included in the all doctors total.

(3) Other practitioners include assistants, restricted principals, salaried doctors (para 52 SFA) and PMS other GPs.

(4) Allied health professionals are qualified staff from chiropody, dietetics, occupational therapy, orthoptics/optics, physiotherapy, radiography and art/music/drama therapy occupational codes.


Department of Health, General and Personal Medical Services Statistics. Data as at 1 October 1997 and 30 September 2001.

Department of Health, Medical and Dental Workforce Census. Data as at 30 September 1997 and 2001.

Department of Health Non-medical Workforce Census. Data as at 30 September 1997 and 2001.

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