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Access Radio

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): The Government have considered Professor Everitt's report (New Voices: an evaluation of 15 access radio stations) and are minded to bring forward a draft order which would introduce a new tier of access radio stations once the Communications Bill becomes law. Before beginning to draft an order, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport will write to the Radio Authority, the Commercial Radio Companies Association and the Community Media Association so that they have an opportunity to express their views at this stage. The Government intend to produce a draft order for formal consultation in the autumn. No decisions have yet been taken on government funding.

19 May 2003 : Column WA68

Incapacity Benefit

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the breakdown of incapacity benefit by region.[HL2702]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The information is in the table.

Incapacity benefit (IB) beneficiaries as at November 2002 by government office region

Government Office RegionNumber of IB beneficiaries
North East110.4
North West250.5
Yorkshire & Humber140.0
East Midlands106.8
West Midlands143.6
South West97.4
South East114.8


The figures are based on a 5 per cent sample of the incapacity benefit computer system and will exclude a small number of clerically held cases.


1. Figures are expressed in thousands, and rounded to the nearest hundred.

2. Figures exclude incapacity benefit credits only cases.

19 May 2003 : Column WA69

Retail Prices Index Advisory Committee

Lord Lea of Crondall asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Retail Prices Index Advisory Committee has been abolished.[HL2811]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Retail Prices Index Advisory Committee has never been a standing committee; it was a group convened from time to time under previous administrations to make recommendations to the Chancellor on proposed changes to the construction of the RPI.

General Practitioners: Child Protection

Lord Laming asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the new contract for general practitioners refers to general practitioners' responsibilities for child protection; and, if not, why not.[HL2747]

Baroness Andrews: Yes. The new contract, if accepted by the profession, will require individual healthcare professionals to be able to demonstrate that they comply with the national child protection guidance and, if appropriate, can provide at least one critical event analysis regarding concerns about a child's welfare.

Primary Care Trusts: Commissioning Consortiums

Baroness Masham of Ilton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What happens if a primary care trust declines to join a commissioning consortium as recommended

19 May 2003 : Column WA70

    in the recent guidelines on specialised commissioning; and [HL2788]

    Whether the decisions of a commissioning consortium for specialised services will be binding on a primary care trust which declines to join the consortium. [HL2789]

Baroness Andrews: The remit, powers and rules of engagement of collaborative specialised services commissioning groups are agreed by the member primary care trusts and the decisions of these groups are binding on all members. Strategic health authorities performance manage such arrangements and ensure all PCTs belong to an appropriate collaborative commissioning group.

It is up to the collaborative commissioning group to decide whether to set up service—specific consortia and what form these will take.

Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration

Lord Desai asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When will they respond to the report and recommendations of the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body published today. [HL2949]

Baroness Andrews: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health is responding on behalf of my right honourable friend the Prime Minister to the 32nd report of the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration (DDRB) which is published today. Copies of the report are available in the Library. The report covers career grade hospital doctors and dentists (including doctors in public health and the community health service), doctors and dentists in training (excluding general practice registrars) and ophthalmic medical practitioners. The DDRB will report later on general dental practitioners and those in the salaried primary dental care services and is awaiting further developments on the proposed new contract for general medical practitioners. We are grateful to the chairman and members of the review body for their hard work and for the action they have taken to deal with each of their remit groups with the least possible delay.

The review body has recommended general increases in remuneration of 3.225 per cent for career grade hospital doctors and dentists, and doctors and dentists in training with effect from April 2003. In addition, the DDRB has recommended adjustments to the pay scales for associate specialists and staff grade practitioners.

The review body's pay recommendations are being accepted in full by the Government and without staging.

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