Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Vetting plan for shop staff is scaled down

Retail pharmacists and opticians will win a reprieve after it emerged the Government is poised to scale back the reach of its controversial Vetting and Barring Scheme, which would have covered some 100,000 staff.

As part of the Freedom Bill, the Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone is due to present her review to Parliament as early as Friday and is set to exclude all sales staff working in high-street pharmacies and opticians. Instead, the scheme is likely to cover only opticians and pharmacists, such as those at Boots and Specsavers.

As originally proposed, the British Retail Consortium estimated the scheme would have cost health-related shops "at least" £6m to carry out checks on nearly 100,000 staff.

The Vetting and Barring Scheme is designed to improve child protection as part of the recommendations of the Bichard Inquiry into the Soham murders by Ian Huntley.