THURSDAY, 8th MAY, 1924.1519
The Committee consisted of the following Members:
Mr. Royce (Chairman)
*Acland, Mr. (Devon, Tiverton)
Ainsworth, Captain (Bury)
Alstead, Mr. (Chester, Altrincham)
Astor, Major (Kent, Dover)
Barclay, Mr. (Manchester, Exchange)
*Barker, Mr. (Monmouth, Abertillery)
Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, North)
Blundell, Mr. (Lancaster, Ormskirk)
Bramsdon, Sir Thomas (Portsmouth, Central)
Brown, Mr. Ernest (Warwick, Rugby)
Bullock, Captain (Lancaster, Waterloo)
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester City)
Clarry, Mr. (Newport)
*Cowan, Mr. (Scottish Universities)
*Craik, Sir Henry (Scottish Universities)
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir Henry Page (Bournemouth).
Davies, Major George (Somerset, Yeovil)
Edmondson, Major (Oxford, Banbury)
Edwards, Mr. George (Norfolk, Southern)
Foot, Mr. (Cornwall, Bodmin)
Grenfell, Mr. David (Glamorgan, Gower)
Hamilton, Sir Robert (Orkney and Shetland)
Harbison, Mr. (Fermanagh and Tyrone)
Hartington, Marquess of (Derbyshire, Western)
Hastings, Mr. Somerville (Reading)
Herbert, Mr. Sidney (Yorks, N. R., Scarborough)
Jones, Mr. Leif (Cornwall, Camborne)
*Jones, Mr. Morgan (Glamorgan, Caerphilly)
Kirkwood, Mr. (Dumbarton Burghs)
Lee, Mr. Frank (Derbyshire, North-Eastern)
Leigh, Sir John (Wandsworth, Clapham)
Makins, Brigadier-General (Chester, Knutsford)
Mansel, Sir Courtenay (Cornwall, Penryn and Falmouth)
Mills, Mr. (Kent, Dartford)
Montague, Mr. (Islington, West)
Morrison-Bell, Sir Clive (Devon, Honiton)
Morse, Mr. (Somerset, Bridgewater)
Murrell, Mr. (Somerset, Weston-super-Mare)
Oliver, Mr. George (Derby, Ilkeston)
O'Neill, Mr. John (Lancaster, Lancaster)
Philipson, Mrs. (Northumberland, Berwick-on-Tweed)
Purcell, Mr. (Coventry)
Raffan, Mr. (Edinburgh, North)
*Rathbone, Mr. (Liverpool, Wavertree)
*Rawlinson, Mr. (Cambridge University)
Rawson, Mr. Cooper (Brighton)
Robinson, Mr. William (Stoke-on-Trent, Burslem)
Ropner, Major (Durham, Sedgefield)
Sandeman, Mr. (Lancaster, Middleton)
Shepperson, Mr. (Hereford, Leominster)
Sherwood, Mr. (Wakefield)
*Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel (Kent, Tonbridge)
Stephen, Mr. (Glasgow, Camlachie)
Stuart, Lord Colum Crichton- (Chester, Northwich)
Tillett, Mr. (Salford, North)
*Trevelyan, Mr. (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central)
Viant, Mr. (Willesden, West)
Welsh, Mr. (Lanark, Goatbridge)
Williams, Lieut.-Colonel T. S. B. (Lambeth, Kennington)
*Wood, Mr. Edward (Yorks, W. R., Ripon)
* Added in respect of the School Teachers (Superannuation) Bill.
MR. THROCKMORTON Committee Clerks.
MR. DENT Committee Clerks.1520 1521 STANDING COMMITTEE C Thursday, 8th May, 1924.
[Mr. ROYCE in the Chair.]
Mr. RAWLINSON: I rise to a point of Order, which I think might be conveyed to the proper authority. It is that when we get notice of a meeting of a Committee, the notice should state the room where it is to be held, because there is sometimes considerable delay in getting a quorum, and we do not know where is our particular room. Time might be saved if one knew in what room the meeting was to be held.
The CHAIRMAN: I understand that is a question for the Serjeant-at-Arms, but it might very well be considered, and if we could possibly get such notice, it would be an advantage. As a matter of fact, I myself had to inquire this morning as to the room in which we were meeting.CLAUSE 1.
The School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1922, shall, unless Parliament shall hereafter fix some earlier date for the purpose, have effect as though in sub-section (1) of section one thereof (which provides that contributions thereunder are to be payable as from the first day of June, nineteen hundred and twenty-two, until the first day of June, nineteen hundred and twe ty-four) the first day of April, nineteen hundred and twenty-six, were substituted for the first day of June, nineteen hundred and twenty-four.
Mr. RAWLINSON: I beg to move to leave out the word "twenty-six" and to insert instead thereof the word "twenty-five." This Bill is merely carrying on an Act which was passed as a temporary measure, and unless this Bill is now passed into law, the temporary Act will expire this year. The Government have 1522 asked for an extension of time during which the present state of affairs shall be carried on. On Second Reading, I think quite rightly, the Government asked for an extension of time, as they have had to deal with this subject comparatively recently and have been in office only since January or February last. Therefore they could not deal with, this very complex question of teachers' superannuation before this Bill came to an end. I think they certainly should have their Bill, but one year is sufficient extension. I hope the Committee may see their way to accept this Amendment which is a perfectly reasonable one. I may state what has happened in regard to teachers' superannuations. A large number of members, myself included, have always been anxious for a contributory scheme for the superannuation of teachers—a scheme which should include all recognised teachers in efficient schools—and that there should be one great system of pensions. That was always the view, so far as I know, of everybody and of every Government Department in all our negotiations, which began as far back as 1907, 1908, and 1909, when Mr. Lloyd George was Chancellor of the Exchequer, and went on until 1918, when suddenly this new scheme was produced by the then Government and was carried through somewhat hastily. The former Bill, as originally produced, applied exclusively to State-aided schools. Certain amendments were brought in during the conduct of that Bill, which extended it, subject to stringent conditions, to a few schools that were not State-aided. Broadly, it was a non-contributory scheme. The teachers contributed nothing at all. It was an extremely expensive scheme, as everybody saw, and afterwards it was felt by the Government that it could not go on. In 1922, the Act which we are now dealing with was passed, enforcing a contribution of 5 per cent. of their salaries from all teachers. I am not arguing the merits of that Act. It was a subject of bitter controversy in the House, and there was grave doubt whether it was fair to existing teachers or not. In consequence of that Act, the Government set up a Departmental Committee to inquire into the whole matter, under the chairmanship of Lord Emmott, and they produced last October a report against which I have never heard anyone 1523 say a word. Everybody admits that it is a first-rate report, wonderfully painstaking and wonderfully good. None of us, perhaps, quite agrees with it, but everybody feels it is an excellent and useful document. That Committee came to the conclusion that 10 per cent. of the salaries of teachers would make an effective insurance fund for them. Under the Act of 1922 the teachers are paying 5 per cent., and the Government, or the ratepayers, pay the other 5 per cent. Lord Emmott's Committee recommended, in addition, that it was in the interests of the public and of the teaching profession that this superannuation scheme should be extended not only to State-aided schools but to every school which was efficient and which had passed the Government test by examination or inspection, with the exception of those schools which were run as private properties. Those independent schools would pay the whole of the 10 per cent.: the teachers would pay 5 per cent., and the governing bodies responsible for the schools would pay the other 5 per cent., and the teachers would come under the Government scheme. I submit that that is an absolutely unanswerable proposition from every point of view. From the point of view of the schools it is invaluable. Supposing a teacher in a State-aided school got this pension, and if he received an appointment, say, as a chemistry instructor or anything of that kind, in such schools as Winchester, Rugby or Harrow, he would be exceedingly unwilling to remove if he could help it, because he would be losing his pension, under the Government scheme: the work he did at any of those schools would not be recognised if he ever wished to come back again to a Government school. On the other hand, the teachers in those schools, in a very large number of cases, have private pension schemes of their own, and they would, of course, in turn lose their rights in their pension schemes, and you would be restricting the movability and interchangeability of teachers. I think everybody in this Committee would agree that interchange-ability of teachers is a very desirable thing. There are some schools which are very much affected by this lack of interchangeability. In some towns you have the independent schools, which are run not for private profit but under some 1524 charter, and you have in the same town a State-aided secondary school. Where you have the whole of the Government grant behind the pensions schemes for the teachers, it affects a very large number of those smaller independent schools, and it might result in closing some of them, because of the competition of the State-aided schools. To allow them to come into this scheme, would cost the Government nothing at all, and it would be to the advantage of teachers and to the advantage of the schools.
Mr. BARKER: May I ask whether the right hon. and learned Gentlemen is talking to the Amendment, or giving a history of the Bill and its predecessors?
Mr. RAWLINSON: I am sorry if I have been too long, but my point is that the report of that Emmott Committee has not been dealt with, and, to make the superannuation scheme complete, it must be dealt with. It is for the advantage not only of the teachers, but of the public, that the recommendations of that Committee should be carried out as soon as possible. Independent schools are a blessing to the country, and it would be distinctly to the advantage, not only of education, but of the ratepayers and taxpayers, that the independent schools should have the same rights as the schools under this Bill. If we pass this Bill, we will be perpetuating a system which, I submit, is a bad one. You will be doing great injury to independent schools and to teachers, and, by doing so, you will be injuring the cause of education and injuring the ratepayers. The result may be the shutting of the independent schools, and that you will have to set up more schools, which will be very expensive to establish. This Amendment is a very important one. It goes far beyond this particular Bill, because it is vital to the interests of education at the present time. Though I think it is right that the Government should have time to turn round in dealing with this matter, yet I think one year is quite sufficient time. In that case the Government will have to deal with the subject before the middle of next year, but if we give them two years the matter will be shelved for two years or 18 months, and we will have a perpetuation of the system which is bad for the teachers, the ratepayers and the taxpayers, and bad for the general cause of education.1525
Mr. COWAN: I am of opinion, with the last speaker, that it would be a great advantage to the country if this matter could be settled within one year. The President of the Board of Education made it clear, on the Second reading, that there were certain considerations which prevented him from anticipating such a result. Into those reasons, which I take to be perfectly valid, I cannot now enter. I simply wish to put forward the case of some teachers who have a proper and just claim on the Board of Education for some recognition of the services which they have given. The last speaker spoke very wisely as to the great advantage that accrues from the interchange of teachers. I wish to say a word or two on that point. The Act of 1918 penalises very heavily a certain class of teachers who have given service in England and who have a just claim on the Board of Education for recognition of that service. I refer to teachers who have transferred from England to Scotland. Those who have done so are penalised so heavily that, if the members of this Committee had the facts before them, they would not, I am sure, allow it to continue any longer. On Second reading I gave one or two examples of how things worked out, and I will give one or two more now. One lady teacher, who gave ten years' service in England—all but nine days; those days were school holidays—was retired in Scotland. She applied to the Board of Education for corresponding allowance for the ten years which she had given here, but her claim was refused on the ground that the Act allowed a grant to be given only if the teacher has given ten years of service in Scotland. Another lady had a breakdown in Scotland. She gave long service in England, and she argues that she should get some recognition of that service. The reply is that, because of her not being in service in a school in England within six months of the breakdown, she is ineligible for any grant. I think the Committee will agree that something should be done to meet those cases. The Act of 1918 was retrospective so far as those teachers were concerned. They crossed the border when there was no difference in the superannuation conditions of the one country as compared with the other, so that this Act of 1918, passed, I believe, without those cases being put before those responsible for it, is, as I say, pressing heavily upon those teachers. It 1526 is hardly right that a wealthy country like England should be behind a poor country like Scotland. Scotland treats those who cross the border from Scotland into England in a very different fashion. It counts their service in England as if it had been service in Scotland. If they retire in England they get full credit for their service in Scotland, even supposing it was only for one year, and if breakdown allowance is given in England a corresponding breakdown allowance is given from Scotland. With regard to the basis on which the pension is calculated, too, Scotland acts very much more generously than England. If this Bill be continued for two years, those cases of injustice will remain, unless the President of the Board will undertake to amend the Act of 1918, which could be done easily by a one-clause Bill, so as to meet those cases. Otherwise, those who support the continuance of this Bill for two years are really going to vote to continue a serious injustice to a very deserving class of people. Therefore, I hope that if the President cannot for various reasons see his way to accept the Amendment, he will at least promise to give very sympathetic consideration to the cases which I have put before him. I have read with great interest several pronouncements which the President has made. I read with special interest his appeal to more backward school authorities to do their duty; and I read with, perhaps, the greatest interest of all, his eloquent appeal to the teachers to magnify their calling, as they should do. When the President is making those appeals, which I trust will be responded to fully, I hope that no person will ever be able to make the comment that they square badly with his attitude towards those poor teachers who are making an appeal to him just now.
The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Trevelyan): I hope the Committee will not accept this Amendment. It is brought, I think, forward to a great extent under a misapprehension. The hon. Member who has just spoken has brought forward a case, of which I am very well aware, to which, no doubt, some remedy ought to be applied. The right hon. Member for my university (Mr. Rawlinson) has spoken as if he were discussing some great question of principle which divided us. But that really is not so. I have already told him, 1527 quite clearly, two things, that although I have given no promise whatever with regard to the categories of teachers whom he has been mentioning to-day, whenever a Bill is brought in to deal with the whole question, I am going to consider very sympathetically the categories of teachers in whom he is interested. There is a large number of questions in connection with the existing Superannuation Act which have to be dealt with by Parliament, sooner or later. There are so many questions, and the questions involved are so important, that whenever we come to deal with them there will have to be a Bill of considerable size and importance. I could not do what the last speaker asked me to do to-day, simply because I should be picking one out of a very large number of cases to deal with it in my one clause Bill. I do not think that the House of Commons would appreciate that, because if they read the Emmott report they would find a very large number of questions which have to be dealt with. That is the position. Whenever we come to deal with this question—it is a big question—it will have to be a big Bill, in the sense that there will be a good many details, and we shall have to spend a good deal of time on it. I have made it clear, and it has been accepted by the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Rawlinson), that we really could not be expected to formulate this Bill in the short time we have had to bring it in and to pass it in the time. Therefore, there has to be a continuation Bill. "But," says the Mover of the Amendment, "you ought only to extend it for one year". First of all I want the Committee to understand what that would mean. It is pretty well agreed that there would not be time for rather elaborate legislation this session. It is conceivable that we could pass the new legislation in the very short time at the beginning of next session, before 31st May of next year, but it would be a very difficult thing to do, and it would be extremely unlikely, even if we started on it, that we could get it done by 31st May. It is true that I might bring in another Bill to continue things for another year, but that would be a very clumsy way of doing it, and it would be wasting the time of the House. What I am suggesting is this: I gave, on Second reading, a guarantee that as 1528 soon as we get over the difficulties, which I pointed out, with regard to settling the new scale of teachers' pay in England—as soon as we get over those difficulties, as I hope to do by the end of the year, the Government would at once set their minds to deciding what line they would take on the Emmott Report and would prepare a Bill and bring it in. You have that guarantee that that is the policy of the Government—that we do not want a two years' delay of this question at all; we merely ask for the extension for two years, because we are aware that if we ask for only one year we may find ourselves in a very awkward parliamentary predicament, which is that we cannot pass our legislation in the early part of next session and get it done in time for 31st May next year. You really cannot force our hand more than that. You will not force our hand more by saying "You must legislate by the 31st May," because we may find it physically impossible parliamentarily to do so. You cannot get us to say more definitely than we do now: "We wish to legislate and wish to bring in the Bill; we wish to deal with all those things which you are dealing with." You cannot get any more guarantee out of me than you have got at present, even if you pass the Amendment; but you might put the House of Commons in the awkward predicament of having to pass another Bill of this kind, when, by giving me the two years now, you prevent the necessity of that extra legislation. What this really means is that it gives the House of Commons time next year to pass a Bill, perhaps by the 1st July, instead of by the 1st June. I am pretty sure that the situation will enable us to legislate next year. I want to do so. I cannot give you any more guarantee than that. You will merely create an inconvenient situation if you pass this Amendment, and I do not think that the Committee ought to be led away into believing that there is any great difference between myself and the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge or that any great principle is involved. It is simply a question of parliamentary convenience, and I ask the Committee to give me the period named in the Bill.
Sir H. CRAIK: I rise because I wish to urge, in favour of this Amendment, a set of considerations which have not been put forward at all. We are carry- 1529 ing on just now with a system which is avowedly thoroughly unsound. We are carrying on what is a temporary contributory system, but is not in reality a contributory system at all. There are contributions of 5 per cent. from the teachers and of 2½ per cent. from the local authorities, but they are not applied, as they ought to be applied, to found a stable, actuarial fund for providing these pensions for teachers; they are being employed, as long as you continue this temporary and unsound system, for the general educational expenditure of the country. So far as the actuarial fund is concerned they are sinking like water sinking into sand. The amount is no trifling sum. Nearly 2½ millions a year is being paid by the teachers under the utterly misleading and false name of a contribution to an actuarial fund which does not exist, which by unfortunate bungling legislation in 1918, ceased to exist in my own country of Scotland, where a system was established on a very sound foundation. Much as I agree with what the right hon. and learned Member for Cambridge University and my colleague in the representation of the Scottish Universities have said, as to certain hard cases of teachers who are outside certain categories and with regard to services distributed between Scotland and England, I want to put an end to the delay which is keeping in being a most unsound and false system altogether, one that pretends to be a contributory system and is not. I see no reason why the Board of Education should not take its courage in its hand and proceed more clearly and more broadly to establish a sound system. There could not be a better report than the report of Lord Emmott's Committee. It has gone with the greatest care into the details, but some sort of official, hesitation or timidity holds us back. If you get a year you get enough. The President of the Board of Education said that we want the delay because we are going to have a real revision of salaries, and we cannot deal with this question until the revised system of salaries is established. The very opposite is the case. What is the use of fixing a scale of salaries if you do not know the amount which is to come off the salaries as a contribution towards pensions? That is not fixing salaries at all. Before you begin to fix salaries you ought to know 1530 what are to be the conditions of service as regards contributions towards pensions. Instead of the reason put forward by the President of the Board of Education being a reason for further delay, it is the very reason why you ought to proceed directly to deal with the matter, because until you have fixed a system of pensions there is no use in adjusting a system of salaries. Therefore, on that ground, I support most strongly this Amendment. If we give you a year of toleration for this faulty and unsound system, we ought not to give more, and we ought to ask the Board of Education promptly and boldly to proceed to carry out the unanimous report of the Emmott Committee, and bring forward proposals which will at once place the scheme on a sound financial position, which will give the teachers their rights, and which will do away with those anomalies to which my hon. Friends have referred. Above all, I wish to urge one point which was not urged by my right hon. and learned Friend. That is the grave financial consideration which is involved in year after year asking the teachers to make a contribution, which is nominally a contribution, but which in reality does not go to any fund for their benefit, but is being absorbed by the Board of Education in their general expenditure.
Mr. ACLAND: I take it that we have as definite a pledge as we can ask the Minister to give, that legislation will be undertaken next Session. It is pretty clear that it would be very difficult to expect the Government to legislate this Session. It comes to this, therefore, that it is a question whether we are to expect the Government to get their legislation of next Session through by an early date in the Session, or to give them the ordinary run of the Session in order to do it. We all know that this is not altogether a simple matter. It is not a Bill which one can expect the Government to get through in the first few legislative weeks of a Session. It seems to me, therefore, that the Government are not asking for more than they are justified in asking for when they desire to have the power of legislating in the ordinary run of legislative time in the Session. I think that the position which the Minister has taken up is a reasonable one, and I shall support it.
Mr. RAWLINSON: I have never received anything but courtesy and consideration from the President of the 1531 Board of Education, and I thank him for that courtesy and consideration. But that does not end the matter. My right hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Acland) holds, probably, the official Government view on these points. The contest between the back and the front benches is this. The existing system, which is admitted by all to be bad, will be perpetuated for two years if we do not pass this Amendment. The Amendment simply keeps the control of the House of Commons on the Government, which will have to come to the House of Commons to get a further extension of time, if they have not brought their Bill in. The President is not in a position to give a pledge, and he has not given it. I understand why he cannot do so. He merely expressed the hope, which no doubt is genuine. Those of us who know how Government work is done know that, however anxious the President may be to bring forward this matter, unless there is pressure on the Government, the Government will not give time. I do not doubt the good intentions of the President, but if the House of Commons let this matter out of their hands, as this Bill proposes, until 1926, then the President will have great difficulty in getting the Government to give time for a Bill dealing with
|Acland, Mr.||Jones, Mr. Leif||Robinson, Mr. William|
|Alstead, Mr.||Jones, Mr. Morgan||Stephen, Mr.|
|Barker, Mr.||Mansel, Sir Courtenay||Trevelyan, Mr.|
|Bramsdon, Sir Thomas||Montague, Mr.||Viant, Mr.|
|Grenfell, Mr. David||Oliver, Mr. George||Williams, Lieut.-Colonel T. S. B.|
|Hastings, Mr. Somerville|
|Ainsworth, Captain||Cowan, Mr.||Hamilton, Sir Robert|
|Astor, Major||Craik, Sir Henry||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Rawlinson, Mr.|
|Blundell, Mr.||Davies, Major George||Sandeman, Mr.|
|Bullock, Captain||Edmondson, Major||Stuart, Lord Colum Crichton-|
Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
Clause 2 (Short title) ordered to stand part of the Bill.1532
what is on all hands admitted to be a very difficult matter.
The Government have been in office since January and the Emmott Report has been in existence since October, and there is no reason why a Bill should not be prepared now, and, if necessary, introduced into the House before we separate in August, so that the matter will be thoroughly well on the stocks. Then, after the Bill has been introduced, there will be no difficulty in getting a Bill through to extend the existing state of affairs if necessary, or if, as an hon. Friend suggests, there is an Autumn session, in order to get through the arrears of work, the whole matter might be dealt with. Unless we keep our hands on this matter the Government will not find the time for this much-needed legislation At present they have not introduced any sort of Bill, but if they should introduce a general Bill by July we shall know where we are, and no doubt a Bill to extend this Bill will go through unopposed if such a Bill be found necessary.
Question put "That the word 'twenty-six' stand part of the Clause."
The Committee divided; Ayes, 16; Noes, 15.
Bill, without Amendment, ordered to be reported to the House.
Committee rose at Seventeen Minutes before One o'clock.1533
The FOLLOWING MEMBERS ATTENDED THE COMMITTEE:
Mr. Royce (chairman)
Beckett, Sir Gervase
Bramsdon, Sir Thomas
Brown, Mr. Ernest
Craik, Sir Henry
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir Henry Page
Davies, Major George
Edwards, Mr. George
Grenfell, Mr. David
Hamilton, Sir Robert
Hartington, Marquess of
Hastings, Mr. Somerville
Jones, Mr. Leif
Jones, Mr. Morgan
Mansel, Sir Courtenay
Oliver, Mr. George
Robinson, Mr. William
Stuart, Lord Colum Crichton-
Williams, Lieut.-Col. T. S. B.1534