THURSDAY, 22nd MAY, 1924.2087
The Committee consisted of the following Members:
Sir George McCrae (Chairman)
Adamson, Mr. William (Fife, Western)
Alexander, Sir William (Glasgow, Central)
Asquith, Mr. (Paisley)
Atholl, Duchess of (Kinross and West Perth)
Baird, Sir John (Ayr District of Burghs)
Barrie, Sir Charles (Banff)
*Batey, Mr. (Spennymoor)
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)
Berry, Sir George (Scottish Universities)
Brown, Mr. James (Ayr and Bute, South Ayrshire)
Buchanan, Mr. (Glasgow, Gorbals)
*Burnie, Major (Bootle)
Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, South)
Chapple, Dr. (Dumfries)
Clarke, Mr. (Midlothian and Peebles)
Climie, Mr. (Kilmarnock)
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)
Cowan, Mr. (Scottish Universities)
Craik, Sir Henry (Scottish Universities)
Dalkeith, Earl of (Roxburgh and Selkirk)
Dickson, Mr. Thomas (Lanark)
Dudgeon, Major (Galloway)
Falconer, Mr. (Forfar)
Ferguson, Mr. (Motherwell)
Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John (Glasgow, Pollok)
Graham, Mr. Duncan (Lanark, Hamilton)
Graham, Mr. William (Edinburgh, Central)
Hamilton, Sir Robert (Orkney and Shetland)
Hardie, Mr. (Glasgow, Springburn)
Harvey, Mr. Charles Barclay- (Kincardine and Western)
*Hayes, Mr. (Edge Hill)
Henderson, Mr. Thomas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
*Henderson, Mr. William (Enfield)
Hogge, Mr. (Edinburgh, East)
Horne, Sir Robert (Glasgow, Hillhead)
Hunter-Weston, Lieut.-General Sir A (Ayr and Bute, Bute and Northern)
Johnston, Mr. Thomas (Stirling and Clackmannan, Western)
Kennedy, Mr. (Kirkcaldy)
Kirkwood, Mr. (Dumbarton District of Burghs)
Livingstone, Mr. MacKenzie (Western Isles)
Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness, Inverness)
MacDonald, Mr. Robert (Cathcart)
Maclean, Mr. Neil (Govan)
Macpherson, Mr. (Ross and Cromarty)
Martin, Mr. Frederick (Aberdeen and Kincardine, East)
Martin, Mr. William (Dumbarton)
Maxton, Mr. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Millar, Mr. Duncan (Fife, Eastern)
Mitchell, Mr. Macgregor (Perth)
*Mitchell, Sir William Lane (Streatham)
Morel, Mr. (Dundee)
Muir, Mr. (Glasgow, Maryhill)
Murray, Mr. Robert (Renfrew, Western)
Nichol, Mr. (Renfrew, Eastern)
Phillipps, Mr. (Edinburgh, West)
*Pilkington, Mr. (Keighley)
Raffan, Mr. (Edinburgh, North)
*Robertson, Mr. Atholl (Finchley)
Robertson, Mr. John (Bothwell)
Rose, Mr. (Aberdeen, North)
*Russell, Mr. (Tynemouth)
Scrymgeour, Mr. (Dundee)
Shinwell, Mr. (Linlithgow)
Sinclair, Major Sir Archibald (Caithness and Sutherland)
Spence, Mr. (Berwick and Haddington)
*Steel, Major (Ashford)
Stephen, Mr. (Glasgow, Camlachie)
Stewart, Mr. James (Glasgow, St. Rollox)2088 2089
Stuart, Mr. (Moray and Nairn)
Sturrock, Mr. (Montrose District of Burghs)
Sullivan, Mr. (Lanark, Northern)
Sutherland, Sir William (Argyll)
Thomson, Mr. Frederick (Aberdeen, South)
*Thomson, Sir William Mitchell- (Croydon, South)
Watson, Mr. William (Dumfermline District of Burghs)
Weir, Mr. McNeill (Clackmannan and Kinross)
Welsh, Mr. (Lanark, Coatbridge)
Westwood, Mr. (Peebles and Southern)
Wheatley, Mr. (Glasgow, Shettleston)
Wood, Major McKenzie (Aberdeen and Kincardine, Central)
Wright, Mr. (Lanark, Rutherglen)
Young, Mr. Andrew (Partick)
* Added in respect of the Small Debt (Scotland) Bill and the Education (Scotland) Superannuation Bill.
Mr. THROCKMOETON. Committee Clerks.
Mr. DENT. Committee Clerks.2090 2091 STANDING COMMITTEE ON SCOTTISH BILLS. Thursday, 22nd May, 1924.
[Sir G. MCCRAE in the Chair.]
The Education (Scotland) (Superannuation) Act, 1922 (hereinafter in this Act referred to as "the Act of 1922"), shall 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 twenty-four) the words "the first day of April, nineteen hundred and twenty-six, or such earlier date as Parliament may determine," were substituted for the words "the first day of June, nineteen hundred and twenty-four."
Mr. COWAN: I beg to move to leave out the word "twenty-six," and to insert instead thereof the word "twenty-five." This Committee is at a special advantage this morning in being called upon to discuss a matter of this sort, because we have with us in charge of the Bill a Minister who has no past record to apologise for in the matter of superannuation. As far as any criticism is directed to the position as it now is, he is perfectly free from all responsibility. He has no responsibility for the main Act of 1919 or for the Act of 1922, and, to a small extent, responsibility for this Bill. Furthermore, the Secretary for Scotland has given an earnest already of his desire to put this matter on a satisfactory basis. Following the procedure which I have adopted since I came into the House, when I had 2092 any matter of importance to raise on the Scottish Estimates, I have sent the Secretary for Scotland a note of some points which I mean to raise this morning. I did so because I am about to make some statement which may, perhaps, be rather surprising to members of the Committee, and I wish the Secretary far Scotland to be in a position to correct me if in any way I state the position wrongly. Objection is taken to this Bill on various grounds. I know that other speakers are going to urge objections of one kind or another. I want to confine myself very largely to one aspect of the question. This Bill is a continuation of the Act of 1922. The Act of 1922 is based upon the Act of 1919. I take exception to proceeding with this Bill in its present form because it continues a most unjust scheme under the operation of the Act of 1919. I do not know that members of the Committee are fully cognisant with what the scheme of superannuation passed in the Act of 1919 actually is. In all superannuation schemes it may be taken as the guiding principle that the condition of pension confirmation is length of satisfactory service. That is a condition which is not observed at all in the scheme which is in operation with regard to superannuation in Scotland just now. Every teacher in service in Scotland at the present time is working under the following provisions: That he will be entitled to pension provided he gives at least 10 years of services and is in service on or after his sixtieth birthday. That is a provision which has been taken from I know not where. I do not know any other superannuation scheme with a Clause of that kind. It may be said that in the Civil Service they do not get pensions unless they have reached the age of 60 years. There is no comparison between the two schemes. The Civil Service does not allow people to enter it land leave it and to come back again. A man enters the Civil Service once for all, and when exceptional appointments are made exceptional treatment is accorded to the officers affected. Let us take some typical examples of what may happen under this scheme as it stands. A teacher gives 10 years of service and is then free to leave and spend the next 30 years as he pleases. If, however, he returns at the age of 59 and happens to be teaching when he is 60 years of age, he is entitled to receive a pension and a lump sum. That is for 10 2093 years' service only. Another case is that of a person who has given very unsatisfactory service, who has been called upon to resign from position after position, who gradually gets over the 10 years' limit. If he lives long enough to reach the age of 60, in spite of his unsatisfactory work he is entitled to a pension and a lump sum, as by right, at the age of 60. Take another case. It is that of a teacher entering into service at the age of 20, going on steadily without a break, and giving meritorious service to the age of fifty-seven or fifty-eight. Suppose that at the end of that time, owing to unforeseen circumstances, that teacher finds it necessary to go out of the service. He is willing to go out of the service without salary, provided he retains his pension right at the age of sixty. But no pension is paid to him. Take two typical cases that have come under my own personal observation under the operation of this scheme. A lady teacher had given thirty-five years of service—
The CHAIRMAN: I do not want to interrupt the hon. Member, but I do not think it would be quite in order for him to discuss the whole merits of the 1919 Act. A reference to it may be necessary, but if the hon. Member goes into the merits, other people will wish to do so, and that would be a little beyond the scope of this Bill.
Mr. COWAN: I understand that we must keep within limits, but the ground upon which I am basing my objection to the continuance of this scheme is that it carries on for two years a system which is unsound. Under the scheme as it stands, teachers can give 10 years of service, and, provided that they are teaching on their sixtieth birthday, they are entitled to a pension and a lump sum; but another teacher can give 35 or 37 years of meritorious service, and if then called upon by family circumstances—it may be a case of ill-health or tiredness which is not sufficient to merit a breakdown allowance—to go out of the profession, he or she gets not a penny of recognition for the 37 years of service. It is obvious that that inflicts very great hardship. I was going to speak of one lady, who wanted to take advantage of the arrangement, and expected that she would be able to do so, but died before anything could be done. Another teacher, 2094 after 38 years of service, wanted to see an invalid sister abroad. The school authorities would give her only a limited period of absence. She has not seen that sister yet, and never will see her. Those are cases within the knowledge, not only of myself, but of at least another Member of the House. I want to ask certain questions about the matter. I believe that when this scheme was being framed it was the intention of those responsible that it should be as good a scheme as possible. We are entitled to have from the Secretary for Scotland a definite answer to the question, does he think it a sound principle on which to base a superannuation scheme that allowances should be given for 10 years' service, or thereabouts, simply on the ground that the teacher is teaching at 60 years of age, while a pension is refused to teachers who have given 40 years of service, merely because they are not teaching at 60 years of age? Under the English scheme the thing is quite different. The Secretary for Scotland said that he would do everything he could to see that the Scottish teacher was not at a disadvantage compared with the English teacher. If hon. Members will study the scheme they will see that there is no provision that in any way compensates the teachers for this inequality as between the Scottish scheme and the English scheme. As a matter of fact I believe that this Clause was introduced because of a mistake with regard to the English scheme. In a memorandum issued by the Board of Education explaining the Bill when introduced, it was said that the object was as it is now in the Scottish scheme. When the Bill went through the House of Commons that was entirely changed—the injustice of it was so manifest—and the Bill was altered so that those who have given 30 years' service are to be entitled, not to a pension on retiring, but to a pension at the age of 60. What objection is there to introducing a provision of that sort into the Scottish scheme? Two years ago in this room I put that point to Mr. Munro, then Secretary for Scotland. The thing is by no means new. It has been put before the Department for years and so far as I know no answer has been given to justify it. The answer has been that there it is for some reason or other, and that there it must remain. I object to the con- 2095 tinuance of it because it will perpetuate an unjust state of affairs. It can be proved by figures that the adoption of optional retirement after the age of 50 will mean, first, a saving of expense to the education authorities. That can be proved beyond question. Secondly, it can be shown that it involves no loss whatever to the superannuation fund but that it contains the possibility of very great relief to the superannuation fund. What is very important is that it would undoubtedly be a great step towards educational efficiency if the teacher were able to go off duty and take a rest without salary or pension until she reached the age of 60. I trust that we will have some promise that this matter will be put right. It is a great pity that it is to be left in uncertainty for so long. We have been promised that the Government will do its best to get a satisfactory scheme for both countries put into operation, but those who have said so have said at the same time that there are great difficulties in the way. We have no assurance whatever that two years hence the matter will be rectified. There may be a change of Government and many things may happen. But whether there be an improved scheme in two years time or not, it is obligatory, from the point of view of justice, that the present anomaly and unjust conditions should be altered.
Mr. MILLAR: I wish to support the Amendment, and to urge it upon the Secretary for Scotland. On the Second Reading Debate there was substantial unanimity in every quarter of the House in regard to the alteration of this date. I make a very special appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to give effect to that opinion, because I believe that in the interests of education and of himself also it would be the wisest and most statesmanlike policy which he could adopt. I would also urge that this is an excellent opportunity for Scotland to lead the way in a matter in which the whole United Kingdom is interested. I do so with the more confidence because I realise that the right hon. Gentleman is in full sympathy with the desires of the teachers, and is anxious, indeed, to meet them as far as possible. The Bill makes it quite clear that, while extending the Act of 1922 for two years, it is contemplated that it may be possible to bring 2096 in a permanent scheme at an earlier date. Hon. Members will see, in line 14, that while the date is extended to 1926 there are the words, "or such earlier date as Parliament may determine." It is obvious, therefore, that the Government have in view that it may be possible for them to introduce a scheme next year. The question I put is, Why is it not possible to do that? There is still available the period up to April, 1925. Is it asking too much of the right hon. Gentleman that in a year's time he should be in a position to have this question settled, and, so far as Scotland is concerned, to have it settled in such a way as will satisfy the English authorities that it is well for them to march in Hue with us? I sincerely trust the arguments which have been so forcibly submitted by the Mover of the Amendment will also be considered. The intention is to carry on for two years before we get a permanent settlement. It is quite clear, if things are to remain as they are for two years, you are perpetuating a number of provisions which exist so far as teachers are concerned, and I do not think a single Member of the Committee would be prepared to justify the position resting as it is for two years. I appeal to my right hon. Friend to give the Committee an undertaking that he is prepared, even if the period of one year is allowed to remain, to take action administratively as far as he can in the interval, in order to meet cases, such as have been put to him, particularly the cases of teachers in Scotland, who are labouring under the disability of being in a very much worse position than teachers in England, with regard to the age at which they have to retire. In this matter England is leading, and is doing greater justice to the teachers than Scotland has done. I appeal to him also to consider if it is not inconceivable that we, in Scotland, should submit to a system of superannuation which at the present moment is not in force in England, and which constitutes a grave injustice to the people of Scotland. I appeal to him not to wait for England, but to get ahead himself. If he does so, he will influence matters in regard to the English question, and as regards difficulties which may arise from separate action, he may rest satisfied that many of these will be finished with 2097 if the Scottish question is settled now on the lines we suggest. And if he is prepared to accept the earlier date, in the interval you would have consultation, you would haw the whole matter speeded up, and you would have the English authorities desiring as far as possible to secure reciprocity with Scotland, and you would have a very strong weapon in your hand to secure a settlement this year, instead of two years hence.
Mr. NICHOL: I also support the Amendment, mainly because there are anomalies in the Scottish pension schemes which do not exist in the English schemes. No great amount of energy is being used to expedite the English scheme, and I feel that we ought not to wait. I have very little hope that, even at the end of two years, there will be anything approaching agreement in England on this subject, because this is a continuation of a temporary scheme, and in England there is a different state of affairs as regards this subject in relation to the teachers, and also as between the local authorities and the Board of Education. It has practically been laid down as a policy in England that until the revision of the Burnham salary scales has been completed, nothing is going to be done in the way of drafting an English superannuation scheme. I have little hope that the readjustment of the English salaries scales will take place in less than one year, and there is also the fundamental disagreement as regards the local authorities contributing in England. Even after two years' interval we are scarcely likely to see the English Measure. The existing conditions in England are more satisfactory than those in Scotland. That is the real difference. There is no great urgency in England, whereas there is a decided urgency in Scotland. If a person is actually teaching in Scotland on his 60th birthday no matter what he has been doing for the previous 20 years—provided, of course, he has reached 10 years' service—he can obtain a pension. This rather absurd point is got over by some of the authorities. As hon. Members are aware, some of the authorities conveniently take on a teacher for a week or a fortnight, which happens to include his 60th birthday, thus getting round the anomaly in the Act. In many cases the authorities are prepared to do that for those who were in their service 2098 formerly, but there are many authorities, on the other hand, who do not take that course, so that the results of the Pension Scheme in Scotland depend very largely on the complacency of the Director of Education and on whether or not he is prepared to create this little loophole and allow persons to be taken into purely nominal service for a fortnight or so. I understand that this, the chief anomaly, could be cleared away by an alteration in the regulation, but we do not require to wait for a big legislative Measure in order to have that done. I think that if the Secretary for Scotland would give us an assurance that this matter would be put right there would not be the same urgency for pressing that the permanent scheme should be brought into force. The other chief anomaly, namely, that money was going into the Treasury out of the contributions from the Scottish teachers, the 5 per cent., and was practically being lost as far as Scotland was concerned, has been put right in the other Clauses of the Bill. The remaining anomaly to which I refer might be cleared away if we got an assurance from the Secretary, such as I suggest, and the Amendment might not be pressed.
Sir HENRY CRAIK: I support the Amendment for very simple and obvious reasons. I am in full sympathy with the remarks made regarding the advantage and expediency of making certain administrative changes at once. My hon. Friends will forgive me if I say that I fail to see how the administrative changes come within the scope of the Bill at all.
The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. Adamson): Or the Amendment either.
Sir H. CRAIK: No, I am pressing the Amendment for very simple reasons. I trust the right hon. Gentleman will carry on all these beneficent acts which he is urged to do, by administration, but I am attending to one point, and that is the continuance of this Bill for one year or two years. I think the Bill is perpetuating, every month that it continues, a rotten system which ought to be brought to a conclusion. I have added my name to those attached to the Amendment on the Paper, because I desire that that system will not continue for more than one year, and that the right hon. Gentleman will be bound to bring in something 2099 better and something permanent in its place. I am certain, if he does so, that he will be carrying out the wish of the Committee. He will not contradict me when I say that we have had a great deal of sympathy from him in connection with this Amendment. He recognises apparently that the present system is not satisfactory, and that the sooner it comes to an end the better. By this Amendment which we intend, if possible, to carry, we shall place in the right hon. Gentleman's hands a very strong and powerful weapon in fighting against the dilatoriness of his English colleagues on the Board of Education.
Mr. BUCHANAN: I am very sorry to differ from my own colleagues on this question, but I do not agree with the proposal to alter the year. I say quite frankly I am tired of attending Parliament and hearing about the grievances of school teachers and of every other section. The people for whom we have the least time are the poorest people in society. If Parliament is to do its work properly for the next 12 months or two years, it will have sufficient to do to deal with the urgent problems of England and Scotland, and to deal with the problems which affect the poorer section of the community. This question can well afford to stand over for two years. It is true there are anomalies, and I urge the Secretary for Scotland to try by administrative acts to remove them, but I do not wish to see time taken up on this question, when Parliament should devote itself to more urgent problems. We hear about the grievances of the teachers, about superannuation, and they are quite true, but I am more seriously concerned about the poor boilermaker, who cannot even get the old age pension at 10s. a week. It is about time someone in the House of Commons was beginning to think of devoting time and attention to the bottom dog in society, in order to try to raise his status. To do that will require all our time for the present, and when we have done that we may devote some time to the teachers.
Mr. ANDREW YOUNG: We all sympathise with the words of the last speaker, but it is in the interests of the very folk for whom he is speaking that we are asking the Secretary for Scotland to lessen the duration of the time during 2100 which this Act is to continue. There are women teaching in Scotland at ages which are detrimental to the children because these women are not strong and have reached that period of life when they would be better living in ease than teaching in schools. Under the English Education Acts the number of years which a teacher may serve is 30. They then retire from teaching; that is to say on the average the English teacher retires at the age of 50 or 52, whereas in Scotland there are women teachers bordering on 60, who continue trying to teach, though practically unable to do so. By the continuation of this Measure you continue a grievous hardship upon the aged teacher as well as upon the children, because the teacher has not the vitality or strength requisite for this arduous work. I appeal to the Secretary of Scotland to get rid of the anomaly, which the hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. Cowan) has so clearly expressed, by introducing words such as we have in the English Act as to 30 years' service. We would be quite willing to allow the Measure to continue as it is for the next two years, if he brought that about in some way, but if he is not going to grant this concession, we must have, at the earliest moment, a new superannuation Act which will embody a Clause to the effect I have indicated. At the present moment we have teachers physically unfit for their duties, and the poorer children of Scotland are the sufferers. I have known many cases, such as those already referred to, of teachers who have had to retire through some circumstance before the age of 59 and 60, and who have lost a whole life's service thereby. I know of one woman who had to look after a bed-ridden mother, and who had to retire at the age of 58 after she had taught from the age of 14 onwards, and she got no pension. It is on behalf of cases like that that we are appealing. I cannot see any reason why we should be tied to England in this matter. The conditions in England are such that they can be continued, but the conditions in Scotland are abhorrent to any man with any humane feeling, when we see women dragging on to an advanced age in the way I have mentioned. It is a shame to education in Scotland that such people should be teaching in the schools, and I ask the Secretary for Scotland to con- 2101 cede this one year, or to insert words in the Bill which will permit these teachers to retire earlier.
Duchess of ATHOLL: I support the Amendment for two reasons. I cannot claim the day-to-day knowledge of the work of women teachers possessed by the hon. Member who has just spoken, but I know a little of it, and I know how severely the teaching profession tells on the health of many women. I, therefore, feel it would be very desirable in the interests of the women teachers and of the children that it should be possible for teachers to retire at an earlier age than is at present allowed. The teaching profession entails a great deal of strain on women, and they should be able to retire before reaching the age of 60. My other reason is broadly this: I have always felt that the teachers of Scotland showed commendable public spirit in the readiness with which in the year 1922, when the serious position of the national finances was realised, they accepted the temporary arrangement by which they made contributions to their pension scheme. Uncertainty is always difficult and disadvantageous to people, especially uncertainty as to the conditions in which they will be able to retire from their professional work, and it does not seem fair to the teachers of Scotland that they should be kept for another two years in uncertainty as to the conditions under which they will be able to retire; as to what is to be the extent of the contribution they will have to make, and even as as to whether there is to be any contribution at all. Therefore, I support the Amendment.
Mr. SCRYMGEOUR: Downstairs I supported this Amendment. Many of us receive invitations at election times to subscribe to given propositions in the interests of certain people, and when we do so, we are under an obligation, and we cannot circumscribe our undertaking by saying we are only going to make an application of our professed principles to one particular section. We may give, and do give, preferences, and the labour movement especially give a certain preferential consideration to those who feel the stress of the times in which we are living more than others. But at the same time, when we hear references such as those made by the hon. Member for 2102 Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), we must not forget that this week the Government were in a very unfortunate predicament when the whole House was united in the feeling that in the direction indicated by the hon. Member, the Government were far behind in meeting the urgent claims of those undergoing stress. This question, like all others, must be taken on its own merits. I do not like the idea of Scotland being tied down in any respect because of England being with us or against us. Scotland had its own creditable record of substantial business done from the educational point of view long before the English Government showed us any standard worth speaking of. Those who have given onerous and specialised service to the children of our country are the teachers, and we have heard the personal experiences of those who know the trials through which the teachers have gone. With a limited experience in that respect myself, I am able to certify the urgency of the claim which they make upon the Secretary for Scotland. The Amendment seeks to impress on the Government the desirability of doing something better and more substantial to meet the requirements of teachers. The Secretary for Scotland has indicated his anxiety, but I hope that before the second year has elapsed we shall be able to get something done.
Mr. MURRAY: The arguments to which we have been listening all apply to the general question of the conditions in which superannuation should be given, and I am confident there is no difference of opinion with regard to that matter. But nothing has been said with regard to the essential point, namely, whether it would serve any good purpose to change 1926 into 1925.
Mr. YOUNG: May I remind the hon. Member of my point as to the women who are working up to 60 years of age.
Mr. MURRAY: I am quite agreeable to accept that, but what I want to point out is that we propose to put ourselves out of line with the general tendency towards a superannuation scheme which would be applicable to both countries and would permit of a desirable reciprocity in regard to educational exchanges which is increasingly desired by educationalists on both sides. We would 2103 gain what has just been mentioned, namely, some amelioration in the condition of the comparatively few who would come within the scope of this proposal during one year, and we would lose the other possibility I have indicated. What is it that we stand to lose by changing 1926 to 1925? We come to the end of another year, and we find we are still in a temporary condition whether we have the present Government or a new Government. It is almost certain that at the end of another year we would again be called upon to pass a temporary Measure to carry us forward, whatever Government is in power. If in 1925 we made the Scottish conditions permanent, we would lose the chance of dealing with the whole question of superannuation applying to both England and Scotland, and we might lose something more, because we might find that a better, a wiser, a more generous scheme of superannuation would be carried into effect for England in 1926 than the permanent scheme secured in 1925 for Scotland. Then we would have an agitation by the teachers of Scotland to be brought up to the level of England. I do not think those who have supported the Amendment can say they have disposed of the necessity for continuing a temporary arrangement until 1926, when the Government of that day will be able to deal with the whole question.
Mr. ADAMSON: I said on the Second Reading I was hopeful although we had two years of this Bill and the English Bill, that an arrangement would be made—in fact that it would be made long before the two years were up. When the change of date was urged on the Second Reading I said I did not think it necessary, but evidently that statement has not carried much weight, as my hon. Friends have put down an Amendment this morning to substitute 1925 for 1926. I am not sure whether I should reply to the points which might be legitimately raised within the terms of this Amendment, or to the speeches which have actually been made. Like the hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir H. Craik), I think a lot of matter has been discussed which is not germane to the Amendment; however that may be, I am obliged to the Mover of the Amendment for recognising that I have no responsibility for the 2104 present scheme. I have no responsibility for the sins of my predecessors in office.
Mr. FALCONER: Unless you continue them.
Mr. COWAN: Your responsibility began five months ago.
Mr. ADAMSON: I am not sure that even school masters are to be depended upon to solve arithmetical problems. If the hon. Member looks at the matter again he will find that it is not five months' responsibility that I am carrying, it is not quite four months yet. That is only a debating point however. I am glad it is recognised that I have no responsibility for the sins and shortcomings of my predecessors. I was also indebted to the hon. Member for the flattering way in which he spoke of my sympathy and my readiness to help the school teachers if I could. I do not think he went too far in that respect. [Laughter.] I think the laugh will not be all on one side when I say the reason is because I can remember the last time we discussed this matter in this very room my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton (Mr. D. Graham) and myself fought very hard on behalf of the Scottish teachers for the recognition of the principle of the minimum wage. May I remind the Committee that we fought alone. We had no friends in the Committee, and quite a number of those who have taken part in this discussion to-day were in the room on that occasion. I think I am entitled, therefore, to take a little extra credit this morning for being interested in the welfare of the teachers. The hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. Cowan) in moving the Amendment instanced a number of grievances under which Scottish teachers were suffering. I am not sure I would be in order in following him into all the details he mentioned, and I have no intention of doing so. If this were a question of dealing with those grievances and comparing them with the grievances under the English scheme I think the hon. Member will find that the difficulties are not all on one side. If there are grievances connected with superannuation in Scotland, there are undoubtedly grievances connected with superannuation in England, and that is all the more reason why I think we would be well advised to have the whole question considered at one and the same time with a view to having 2105 a well thought out, well considered superannuation scheme for the English teachers and the Scottish teachers. I wondered when I heard the hon. Member addressing the Committee whether he wanted the English scheme or the Scottish scheme.
Mr. COWAN: I pointed out one single respect in which the present scheme could be amended with great advantage to the teachers and to education and without the slightest financial loss to education.
Mr. ADAMSON: I was not sure while the hon. Member was going over these grievances whether he preferred the English scheme to the Scottish scheme or not.
Mr. COWAN: That question does not arise.
Mr. ADAMSON: All I wanted to say was that I was anxious to know whether the hon. Member or the hon. Member for East Renfrew (Mr. Nichol), who was harping on the same string, would, as representing the teachers, prefer the English scheme or the Scottish scheme, or whether they would rather make the best of both worlds.
Mr. JOHNSTON: Certainly.
Mr. ADAMSON: Some things have been put before the Committee which should not have been put before the Committee from the source from which they came. For example, the hon. Member for Kinros and Weston (Duchess of Atholl) and the hon. Member for Partick (Mr. A. Young) were speaking about the hardships of the women teachers who broke down before the age of 60.
Mr. COWAN: No, the hardship of the women teachers who continue at work when they are scarcely able to work. In the case of a breakdown there is a breakdown allowance, but it is the woman who drags on, not able to retire, of whom we have spoken.
Mr. ADAMSON: I do not think the hon. Member has removed my doubts about the statement made by the two hon. Members I referred to. The hon. Member says that what is meant is the tragedy of the woman who goes on teaching and is not physically fit. He says that is the point which is being made. I understand no teacher who is in the position they describe requires to go on. 2106 They can, if they are physically unfit to go on, get their pension even earlier than 60 years.
Mr. YOUNG: That is different.
Mr ADAMSON: If the hon. Member for Partick means that they ought to get their full pension, even supposing they have to retire earlier, it is a different matter.
Mr. YOUNG: I apologise.
Mr. ADAMSON: The hon. Member does not mean that?
Mr. YOUNG: No.
Mr. ADAMSON: Very well, that difficulty is already met in the superannuation scheme. What has emerged to-day, if it points in any way at all, points in the direction of our having to give very careful consideration to the whole matter that has been raised by the hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Mr. Cowan). Let me deal with the point raised in the Amendment, as to whether the date shall be 1925 or 1926. Personally, I think that in the interests of the teacher it will be as well to leave the date where it is, but I am not very strong on that point, not at all strong. If members of the Committee are willing to accept the responsibility, I am quite willing to agree to a shortening of the period, only it must be distinctly understood that hon. Members accept the responsibility. However, I would ask the Committee not to make the date March, 1925. I suggest that by way of a compromise they should make the date 31st July, 1925. My reason is this: That would continue it over the period to 31st May in both countries, and would give a little more time for the English people to make up their minds regarding their particular difficulty. As far as we in Scotland are concerned, we are practically agreed; the teacher, the education authority, the Education Department and Parliamentary representatives are practically agreed. The difficulty is in England. My suggestion would give them a little more time and would carry them into another financial year. I, therefore, suggest that the date be 31st July instead of 31st March.
Mr. FALCONER: I am quite willing to accept the suggestion, but I would ask the Secretary for Scotland whether he will not give an undertaking to put right 2107 those things which have been referred to and about which everyone is agreed, including himself. Is there any real difficulty? I understand that it is entirely within his power, by laying a Minute on the Table of the House of Commons, to carry them through. It is a pity that those things which have been discussed should be allowed to continue a month longer than is necessary. It would be a very happy ending to our Committee proceedings if the right hon. Gentleman would give an undertaking that that would be done. It was obviously a glaring mistake in the drafting of the original Regulation. It is not a principle that anyone would defend.
The CHAIRMAN: That hardly comes within the scope of this Amendment.
Mr. ADAMSON: I omitted to say that I have discussed all the difficulties that concern this Bill with the Scottish teachers, and during the discussion not a single word was said on the points which were raised by the hon. Member for the Scottish Universities. If I am to discuss and consider these things as I am urged to do, let me say frankly that I will do it in close consultation with the Scottish teachers, as to the why and wherefore of the whole thing.
Mr. BUCHANAN: I heartily agree with the Committee's decision, even in altering the date. I think the Secretary for Scotland has been very generous in the matter, and I hope that the next time we are discussing a problem connected with poorer people he will be as generous to them.
Mr. ADAMSON: I will.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment made: Leave out the word "twenty-six," and insert instead thereof the words "thirty-first July, one thousand nine hundred and twenty-five."—[Mr. Cowan.]
Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.2108
The CHAIRMAN: I have to announce that intimation has been received of the Money Resolution passed by the House of Commons, which enables the Committee to deal with words in italics at the end of Clause 2.
The following Sub-section shall be added to Section three of the Act of 1922: "(2) If in the year commencing the first day of April, one thousand nine hundred and twenty-four, or in the year commencing the first day of April, one thousand nine hundred and twenty-five, the amount of the sums collected and recovered by the Department in terms of the first Section of this Act (after deduction of any contributions returned in terms of any amending scheme framed and approved in pursuance of the immediately preceding section) shall exceed eleven-eightieths of the amount of the sums received by the Board of Education in terms of Section one of the School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1922, or any Act amending the same (after deduction of any contributions returned in terms of Section two thereof and of any sums paid as compensation in terms of Section three thereof), there shall be paid into the Education (Scotland) Fund out of moneys provided by Parliament a sum equal to the amount of such excess."
Mr. COWAN: I have on the Paper an Amendment which is consequential upon that just passed.
The CHAIRMAN: I am informed that that Amendment is not necessary.
Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Clauses 3 (References to Section 1 of 12 and 13 George 5, Chapter 48) and 4 (Extent, citation and construction) ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Bill, as amended, ordered to be reported to the House.
Committee rose at Twenty Minutes past One o'Clock.2109
THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS ATTENDED THE COMMITTEE:
McCrae, Sir George (Chairman)
Adamson, Mr. William
Atholl, Duchess of
Baird, Sir John
Benn, Captain Wedgwood
Berry, Sir George
Chapman, Sir Samuel
Craik, Sir Henry
Dalkeith, Earl of
Dickson, Mr. Thomas
Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John
Graham, Mr. Duncan
Hamilton, Sir Robert
Harvey, Mr. Charles Barclay
Henderson, Mr. Thomas
Hunter-Weston, Lieut.-General Sir A.
Johnston, Mr. Thomas
Martin, Mr. William
Millar, Mr. Duncan
Murray, Mr. Robert
Sinclair, Major Sir Archibald
Stewart, Mr. James
Thomson, Mr. Frederick
Watson, Mr. William
Young, Mr. Andrew2110