§ Section one hundred and twenty of the Local Government Act, 1888, which relates to coin pensation to existing officers, shall apply to officers serving under local education authorities at the passing of this Act who, by virtue of this Act or anything done in pursuance or in consequence of this Act suffer direct pecuniary loss by abolition of office or by diminution or loss of fees or salary, subject as follows:—
- (a) Teachers in public elmentary school maintained by a local education authority shall be deemed to be officers serving under that authority;
- (b) References to a county council shall include references to a borough or urban district council;
- (c) The reference to "the passing of this Act" shall be construed as a reference to the date when the loss arose;
- (d) The reference to the Acts and rules relating to His Majesty's Civil Service shall be construed as a reference to the Acts and rules which were in operation at the date of the passing of the Local Government Act, 1888; and
- (e) Any expenses shall be paid by the council under whom the officer was serving at the date when the loss arose out of the fund or rate out of which the expenses of the council under the Education Acts are paid, and, if any compensation is payable otherwise than by way of an annual sum, the payment of that compensation shall be a purpose for which a council may borrow for the purposes of those Acts.—[Sir J. Yoxall.]
§ Brought up, and read the first time.
§ Sir J. YOXALL
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."
In moving to insert in the Bill the new Clause I have put on the Paper, may I say that there are Clauses in this Bill which may bring about alterations in the areas of the local education authorities and the closing of schools. There may be in other portions of the Bill Clauses which will produce effects which may, and almost certainly will, be injurious to the teachers and other persons who may rank as officers under the local education authorities, which effects should be guarded against, if possible, or at any rate for which compensation should be provided in the ordinary way. Those teachers who are employed in council schools—that is in provided schools—are by the law of the land officers of the local education authority. They have a statutory right to compensation according to the method 1768 prescribed in such cases. It has not yet been laid down that teachers in non-provided schools are equally officers and have equal rights in regard to compensation. The principle has been laid down in a good many private Bills. The local legislation committee, again and again in dozens, if not scores, of cases, have approved the principle, and this House upon Second Reading subsequently has adopted the principle in the local Bills whereby alteration in the area of a local authority, or where in other ways a, teacher in a non-provided school became endangered or suffered from anything which arose out of the operation of that particular Bill, carried with it compensation. All I am asking the Committee to do now, and I very much hope they will agree to it—I trust the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education will feel it is the right thing to do!—is to provide that teachers, whether they be council or non-council teachers, or are in provided or non-provided schools, who suffer, or who are ejected through no fault of their own from some post or office attendant upon a change of area or by a particular Clause of this Bill when it begins to operate; that such teachers or officers, blameless in the matter, shall have the proper amount of compensation paid in the proper way, just as compensation is provided similarly for other servants and other persons in the public employ who are ejected through no fault of their own from an office. That is the main purpose of the new Clause. The remainder deals with technical results and methods, and so forth, whereby this compensation is provided. I am not asking the Committee to adopt anything unusual and outside the ordinary practice of local government. We are looking forward to the decision of the case in the House of Lords. However that may be decided, I desire that in this Act we should show no animosity towards one form of school or another—that the same protection and compensation should be extended and given as to teachers in the council schools.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Lewis)
I am glad to be able to accept this Amendment. I believe that the oases my hon. Friend has in view in his Amendment will be few and far between. Whether few or many, it is only just that the teachers, in the words of the Amendment, who "in consequence of this Act suffer direct pecuniary loss" should be 1769 compensated. The principle involved is an active one. It was put into the Act of 1902, and it seems to me that there can be no objection to its insertion in this Bill.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I want to be clear upon one point. Those of us who have had experience of the compensation of dispossessed officers know that claims sometimes come by surprise. If the effect of the Clause is, as explained by the right hon. Gentleman who moved it, then I am in entire sympathy with it, but I want to put this point: Supposing a teacher has the offer of another post commensurate with the one he holds, has he or has he not the choice of declining that post and of taking compensation?
§ Mr. BOOTH
I take that to be so, but I want an explicit statement from the Minister. It cannot be the same as abolition of office if he is offered a school in the neighbourhood or within a reasonable distance and he keeps in his own occupation. It is not, I say, the same as if he were dispossessed of his post and had to go into a different occupation. I should like it to be clear that, supposing a teacher declined a post in the same neighbourhood or even a little distance away, that then he would not have any claim to compensation.
§ Sir J. D. REES
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the acceptance of this Clause, which I understand he proposes to accept, will largely add to the contemplated cost of the Bill? Will there be a very large increase of the estimate which the President made in introducing the Bill; if so, would he say a word or two upon that all-important but rarely noticed aspect of the question?
§ Mr. LEWIS
I believe I can allay the alarm of the hon. Gentleman who last spoke. A similar provision to this was introduced into the Act of 1902. I believe no single claim for compensation has arisen. I doubt whether, as a matter of fact, any claim will arise here in consequence of this Amendment. This Amendment has been moved, and it has been accepted by me, as the lawyers say, ex abundanti cautela. As to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Pontefract, he will observe what the first paragraph of this new Clause says:Section one hundred and twenty of the Local Government Act, 1888, which relates to 1770 compensation to existing officers, shall apply to officers serving under local education authorities at the passing of this Act who, by virtue of this Act or anything done in pursuance or in consequence of this Act, suffer direct pecuniary loss by abolition of office or by diminution or loss of fees or salary.Reference to Section 120 of the Local Government Act of 1888, which is a governing Act in this matter, shows that there are certain considerations that have to be taken into account. Regard has to be had to the conditions on which the payment was made, and so on—to all the emoluments which he might have acquired if he had not refused to accept the office offered by any body acting under this Act. Therefore, there seems to me to be no occasion for my hon. Friend's alarm.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Clause added to the Bill.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The next Amendment (Publicity), standing in the name of the hon. Member for North Somerset (Mr. King), is covered by what has already been done.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I rise on behalf of my hon. Friend (Mr. King) to move the new Clause (Tests for Teachers) standing in his name.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member must wait a bit. He is not entitled to move for another hon. Member now. He must wait until we have dealt with all the new Clauses.