§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Lord Eustace Percy)
I beg to move "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
I have a rather difficult task to-night, because the Bill which I have to introduce is a long and somewhat complicated one. But I may tell hon. Members that it is not nearly so abstruse as it looks at first sight. There is a very short time in which to discuss it, and as I know very many hon. Members wish to speak, I am going to be as brief as I possibly can, in the hope of inciting other hon. Members to a similar display of self-denial. For that reason I will not weary the House with any going over the history of this question. I would only remark that it is necessary that we should pass this Teachers (Superannuation) Bill this year before the temporary Act expires—in the case of England on 1st April next, and in the case of Scotland, I think, on 30th June this year.
While this Bill, to which I ask the House to give a Second Reading, does not affect Scotland, yet the Scottish Bill will have to be introduced following upon it, and following similar lines. Secondly, I would remind the House that we are legislating on the Report of the Departmental Committee under the Chairmanship of Lord Emmott. This Committee was appointed by the Coalition Government in 1922. They reported in October, 1923. On that Report we are now acting. I should like to take this opportunity of saying how much the Government, and this House, are indebted to Lord Emmott and the members of his Committee—and especially to Lord Emmott's chairmanship—for the very able work which they have done in a very complicated question, and the very able and comprehensive Report which they have produced. I am now going to give the House a brief summary of the Bill.
In a Bill of this kind, succeeding, as it does, the Superannuation Bill of 1918, it is impossible to avoid a certain amount of reference, but we have tried so far as possible to avoid the evil of legislation by reference, and I think we have succeeded to a large extent. The superannuation scheme which we present to the 1776 House is contributory and compulsory. Clauses 1 and 2 of the Bill define what teachers come within its scope. Generally speaking, they are teachers employed after 1st April next in schools provided, or assisted, out of public funds, except teachers who did not accept the scheme of 1918. Here I should like to add that it has been represented to me that a certain number of teachers, who did not accept the scheme of 1918, might possibly wish to accept this scheme, and I am considering that point. Clause 9 imposes on all teachers the obligation to contribute the teacher to contribute 5 per cent. of his salary, and the employer of the teacher to contribute 5 per cent. The employer's contribution is postponed until the year 1928, and thereafter the contribution of the local education authority ranks for grant from the Board of Education at the same rate as the salary. The contributions of the other employers of non-rate-aided but grant-aided schools will be appropriately dealt with under grant Regulations. The result of this is to divide the contributions between the teachers, the local authorities and the Exchequer, roughly, in the proportion of 5, 2 and 3, instead of the proportions recommended by the Emmott Committee of 5,2½ and 2½ This is slightly to the advantage of the local authorities.
In return for these contributions, the teacher is entitled to certain benefits which are set forth in Clauses 3, 4, 5 and 12. Put briefly, these benefits are as follow: In the first place, superannuation allowance at the age of 60 for the teacher who has performed not less than 30 years' service, of which not less than 10 years must have been service in respect of which contributions have been paid, or, alternatively, service before the commencement of the Act in schools which were provided or assisted out of public funds. That service is known as "recognised service." Provision is made for reducing the qualifying period to 10 years in certain cases, in particular, in three classes of cases—cases where the teacher entered the profession late in life, cases where the teachers retire early on the ground of infirmity, and cases of married women generally speaking pension is payable only on years of service in respect of which contributions have actually been paid or on recognised service, though other service known as "qualifying service" can he reckoned 1777 towards the 30 years for purposes of entitlement. Secondly, there are short-service gratuities for teachers who retire on the ground of infirmity, and death gratuities for teachers of not less than five years recognised or qualifying service. Fourthly, there is the right of the teacher at any time on retirement from service to receive a return of his contributions with compound interest at the rate of 3 per cent. in lieu of benefit.
The benefits which I have mentioned are, generally speaking, the benefits which were recommended by the Emmott Committee. The conditions of those benefits differ slightly from the conditions proposed by the Emmott Committee. I will not weary the House with the differences because I have, as I need hardly say, been in very close consultation with the representatives of the teachers during the last few weeks, and I think I may claim that the conditions now contained in the Bill are, generally speaking, satisfactory to the teachers, even where they depart from the recommendations of the Emmott Report. There is, however, one point that I am considering, namely, whether it is possible to ease the period of qualification, the period of 30 years, to meet cases of early retirement on other grounds than actual infirmity, especially in the case of women teachers. I hope to be able to do that, though I cannot pledge myself at this moment.
As I am dealing with benefits, may I refer to a point which has given rise to a certain amount of misunderstanding? Clause 12 of the Bill which gives the teacher the right to a return of contributions, gives an absolute right to the return of contributions, and nothing in the first paragraph of the First Schedule, if hon. Members will turn to that—it is numbered 6—gives the Board any right to withhold the return of contributions from the teacher who has made the contributions when he has retired from service. I want to make that clear, because it has been supposed that the first paragraph of the First Schedule gave the Board some undefined right to withhold that return of contributions. That is not the case; the teacher's right to a return is absolute.
§ Mr. HARRIS
Could the right hon. Gentleman make it clear about Clause 12, because the Schedule says: 1778Nothing in this Act shall give any person an absolute right to any superannuation allowance or gratuity.
§ Lord E. PERCY
Precisely. It does not mention a return of contributions. That is my point. The return of contributions to the teacher is an absolute right. Clause 10 defines the basis upon which superannuation is to be calculated, namely, on the average salary for the last five years, a system that is fairly familiar in superannuation schemes.
Now I come to a rather more important and novel part of this Bill. Clauses 13, 14 and 20 are designed, in various ways, to facilitate freedom of movement in the teaching profession. The object of Clause 13, which deals with what is called approved external service is, generally speaking, this—that where a teacher leaves a service within the scope of the superannuation scheme and goes into ether educational service his pension shall be calculated, not upon his salary when he left service under the scheme but on his final salary in the service to which he is transferred, which' is, of course, a great benefit. Clause 14 enables teachers who take responsible administrative posts under local education authorities to continue to contribute under the Act.
§ Mr. BROMLEY
Before the right hon. Gentleman passes from Clause 14, may I ask if Sub-section (2) of Clause 14 does not rather penalise the very people he is speaking of regarding de-valuation of their past services? Will he explain that more fully to the HOUSE?
§ Lord E. PERCY
The question of the de-valuation of back service of existing organisers—and it refers only to persons who are now in administrative posts—is a question of how far it is fair to ask the taxpayer, who under this Bill bears the whole cost of all back service—back service is not covered by contributions at all—to bear the cost of superannuation of organisers who many years ago have left the teaching service for the administrative service without any prospect of superannuation from the Exchequer at all. That is a point which, I know, will be dealt with in Committee. I need hardly say I have heard it frequently. I do not think it is fair to throw the whole burden of back service on the taxpayer. I think what we propose, de-valuation by 0 per cent., is all that it is fair to throw on the taxpayer, but if the local authority 1779 which hasex hypothesiappointed him to an organising position, to a post of responsibility, and has provided no superannuation for him at all, if the local authority, or the organiser himself, is prapared to defray the cost of the other half of the, pension I should be perfectly ready, of course, to provide, against that contribution, pension for the full back service; but this limits the liability of the taxpayer.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)
I think it is usual to allow a Minister in charge of a Bill to make his statement without too many interruptions.
§ Lord E. PERCY
I sympathise with the desire of the hon. Member, but I think it would be best that I should proceed. To go on with the Clauses which are designed to secure freedom of movement, Clause 20 empowers the Board to apply the Bill to non grant-aided schools, including proprietary schools, to schools under Government Departments other than the Board, and to make reciprocal arrangements with the Dominions. 1 would like to say that I intend to make full use of the powers given me under Clause 20, and the fact that I am only empowered by the Bill to make schemes does not mean that I propose to postpone the making of schemes. In this matter of securing freedom of movement in the teaching service, we have gone somewhat beyond the recommendations of the Emmott Committee, but I do not think anyone will quarrel with us for doing That. I think people will rather count it to us for righteousness, on the ground that it is essential to secure the moral unification, as distinct from the administrative unification of the service of education.
There is one recommendation of the Emmott Committee which is not contained in the Bill, namely, the recommendation for an advisory council. The House will see in Clause 17 a recognition of the fact that the Board will need advice and will call for advice in making rules. I am considering whether this provision in the Bill should not be strengthened, but I think there is a disadvantage in multiplying statutory committees. There is some difficulty in providing in a Statute for the due representation of local authorities 1780 and the teaching profession on a particular advisory council, and that is why I have not put the provision for the advisory council actually into the Bill. I can assure the House that I am quite ready to consider that question upstairs. I should in. practice appoint an Advisory Committee to go through all the rules which have to be issued in order to get this Bill started, and I shall certainly appoint such an Advisory Committee whether it is actually required by the Bill or not.
There will doubtless be in Committee upstairs and to-night many claims put forward on behalf 'of particular persons or classes of officials or teachers not entirely covered by the terms of this Bill. I have considered a. good many of these proposals and I am quite prepared to consider them again, but I am bound to resist proposals which would throw on the taxpayer an unfair burden in respect of back service, which would extend the scope of the Bill to persons who are not in any reasonable sense teachers, and also proposals which would tend to discriminate unfairly in favour of certain teachers against other teachers, and against other members of'the community.
I know hon. Members generally have been interested in the question of war service. There present legislation and the Bill which I propose proceed on quite a clear principle—that whatever service a man was in when he joined up for military service in the War, his war service will count as if it were the service which he left. That seems a perfectly clear principle, but the moment you leave that principle and conjecture with more or less certainty what service he might have entered had not the. War supervened, you get into a region of conjecture, where it is absolutely impossible for you to do anything for one class of teacher without. discriminating unfairly against another class of teacher, and discriminating unfairly between teachers and civil servants and other classes. That is 'the principle by which we have to abide. I hope, therefore, that hon. Members, while they will doubtless put forward—and will be perfectly justified in taking that, course—claims for certain classes of persons, I hope they will not press them unduly, because these things must be dealt with on a clearly recognised principle.
Finally, may I deal with two subjects which have been questions of controversy? 1781 In the first instance, there is the question of the contributions from local authorities. Of course, local authorities do not like to contribute. None of us likes any extra expense, but I think the history of this superannuation question, if it shows anything at all, shows the deplorable result of trying to deal with salaries apart from superannuation, and superannuation apart from salaries. As a matter of fact, superannuation is deferred salary. The local authority must be responsible for salaries, assisted by a grant from the Board of Education. It must be largely responsible for the salaries if local self-government in education is to remain at all, and for that very reason the local authority must be responsible jointly with the Exchequer for superannuation as deferred pay.
I am perfectly cognisant of the very great difficulty under which many local authorities labour at the present moment in providing for the cost of education, but it is very much better to my mind that local authorities should draw up the programmes which I have asked for —that they should plan educational advance in the full consciousness of what the cost of such advance will be, even if that leads to slower educational advance, than that they should be able to draw up their programmes uncles. a system which artificially excludes from their consideration such an enormously important part of the cost of improved education as the superannuation of teachers. That is the principle upon which the Government have proceeded. We have taken every opportunity, and I personally have taken every opportunity, of consulting local authorities, and I find that many of them entirely agree in principle with the view which I have suggested to the House. Not only have I consulted the local authorities, but they have been consulted by the Committee, and have had a full opportunity of stating their objections, and with a principle as strong as this is, after all these consultations, I am afraid I can hold out no hope that the Government is prepared to give way on this point.
The second point of controversy is the question of finance. We have carried out the recommendations of the Emmett Committee in regard to the accumulation of contributions, and in regard to the 1782 giving of benefits dependent upon the principle of accumulative contributions. We have followed the recommendation of the Committee in putting the whole burden of the back pay upon the Exchequer and calling upon the contributors to contribute only towards future service. We have, however, departed from the recommendations of the Emmott Committee in one respect, and it is that instead of requiring the Treasury to pay the contributions into a separate fund to be invested at current rates of interest, we have directed by Section 15 and the Second Schedule that the contributions shall be paid to the Treasury, and shall be accounted for. by the Treasury to the contributors.
I do not want to repeat the arguments I have already used in public on this point, but I would like to tell the House what is the financial effect of this change. If hon. Members will look at page 3 of the White Paper which deals with the financial effect of the superannuation scheme, they will see that the effect of having a fund as proposed by the Emmott Committee would be, taking as the basis the salaries scale in force before Lord Burnham's recent award, that in 1926-27 the net Exchequer charge for pensions would be £2,440,000 more than it would be under our proposal. in 1928-29 it would be £3,500,000 more, and even in 1943-44 it would still be nearly £2,000,000 more than the net Exchequer charge under our proposal. Eventually, the net. Exchequer charge under our proposal will, of course, be. greater than under Lord Emmott's proposal, but that will not be until more than 40 years hence. For the next 30 years, at any rate, the net charge on the taxpayer will be, very much less under our proposal than under Lord Emmott's. The taxpayer of to-day, therefore, and of to-morrow. gains enormously by our proposal, hut he does not gain at the expense of the taxpayer of the future, for this reason, that. it is far better, in public finance, to deal with your revenue, to deal with your assets, as one, than to deal with them in a number of separate funds. The taxpayer of the future benefits quite as much, and, indeed, much more by the devotion of a given sum to the reduction of War Debt., than by the investment of that sum at current rates of interest in a separate fund.
1783 There is one more point which I must mention. The taxpayer of to-day and to-morrow does not gain at the expense of the taxpayer of the, future. The taxpayer of the future will have to bear an increased burden at a time when the burden of War debt is very much reduced as compared with what it is at present, and one of the important points about the matter is this: the 1918 Act broke down because of the steep rise in the cost of superannuation at the very moment when the burden of taxation was highest. The danger point in this matter is at the moment when the gross burden of taxation is at its highest. It is, I believe, far better, from the point of view of the security of the teacher, to postpone the incidence of that burden until a time when the gross burden of taxation will be less, than it is to throw it upon the taxpayer at this moment. But neither does the taxpayer gain at the expense of the teacher or the local authority. Here there has been a good deal of mystification. Lord Emmott, in a, letter which he wrote to the Press, appears to he under the impression that the result of not funding contributions may be that local authorities and teachers will have to contribute more than the 7 per cent. of salary which is their net contribution under our proposal, because the eventual burden of superannuation benefit will be equivalent to something like 20 per cent. of the total annual salaries bill 45 years hence; and that, therefore, if contributions are not funded now, local authorities and teachers may have to contribute 40 years hence double the amount which they are asked to contribute under this Bill.
That is an entire mistake. The point of our proposal is that, whereas under Lord Emmott's fund, it would have been the fund that was responsible for finding the benefits, and not the Treasury, under our proposal the Treasury is solely responsible for finding the cash to pay the benefits. 'While it is perfectly true that 45 years hence the total annual superannuation benefit will amount to a figure roughly equivalent to 20 per cent. of the salaries bill at that time, that burden will fall, as to 7 per cent. only, on the local authorities and the teachers —that is to say, the local authorities and the teachers will be paying 7 per cent., precisely as they do at the present 1784 moment, and the Treasury will be paying 13 per cent. The whole increased liability must fall on the Treasury. I think Lord Emmott has called this account a bogus fund. It does not pretend to be a fund, but it does pretend to be, and it is, a valid account of liability as between the Treasury and the contributors. The account will continue to show a favourable balance for at least as long as, if not longer, than a fund would show a balance, and, so long as that is the case, the Treasury bears the whole extra liability. Therefore, the account is not a bogus account, but a perfectly valid account of liability as between the Treasury and the contributors.
If I may say a word about the rate of accumulation assumed in the account, it is assumed that teachers' and local authorities' contributions accumulate at the rate of 3½ per cent. That is intended to be a rate permanently and finally laid down, and not subject to variations. We could, of course, have named a higher rate on the basis of higher rates at present obtainable on Government securities in the market, but we have deliberately not done that, because it would entail future alterations. In naming a rate of accumulation of:31 per cent. for a, period of, say, 80 years, we are guaranteeing the contributions against any capital depreciation—which would not be the case with an actual fund—and in view of this 31-percent.is,T think it, will he admitted by any financial expert. as much as we could provide as a fixed rate of accumulation permanently. On that note I should like to end my remarks, which, I am afraid, have gone very much beyond the time I ought to have occupied. It is the object of this Bill to make a permanent settlement of this question. I hope the year 1925 will be remembered as the year in which the whole question of teachers' remuneration was finally settled, in so far as any finality can he attained. We have had Lord Burnham's award, and this Bill will, I hope, complete a permanent settlement of the question of superannuation. If it does, I can claim no credit for myself. If we have, been able, as I think we have, to produce a Bill, subject to the discussion of Committee points upstairs, which satisfies the great mass of the opinion concerned, the credit is entirely 1785 due to the extremely able and energetic officials of my Department who have been concerned in drafting the Bill. To them, I am sure, the House is as indebted as I am, and it is in the hope that we do now see the end of a long and somewhat twisting road, not entirely without its pitfalls for incautious wayfarers, that I commend this Bill to the consideration of the House.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
It is not often that the pleasure falls to a Member on this side of the House of rising to give general support to a statement made from the ether side, but I am very delighted, indeed, to have the pleasure and privilege of doing that on this occasion in connection with this Bill. The Noble Lord urged that, in order to economise time, we should not make too detailed an examination of the history of this subject, but I am bound to say that, as one who has been at one time a member of the profession which is concerned in this Bill, I cannot help feeling that it is not easy to avoid taking a retrospective glance over the past in regard to this subject. Those of us who have been associated with the teaching profession at one time, and those who are still, will remember the very difficult times that preceded the year 1918 in the matter of superannuation. The arrangements that then prevailed were very mean and niggardly, to say the least of them, and, because they were mean and niggardly, they were on that account somewhat unjust to the people concerned. The Noble Lord just said that it has been a long and twisting road. I was almost going to observe that it has been a long and wearisome trek, from a sort of Egypt of economic bondage for the teachers to what I might, perhaps, be allowed to call the Canaan of promise. That long and difficult journey, however, has taken the teachers, not 40 years, as fell to the lot of the Israelites, but nearly 50 years, I believe, and there was very little in that time to sustain them except the very poor and sparse manna which fell by reason of the 1918 Act. To-night I have the pleasure of congratulating the Noble Lord upon the good fortune that has fallen to him of leading the teachers into a land which, while not, perhaps, flowing with milk and honey, still provides a sort of sustenance that is more stimulating and refreshing, and more satisfying than that afforded in the years before 1918.
1786 9.0 P.M
Some time ago the Noble Lord made an appeal at that Box, discussing educational questions, that the subject of education—and we have an echo of it from him here to-night—should be treated in a non-party spirit. I am delighted, on this occasion anyhow, to re-echo that sentiment, though, perhaps, the Noble Lord will allow me to say, and I am sure he would be willing readily to grant, that, had the good fortune been ours of being at that Box to-night, I have not the faintest doubt that a similar Bill—though, undoubtedly, of course, a better Bill—would have been presented by the representatives of our party, and that all the virtues of this Bill would have been included in ours, and, naturally, none of its vices. I like this Bill in a general way. I shall have some criticisms to make upon it presently, but I like it because I believe its spirit is more spacious, and its outlook is more spacious, than obtained in the days before 1918. I refer to those days because, naturally, from 1918 onwards the conditions were entirely different. I think there is a greater statesmanship in it, and I believe if it were carried even as it is, unamended, it must necessarily lead to a larger measure of contentment amongst the teachers than has been the case for many years. After all, contented teachers must necessarily become more efficient teachers as a consequence. I believe the work that has been done in the last few years to improve the status of the teachers, financially and otherwise, must evoke from them a response of a very hearty kind to this gesture which is made by the State and the Board of Education.
Having said a few words by way of general commendation, perhaps the Noble Lord will now allow me to say one or two words on the other side, lest he might feel unduly flattered. The first point I want to make, not by way of raising controversy again, but by way of pointing out that the feeling has existed and that this is in some measure a departure from the standard which has already been adopted by some of us in the past. I believe evidence was given before the Emmott Committee in support of the contention that a Superannuation Bill should be based upon the non-contributory principle. I believe evidence in support of that was adduced by the 1787 teachers and their representatives, and now for good or for ill that subject has been decided by the presentation, through the medium of this Bill, of the contributory principle. I assume that the principle of the Bill now will be accepted by those concerned on the understanding that the old benefits and the extended benefits involved shall remain permanent, and shall not undergo any change in the future. I assume that the compromise they are making is to be dependent on the recommendation of other principles. The main criticism I have heard of the Bill ranges around a very important point which I rather think the Noble Lord dealt with somewhat inadequately, this question of the fund. I do not propose to enter into that subject in detail. I believe my right hon. Friend the Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) proposes to discuss that subject, and as we want to economise time as much as possible and avoid repetition, I will leave the matter to him, with, perhaps, this remark: that I believe that in the interests of the teachers, and in the interest of all concerned, a fund should be established. I believe that in the absence of a fund we shall subject our selves to the perfectly legitimate criticism that this is unbusinesslike. I believe that the teachers, who are compelled to contribute to this fund, have a right to be guaranteed that there is some sort of stability associated with this. I believe it is an undignified way of conducting this business, and I would ask the Noble Lord, even now, not to close his mind to the possibility of reviewing this aspect of the Bill.
I want, however, to apply myself to another aspect of the Bill which I consider of some importance. When the Noble Lord was speaking, an interruption was made by the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Mr. Harris)aproposthe subject. of the first paragraph in the First Schedule. The question ranges round this simple issue, as to whether the word in the Bill relevant to pensions shall be "may" or "shall." That raises the issue as to whether or not the people who are compelled to contribute to this fund shall or shall not have an absolute legal right to the benefits arising from this. As I understand it, 1788 the paragraph in the First Schedule makes it abundantly clear that the teacher has no absolute right to a pension. I will read the Section that is importantNothing in this Act shall give any person an absolute right to any superannuation allowance or gratuity.I am at a loss to understand what the justification for this really is, for in recent legislation the legal right of persons compelled to contribute to a superannuation scheme has been specifically declared. I may refer the Noble Lord to the Police Pensions Act, 1921. In Section 2 (1) the words used are "shall be entitled." A Bill has been tabled recently entitled "The Widows, Orphans and Old Age Contributory Pensions Bill," and in the first Subsection the words used are "pensions shall be payable." Similarly I believe in the Local Government and other Officers Superannuation Act, 1922, the obligatory principle was introduced rather than the purely permissive, though, of course, it is fair to point out that local authorities were not obliged to adopt it. The same principle is embodied in the Railway Acts of various dates where a legal claim to benefit was specifically embodied. I admit the right of the Government to safeguard itself in cases of misconduct, but in the main, in the absence of misconduct, it seems to be an unchallenged able and in alienable right that those who contribute to pensions shall have a right to benefit therefrom. The Noble Lord's treatment of the question of the Advisory Committee was scarcely adequate. I am quite prepared to believe that he will do his best to establish as cordial a relationship between himself and the persons concerned as possible, as has been done in the past. But here are people, not on the old basis, receiving pensionsex gratia,but compelled to contribute, and it seems to me that their claim to definite participation as a legal right in consultation in regard to the question of rules and regulations is immensely strengthened by reason of that fact. I therefore urge upon the Noble Lord that this point of view may be further taken into consideration before we reach the Committee stage.
Now I come to enumerate some two or three classes of people who seem to me to require renewed consideration in the interval between now and Committee. 1789 The first class is the ex service men. I know from my brief experience of the Board that there are quite a number of cases of ex-service men who had to appeal specially for consideration because they felt they were somewhat unjustly treated by the Board's decisions in the past. Generally speaking, the Board has agreed as a principle that, so far as salary is concerned, the period of time that they would otherwise have spent in college which they were obliged to spend in the Army shall count as time for the purposes of salary. But if it is right—and I submit it is right—to consider that as entitling those men to consideration for salary purposes it is equally right that they should have the same consideration in the matter of pensions, and I would urge, as I am sure it will he urged by others later, that that class of men shall be treated as considerately as possible before the Bill finishes the Committee stage. There is another class of men whom the Noble Lord did not mention, but who I think are deserving of consideration. They are the people who were interned in concentration camps abroad. There are some men, for instance, who happened to be travelling abroad when the War broke out. They were interned chiefly at Ruhleben, and while there actually performed educational work of an exceedingly valuable kind. Since they were there under duress, it seems to me legitimate to put forward a claim that they should be considered for the purposes of pensions within the confines of this Act.
I should like now to come to another group who, I submit, have been somewhat harshly treated in connection with this problem of superannuation. I refer to the group of people who, I am glad to say, in the main have been brought in—the organiser and inspectors. I congratulate the Noble Lord upon having brought them in for the purpose of future pensions. It is a very excellent move and one upon which he is entitled to our sincerest congratulations, but there are unjust incidences arising from the operation of this proviso, concerning back service. As I understand it, there are two groups of inspectors. There are the Government inspectors and the inspectors of education under the local authorities. These two groups are performing a like kind of work. They supervise the work 1790 of the teachers, they encourage the teachers, they advise the teachers, and they advise the local authorities. In a large measure they do the same kind of work, and yet, as I understand the incidence of this Bill, the Government inspectors will be allowed to estimate for the purpose of their pensions, riot only any previous experience as teachers, but also the time they have spent as inspectors
I am glad to hear that I am wrong. That is how I understand it On the other hand, the local government inspectors will only be able to count their teaching experience and not their organising experience. That is a different principle entirely from what operates in Scotland. Let me take one or two illustrations to show what this means to some of these people. If a local education inspector has 20 years' teaching experience and has 20 years' organising experience, as I understand the Bill —I hope I am wrong—out of that 40 years which stands to his credit he will only be able to count 20 years for the purpose of pension. On the other hand, if a Board inspector has 20 years' teaching experience and 20 years' experience as an inspector under the Board, he will be able to count the 40 years for the purpose of pension.
§ Lord E. PERCY
Not under this Bill He will be pensioned exactly on his 20 years' service as a teacher under this Bill. For his service as a Board inspector he has a Civil Service pension.
§ Mr. JONES:
The explanation seems to be that the difference arises from the fact that the State makes provision for a Board of Education inspector, and while the local government inspector helps to pay towards the Government inspector's pension, the local education inspector, because he is under a local authority, is deprived of being able to count 20 years' experience which he really ought to be entitled to count. We shall have to discuss that in greater detail when we come to the Committee stage. That is a differentiation that does not obtain in Scotland, though after the explanation given by the Noble Lord I see why the differentiation is made in Scotland. It arises from the fact that they are obliged in Scotland to contribute.
§ Mr. JONES
The next group of people for whom I would bespeak sympathy from the right hon. Gentleman is that group of people called the pre-1918 teachers. I know that I am submitting to the Noble Lord a very difficult problem, but all the same these people were the people who bore the heat and burden of the day when not only salaries but pensions for teachers were on an extremely niggardly scale. these are the people who might with great truth be said to come within the definition of oliver goldsmith, of people who passed with their pay and pension as "passing rich on £40 a year." I ask the Noble Lord whether some consideration is not a very large group of teachers. I believe their total number is not more then 7,000, and they are a declining number They have all, pretty well, reached the allotted span of life, and the incidence of this claim upon the Board cannot possibly be very heavy, although, perhaps, it is difficult to ask the ordinary way. I ask that should be considered sym-pathetically before this Bill finally reaches its Third Reading.
The Bill makes for a unified profession. I rejoice in the Bill chiefly on that account. I would like the right hon. gentleman to improve it and strengthen it in that particular aspect by unifying the conditions for organisers, inspectors and teachers alike, to enable them to come within the four corners of the Bill. Subject to the criticisms I have made, I wish the Bill good luck. The ship, as it were, is leaving harbour to-night under a very favouring wind. The barometer seems to indicate that the weather is going to be fair, but I cannot promise the Noble Lord that when we get into the less placid waters at the committee stage that there will not be one or two somewhat violent squalls. But he is a good navigator, and when we return on third Reading I hope and believe that the Bill will be deemed to be of such value to the state and the teachers concerned that it will have the united benison of all parties in the House.
§ Mr. FISHER
I wish to associate myself with the congratulations to the 1792 Noble Lord upon his very clear and brief explanation of an extremely difficult and technical Bill. The Bill, in spite of all the well-known skill of the Noble Lord's advisers, is very difficult and very technical. When I heard that the Noble Lord and the Noble Lady the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board, were putting their heads together in connection with a Superannuation Bill, I cherished the fantastic hope that we should have, at any rate, a document of great elegance and perspicuity. In that hope I have been disappointed. This Bill is no more elegant or perspicuious than the un-fortunate Measures with which I was associated. But the Noble Lord has certainly done his best to pour light into dark places. I, in common with the hon. Member for caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones), welcome this Bill. I welcome it in the first place, because it promises to provide a settlement of an outstanding and difficult question, which has caused a great deal of uncertainty in the minds of teachers; a settlement long overdue. I welcome it, in the second place, because it secures to the teaching profession substantially the benefits which were promised them under the Act of 1918,subject, of course, to the obligation of the 5 per cent. contribution. Then I welcome it because, while it does intro-duce the principle of a 5 per cent. con. case, secures to every teacher that he will receive at least the value of his contribution at compound interest at 3 per cent. That is very valuable.
Lastly, the Bill is to be welcomed be-cause, as the Noble Lord has pointed out, it extends the area of the beneficiaries under the Teachers Superannuation Act. It extends the benefits of the Act to directors and organisers of education, to inspectors, to teachers who are engaged, for instance, in unemployment centres, and it holds out hope of extending the benefits to the teachers in private schools. Moreover, this Bill will be greatly welcomed in the Universities be- cause unless I misunderstand the purport of the Bill—and the Noble Lord will correct me if I am wroung—the effect is that a university teacher who,for in-stance, has done 20 years' service in a University under the joint pensions scheme and 10 years' service in a grant-aided school. will be entitled to a pen- 1793 sion on his 10 years' service in the grant-aided school whether the service be future service or back service. That is my reading of the Clause. Is that right?
§ Mr. FISHER
That is very satisfactory. After all, it is of very great importance that members of the teaching profession should circulate easily between school and University, and if it were for no other feature than this the Bill would be very welcome. In one respect the Noble Lord has been more fortunate than I was. I remember when I desired to consider the case of directors of education, inspectors and administrative officers, I was told it was impossible to bring administrative officers under the title of a Teachers Superannuation Bill. The Noble Lord has had other advice and he is very fortunate because, after all, those organisers and directors of education are performing valuable service in the educational world. I associate myself with the hon. Member for! Caerphilly in his desire to see the provision in respect of those organisers made a little wider and more generous than appears to be the case in the Bill. All organisers and inspectors, being administrative officers connected with the service of education, should enjoy the benefits of this Bill. I do not think it is an answer to the hon. Member for Caerphilly to say that that obligation rests on the local education authority, because, I understand the Government are proposing to shoulder that obligation with regard to future service, and I do not see how a difference in principle could be established between future service assisted by the Government and past service.
I do not propose to travel over the ground already covered by the lion, Member. There are, however, one or two points to which I should like to draw the Noble Lord's attention. In the first place, he is introducing into this Bill for the first time the principle of a contribution from local education authorities. I think that is right. I agree with everything that fell from the Noble Lord on that point. Local education authorities ought to be associated, not only with the obligation to pay salaries, but also with the obligation to contribute to the pensions scheme. I cherish, however, an apprehension that when the six years are 1794 over—the six years covered by the recent Burnham agreement—the local authorities may take their contributions out of the salaries of the teachers, and I should like to see provision made against that. The Noble Lord hoped that 1925 would be memorable in the annals of education as the year in which the material conditions of the teaching profession, both in respect of salaries and pensions, were finally settled so far as finality can be obtained in mundane affairs. I re-echo that very laudable aspiration. I hope that we may reach that period of stability. But unless the Board of Education is prepared to take a step which was recommended to it, as I understand, by the chairman of the Burnham Committee, unless it is prepared to say to the local education authority, "You shall not obtain any financial advantage by offering to the teachers in your area salaries lower than those agreed on by the Burnham Committee, ' I am afraid that the condition of stability will not be reached. I had always hoped that the Board would be in a position to take such a step. In my time price conditions were very uncertain, economic conditions were in a state of revolution, it was quite impossible for the Board to take a step of that kind. I do not for a moment suggest that the present moment would be the right moment to take that step. It may or may not be. I have not given sufficient study to the economics of the question. I hope, however, that before the three years have expired after which the local education authorities become responsible for a contribution to pensions, the Board may take the bold step of making the salaries mandatory. As the Noble Lord told the House, the question of salaries and the question of pensions are inexplicably intertwined one with the other.
Then there is the question of funding. The Noble Lord made, if I may say so, a very plausible case for the line which the Government have taken with respect to the funding of contributions. He has pointed out that by taking the course which is prescribed in the Bill the taxpayer of to-day or to-morrow is relieved of a very considerable financial burden which is transferred to the taxpayer a a more distant date. He has pointed out that the taxpayer of that more distant date will be relieved of a debt charge in virtue of the arrangement which he is 1795 making now, from which he would not be relieved if he introduced the funding system this year. There is a great deal in that.
On the other hand, there is, of course, the fear that another generation may have new and unsuspected emergencies which we cannot forecast yet. There may be other wars, there may be other great financial difficulties, and on the whole it is a safe financial principle to assume as much of the burden of financing any scheme which is voted by Parliament in any particular year, as we can reasonably stand, and although I do not profess to be a financial expert, and speak with very great reserve as to the financial point of view, I should have thought that it would have been the sounder course to fund, but as I have said I speak with great reserve on that point. In any case, there is no doubt that the teachers would feel a greater sense of security under a funding system than they will feel under the system of the Bill, and that in itself seems to me to be a recommendation in favour of the course suggested by the Emmott Committee.
I do not wish to go into Committee points. There is, however, one small point which might perhaps escape the Noble Lord's attention, and which I think is in line with the general principle of this Bill. In the Statutory Rules and Regulations any teacher who has served in a non-grant-aided school for a period of, say, 10 years, and in a grant-aided school for a period of 25 years, is only allowed to count 30 years towards his pension. I cannot help thinking that that rule works unfortunately, and that it would be desirable to have it abolished. I say that, although the rule was passed when I was President of the Board, lint I think it acts as a restriction of that circulation of teachers between different types of schools, which it is one of the very laudable objects of my noble Friend's Bill to promote. Therefore, I would like to see that restriction abolished.
Everyone is glad to hear that the Noble Lord intends, in effect, to set up an Advisory Committee to deal with these rules and regulations. I hope that he will see fit to provide for a full and adequate representation of the secondary 1796 schools on the Committee because, so far as my own experience of the Board goes, we were at the Board very much more fully informed about the conditions prevailing in the elementary schools of the country than we were about the conditions prevailing in the different types of secondary schools. Therefore I think that it would be desirable to have them specially represented. I was very glad also to hear that the Noble Lord was keeping an open mind on the 13 years' qualifying period, and that he would consider the possibility of reducing it in certain conditions. I feel certain that the Noble Lord will receive a great deal of helpful and healthy criticism as the Bill passes through Committee, but I am sure that he will have no reason to complain of the reception which has been given to it on this occasion.
§ Sir CHARLES OMAN
I hope that I shall not detain the House more than ten minutes at any time, but when the burgess represents, I suppose, the largest number of secondary teachers represented by any burgess, the enormous number of schoolmasters trained in Oxford University, and the very large number of governors of schools who are also my constituents, and when he is appealed to by a representative and important body of those people, it is his duty to make himself their mouthpiece to the Minister in charge of the Bill. I speak on behalf of the governors and masters of the great non-grant-aided schools which yet have been declared efficient by the Board of Education, and the memorandum drawn up for me. which I am requested to lay before the Minister lays down this plaint or grievance on the part of those bodies.
Under the previous School Teachers Superannuation Acts, in order to obtain the benefits for the masters of these large secondary schools, the governors submitted to various impositions made by the Board of Education. For instance they agreed to take boarders at the nomination of the local education authorities, with the result that the governors of these schools had to provide large sums of money for these nominated scholars. They were also obliged to accept nominees from the Board of Education, and also the local education authorities of the counties upon the governing body, and in many other ways they had to submit to the rulings of the Board of Education in order to get for their 1797 masters the benefit of the previous Acts. The governors of these schools did so most unwillingly but in justice to their masters, who were allowed under these Acts to get the pension benefits while serving in the secondary schools, and to take them wherever they went afterwards, the governors were prepared to undertake extra liabilities in the interests of the masters.
But it would appear, my informants tell me, that under the Bill now before us it is proposed that in future schools like these I have spoken of, non-grant-aided schools which have been declared efficient by the Board of Education, will not be entitled to claim the same benefits for their masters as they have been able to claim up to the present time. It is true that in Part 4, Clause 20, the Board of Education seem to be given power to make schemes to extend the operation of the Act, but there is nothing to imply that they will, be bound to do so. Therefore it is from our point of view conceivable that all the money which these schools have spent, and all the trouble to which they have been put on behalf of the future of their masters, may be wasted. This seeming to be an injustice, I am asked to appeal to the Minister to see that in Committee some care is taken of the future of the rights of schools which have put themselves under liabilities under previous Acts, and which seem likely to lose by the present Bill. The governors who write to me say they have no objection to that provision in Clause 9 of the Bill which provides that the employer shall contribute an amount equal to 5 per cent. of the teacher's salary, for the time being, for the purpose of paying the cost of benefit under that part of the Bill. But they wish to get an assurance from the Minister that the large amount of trouble which has been placed upon them, and the large sums of money which they have been induced to spend, in order to bring themselves under earlier Acts, may not be sacrificed under this Bill.
§ Mr. COVE
I do not think the discussion of this Bill should pass without some word of, shall I say, gratitude, to the author and initiator of the 1918 pension scheme. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the English Universities (Mr. Fisher) and I have differed on several occasions in this House, but I am sure he 1798 will realise that my protestations in this matter are quite sincere, and I should like also to pay my meed of praise and that of many teachers to the work of the late Sir James Yoxall, who was associated with him in the passing of that Measure. The right hon. Gentleman who introduced the Bill made a very clear statement of its provisions, but I confess I could not quite follow his argument with regard to the matter of funding. It may be my fault, because I am quite an amateur in matters of finance—though I know very well how to spend money. I have read the memorandum issued by the right hon. Gentleman, and I notice he claims that the security of this scheme will obviously be greater if the main burden of pensions falls upon the Exchequer 30 years hence, when the burden of War debt and War pensions will be less than it is at present. That postulates, I think, normal development in this country and other countries along peaceful lines. It takes us a great distance into the future. As I understand it, the right hon. Gentleman says we are now bearing burdens with regard to War pensions and unemployment insurance which will be lightened in the future, and therefore the general taxpayer will have less to pay. That I think is venturing too far into the future to give a great sense of security to those who are interested in the permanency and stability of this fund. This fund is a paper fund. It creates no capital tangible assets. The money paid in will be immediately paid out in relief of the Exchequer at this stage. I can imagine a future Chancellor of the Exchequer—say 30 or 40 years hence—declaring "This paper fund was introduced by the Government of 1925, because of the then existing burdens of War pensions, unemployment and so forth, and it was forecasted then that those burdens would be less now, but the burdens are not less, they are more." If the burdens turn out to be equal to or more than the present burdens, then certainly that future Chancellor will have the right to say that the prophecy of the right hon. Gentleman has been falsified, and that under such conditions the financial arrangements must be changed. I have read carefully the evidence given before the Select Committee when the 5 per cent. cut was made in connection with superannuation. There, it was distinctly argued by the Government of the day, that one Parliament did not and 1799 could not bind a future Parliament. It was argued very forcibly and accepted by the majority of the Committee, and eventually by the House, that the change in the economic conditions of the teachers on the one hand and of the country on the other, gave Parliament the right to change the very fundamentals of that Measure, and make it a contributory one without being open to any charge of a breach of faith. I know the right hon. Gentleman wants stability, and wants a final solution of this question. I think myself there would be more stability, a greater degree of permanency, and a better chance of a, final solution if there were created at this time, in this Bill, a definite and distinct fund into which the teachers' contributions, the contributions of the State, and the contributions of the local authorities would be paid. I do not wish to discuss that point further, as it may arise at some future stage of the Bill.
I pass to another main issue involved in the Bill which has already been raised, namely, the question of "shall" or "may." Yesterday I asked a distinguished hon. and learned Member of this House whether in legal terms "may" might mean "shall." He said: "Probably under certain conditions may ' might mean shall,' but you can take it from me that shall ' never means ' may '." We want in this Bill to have "shall" all the way through. We want it in the first place because it is the logical development and proper outcome of the 1898 Act. That Act has two parts, the annuity part and the pensions part. The annuity part was based upon contributions, and it stated "contributions shall be paid," and" so many years' service shall be given "and" the teacher on attaining the age of 65 or at any later date, etc., shall be entitled." There is the definite word "shall" in the original Act of 1898 forming the basis of that part of the Act which demanded contributions. We say that in this Measure the Government have used the word "shall" in relation to contributions from the teachers; they say that the local authority "shall" pay, but on the other hand, with regard to benefits, it is said that teachers "may" have this pension or "may" have that gratuity. Therefore if this Bill is the logical out- 1800 come and proper development of that part of the Act of 1898, which provided for contributory basis, we say this Bill ought to have in it the provision of "shall "instead of" may."
That point will come up in Committee, and I only wish to register my desire at this stage that "shall" should be the basis of the Bill, and not "may."
Now I turn to the ex-service men. The right hon. Gentleman laid it down as a principle—I tried to catch his exact words—that whatever service the man was in when he left for war will be counted. Under the provisions of this Bill, I do not think that that principle exactly obtains and is applied in detail. I will give one case, and perhaps, in order to be brief, I had better read it. I had a letter from an ex-service man which puts the matter very clearly. He says:My case is typical of many. In 1913, after six years as an uncertificated teacher, so obviously I was not in training to enter the profession—I was in the profession—I entered college and was sufficiently ill-advised "—This is evidently a bit of bitterness owing to future treatment—to join the company of Territorial;, run for the college students. In August, 1914, therefore, I bad no option but to obey the mobilisation order, and in the following Spring to proceed to France, where I remained till January, 1919. This time, September, 1915, to January, 1919, the authorities now refuse to regard as recognised for superannuation purposes, because I was in training for, hut not actually in. the profession. I repeat here that I had already actually taught classes for six years. It is this point that is considered by many situated like myself to be a very unjust one.There is a very distinct and clear claim. The right hon. Gentleman has an open mind, I believe, on a great many questions, but he seemed far too definite, if I might say so respectfully, in regard to the position of the ex-service men, and I am going to ask him to keep an open mind in order that he might deal at least with some of the cases where it can be definitely proved that a man was in the profession, and that his professional career was distinctly broken. We have recognised in the 1918 Act the uncertificated teachers generally for pension purposes, and I hope that, these periods of broken service, due to War service, will be recognised by the right hon. Gentleman when we get to the Committee upstairs. Then there is the question of 1801 the statutory Committee, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will continue to keep the open mind than he evidently has at present upon this matter. We shall have the privilege in Committee of putting Amendments giving definite aim and purpose to what we think ought to be embodied in the Bill.
Finally, I want to call attention to the provision for organisers. I am glad the right hon. Gentleman has recognised the service for future service. He has admitted the principle, fully, I think, that it is a. good thing that teachers who have been promoted for efficiency to organisers should in future come within the provisions of the Pensions Bill, and I hope that, having admitted the principle for future teachers who are promoted in this manner, the Noble Lord will see his way to go a little step further, and fully admit it. I believe the organisers on their part are prepared to make some concessions with regard to the point he mentioned about the payment for back service, and I, therefore, since he mentioned it, have every hope that we shall be able amicably to settle even this that I venture to call injustice to these men who have rendered good service in the past. I welcome the Bill as a whole. I am sorry that we have not provision for a fund. I believe there would be far more stability if a real fund were created in the Bill. I would not go so far as Lord Emmott and call it bogus—I would not attempt to insinuate any fraudulent motive on the part of the right hon. Gentleman—but undoubtedly there would be more security in the fund, and teachers would feel that their money was safer. The test of the finance is the test of a crisis. It might be that this scheme would go on all right during a normal, peaceful development, but the testing time would come, as it did the last time, in a period of crisis, and a real fund would stand that test and would give greater security than this paper fund would. You cut off teachers from the main body of financial interests in this country by giving them this paper fund. If they had investments, their interests would be linked up, as far as I can see, with the general interests of those who have investments in securities, and I believe the experience of the last few wars has been that these securities went up rather than down in the time of crisis. In such a time, it would provide 1802 more security, and I ask the right hon. Gentleman to put the burden upon this generation and not upon the future generation.
§ Mr. C. W. CROOK:
May I join in congratulations to the Minister of Education for bringing in this Bill? All that I am going to say about the Bill will be in the hope of making it a better Bill when it gets to Committee. May I join, too, in the words of praise given to Lord Emmott's Committee for the very excellent Report upon which this Bill is mainly founded? As a matter of fact, the criticism that I may offer will be to those parts of the Bill which do not follow Lord Emmott's Report. May I also add the thanks of the teachers to the right hon. Member for the English Universities (Mr. Fisher), to whom we owe his own Bill of 1918, upon which this Bill is founded? First, with regard to the benefits Taid down in this Bill, the conditions remain practically those of 1918–30 years' service recognised or qualified or the half-time between certification and 65 years of age for those who were qualified under the 1898 Act. But it also brings in a third addition of benefit for which teachers, particularly in technical schools, will be very grateful. That is the new condition that qualifies for a pension for three-quarters of the service between entering the profession and 65 years of age. That is a new condition which we very much value, but we do not like the total omission of Lord Emmott's suggestion that the pension should he obtainable after 10 years' service
§ Mr. CROOK
At 65. As a number of teachers who will qualify under the smaller conditions of 22½ years' service will disappear, because they must have been in service in 1898 or before 1918 to qualify for that, the condition for a pension would remain fundamentally under 30 years if it had to be obtained at 60. I rather gathered from the Noble Lord that he is prepared to consider some modification of that in Committee, and I can assure him that he will have ninny Amendments to that effect. Of course, teachers all welcome the action of the State in taking over the burden for back service. We think it is a great benefit which we owe primarily to the right hon. Member for the English 1803 Universities, and which we welcome as being continued in this Bill. We are glad also that the Board has seen that the action of the House of Commons—which, I suppose, it is almost treason to criticise —in 1922, when it imposed a levy of 5 per cent. for pensions, was not really a proper action, in so much as it left the teacher under the conditions of a noncontributory scheme while making it contributory from that. time.
The benefits of this new Bill, I understand, are to go back to June, 1922. That, again, is a point which we welcome. We welcome too—I am giving all the praise at the beginning—the modification in the condition with regard to marriage. That affects women teachers on their return to school. Under the Act of 1918, if a woman teacher got married and returned for two or three months to school and then left again, the only interval allowed for reduction of her qualifications for pension was the first interval, the few months between marriage and return. This Bill proposes that all absences after 10 years shall be allowable. That is a great benefit to our women teachers. Other speakers have referred to the widened scope of this Bill, in including certain inspectors, and so forth. We shall all agree that that widened scope is a great improvement. But I want to associate myself with a previous speaker in saying that I do not think that in the terms of proved external service the local inspectors and organisers have been as fairly treated as those working under the Board of Education. As the Minister has accepted the principle that he will bear all the burden of their future service, he must in fairness bear the burden of their back service too. We shall all work for that in the Committee stage.
I want to say a few words about three classes of teachers who, apparently, are not included in the Bill. Two of them have been mentioned already, but I would like to put the matter in rather a different light. Under the Act of 1918 a teacher who returned from the War disabled was refused the benefit of the death gratuity, although he might remain in the profession. If he died before retiring age no death gratuity could be paid under the Act of 1918. The teachers felt that so much, that out of a fund of our own we have offered to pay death 1804 gratuity in those cases. There are between 50 and 60 such teachers now teaching who know that if they die before their pension age no death gratuity will be paid to their estate. We have already paid two such death gratuities from this fund. We think that that is not a debt which should be paid from our fund; we think that the service which these teachers gave to the State during the War makes that a State debt. I believe that teachers of that category are included in this Bill, but I want to be certain that that is so before we reach the Committee stage. A second category has been mentioned. We want to emphasise this point perhaps more than others. Our training colleges for men before the War were practically denuded of students, who left to join the Army or the Navy. The Noble Lord in his speech said, in effect, that whatever service a man was engaged in when he entered the War would be regarded as his service. As a matter of fact, all these students who left the training colleges to join the Army or the Navy had given a pledge that they would become teachers in. State schools when they left the training colleges. There could be nothing more definite than that these people were really teachers in training when in the training colleges. Their case is not at all analogous to that of people in the universities, who go to the universities with an open mind and decide what they will be after they leave the universities. I think that these students have a claim, on the Minister's own statement, to be, considered as teachers when they joined the Army or the Navy from the training colleges.
A third category has been mentioned, I believe, and I do not see that it would be very easy to get them into this Bill unless we have the utmost sympathy of the Minister. There are 4,500 teachers who retired before 1918. There have been attempts made to press upon this House some amelioration of their condition, and the answer always has been that the reason why that cannot be done is that we must treat all people who retired before 1918 in the same way. That is a very strong and valid argument if the eases were on all fours. These teachers are classed with retired policemen, retired civil servants and retired Army and Navy men. But they did not retire on the same terms. The civil servant retired on two- 1805 thirds of his salary or its equivalent at the time of his retirement. So did the policeman and others. But not the teacher. Teachers who retired before 1918 retired on very much smaller pensions than two-thirds of their salaries. Here is a case in point. The head teacher of a London school who earned £400 a year retired in 1917 on a pension of £40 per annum, or only one-tenth of his salary. A difference like that in the conditions of retirement calls for a difference in the way in which the teacher should be treated by this House.
There is another reason which may lead the Minister to reconsider that point. When the 1918 Act was passed, teachers had been contributing under the Act of 1898 for 20 years, and at the close of the 20 years, on the introduction of the 1918 Act, there was rather more than £6,000,000 of the teachers' money in that fund. The whole of that money was swept into the coffers of the State, with the one condition that the State should become liable for all the annuities of teachers who were under the Act. Apparently, that was a very fair bargain. But there was this difference. The State in 1918-19, when these funds were taken, was getting 31 per cent. interest on the funds and was only paying off the annuities at the rate of 21 per cent. Therefore, the State is getting a profit from the teachers' money, now £6,500,000 to £7,000,000, of 11 per cent. If the Minister really has any sympathy with these pre-1918 teachers, there is the fund that he can raid for the purpose.
Let me say a few final words with regard to the Emmott Report and this Bill. I have spoken so far mostly about present teachers, but I think the House will agree that it is the duty of present teachers, not only to look after themselves, but to look after those who are coining after them. it is our duty, therefore, to support this Bill not so much for the benefits we are going to get as for the benefit which future teachers are going to get, and see whether those benefits accord with the amounts they are asked to pay. I agree entirely with what has been said on the other side in respect to one aspect of the case. I thank that the moneys paid by the teachers to the local authorities for pensions should bear the burden of the proper shire of the pensions. 1 do not think the State 1806 has a right to take the money given for over a period of 40 years, paid in year by year. I am certain that if a crisis does arise such as arose when the Geddes Committee was set up it would be much easier for a Committee of that kind to stop the pensions scheme altogether, and I think we want some Much stronger arguments than the Minister has given to this House before we decide in the way he suggested.
The second point is that this Bill does not set up a real Statutory Advisory Committee. What does the Bill say? Speaking from memory, it says that the. Board may, with the consent of the Treasury, and in conjunction with the local authorities and the teachers, set up a Committee. Obviously, that is a very weak translation of the wishes of the Emmott Committee, and it is certainly a very weak translation of what the teachers desire. The Board does not seem to have recognised that this is a contributory scheme, that it is the teachers who pay, and that, therefore, the teachers have a right to see that their money is properly funded, or properly stabilised by way of an equivalent fund, and they certainly have the right to have some voice in the conditions under which the money is managed or spent. Therefore I think we shall have to insist upon a much stronger Advisory Committee than that. Just one other word. The Minister spoke about paragraph 6 of the First Schedule, as though it did not limit the right of the teacher to his pension. I hope that. is so; but I think we shall have to examine that Schedule very closely and very carefully, and shall have to ask the Minister to assure us. either by argument or Amendment, that it does give the security asked for
§ Mr. D. M. COWAN
The Bill now before us technically applies to England and Wales only, but it does, in fact, have a very direct bearing upon affairs in Scotland, for not only does this Bill decide what amount of financial assistance Scotland is to get for the purposes of superannuation, but very largely the line of this Bill will be the determining factor of the line to be followed by the Scottish Bill. I will, therefore, venture to obtrude myself as a Member from the North of the Tweed for a few minutes. I should like, in the first place, to congratulate the President of the Board of Education not only on the character of 1807 the Bill which he has introduced, but also on the manner in which he has introduced it. We have seldom had in the House a speech so brief or lucid as that to which we listened to-night. I would also congratulate the President on the fact that he has associated with him in his office one of the most distinguished of our Scottish Members. We do look to see a progressive spirit in the Board of Education which sometimes has been absent from it. I do not intend to enter into Committee details of the Bill, but I feel that in widening the scope of it the Board of Education has made a very wise departure which will be of immense benefit to the whole educational system of our country. What we have lacked more than anything else almost has been a proper measure of mobility in the educational services of the country, and we all rejoice, without distinction of party, that the Measure before us will very largely secure that mobility in England; and I join with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the English Universities (Mr. Fisher) in expressing our thanks that university service has now been conjoined with service in schools in such a way that a person having taken part in both loses on neither side. Mobility having been secured so far as the schools in England are concerned, I would appeal to the President to see that- in the Measure now before us he takes every possible step to secure reciprocity between England and Scotland. Nothing could be better for the two countries than that there should be an easy flow of teachers from one to the other without any loss of superannuation right, and therefore I hope that in this matter of reciprocity if any little difficulties arise there will be consultation between the Board -of Education and the Scottish Education Department in order that these difficulties may be removed.
One other point I want to call attention to. Under Part IV of this Bill the President takes power to make arrangements with those Dominions where there is already a pension scheme. I would like him to take power to give as qualifying service time which is spent in any of the Dominions, whether they have a statutory pensions scheme or not.
§ Mr. COWAN:
If it is taken as qualifying, I think it will prove to be one of the ways of cementing the Empire of the need of which we hear so much. As I am under obligation to you, Mr. Speaker, to confine my observations to the very shortest possible space, I would only say with regard to the question of funding, that if ever the question does arise, as to suitability or otherwise, we have the words of the President uttered here to-night. which make a very honourable bargain between the teaching profession and the Government of the day which I do not believe will ever be put aside by any future Government. In my last words I would ask the President if it is at all possible to follow the example of Scotland in doing something for those teachers who retired before 1919.
§ Mr. SOMERVILLE:
I would like briefly to say a. word from the point of view of the secondary teachers. The case of the elementary teachers is comparatively simple, but there are so many different types of secondary schools, there is so much interchange of teachers between grant-aided and non-grant-aided schools that a great many anomalies and a great many difficulties arise, and it will be particularly necessary for the Committee to consider some of those anomalies. I am sure it was a great pleasure to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the English Universities (Mr. Fisher) to be able to congratulate the President of the Board of Education on carrying on the good work he began so well in 1919, and the gratitude of teachers is due to both and is freely given.
The Bill seems to me to be a good one, and its value has been increased by the assurances which have been given by the President. He has told us that he is disposed to give some consideration to the case of men who retire before the age of 60 because of infirmity and unavoidable causes, and he says that he is going to establish an advisory Committee. I think that is particularly necessary in the case of secondary schools. The right hon. Gentleman is also taking powers to consult with education authorities and teachers before the rules are drawn up, but in the actual working of the Bill these rules will have to be altered, and I think these representatives should be called into counsel before the rules are altered.
1809 There is another point and that is the provision which is made for the pensions of organisers. That opens a larger avenue for the promotion of teachers, but it is equally more important for the schools because it brings into the administration inspecting posts, men with real knowledge of the schools who will bring a humanising influence and this will have a very beneficial effect. Another point is that for the first time we have an authoritative statement on the question of whole-time teachers, a subject which has caused a good deal of trouble to secondary teachers. Various duties of this kind were performed by secondary teachers which are necessary for the life of the school, but they have not been regarded as teaching time, and that matter has been settled under the present Bill.
With regard to the Advisory Committee, it seems essential that such a committee should be established and made statutory, and that it should be summoned at fixed intervals. Then there is the case of the private schools. In the Bill under Clause 20 the president takes power to admit the men teaching in private schools under the Act. The system of private schools is the step-child of our national educational system. The Board of Education hitherto has not recognised that, and the Act of 1019 has done much to weaken and render inefficient the teaching in those schools because men and women will not seek service in those schools if the service is not pensionable. The service in those schools under the schemes of the present Bill will be pensionable, and there will be a free interchange between schools of the secondary type which will be very much for the benefit of education generally.
I hope if this Bill passes into law that Amendments such as I have suggested will be accepted in Committee, and if the Burnham Award is accepted generally and is made statutory, then we may look forward to a great advance in education, and the teachers will settle down with hope and contentment to their work instead of to bitterness and unrest We shall have some outcry about the cost and people will say, "Look what, education cost before the War." To any thoughtful man it insist be obvioue that the salaries of teachers before the War were scandalously inadequate. Then the 1810 average salary of a secondary school teacher in a grant-aided school sa year. When we think of these things, and of the advances which have since been made, I think the teaching profession must be and is grateful. This kind of treatment will attract to the schools the right type of men and women, and that will be of very great value in the secondary schools, because it is there we have to train the future leaders of the country, and this will be the greatest national asset we can have. We shall have men and women, for instance, who will give their pupils a real grip of some subject, who will develop their critical faculty, so that they will know when the "Daily Mail" or the "Daily Herald" is talking nonsense, and will make them realise that, although we live in an overcrowded island where the chances are few, still we are the centre of an Empire whose extent is great, and where the chances are also great; and this Bill is a long step towards the realisation of that ideal.
§ Mr. WILLIAM GRAHAM
I rise for only one or two minutes to draw attention to the financial side of this proposal, and to ask the Noble Lord the President of the Board of Education whether, in consultation with the Treasury, he could not work out a better scheme than he offers to Parliament to-day. I think it must be plain to every student of this problem that what is offered to the House is not, strictly speaking, superannuation at all, as we understand it in an actuarial sense. It is a mere fund, no doubt to he safeguarded in times to come, but certainly not a scheme of superannuation in the terms of Acts of that kind which have been passed within recent years
I take the view very strongly—and I believe it is shared by many hon. Members in all parts of the House—that we should not pass a scheme of this kind, either now or in Committee, without understand clearly indeed that we are laying down something which is largely new in this important sphere of provision fol. age. The short point about this fund is that there is a contribution from the teachers, and there is a contribution from the local authorities, and, inasmuch as that contribution from the local authorities ranks up to a certain point for grant from the State, it is easy to measure the 1811 contribution of the third party, namely, the State itself. Accordingly, in the White Paper which has been presented to the House of Commons, there is a kind of measurement of the liability falling upon the National Exchequer in time to come, and that, so far, is perfectly plain and clear; but, as the Noble Lord himself points out, that is merely a fund which, of course, we trust will be duly replenished from time to tame, and out of which I have no doubt the pensions and benefits to the people affected will be duly paid. But that is something substantially different from a superannuation fund under ordinary Superannuation Acts.
No doubt the White Paper argues that this will be subject to an actuarial investigation from time to time, in order to make it clear as to whether there is an equivalence between the contributions from the three sources, on the one hand, and the benefits that are to be paid on the other. I, personally, do not suggest for a minute that there is any likelihood of the State going back upon its bargain, but we are bound at the same time to compare this proposal, first of all with ordinary superannuation, and to ask ourselves whether it is consistent with that; and, in the second place, to ask ourselves quite candidly whether it is a sound financial proposal taken as a, whole.
Let us take the first point, comparing this with ordinary superannuation. It is not unfair to class the provision which the President of the Board of Education is now making with superannuation aswefind it applied to local government officials in this country. That grew up, to a certain extent, under voluntary Acts prior to the permissive Act of 1922, and under that permissive Act a very large number of local authorities in this country have adopted schemes, and there is a very strong feeling in many quarters that that Act will be obligatory at an early date. Be that as it may, the schemes of local government authorities cover a very large number of people whose positionisanalogous to the position of teachers. who, after al], are engaged by the local authorities, who are their primary employers. Under these schemes, a contribution is made by the employé and by the local authority on a strictly actuarial basis, a fund is set up, benefits are 1812 guaranteed under that fund, and every effort is made to ensure the solvency of the fund throughout its life. This is a, departure from that, because we cannot really put this scheme on the same footing at all. It is not a fund of that kind; it is a paper account, to be kept, as I understand it, by the Treasury and by the Board of Education; and, therefore, there is a very substantial difference between the position that teachers are going to occupy under this scheme and the position occupied by other servants of local authorities in so far as they are covered by superannuation schemes.
In the second place, I think the scheme of the Noble Lord is inconsistent with what the Government are doing in other directions in this matter of superannuation. If we take the new proposals relating to widows, orphans and the aged, which will be discussed very soon in this House, there is provision there, up to a point, for an actuarial basis, and, of course, the theory is that in the long run, over a certain term of years, the scheme will be self-supporting, old age pensions included. Between that scheme and the scheme which we have under discussion to-night there is again a vital difference, because no one going to the heart of the problem would put to-night's proposals in any way on the same basis as the scheme in another and wider connection which the Government themselves have introduced.
That leads us quite naturally to the reasons which the Noble Lord advances for this rather curious and, as I regard it, dangerous proposal. He says that, broadly speaking, the object of departing from the clear recommendation of the Emmott Committee to set up a fund on a proper basis is to reduce the liability of the taxpayer in times when our burdens are undeniably high£in those times round about us when we are raising £800,000,000 a year from taxation. The, Noble Lord says quite truly that, for the first years of the scheme, the burden upon the Exchequer will be rather less under the proposal he makes. but. of course, he cannot dispute the fact that later in the day the liability will be heavier. He says, however, that that will be at a time when other burdens have diminished, when we have got rid of a great deal of the expenditure of the present day, the War Debt, and the rest, and when the community will be able to shoulder the obliga- 1813 tion. I am afraid that in this matter the President of the Board of Education is falling into the financial habits of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He is building upon an agreeable speculation a long time ahead which, as a pure financial proposal, he has no right to assume in a fund where everything should be on a clear-cut, firm and perfectly guaranteed basis. I do not think there is any real reason for the step the Government have taken in this connection. They have no right to make the assumption that times are going to be easier. in any case, they cannot bind succeeding Parliaments, and in the matter of superannuation they ought to be able to give the beneficiaries a firm guarantee as to what is to happen under a fund whose actuarial basis can be properly ascertained and to which we are perfectly sure the contributing elements are making such contributions as will safeguard the benefits in every shape and form.
I imagine that the President of the Board of Education might say in reply that if you go out for a sound, actuarially constructed fund, you must take all the risks of that fund side by side with any benefits which may accrue from it, and I suppose it would be said by people familiar with this problem that if there is a danger of such a fund becoming insolvent, we, the State, guarantee these benefits to the teachers. If that argument had been used some years ago, it would have had very much greater force than it has to-night. I entirely agree that there are many prominent funds regarding which actuarial advice was secured which are to-day insolvent and into which local authorities in some cases and public bodies in others have been obliged to pour money in order to safeguard the benefits to the recipients. But surely it is not impossible for the State, with an actuarial service at its command and with an ascertained population for the scheme such as is afforded in the case of teachers, to construct something which is on a strictly actuarial basis. There is a great deal of experience to encourage that view, and I press it very strongly because many of us hold that the right of the teachers under such a scheme is stronger in the last resort than it can be under anything of a 1814 quasi ex gratiacharacter even if that is within a statute. If hon. Members turn to one of the Schedules of the Bill they will see that legal right is expressly withheld, and there is not the least doubt that, while of course the State will fulfil a kind of statutory bargain, still thisex gratiaelement remains and I suppose it is not impossible to imagine that there might be certain legal and other difficulties on that head. The point I wish to make is simply that there is a wealth of information for the establishment of a proper fund, that that is the view that the Emmott Committee took, that it would certainly safeguard the teachers much more fully and deeply than this scheme can, and that I do not think the House of Commons should pass this proposal certainly upstairs in Committee until the President. of the Board of Education has been able to show beyond a shadow of doubt that such a proposal is at present impossible.
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of EDUCATION (Duchess of Athol!)
Those who are responsible for the Bill, I think, have reason to be very grateful for the friendly spirit with which it has been welcomed in different parts of the House. It has been particularly pleasing to hear the benedictions offered by the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones), who preceded me in my office, and who was formerly a member of the teaching profession, and also very pleasant to hear the blessings pronounced on the Bill by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the English Universities (Mr. Fisher), who was the author of an Act that laid a. great foundation which we are endeavouring to make if possible a little more secure. In the short time that is left to me it is not possible to do more than touch on one or two of the points that have been raised. The first I should like to tae is the question of legal right. This question was very fully considered by the Emmott Committee. They discussed it exactly from the point of view raised by the. hon. Member for Caerphilly the. difference of situation caused by the fact that contributions are now exacted from the teachers. They went into it very fully and they pointed out certain definite advantages which, as it seemed to them, there were in leaving the Board certain discretionary powers. These I think it 1815 will be evident from the statement of my right hon. Friend are very small ones, and not at all likely to be exercised unduly. The Emmott Committee further pointed out that in Scotland, where there was formerly a contributory scheme for several years for teachers, the Department had fully as great powers, and no evidence was forthcoming from Scottish teachers that this condition had been round in any way onerous.
Then I turn to the question of the lack of provision for a fund. I speak with great deference, because I cannot claim to be more than an amateur in financial matters, but there are one or two points of which I might venture to remind the right hon. Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham). I think he said that to have a superannuation scheme without a fund was a new experiment in superannuation. I think he has forgotten that there are no funds for the police pensions or for the Poor Law officers' pensions. He further instanced the fact that local authorities taking advantage of their powers to frame superannuation schemes under the Local Government Officers Act, 1922, were obliged to fund the contributions. It is worthy of notice that not a. very large number of local authorities have availed themselves of the powers under that Act. I cannot help feeling that it may he possible that. because the funding proposal requires the local authorities to make heavy payments during the first forty years of their superannuation schemes, that may account for the reluctance on the part of some authorities to avail themselves of the powers under the Act but that may be only my supposition. I am sure that with the right hon. Gentleman's experience at the Treasury he will admit that there is a great difference between the stability of local finance and of financial arrangements which have the Treasury guarantee.
Certain fears were expressed by the right hon. Member for the English Universities as to the lack of permanence of any scheme which did not include funding. I think the only reason that there can be for this fear is the fact that the Act of 1918 having established a noncontributory scheme, was followed in 1922 by a scheme exacting contributions from the teachers. He knows the history 1816 of those years better than I do, but he will not dispute that it was not because of any sudden whim on the part of the Government of the day that the teachers were asked for a contribution, nor was it merely because 1922 was a year of great financial stringency. I believe the cardinal fact which accounted for the change in policy was that in the interval there had been an unexpected rise in salaries, which made the cost of pensions on a non-contributory basis in 1922 far beyond what one could foresee in 1918. Since that date salaries have been stabilised. They have been stabilised for a period of six years, and we hope and believe that there will never be a period of uncertainty in regard to salaries such as there was in the days pre 1918 and 1922. Therefore, it does not seem to us that what happened in 1922 is any reason why anyone should fear that any Government. will have a capricious policy in regard to teachers' pensions, any more than one might fear that any Government would be seized with desire to abolish pensions in the Civil Service. Some speakers, including the hon. Member for East Ham (Mr. C. W. Crook) seem to regard a pension fund as somethingsacrosanct.The hon. Member spoke of the virtues of the 1898 fund, but he omitted to mention that that fund by 1918 was seriously in deficit through capital depreciation. Therefore, this fund which it was said would be something that could never be swept away and that no Government, however powerful, could touch, was wiped out of existence on the passing of the 1918 Act in exchange for a Treasury guarantee.
§ Mr. CROOK:
Will the Noble Lady tell me on the valuation of that fund whether they were asked to increase the annuities to 3½ per cent. instead of 2½ per cent.?
Duchess of ATHOLL
I was unable to catch the hon. Member's question, but I think there is no doubt that the fund had much depreciated by 1918, and after that time it ceased to exist. It seems to me there is no foundation for the view that a fund is something which necessarily would give stability and security to teachers' pensions which cannot be given by the proposals of the Bill. After all, we in this country are accustomed to regard a Treasury guarantee as about the best thing this country has to offer. I 1817 do not think I need remind hon. Members opposite that representatives of a certain foreign Government last year should have lively appreciation of its value. Are we to value it less than they?
I would just like to say a word about the teachers who retired before 1918. I am quite certain my right hon. Friend feels the position of those teachers just as keenly as anybody here. There can seldom have been a greater change for any persons as regards salary and pension than teachers experienced in 1918-20, but I would remind hon. Members who raised this question with so much feeling that pre-1919 teachers have been dealt with under two successive Pensions (Increase) Acts. I think it was the late Chancellor of the Exchequer who was responsible for the statement that the last Pensions (Increase) Act£the Act of last year£ought to be regarded as a final one, and I am sure the right hon. Gentleman would be the first to tell us if we attempted to discriminate between teachers and others under that Act that we would be doing something quite impossible and very unfair to those other beneficiaries. My right hon. Friend very regretfully feels that it is not possible for him to deal with those teachers under this Bill.
I come to the question of the students who were in training in the colleges or in the Universities at the outbreak of war, or when they volunteered for service. The question has been raised by hon. Members. Here, again, I must remind them that this point was carefully considered by the Emmott Committee. That Committee took a good deal of evidence and came to the unanimous conclusion that it was impossible to differentiate between the student in the training college and in the university who was training there to be a teacher, and they also felt that it was impossible to differentiate between young men training for the teaching profession, either in a. university or a training college, and those training for the Civil Service. In these cases a certain clement of hypothesis entered into it as to whether young men would become teachers or on what date they would become teachers. Therefore, my right hon. Friend does not feel it is possible to deal with students under this Bill. The case the hon. Member for 1818 Wellingborough (Mr. Cove) produced of broken service£actual teaching service£comes in rather a different category. It is one of what I hope and believe is a very small number of cases of hardship. Those cases will be considered to see whether it is possible to allow them anything.
In reference to the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford University (Sir C. Oman), my right hon. Friend fully appreciates all that has been done by the class of schools to which he referred to bring their teachers within the benefits of the Act of 1918, and he has every intention of availing himself of the powers which are asked for in the Bill to frame a scheme to bring in schools of that kind, and he hopes that the scheme will be drafted in time to become operative at the same time as the Bill. One point mentioned by the hon. Member for East Ham was the question as to whether ex-service men have been included as eligible for death gratuities. The answer is in the affirmative. Under Clause 5, which deals with the matter of death gratutities to legal personal representatives of deceased teachers, ex-service men may be eligible for this benefit as well as the other benefits under the Bill.
In reference to the question of directors and organisers to which so many speakers have referred, I would like to say how much my right hon. Friend recognises the great services that- have been performed by directors of education in particular. Personally, having been a member of an education authority in Scotland during the first few years of transition from the old small school board area to the large county area, I think that I am in a position to realise what invaluable work has been, and is being, done by directors of education, and to what an extent they have assisted in the great improvement which has followed the introduction of the larger areas. But as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the English Universities will remember, the Emmott Committee limited the directors of education to those who had former teaching service, and they did not propose any arrangement more generous than the one which has been made in the Bill. In regard to the point which the right hon. Gentleman mentioned, I should like to make clear that the proposal in the Bill 1819 is that the State should pay half of the directors' back service, and my right hon. Friend has discussed with representatives of the local education authorities as to whether anything more can be done£he does not necessarily object to that£without increasing the liability on the Exchequer. Proposals are I believe to be considered by the local authorities, which I hope if found practicable will improve the position of this very valuable class of public servants.