44. Miss Rathbone
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he has considered the case for ex-gratia consideration and treatment of teachers who, by reason of the fact that they were for a period preceding the political changes in Ireland engaged in technical or art instruction in that country, are now debarred from having their period of service in Ireland counted for reckoning superannuation and bonus, in spite of the fact that throughout their teaching careers they have contributed pro rata with other teachers to all forms of Imperial taxation and dues, and had in the majority of cases returned to English teaching before the passing of the Teachers' Superannuation Act and become contributors under the Act on a par with other teacher colleagues?
This matter has recently been the subject of prolonged consideration by my Department. As the hon. Member realises, the periods of service in Ireland of the teachers in question cannot be treated as pensionable service 3300 under the Teachers (Superannuation) Acts, though such periods are admitted as qualifying service for the purpose of entitlement to pension in respect of contributory service in England and Wales. The question of any ex-gratia payment to these teachers in respect of their service in Ireland is not a matter for my Department, whose jurisdiction does not extend beyond England and Wales. The argument that these teachers, having equally with other teachers contributed towards Imperial taxes, are entitled to some special superannuation benefits from Exchequer funds, would be valid only if the payment of taxes carried with it a right to pension benefits.
Can the hon. Member tell me whether there is any Department that has it in its power to make these ex-gratia payments? Is it in the power of the Treasury to do so?