HC Deb 11 June 1937 vol 324 cc2170-2

Considered in Committee under Standing Order No. 69.

[Captain BOURNE in the Chair.]

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That it is expedient— (1) to amend the Teachers (Superannuation) Acts, 1918 to 1935, and to provide for the amendment of the superannuation scheme framed under the Education (Scotland) (Superannuation) Acts, 1919 to 1935,—

  1. (a) so as to permit the surrender of part of a teacher's or educational organiser's superannuation benefits and, in return for such surrender, the grant of a pension to a spouse or dependant, or of an annuity to the teacher or organiser and a pension to a spouse;
  2. (b) so as to make further and better provision for the payment of contributions when service is discontinued and the contributor is abroad, and for the treatment of periods of absence abroad as periods of contributory service or of service within the meaning of the said superannuation scheme, as the case may he; and
  3. (c) so as to extend paragraphs (b) and (c) of sub-section (1) of section twenty-one of the Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1925, to educational organisers; and
(2) to provide for other matters connected with the matters aforesaid."—(King's Recommendation signified.)—[Mr. Lindsay.]

2.43 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education (Mr. Kenneth Lindsay)

I believe this is an agreed Resolution. There are three short points which I would like to make. The first is that the Resolution enables retiring teachers to be allowed to surrender part of their pension in return for the granting to the spouse or dependants of a pension actuarily equivalent to the part surrendered. This has been asked for by the teachers, and it is exactly the same as the provision already in force in the Civil Service. The second point is that this has been asked for by the British Council. My noble Friend the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) has taken some interest in this question, and my own experience in the East and in the Dominions makes me particularly glad to see this provision inserted. The provision enables a teacher who is absent abroad on service, appointed as a teacher, whether in a British Dominion or Mandated Territory, or in a foreign country, to have the advantage of the pension not only for four years, but for five years, and there may be a further extension in special cases. Thirdly, the Measure extends not only to teachers, but also to organisers. It is not expected that any additional charge will be involved in the first two points, although there may be some slight increase in respect of the third.

2.45 p.m.

Mr. Cove

As the hon. Gentleman has said, this Resolution relates to a Measure which has been agreed upon between the teachers and the Board of Education, and I wish to thank the Department for the way in which they have received the representations of the National Union of Teachers on this matter. I may say that already there seems to be a very keen desire to get the Bill, to which this Resolution relates, on to the Statute Book. I understand, too, that the Scottish teachers have been trying to secure that there shall be some curtailment of the period of time which will elapse between putting the Measure on the Statute Book and bringing it into operation. That, I am informed, is not regarded as a practicable proposition, but I do not propose to stress that point now.

I would like to express the hope, however, that everything will be done to expedite the passage of the Bill. Undoubtedly it will fill a gap which now exists in the superannuation scheme, and will help teachers to make the provision which they desire to make for their dependants. I understand that the Estimates for the Department will be down for consideration on Monday next, and if I have the privilege of being called during that discussion, I shall probably appear in the role of a rather severe critic of the Board of Education. But this afternoon I wish to thank the Board for what they have done in regard to this matter. I also wish to take this opportunity of welcoming the hon. Gentleman as Parliamentary Secretary to the Board. I can assure him that there is a lot to be done in his new office. His predecessor has left him a lot of administrative work to do. I understand that in days gone by the hon. Gentleman was keenly interested in education and actually wrote a book on the subject. I hope, therefore, that we shall see an era of extension and not of contraction while he is in that office.

2.49 p.m.

Mr. G. A. Morrison

I wish to join with the hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Cove) in offering my congratulations to the Parliamentary Secretary on his promotion to that office and in hoping that all success will attend his efforts in his new sphere. It is interesting to me to see a Scotsman occupying that position and, speaking on behalf of the Scottish teachers, I wish to thank the hon. Gentleman, his former chief and the Department for what they have done in the removal of what was undoubtedly a defect, what one might almost call a blot in an otherwise excellent pensions scheme—for it is an excellent scheme as far as it goes. I should like also, if the matter is not already beyond remedy, as suggested by the last speaker, to ask whether it would not be possible so to expedite the passing of the Measure or to antedate its coming into operation, that the very considerable number of teachers who expect to retire between the end of this month and September next may be able to participate in its benefits.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolution to be reported upon Monday next.