HC Deb 02 August 1962 vol 664 cc774-5
15. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of the fact that the pensions provisions for retired teachers and nurses are such as to deter them from returning to their service when so requested by Her Majesty's Government, what action he is taking in the national interest to remedy this state of affairs.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I assume that my hon. Friend has in mind the provisions under which the pension of a retired teacher or nurse is reduced on re-employment if, when added to the new salary, it exceeds the salary at the time of original retirement. Such provisions are common to public service pension schemes generally, and the proposal made in her question raises very wide issues.

Dame Irene Ward

In our consideration of, on the one hand, the occasions when it is essential in the national interest to ask people to come back into service, and, on the other hand, the making of redundancy payments, quite rightly, to those who have to sacrifice their jobs in the national interest, why should it always be those who are asked to come back in the national interest who have to take the "can"? It is always the old people who have to take the "can". Why is it only for the new people that we can provide new legislation? Would it not be fairer to do it equally for both sections of the community and thus do justice to all people, not just to one section?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

My hon. Friend's proposal, which would permit a public servant to retire at the minimum age for pension and then be re-employed on full pension and salary, would not seem to me to be fair to the community as a whole.

Mr. G. Thomas

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that teachers who have retired have earned their pension and that, if they come back, they are not receiving charity but earning a salary for which they give good service? Why should he want to take their pension from them because they are meeting a tremendous need in our schools today?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I understand that the majority of teachers re-employed on a part-time basis do not have earnings bringing them up to the level at which they would be affected by the rule. On the hon. Gentleman's main point, I must point out that, although these pensions have been well earned, they have been earned subject to the provisions of the superannuation scheme, of which this is one.

Mr. Grimond

This is a very widely felt, genuine grievance. The right hon. Gentleman says that it would be unfair on the community to do what the hon. Lady asks. Does not he realise that it is the community which is asking these retired teachers to return to work? The community is suffering a great deal because retired teachers feel that, if they are to do the job, this should not affect their pension which they have earned for doing the job in the past.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that this rule does not, in fact, operate in a considerable number of the special cases of teachers about which he is concerned, but the evil effects which I described in an earlier reply would apply throughout the public service.