§ 5. Mr. William Hamilton
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will introduce proposals for a widows and 1523 orphans pension scheme for the teaching profession as part of a comprehensive plan to increase the attractiveness of teaching as a profession.
§ Mrs. Hart
My right hon. Friend initiated on 4th December the formal consultations required by the Education (Scotland) Act prior to the introduction of such a scheme. My right hon. Friend hopes soon to have the views of the representatives of education authorities and of teachers who have been consulted on the terms of the scheme proposed.
§ Mr. William Hamilton
Will my hon. Friend give an assurance that she treats this problem with the urgency which it deserves, and which has not been evident for many years past? Is she aware that there are cases of considerable hardship arising out of the lack of such a scheme, and will she give an assurance that the whole matter will be discussed with the teaching profession as a whole because of the tremendous teacher shortage we are cursed with?
§ Mrs. Hart
I can assure my hon. Friend that we are regarding this as a matter of great urgency. We are consulting the various bodies concerned in presenting draft regulations by the beginning of the year and bringing the scheme into operation from 1st April. I can tell him that, as he probably knows, the working group with which the teachers themselves were closely involved was concerned in preparing the scheme we are to introduce.