§ 15. Mr. Patrick Jenkin
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will take steps to modify the teachers' superannuation scheme so as to abolish or relax the earnings rule for teachers over 70 years of age who continue teaching.
§ The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mr. R. E. Prentice)
No, Sir. The present arrangements are in line with those that apply to other public service superannuation schemes.
§ Mr. Jenkin
Does not the Minister of State recognise that this operates as a very considerable disincentive to older teachers continuing to teach in the profession? Their services are very valuable in reducing the size of classes, particularly in primary schools. Does not the hon. Gentleman recognise also that the public pension provision is way out of line with what applies in most private pension schemes, where no reduction is made in pension if the employee goes on working after pensionable age?
§ Mr. Prentice
Yes, I have much sympathy with that point of view, although, if one were going to make a change, one would make it at retirement age, presumably, not at 70, as suggested in the Question. Even if a change were made, there would still be a difficulty in that this would have implications for public service pensions in general.
§ Mr. James Johnson
Would not my hon. Friend agree that most teachers, if not all teachers, who have reached the age of 70 do not wish to do any more teaching? What they want is a decent pension scheme which has some approximation to the cost of living.
§ Mr. Prentice
Yes. This relates to the question of reviewing public service pensions, which is rather wider than the Question on the Order Paper.