§ 18. Mr. Pounder
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will review the existing regulation whereby a teacher's pension is based on the average salary for the last five years of service; and if he will take the basis for such pensions to be the average of the last three years of service.
§ Mr. Jennings
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his right hon. Friends in the Treasury are already undertaking a review of public service pensions, including teachers' pensions? How far would the right hon. Gentleman be prepared to advocate to his right hon. Friends some compensatory measure for teachers who retired many years ago on salaries which were lower than what teachers leaving the service are getting now?
§ Mr. Crosland
We have been responsible for this matter for only a very short number of months. I must point out that this is, in effect, a plea for the principle of retrospection in superannuation administration. As the hon. Gentleman knows, this is not the normal principle. As he said, my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary is considering the question of public and Armed Forces pensions, but I would 1463 rather not prejudge anything which he announces as a result of that review.
§ 19. Mr. Pounder
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will amend the regulation whereby teachers who retired prior to 1956 had their service based on a maximum of 40 years regardless of whether actual service exceeded that period; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Pounder
Does the Secretary of State not appreciate that this 1956 decision was anomalous, that teachers' salaries were even worse then than they are now and that it would not be too costly to bring them into line to ensure that retired teachers have something reasonable on which to live?
§ Mr. Crosland
Like other hon. Members, I am very sympathetic on this issue, but there are three objections to this retrospective recalculation. One is the point which I just made—that it is not a generally accepted principle of superannuation schemes—the second is the obvious financial one, that it would add to the already substantial deficit of £274 million on the teachers' superannuation account which the former Government undertook to meet under the terms of the 1956 Act, and the third is that if one looks, as I have, at the matter in detail, one sees that the majority of older pensioners who had less than 40 years service would not stand to gain a great deal. If one looks at the facts and figures one sees that the gain to the people the hon. Gentleman has in mind would be very small.