HC Deb 21 December 1972 vol 848 cc1544-6
2. Mr. Deakins

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations she has received from teachers about further negotiations on the London allowance after the present period of incomes freeze; and what replies she has sent.

5. Mr. Barnes

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what further representations she has received about the London allowance for teachers; and what replies she has sent.

24. Mr. Norman Lamont

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will now allow the negotiations to be reopened on the London teachers' allowance.

Mrs. Thatcher

Since my hon. Friend's written answer on 30th November to the Question by the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis), I have received about 250 further letters from teachers, some dealing with future negotiations. In reply, I have drawn attention to the statement on 20th November by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer about negotiations during the standstill, and I have pointed out that any new offer from the management panels will need to take account of the second stage of counter-inflation strategy. —[Vol. 847, c. 241; Vol. 847, c. 927.]

Mr. Deakins

Will the Secretary of State undertake at the end of the freeze not to obstruct any negotiations between the management panel and the teachers on this vitally important subject, as this seems to be the only way of reducing the high turnover of young teachers in many of the London boroughs, including Waltham Forest.

Mrs. Thatcher

We do not yet know what will happen after this stage of the freeze is over. This was pointed out in the statement by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Therefore, we are in a somewhat difficult position at the moment. I should point out that everything that has happened so far has been in accordance with the legislation agreed by both parties.

Mr. Barnes

Does the Secretary of State agree that there is a feeling of some anger among teachers in London that the negotiations for the revised allowance were deliberately prevented from taking place before the standstill came into force? Does she not think that it is only fair that, when the revised allowance is agreed, it should be backdated to 1st November?

Mrs. Thatcher

No. An offer was made on 3rd November, which was accepted by some teachers and was in fact implemented. Others rejected it and were caught by the freeze.

Mr. Moyle

Does the right hon. Lady agree that there is a problem of retaining young teachers in London, particularly about the point when they get married, due to the high costs of housing and travelling? If she will not tell the House how she will solve the problem, may I ask her to give some indication when she will solve it?

Mrs. Thatcher

The problems in London are no greater than those in other big cities. The turnover is no worse and the proportion of young teachers is no higher. Therefore, these problems are peculiar not only to London, but to other large cities.

Mr. Leonard

As the freeze came into operation, in effect, one month earlier for London teachers than for other groups of workers, will the right hon. Lady seek to ensure that for London teachers the freeze should end one month earlier?

Mrs. Thatcher

The hon. Gentleman is not correct. An offer was made on 3rd November, three days before the freeze came into effect. Some teachers accepted the offer and their increases have been put into effect.