HC Deb 10 April 1973 vol 854 cc1124-5
16. Mr. Deakins

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps she is proposing to take to help greater London boroughs which are losing young teachers because of the high cost of living in London.

Mrs. Thatcher

First, we need to establish the facts about the rate of turnover in London and elsewhere and, as far as possible, the reasons for it. I am considering setting up a sample survey covering the whole country.

Mr. Deakins

Why did the Government insist before the recent Burnham negotiations that the London teachers' allowance must be considered as part of the global sum when that has not traditionally been the case? As nothing is likely to be done about an effective increase in the London teachers' allowance, is not the right hon. Lady aware that in educationally and socially deprived areas such as mine in Waltham-stow, and in many other parts of London, the educational system will gradually be run to a halt, to the detriment of the interests of working-class children in those areas?

Mrs. Thatcher

The London allowance was treated by virtue of the White Paper in the same way as any other sums which are counted as remuneration. It fell under that particular head.

Mr. Selwyn Gummer

Does my right hon. Friend accept that without any working party it is fairly clear that the cost of housing in London makes it difficult for teachers to live in the area in which they teach? Many local authorities do not do much about this. Because of the difficulty for teachers, does my right hon. Friend propose to consult her right hon. Friends and to ensure that local authorities do their utmost to help in the provision of housing for teachers?

Mrs. Thatcher

That consultation has already taken place. I said in reply to my hon. Friend's last question, although I do not think he heard it, that I would make inquiries from his authority.

Mr. Molloy

Is the right hon. Lady aware that Mr. Aubrey Jones' Prices and Incomes Board specifically ruled that London weighting for teachers would not and should not be part of the global sum? That is why teachers in London feel that the right hon. Lady is cheating them. In consequence there is great bitterness. It has been put to me by many teachers in London "If you want to get on in teaching, get out of London". Is not that a serious condemnation of the right hon. Lady's attitude towards the problem?

Mrs. Thatcher

The counter-inflation policy and the pay and prices legislation have already passed through the House. The Inner London Education Authority still has one of the best pupil/teacher ratios in the country.