HC Deb 13 March 1973 vol 852 cc1105-6
12. Mr. Pavitt

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what answer she has sent to the Brent Teachers' Association on its representations concerning the cost of housing accommodation in the London borough of Brent, and London weighting.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

The Department has replied that on 3rd November last the teachers rejected the offer of £133; since then any increase has been ruled out by the standstill and must now count against the stage 2 pay limit; housing costs are no doubt one reason for the high rate of turnover of teaching staff, but this is a problem not confined to Brent or, indeed, to London.

Mr. Pavitt

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in my constituency the cost of a three-bedroom flat is £16,000, that rented accommodation does not exist and that the price of furnished accommodation is astronomical? The hon. Gentleman has referred to turnover. The turnover of teachers in the last two years makes education in one of the finest education authorities in the country virtually impossible. Will the hon. Gentleman budge from the rigid freeze position that he has adopted in London and get our schools open again?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I am sympathetic to the housing problems facing teachers in the London area. As the hon. Gentleman knows, there are powers to get mortgages for teachers through local authorities and for local authorities to give teachers priority on their housing lists and even to build and acquire houses for teachers. I hope that local authorities will use their powers much more widely.

Mr. Spearing

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the management side of the Burnham Panel has said for its part that the London allowance should not be part of any national wage award under the £1 plus 4 per cent. formula? Does his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State agree with that interpretation? If not, will he and the right hon. Lady give their views about the matter?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

The London allowance is taxable, superannuable and negotiated in the same forum as salaries and therefore has to be treated as pay. It is not a matter of opinion. It is a matter of fact.