HC Deb 13 March 1973 vol 852 cc1103-5
11. Mr. Madel

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will consider introducing a South-East teacher's allowance, similar to the London allowance, in those counties around London absorbing London overspill; and if she will make a statement.

Mrs. Thatcher

Such an allowance would be part of pay, and therefore a matter in the first place for the Burnham Committee. Separate scales for service in different parts of the country were abandoned by the Burnham Committee in 1945 and since then only a London allowance has been paid.

Mr. Madel

Will my right hon. Friend reconsider this matter since the cost of living in these counties is now at London levels? Could not the Pay Board be asked to look into the London teachers' allowance so that teachers in the South-East immediately outside London could have a better deal when stage 3 comes into effect?

Mrs. Thatcher

I agree with my hon. Friend that problems like increasing house prices have affected areas way beyond the London area. This factor has also entered into the other side of the balance sheet and reduced the differential between those areas and the London area. But teachers would be at liberty to ask for a case to be put to the Pay Board under stage 3 if they felt that anomalies had arisen in the period of stage 1 and stage 2. My hon. Friend's suggestion would, however, have wider repercussions than for teachers.

Mr. Atkinson

The right hon. Lady has just made a very important statement. She has changed the whole basis of the method of wage bargaining for the teaching profession. Is she now saying that the London allowance is linked in the sense that it is part of the wage structure and therefore can be referred to for some adjustment during the next period of the wage arrangements? How will this affect the Burnham Committee? Is the right hon. Lady saying that the Burnham Committee is to become redundant?

Mrs. Thatcher

The hon. Gentleman did not listen to my answer. Such an allowance would be part of pay and therefore a matter in the first instance for the Burnham Committee. That stands. I went on to say that if teachers wished to ask to have a case put to the Pay Board in stage 3 they would be at liberty to do so. But in stage 2 it would be covered by the limits already announced.