HC Deb 25 June 1974 vol 875 cc1197-9
21. Mr. Tim Renton

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether, as part of his review of teachers' salaries, he will consider the possibility of assisted housing for young teachers.

Mr. Prentice

The independent committee of inquiry will be free to consider any question it regards as coming within its terms of reference.

Mr. Renton

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his reply. Will he ask the independent committee to bear in mind that a major disincentive for young teachers coming to the South-East is the cost and scarcity of housing? Will he press for discussions with his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment so that they may co-ordinate their efforts to tackle this problem?

Mr. Prentice

This matter is mainly for the local authorities concerned. I am glad to note that in the recent past several local authorities in the London area and elsewhere have made greater provision for houses to let to teachers, and other local authorities have given special help with mortgages. If housing were to become a general part of remuneration it would have to go before the Burnham Committee for negotiation, and, as I said in my original reply, the review committee could recommend that if it so wished.

Mr. Molloy

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that it is a bit thick that we should have that sort of exhortation from the Opposition when only last week they did their best to prevent the Greater London Council from having money with which it could purchase houses all over London and thereby contribute to the solution of this problem?

Mr. Prentice

Yes, it is fascinating in this political period to observe the constant expression by the Opposition of good intentions on every subject under the sun and the way in which they try to frustrate the Government and Labour-controlled local authorities in making social progress.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Is the Secretary of State aware that the Opposition welcome the appointment of the commission under a distinguished former Member of the House, Lord Houghton, to review teachers' salaries? Is he aware that interim relief could be given through the provision of housing and that this is particularly urgent for women teachers whose salary increases have been at only half the rate of those for manual workers—38 per cent. as opposed to 75 per cent.? Will he urge local authorities to exercise the powers they already have in favour of teachers?

Mr. Prentice

Yes, Sir. Some authorities are doing that, and that is why my hon. Friend's question was relevant. The GLC is trying to give assistance to the Inner London Education Authority on this problem and so are several outer London boroughs. As Secretary of State for Education, I should like to see as much as possible done by local authorities, particularly in areas of teacher shortage.