HC Deb 04 May 1976 vol 910 cc1047-8
8. Mr. MacGregor

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received or made about the recent pay award to senior educational advisers, school inspectors and other education officials.

Mr. Mulley

I have received nearly 40 letters about different aspects of this award made by the Board of Arbitration. I have not made representations myself.

Mr. MacGregor

Is the Minister aware that these very high increases, which came after the pay policy had begun, have tended to reinforce the public's impression that those in the public sector have benefited under the pay policy in this way, as with increments, while those in the private sector have not benefited? He will recall that hon. Members accepted a cut in their pay award in similar circumstances. Might he not have suggested that similiar action in this case would ensure equality of treatment?

Mr. Mulley

Half the representations I received were from school meals organisers, who thought they had not received a large enough award. There has been wide misunderstanding of the situation. I can only put the facts before the public; I cannot accept responsibility if they misread them. This award was the outcome of a long and protracted arbitration affecting an award due on 1st April 1975, when pay settlements of around 20 per cent. were current. It is a back-dated award. There has been a delay in the machinery, for which I have no responsibility and in which my Department is not involved.

Mr. Noble

Does my right hon. Friend agree that one of the worst aspects of the recent local government reorganisation has been the growth of bureaucracy? Does he further agree that as Socialists we should be looking at our priorities and ensuring that there is a relative growth of teaching staffs rather than non-teaching staffs in the education service?

Mr. Mulley

I agree that many of the problems of extra expenditure were caused by the local government reorganisation that we inherited. As to the way in which education is conducted within local authorities, this is properly a matter for the elected bodies concerned. However, I share my hon. Friend's concern that the emphasis should be on the employment of teachers rather than on other expenditure.