§ Mr. Speaker
Before I call the Secretary of State for Education and Science, I must tell the House that I have selected the reasoned amendment in the name of the leader of the Liberal party.
§ The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Kenneth Baker)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
In what might prove to be a reasonably controversial Bill there will be some agreement at the outset on both sides of the House when I say that the education of our children is critical to the future economic and social well-being of our nation. It is equally important to the personal development of the child. It instils wonder and curiosity about the natural world, it fosters appreciation of great literature, poetry, drama, art and music and it develops a personal sense of values in things moral and ethical. It prepares young people for life in an increasingly complex world, where adaptability, co-operation and communication are vital for personal fulfilment and the progress of our society.
Poor education or time lost to education is a great handicap. Some lost opportunities may be recovered to some extent by determination and hard work in adolescence or young adult life, but for many children an indifferent education or a blighted spell of education is an irrecoverable loss. Those school days have gone and do not return for a second chance, Alas, children have been badly affected by the recent year's discord over teachers' pay and the matching failure to deliver uninterrupted education of the right quality.
I believe that the disruption of education and its impact on our children has been very damaging indeed. It was unjustifiable and I would hold that it was also avoidable, had there been a general willingness to move forward on any reasonable basis. Sadly, that has proved not to be the case. Instead, the machinery that should have provided resolution lurched from crisis to crisis. In the meantime, our children lost out—[Interruption.] I will come to the history of that later.
The Government have watched all that with increasing concern, and I have been conscious of my duty to promote the education of our children andto secure the effective execution by local authorities,under my
control and direction, of the national policy for providing a varied and comprehensive educational service in every area.That is the language of the opening section of the 1944 Education Act—the "Butler Act". The House will note that it speaks not of powers, but of a duty. This Government accepts that duty, without qualification. Today I seek the support of this House for changes that are essential to the effective delivery of school education in the months and years ahead.
We must have resolution of the problems of our schools. We must have that resolution on terms that promise an early return to past standards of commitment and professionalism among all teachers. The terms must 39 be fair to teachers, many of whom will have had grave private misgivings about the events of the last few years. However, the terms must also be fair to others, to the parents, taxpayers and ratepayers who finance our schools. They will accept a generous settlement for teachers in return for an improved education service. They will not understand special treatment for teachers' pay on any other terms. Nor are the Government willing to give that.
The Bill itself is straightforward. I must, of course, explain the history and present context and the Government's reasons for the main provisions of the Bill.
The first clause repeals the Remuneration of Teachers Act 1965 under which the two present Burnham committees operate. One deals with school teachers' pay, the other with that of teachers in further education. Neither deals with duties and other conditions of service. It is clearly a major defect that pay and conditions of service are dealt with separately. Clearly, the friendless Burnham committees must go. New arrangements have to be introduced to settle both pay and the job for which that pay is given. A look at recent history makes it clear that the Burnham primary and secondary committee is beset with difficulties. There is a long tradition of internecine warfare amongst the teacher unions, with bitter membership rivalries getting in the way of sensible compromise. There has been a High Court action over the rights of all unions in membership of Burnham to participate fully and equally in the committee's work and there has been repeated failure to reach negotiated settlements.
Present attempts to reform the outdated salary structure have a long and, I regret to say, undistinguished history. In 1981 a Burnham agreement established a joint working party to review the salary structure of the profession. This has been going on for five years and we are still some way from a negotiated settlement. On teachers' duties and conditions there have been genuine attempts over a still longer period by the local authority employers to make headway with the definition of teachers' duties and conditions of work. No real progress was made until this year. The teacher unions continue to claim that many aspects of the teachers' job were voluntary and that those contributions could be withdrawn at any time. We well know the effect on our schools. A High Court judgment—the Scott judgment—this summer began to clear the air. It made it clear that teachers could be required to cover for absent colleagues even though there was no such express provision in their contracts. The employers remain concerned to secure a satisfactory and enforceable contract. I welcome that. A considerable gain—and this I recognise—from the ACAS-led discussions in recent months is the emerging definition of teachers' duties and working time at the direction of the head teacher.
The draft package also has great weaknesses. It proposes a flat and undifferentiated pay structure which provides minimal incentives and gives the biggest increases to the least experienced teachers. We must have proper differentials—to reward good classroom teaching and extra responsibility, to pay for skills in short supply and to give school management enough flexibility to attract good teachers to posts in difficult schools, perhaps in the inner cities. The structure which the employers and some 40 of the unions now seem to favour would cost well beyond the amount that I announced to the House on 30 October. That amount was a very generous sum—£118 million this year and £490 million next year. The excess cost of the ACAS deal would be some £85 million over these two years alone. That is not a small sum—it represents a quarter of our annual expenditure on school books and equipment and it would provide about 100 new primary schools.
The Government therefore have two major difficulties with what is proposed. I have said, and I shall continue to say, that I am willing to discuss the position with the other parties. As regards the settlement, my door remains open. I very much hope that an improved and affordable package can be arrived at quite soon.
I should like briefly to consider the long and rather miserable history of this. As I have said, the Burnham agreement to reform the salary structure was established in 1981, but there was no progress until July 1984 when my predecessor said that if an "affordable, acceptable and negotiable" package could be agreed between local authorities and unions he would take it to Cabinet for consideration. In November 1984, the employers unfolded a package linking pay and duties. The following month the National Union of Teachers walked out of the talks. In July 1985, the employers—Labour-controlled since the May elections—tore up the concordat. In August 1985, my predecessor affered a substantial sum—£1.25 billion over four years—for a new deal defining duties and providing for more promotions. A month later, the employers made an offer consistent with that. It was unanimously backed by all the employers and by the Government, but the teachers turned it down flat in 20 minutes.
In January 1986, there was agreement to call in ACAS after a term of disruption. The NUT—no longer in control of the teachers panel—did not sign, but came into the ACAS-led talks. In July 1986 the Coventry negotiations led to heads of agreement signed by five unions but not by the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers. That was hailed as "historic". On 30 October I made a statement setting out the Government's conditions, promising a huge amount of extra money and outlining the pay structure that we regarded as necessary to reward good teachers. Seven days of negotiations in Nottingham and London followed in November. On 21 November an agreement was signed by four unions. On this occasion, the National Association of Head Teachers as well as the NAS/UWT did not sign. Since then, the Secondary Heads Association and the Professional Association of Teachers have said that they do not support that agreement.
The hon. Member for Durham, North (Mr. Radice) wrote to me on 17 November urging me to accept the ACAS agreement and advising me that the ACAS deal would stick. Once again, his judgment has been proved wrong. I have been told at almost every stage of the negotiations that the agreement in question was "historic". There was a "historic" agreement in July and another in November. I can only say that there seems to be a long history of historic agreements.
§ Mr. Giles Radice (Durham, North)
We might have achieved an agreement if the Secretary of State had not sought to undermine it at every stage.
§ Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North)
My right hon. Friend has said that he hopes that a new and affordable package will come forward. For the avoidance of ambiguity, will he confirm that that package must be within the financial constraints that he has set out?
§ Mr. Baker
Yes, I made that clear on 30 October and again on 27 November in statements to the House and I confirm it again today. Any change must be within the cost that I have set out—some £600 million for this year and next year taken together. The teachers have never before been offered such a substantial sum and I believe that it is an entirely reasonable figure when one considers all the other demands on the public purse. General expenditure and budgets for education have been expanded by a huge amount for next year. The unprecedented size of that amount shows the importance that we attach to education and it would be unfair to go back and ask for more.
§ Mr. Nigel Spearing (Newham, South)
The Secretary of State described the long period of difficulties, but he said that the Burnham committee was not concerned with conditions. Does he deny that in 1981 and 1984 his predecessor's insistence on mixing pay increases with conditions of employment, especially assessment, caused difficulties?
§ Mr. Baker
In 1981 there was a Burnham agreement to reform the salary structure. As soon as one gets into that, one gets into pay and conditions. A very substantial increase was involved for which it would be necessary to define the teachers' jobs. As I have generously recognised, that is one of the benefits to come out of the ACAS deal. It will be a tremendous help because the definition of teachers' jobs will mean that teachers will know what is expected of them and head teachers and parents will know what they can expect of the teachers. I think that there is common agreement that that is a major step forward.
§ Mr. Baker
Yes, in the matter of definition of teachers' jobs. I have said that many times.
I shall now say what has happened since the signing of the agreement. On 27 November, I clarified the Government's position on the ACAS agreement. It was not acceptable as it stood. On 5 December, last Friday, the Secondary Heads Association council rejected it unanimously so support for the agreement was down to three unions. On 6 December, last Saturday, the Professional Association of Teachers withdrew its support. Support for the ACAS agreement is down to two unions. I am sorry that this information could not have been more accurately described in the advertisement which the NUT placed in some of the national newspapers today. The copy is rather inaccurate as it states that the settlement is acceptble to the employers, the local authorities and also to the majority of teachers' unions. The settlement is clearly not acceptable to the majority of teachers' unions. The only thing that the NUT has got right in the 42 advertisement is the spelling of my name. It is clear from what I have said that the employers are divided and that the unions are divided.
The long dreary history of the negotiations and the attendant disruption to children's education mean that I cannot stand by and trust that all will come right in the end and that peace will return to our schools, as has so often been promised in recent so-called agreements. Sporadic disruption of children's schooling continues. Parents have had enough. The public rightly expect a further 16.4 per cent. on teachers' pay, making 25 per cent. in all for the 18 months to October next, to achieve stability and agreement on a workable contract which will prevent repetition of trouble in the future. Employer-union bargaining—that is effectively what we have been watching at work recently—has failed our schools. The Government are not willing to rely exclusively on that process. That is why the Bill proposes an interim advisory committee to advise me on these matters, and powers for me to act following its advice, subject, of course, to parliamentary approval.
The House will note that the Bill does not propose that the interim advisory committee should also deal with further education matters. That is because there is not a parallel position in that sector. There has been no major disruption; a defined statement of teachers' duties already exists; and the bargaining process has been more successful in striking agreements than has been the equivalent school teachers' machinery. The Government are content that these matters should be settled between employers and unions for further education. Not so for our schools. There, early action is essential.
§ Mr. Kenneth Carlisle (Lincoln)
Is my right hon. Friend also aware that many teachers in the profession wish to do a good job and welcome his initiative to bring an end to this damaging dispute? Does he further recognise that they welcome the opportunity to have a proper professional code which they can follow and that they recognise that the money on offer is very generous?
§ Mr. Baker
I can certainly confirm what my hon. Friend has said. I am sure that many teachers, irrespective of where they stand on this issue, want an end to what has been happening in schools during the past few years. Those who have been dragooned into disruption have done it often with a heavy heart. The definition of a professional code is important. As I said, that is a step forward, as is the money on the table.
§ Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
The Minister talks as though only a minority was ready to take some industrial action, but surely he knows that the NUT carried out to the letter no fewer than 17 or 18 ballots, every one of which approached 80 per cent? Therefore, the vast majority of teachers wanted to take industrial action. The Minister does less than justice to what some of us must say later about industrial action by not telling the House the truth.
§ Mr. Baker
I hope that whatever else the hon. Gentleman may say about industrial action, he will utterly condemn it. I believe that he is a member of the NUT. Let me make it absolutely clear that industrial action can happen in our schools only at the direction of trade union leaders. I very much hope that as the hon. Gentleman is 43 a leading member of the NUT, he will lend his voice, if it should ever come to it, to condemning very strongly any further consideration of disruption.
Many working parents in Britain, who will not see an increase of 25 per cent. in wages this year or next year, are very fed up when they see professional people walking out of the schools leaving children to go home and be looked after by their aunts or their grandmothers or their grandfathers. That is unacceptable behaviour. I dare say that if those children are looked after by their grandmothers or grandfathers, those pensioners will reflect that some teachers will receive a weekly increase in wages of £60 or £75 a week, which is higher than their pensions.
The House will note that the Bill does not seek to establish new arrangements on a permanent basis. What should apply beyond the medium term is left for the future. The Bill proposes that the advisory committee should be established on an interim basis only — until 1990—though with powers for its life to be extended on a year-by-year basis, if Parliament then agrees.
The Bill provides for full consultation with local authorities and teacher unions. Clause 2(4) deals with notice and invitations to both to submit evidence and representations. Clause 3(1) requires the holder of my office to consult local authorities and teacher unions before any action consequent on a report from the advisory committee is taken. The House's concern about these matters is also fully recognised. All orders are to be subject to the negative resolution procedure and any order which materially departs from the advice of the advisory committee must be approved by resolution of both Houses of Parliament.
But the Government must act to ensure that the sort of negotiating brawl which we have all so clearly seen in the last two years is brought to a swift end. We must act to establish a new mechanism for determining these matters, on an interim basis.
If an accommodation with all the parties can be achieved within the financial framework I have already announced and which provides for a proper career structure for all teachers, I shall be delighted to lay the necessary order before the House giving effect to that agreement. But the House must be in no doubt about the Government's determination to act to close this sorry business.
May I come to the central issue of the powers of the Secretary of State. Since 1944, Governments have influenced the teachers' pay structure and contained pay costs. From 1965, a concordat operated in parallel with the legal provisions of the Remuneration of Teachers Act. That gave the Government a weighted vote within the management panel and a power of veto over proposed offers on grounds of total cost. Lord Stewart of Fulham, the then Secretary of State, said in Committee on 1 December 1964, during the passage of the 1965 Act:I doubt whether any Government in any set of circumstances could put itself in a position where it could hand over the power on the global sum to someone other than itself."—[Official Report, Standing Committee B;1 December 1964, c. 20.]
§ Mr. Bennett
Does the Minister accept that Lord Stewart and the present Lord Chancellor, in dealing with the previous Bill, made it clear that there was the question of national interest, but both categorically stated that they would not interfere with detailed negotiations?
§ Mr. Baker
That is what I was just saying. The very reason why they said that was to set up the Burnham negotiating committees. For 20 years, and specifically for the past five years, the Burnham negotiating committees have produced no resolution on this matter. They have utterly failed to deal with the details. They cannot do it. That is the tragedy facing the country in the negotiations.
In 1985, the Labour-led employers unilaterally scrapped the concordat, leaving the Government with greatly reduced influence. The Bill re-establishes an appropriate role for the Secretary of State in the determination of teachers' pay and links that with duties and conditions. It does not seek to set a system for all time. Instead, it addresses itself to the immediate crisis facing us, which arises directly from the breakdown in the present negotiating machinery.
I trust that the House will welcome the Bill. It reflects the Government's underlying responsibility and concern for the well-being of the school system on which our children and our future so much depend.
§ Mr. Giles Radice (Durham, North)
Speaking in the House on 27 November, the day before the Bill was introduced, I made it clear that although the labour party is in favour of reform of the Burnham machinery, we strongly oppose legislation that removes bargaining rights. We also strongly oppose any attempt by the Secretary of State to impose a settlement either now or in the future. Having had the opportunity to study the Bill and to hear what the Secretary of State has had to say about it, our worst fears have been confirmed. The so-called Teachers' pay and Conditions Bill gives the Secretary of State new and sweeping powers to impose a settlement in the period from 1 April 1986 to the end of September 1987 and after the advisory committee is set up, in the first period by negative resolution and in the second period by affirmative resolution. Equally disturbing, it removes the ability of local authorities and teachers' organisations to negotiate at all about teachers' pay and conditions.
After two years of disruption in the schools, I hope that the whole House can agree that our objectives should be, first, an improved service for pupils, secondly, decent pay and conditions for teachers and, above all, long-term peace and stability in our schools. One argument against the Bill is that it will make those objectives far more difficult to achieve—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"'] Wait for it, and I will tell hon. Members.
Ironically, the immediate background against which this potentially damaging bill is introduced is more promising that it has been for several years. First, the 45 general public is devoting far more attention to education. This is partly because of the teachers' dispute. Parents are desperately anxious for a long-term settlement of the issue and all of us, including the Secretary of State, have an obligation to ensure that that is achieved.
Secondly, the Government have at last switched policy over teachers' pay. After arguing ad nauseum that the nation simply could not afford significantly improved teachers' pay-we heard that in the House for two years—the Secretary of State came to the House on 30 October and announced that, after all, resources were available. If money on that scale had been offered in the autumn of 1984—let us not have so much selective quoting of history—there would never have been a teachers' dispute. However, late though it is, the Government's new-found willingness to fund a reasonable settlement creates the possibility of settling the issue.
The third encouraging feature is that the local authority employers and unions representing the majority of teachers have agreed on a far-reaching package covering pay and conditions. Even the Secretary of State, albeit reluctantly, has had to admit that the talks have made useful progress. That must be the understatement of the year. For the first time, there is a clear definition of teachers' duties. For the first time, a minimum number of duties days has been agreed. For the first time, a system of appraisal has been accepted. For the first time, maximum class size has been defined. For the first time, negotiating machinery which links pay and conditions has been agreed.
The Secretary of State made much of the differences between his proposals and the package agreed between the employers and the teachers. But if he is honest with himself and with the House, he knows perfectly well that if the will was there, not least on his part, those differences would be easily surmounted. The Secretary of State talked a great deal about fundamental differences in the pay structure. It is true that the local authority package envisages only two increases above the main professional grade compared with five in the right hon. Gentleman's proposals. His more hierachical solution would appear to produce as many chiefs as it does Indians. He should remember that, as well as providing opportunities for promotion, an effective pay structure must offer career salaries to classroom teachers.
Be that as it may, I remind the Secretary of State that the original claim by the National Union of Teachers envisaged three increments. A Secretary of State who was interested in a settlement should be able to reconcile those relatively small differences.
§ Mr. Stephen Dorrell (Loughborough)
The hon. Gentleman said that it was important that whatever came out of this dispute rewarded classroom teachers. Is he aware that the proposals of the unions and the council employers would produce a 25 per cent. reduction in the number of teachers who receive special incentives to remain on the classroom? It can be seen in the bar graph. How does his stated priority square with his support for the stance of the NUT?
§ Mr. Radice
It squares because the main professional grade is sufficiently high to encourage teachers to stay in the classroom. That must be part of any effective pay structure. Different groups can argue about how many increments there should be. That is a matter for 46 negotiation and argument. All that I am saying is that it should not be beyond the wit of the Secretary of State and the negotiators—the local authorities and the teachers—to reconcile their positions. I hope that the hon. Gentleman agrees with that.
§ Mr. Kenneth Baker
Of course. I always want to spread good information.
How can the hon. Gentleman defend the ACAS proposals, which provide only 80,000 promotion posts, when there are already 105,000 in the system? I want the number to increase to 140,000 or 145,000. The general feeling in the profession at central and local level is that we cannot run the education system with 80,000 promotion posts.
§ Mr. Radice
As the Secretary of State knows, the attraction of the agreement made between the employers and unions representing the majority of the teachers is that it provides a high basic level. That is very important if we are to attract the right people into teaching. Of course, it is also important to have adequate promotion scales. All that I am saying is that it should have been possible to reconcile the two positions, because that is exactly what a proper pay structure should have.
On cost, again there is no unbridgeable divide. I hope that the Secretary of State will not go on about that. He is well aware that a month's delay in implementation saves at least £40 million. It is not an unbridgeable gap, as the Secretary of State suggests. The truth is that if the right hon. Gentleman wants an agreed package, one is there for the asking. Our fear is that the Bill will scupper the prospect of an agreed solution and will make long-term peace in our schools far harder to achieve.
On 27 November in a reply to my question as to whether the Bill would enable the Secretary of State to impose a settlement he answered that it would give him powers similar to those he already has. On reflection, he would, I am sure, admit that his answer was, at best, "economical with the truth."
Under the Remuneration of Teachers Act 1965 the Secretary of State has the power not to impose a settlement but only to set an arbitration award, and then only after the affirmative resolution of both Houses of Parliament. If there is an agreement within the Burnham committee the Secretary of State must accept it. I suspect that that is one of the reasons why the Government are so anxious to rush the Bill through the House.
Under section 89 of the Education Act 1944 Ministers could only accept or reject Burnham recommendations. What is being proposed in the Bill are powers for the Secretary of State to impose his solution, without negotiation and irrespective of what his advisory committee suggests.
§ Mr. Radice
No, I will not give way. I must get on. I will give way when I want to. The Secretary of State must admit that the Bill gives him exceptional powers. He has actually said that he is taking Draconian powers.—[Interruption.] That is what the Secretary of State said in an interview. The only precedent is the Remuneration of Teachers Act 1965 when another Tory education Minister 47 took power to impose a settlement. That was only for a single year not for four years. Significantly, that Bill did not seek, as this Bill does, to take away negotiation rights altogether.
§ Mr. Martin M. Brandon-Bravo (Nottingham, South)
I put to the hon. Gentleman that the public outside will not understand a situation whereby two groups of people come to an agreement—I use his words rather than mine—that is to be paid for by a third party which is not involved in that so-called agreement. Surely, that is the nub of this problem and it is something that ought to be resolved.
§ Mr. Radice
It is true that the Secretary of State pays 46 per cent. of the total amount of teachers' pay but the majority is paid for through the rates of local autorities. The hon. Gentleman ought to get his facts correct.
I shall argue that the Secretary of State ought to have a proper position at the negotiating table but that is not a reason for taking away negotiating rights altogether. We are opposed in principle to what the Secretary of State can do under the Bill. I shall return to the issue of principle in a few moments.
I know that the Secretary of State sees himself as a pragmatist. He justifies his legislation in terms of the exigencies of the moment. He claims he must take such powers to restore order to our schools. The truth is that there is already the outline of an agreed solution that could bring peace. The danger is that this imposed settlement could lead to renewed disruption.
The Secretary of State will have seen the letter sent to him, on Friday, by the four main teachers' unions which expressed their total opposition to the Bill and to the imposed settlement. If he will not listen to them he should take the advice of some of his more knowledgable Back Benchers who are alarmed by the consequences of the decision, particularly in a run-up to the General Election—[HON. MEMBERS: "Who are they?"] I will not embarass the hon. Members by saying their names, but I could. Those Back Benchers are aware that a settlement, freely agreed between the education partners, is likely to lead to a long-term peace. They fear that a solution imposed unilaterally by the Secretary of State would almost certainly result in continued disruption. The Secretary of State should think again before he uses his powers.
§ Mr. Radice
No, I will not give way.
The Bill not only gives the Secretary of State powers to impose a settlement, it takes away the long-established bargaining rights of employers and teachers. The Secretary of State's justification for this—
§ Mr. Radice
No, I will not give way. I have given way just as much as the Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State's justification for the un-precedented removal of basic rights is that the Burnham structure has failed. If it is the case that Burnham has failed, the Government who took over two years to come up with a reasonable sum of money to meet the teachers' claim, must bear at least part of the blame. Of course, we accept that reforms are needed. Pay and conditions must 48 be considered together and not separately as in the past. We also believe that the Secretary of State's position at the negotiating table should be secure.
Under this Administration central Government have contributed significantly less to education expenditure. Even so, the Departmemt still pays over 45 per cent of teachers' salaries and therefore it should be properly represented at negotiations. But it is one thing to advocate the reform of Burnham. It is a breath-taking leap in logic to go on to argue that collective bargaining should be abolished altogether and replaced by ministerial diktat.
§ Mr. Thompson
The hon. Gentleman at the beginning of his speech-he has repeated it—said that he wished to reform Burnham. Why does he wish to reform it, and when would he do so?
§ Mr. Radice
When we get to power we shall certainly set up a negotiating structure that considers both pay and conditions, as has the ACAS agreement. We should also want to see Government properly represented at those negotiations bearing in mind that they pay 46 per cent of teachers' salaries. The whole point of this Bill is different. I ask hon. Members to consider the impact of the Bill as we did not hear anything about it from the Secretary of State. It removes the bargaining rights of employers and teachers except in those situations where the Secretary of State determines otherwise. The advisory body, which will consider teachers' pay and conditions under the Bill, has been appointed by the Secretary of State. It will be paid by the Secretary of State and its agenda will be set by him. He can turn down or modify the advisory committee's conclusions without having to publish them. Provided that the Secretary of State wins the support of Parliament he can impose his own settlement. In short the advisory committee will be the Secretary of State's poodle. The Secretary of State can, by order,—[Interruption.] Conservative Members may not like hearing the truth, but it might pay them to listen.
The Secretary of State can, by order, make different provisions for different areas including different provisions for different areas. That does not say much for the idea of professional salaries. The Government also have the power, by order, to oblige local authorities to impose on teachers through their contract of employment, conditions of service which the Secretary of State has unilaterally determined. [Interruption.] This is the truth.
It is extraordinary that once the Bill comes into force 400,000 teachers will have fewer rights than any other group of public servants. [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] Just listen. Civil servants at least have the Whitley council machinery whereas teachers' unions will have no bargaining machinery. The nurses, doctors and armed forces have independent review bodies which regularly publish reports on pay, but the teachers will not have that.
There is at least a prima facie case for saying that the Secretary of State's Bill contravenes articles 7 and 8 of ILO convention No. 151 on the rights of public employees—a convention that was ratified by the Government. It certainly contravenes article 4 of ILO convention No. 98 as well as article 6 of the European Social Charter. Are the Government really saying that they so mistrust teachers 49 that, uniquely, the teachers are to be deprived of bargaining rights even if to do so contravenes international and European convention law?
I cannot understand why the Government and the Secretary of State will not accept the proposals for the reform of bargaining machinery put forward by the employers and teachers. Contrary to what the Secretary of State told the House on 27 November, these proposals are different from Burnham because, under the new machinery, pay and conditions will be discussed together and the role of the Secretary of State will also be properly recognised. The Government accept that bargaining on these lines works well for teachers in further education. Presumably that is why that arrangement will not be abolished by the Bill.
§ Mr. Radice
I am sorry, but I will not give way.
If machinery such as that works well for teachers in further education, why should it not work equally well for teachers generally? If the Secretary of State is to carry conviction on this point, he will have to answer the question.
Although the Secretary of State seeks to appear as broad-minded and responsive—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—his track record casts very serious doubts on the image that he seeks to present. After all, he is the Minister who abolished the GLC and deprived whole communities of their democratic rights. In this Bill he is depriving teachers of bargaining rights and imposing a system of ministerial diktat. These are hardly the actions of a convinced libertarian or of someone who respects the views of others. The truth is that behind the smiling mask lurks an opportunist who is prepared to do No. 10's bidding, even if it means infringing basic human rights.
The Opposition believe that this Bill is dangerously authoritarian. It infringes basic rights. It gives to the Secretary of State an unacceptable power that he does not have in other respects. It will also make a long-term settlement of the teachers' dispute far harder to achieve. It is a thoroughly had Bill and we shall oppose it every inch of the way.
§ Mr. David Evennett (Erith and Crayford)
I am pleased to be able to speak in this important debate, but I am sorry that the hon. Member for Durham, North (Mr. Radice) was so vague, emotive and irrelevant about the needs of education today.
Despite the Bill's relative shortness, its importance must not be trivialised, as it has been by the hon. Member for Durham, North. The teachers' dispute over the level and structure of teachers' remuneration has been disrupting our schools for many months. Parents have been inconvenienced, children have missed valuable time from school, and education has suffered both in general and in particular.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is to be commended for introducing the Bill. He is taking decisive action on this vital issue and has shown that he believes in putting pupils and education first. I believe that the Bill will bring about the reforms needed for a sensible settlement to be reached, and I therefore welcome it warmly. I also believe that most parents will welcome it, 50 not only as a means of settling the dispute, but as part of the Government's programme to improve standards in education across the board.
As a former teacher from pre-Houghton days, when teachers really were poorly paid, I know that teachers have some long-standing grievances. As a member of the Select Committee on Education, Science and the Arts, which recently investigated achievement in primary schools, I know how impressed I and other hon. Members were with the high standard of primary school teachers. I have no doubt that in the main secondary school teachers are just as committed.
Teachers have been undervalued within our society, and their task is difficult because it involves more than just teaching academic skills. It is about fitting our children for their future and developing every individual to the maximum of his or her ability.
This undervaluing of teachers has been apparent in the primary sector because in the past 20 years so much of the education debate and time have been devoted to secondary education. However, from my own experience I believe that in the main teachers are responsible and dedicated professionals. I am sorry that so many have been tarred with the brush of militancy and confrontation—an image which they do not deserve and have gained unfairly, in my opinion because of the lacklustre and ostrich-like approach of many of their union leaders.
In fact, it is probably because there are so many different unions in the teaching profession that negotiations on vital issues such as pay and conditions have been so difficult to conclude in the recent past. I was particularly disappointed by the NUT advertisement in the national press to which the Secretary of State referred. I read that advertisement in the excellent new newspaper, The Independent, over my cornflakes this morning and almost choked at the inaccuracies within it. As a former member of the NUT, I was appalled at the advertisement and at the lack of professionalism by the union in putting it in the national press. I am sure that those parents and teachers who also read it will have been distressed and disgusted.
Teachers have been underpaid in the past, and the need to redress that situation is something which the vast majority of parents, electors and everyone else in society will accept.
§ Mr. William Cash (Stafford)
Does my hon. Friend accept that professionalism has been overtaken by unionism? Whereas in the past one could have relied upon the fact that professions would be governed by a chartered body which upheld standards of professionalism, the problem is that under the kind of dramatic unionism which we have seen recently, which puts remuneration above all else, the standard of professionalism has declined.
§ Mr. Evennett
I fully agree with my hon. Friend. Professionalism in the teaching profession has declined in certain areas. I think that, every hon. Member regrets the fact that since the unions have taken over the negotiating, professionalism has to some extent gone out of the window.
I believe that teachers are competent and that they deserve recognition and reward. All Conservative Members want to see teachers paid a decent salary for the important job that they do, but money is not everything. 51 Of course teachers need a certain level of remuneration and a decent rate of pay for the job. They want to be appreciated for what they do. However, the current dispute is not simply about pay levels—it is also about pay differentials and long-term career structure.
We are all aware of the profession's failure to attract new entrants of high calibre in certain key sectors—mathematics, science and computing, to name but a few. Any pay settlement and agreement on conditions of service must not only be fair and balanced, but must ensure that sufficient numbers of high-calibre individuals are recruited as teachers. We must encourage people of a good standard to become teachers, including suitably qualified candidates from industry and commerce. We must also encourage the return of those who have left teaching. We need them back in the classroom.
For any pay settlement to have a satisfactory effect in the short term, sufficient money must be made available to make it clear that this is not simply a "jam tomorrow" exercise, because we all know that people will say, "Tomorrow may never come." I warmly welcome my right hon. Friend's offer, which is on the table, which is not only a substantial amount in percentage terms, but is a substantial amount in real terms, amounting to £600 million.
We must never forget the taxpayers. I regret that the hon. Member for Durham, North always seems to forget them. He said that the taxpayers foot only 45 per cent. of the bill, but 45 per cent. of the teachers' salary bill is a large sum of money by anybody's standards. We must not forget that we are responsible to the taxpayer for the money that is spent.
§ Mr. Evennett
My hon. Friend rightly mentions the rate support grant and the rest. The figure of 45 per cent. represents only direct money. The indirect money involved is substantially more.
Short-term improvements will be of no avail unless long-term improvements follow. The Government's suggestion is aimed at improving and maintaining standards in our schools by rewarding good classroom teachers. All my right hon. and hon. Friends are aware that at present too many good classroom teachers leave the classroom to get more money and are promoted to administrative jobs. That is the traditional way in which teachers have gone up the pay structure. The improvement in their remuneration has been dependent upon their leaving the classroom to go into administration. Too often, good teachers are promoted out of the classroom to do a job of administration, leaving the less good teachers in the classroom. That is the reverse of what we should like to see.
§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
Does the hon. Gentleman accept that the big attraction of the ACAS agreement is that the long and well-paid general professional scale will not only attract teachers, but will keep them in the classroom? In his constituency, teachers will move away to get promotion because they cannot afford to stay on the basic scale that the Secretary of State proposes.
The contrary is true. The Secretary of State's proposal will allow more teachers to remain in the 52 classroom because they will earn more money for good classroom teaching. I regret that the ACAS proposal will mean fewer scale posts and less money for the better teachers, and more money at the introductory stage.
We all know that many good teachers have left the classroom to go into managerial and other posts that are outside the profession. That is because the present pay scales do not take into account our need for good classroom teachers to remain in the classroom. In my experience—as a parent, a teacher, a school governor and a member for the local education authority—there have been too many moves into the City and into other administrative jobs outside education. A wealth of talent has been lost from the schools because there has not been an adequate pay structure. Therefore, we must go back to basics, and I welcome the pay structure that is suggested by the Secretary of State. The obvious way to change the position is to increase the number of scale or incentive posts and to enhance the pay for the teacher in the classroom.
The recent agonising deliberations by the Burnham committee on teachers' conditions of pay and service have looked like a bad soap opera script on television, unfurling every night. I regret that its proposals mean a reduction in scale posts, which is the reverse of what is needed in the classroom at present. Its proposals are ridiculous, not only because about 25 per cent. of teachers would lose a promoted post next September, but because we are really looking for a career structure, and that, would require more incentives and more scale posts.
During my time in the House I have been a great advocate of the abolition of the Burnham committee, bcause it is a relic of the past. What might have been good in the 1920s when society, the teaching profession and education were completely different, is not relevant today. Indeed, the Remuneration of Teachers Act 1965, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is seeking to repeal by the Bill, was a measure to amend the constitution and procedures of the Burnham committee following disagreements about teachers' pay in the 1960s. It appears that some things never change, but we need change, and that is why the Bill is so welcome.
Most people recognise the need for the Bill, because it deals with a problem that has dragged on for over two years. Despite the comments of the hon. Member for Durham, North, the problem would never have been solved had the present Secretary of State not been prepared to take decisive action. I regret that already in the debate we have heard that the Burnham committee was working, that eventually it would have got there, and that it would have taken just a little longer or a little more money. That is not so. The whole idea of the Houghton award was not that it should be a one-off pay increase for teachers, but that it was a start towards reappraising all aspects of teachers' pay and, ultimately, their conditions of service. However, for 10 years nothing was forthcoming about changes in conditions of service.
We have waited for far too long and the Burnham committee has achieved far too little. The Bill, which abolishes Burnham and looks to implement a new approach to teachers' pay and conditions, will be welcomed not only by Conservative Members but by a vast number of teachers, by the vast majority of parents, and ultimately by those who have to be educated, the children of today, who will become the adults of tomorrow.
§ Mr. Gordon Oakes (Halton)
I hope that the hon. Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Evennett) will forgive me if I do not take up his points about the general state of the teaching profession or even the recent pay negotiations. I wish instead to discuss the Bill that has been dragged before the House today.
Like you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I have been a member of the House for over 22 years—we came in on the same day. In all that time I have never read a Bill with such breathtakingly arrogant contents. The arrogance of its contents is matched only by the arrogance of the Government in trying to railroad the Bill from this House to another place in a few days.
In seven short clauses the Bill seeks to overturn all existing negotiating procedures, to abolish teachers' direct representation by trade unions in relation to their pay and conditions of service, and to abolish the rights of local authorities who, after all, are the teachers' employers, to have any effective say in their pay or even conditions of service. A Bill that does that singles out the teaching profession and enslaves teachers. If a profession, an industry or any body of people has no direct representation on its own terms and conditionss and has no direct say on conditions of work with its employers, that is a condition of slavery. Corresponding to that slavery is the tyrannical way in which the Secretary of State has, in the Bill, adopted unto himself absolute powers on pay and conditions.
§ Mr. Cash
The right hon. Gentleman has made allegations about the tyrannical nature of the Bill. Conservative Members entirely repudiate them. The right hon. Gentleman also said that he is referring to the contents of the Bill. He is clearly referring to clause 3 and to the relationship between the advisory committee and the consultation procedures on the one hand, and to the order-making powers of the Secretary of State on the other. Does he accept that if the Secretary of State disagrees with the advisory committee, the import of clause 3 would be to require that any such arrangements emerging from an order laid by the Secretary of State were dealt with by way of affirmative resolution of both Houses of Parliament?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harold Walker)
Order. I should remind the House that hon. Members seeking to take part in the debate cannot have it both ways. They cannot make long interventions and then seek to catch my eye early in the debate.
§ Mr. Oakes
As often happens, Mr. Deputy Speaker, it serves me right for giving way. I assure the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Cash) that I challenge not only clause 3 but many of the clauses. I assure the hon. Gentleman, in my own time, in my speech, I shall seek to answer his points.
The Bill singles out teachers. I beg other local government trade unions to support teachers in their struggle against the measure, whether it is the National Union of Public Employees, the National and Local Government Officers Association, the General, Municipal Boilermakers and Allied Trades Union or my own Transport and General Workers Union. If the measure goes through, I have no doubt that the Government will seek, in other spheres of local government, to introduce 54 similar measures that will deny the right of those trade unions to negotiate with the local authorities which, after all, are their employers.
Let us look at some of the things that the Bill seeks to do. Clause 2 and schedule 1 set up what the Secretary of State calls the interim committee—the Bill refers to the advisory committee. The Secretary of State alone appoints the chairman and the deputy chairman, and every member of that committee. That is his sole discretion and choice. Where in schedule 2 or anywhere else in the Bill is there a reference to the qualifications of those people? Should they be qualified in educational matters? Should they be qualified and experienced in local government procedures? Should they be trade unionists? Should they have knowledge of trade union negotiations? Not a word about that appears in the Bill. Under the Bill, which we are being asked to approve, the Secretary of State, if he so wished, could stuff that committee with his own political cronies. He could appoint members of his private office. He could put his aunts, uncles and cousins on it.
§ Mr. Oakes
Indeed. Nowhere in the Bill is there any limitation on the Secretary of State's powers of appointment. Not only that let us look at the part of the Bill dealing with dismissal powers, schedule 1(4). I know that when one appoints a committee, one always has to make provision for one member going mad, another not turning up at meetings, someone being disabled, or someone going bankrupt. It is customary to see such a provision in schedules to Bills. But what do we have here? After the various conditions, the paragraph states that the Secretary of State may remove from office a member who, in his opinion,is … otherwise unable or unfit to perform his duties as a member.If anyone is fool enough to serve on that committee and dares to disagree with the Secretary of State, be he the chairman or any other member, he can be sacked at once, just on the say so of the Secretary of State. Why was that provision added? I can understand the bankruptcy and ill-health provisions. Any fool can understand them. But why give that absolute, overriding power to the Secretary of State, unless he has sought it so that he can use it to intimidate the committee that he has appointed?
I said that it was in the gift of the Secretary of State to put members of his private office or his relations on the committee. I am certain that the Secretary of State will say that he has no intention of doing so. Incidentally, after what has gone on in the past two weeks, I would not put it past him. However, he has no intention of doing so because he has no need. The reason is that the advisory committee is toothless. When the Secretary of State receives its recommendations, he can accept them, vary them or reject them altogether. He can accept the recommendations that he agrees with and vary the others that he does not accept. Alternatively, if he does not like any, having sacked the chairman or any member who dares to disagree with him, he can, as clause 3(1) says, makesuch other provision … as he thinks fit.The right hon. Gentleman has absolute power. The House should never give such power to any Minister in any Department. I would say that whether I was in Government or Opposition.
Clause 3(4)(a) provides that the Secretary of State may 55make different provision for different cases, including different provision for different areas".I thought that the Secretary of State was very good on television yesterday. I share some of his ideas on the future of education, particularly on the English language, but it is the way in which he wants to do things to which I object.
§ Mr. Oakes
It has nothing to do with the Bill at all. It is a very different Secretary of State who appears in the House today from the mild, gentle pleasant man who appeared on television yesterday.
What doesdifferent provision for different casesmean? Does it mean that the Secretary of State can unilaterally carry out his ideas on science or maths teachers, or another provision that he wants? Whether the right hon. Gentleman will or not, he can. We are giving him the power to do so, regardless of what the teaching professions, the local authorities or the House say.
What is the meaning of the word "area"? It is like asking: how long is a piece of string? If, for example, the Secretary of State were seeking powers to have a different pay structure in Surrey from Cheshire, or a different pay structure in North Riding from Avon, he would use the words—
§ Mr. Oakes
It goes further than that. I know that the right hon. Gentleman has aspirations in that direction. If that was what he was seeking to do, he would have used the words "different local education authorities". What is an area? It could mean the south-east of England compared with the north-west. It could mean an inner city area as distinct from an area outside an inner city. In geographical terms, an "area" could even differentiate between one school and another. We are giving the Secretary of State the power to say—the House should not do so—that one local education authority area containing a school that he likes and approves of, and where he approves of the teachers, will have a certain salary structure and conditions of service, but the school next door, because he does not like its practices one little bit, will have a different set of conditions, to be imposed by order. I am not saying that the Secretary of State will do that. I am saying that we should not give him the power to do so. We should not give that power to any Secretary of State.
§ Mr. Barnett
Another serious difficulty and danger of the part of the Bill to which my right hon. Friend has drawn attention is that the Secretary of State could differentiate between local education authority areas according to who happened to have political control at the time.
§ Mr. Oakes
I am certain that the Secretary of State will look closely at that power. Another part of the Bill says that if the Secretary of State so desires, he can negotiate with a particular local authority in addition to local authority associations.
Therefore, we are giving unprecedented powers to a Minister. The House should not do that. We are doing so in a roughshod manner, without proper consideration.
In his speech, the Secretary of State made great play of the fact that the Bill was a temporary measure. I noticed 56 that he continually called the advisory committee the interim advisory committee. Nowhere in the Bill is it called that. The right hon. Gentleman says that the Bill is to be in force only until 1990. But look at what we are discussing on Thursday this week. The Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 deals with terrorism. Lives are at stake. In 1978, the House was entitled to pass such a Bill in the face of bombings and people being killed—there is nothing like that in this Bill. It is being renewed year by year; it will be renewed again this year. Unless there is more comprehensive legislation—I would not put that past the Government—this Bill will be renewed after 1990. If we have the misfortune of still having the Government in power at that time, it will be renewed year by year. So today is the time to stop it if we want to do so.
I say unequivocally that if I were on the Government Benches and if my hon. Friend the Member for Durham, North (Mr. Radice) were Secretary of State, without hesitation I would vote against a Bill such as this. In the last Labour Government, I was a Minister in the Education Department with special responsibility for teachers' pay. I had to sit on all the Cabinet committees at a particularly difficult time, and we were constantly accused by Conservative Members of being centralist and of trying to impose Moscow-like domination on the teaching profession and education. Now where are we? Where is Moscow-like domination with a centralist measure such as this Bill? If my hon. Friend the Member for Durham, North introduced a Bill that was half as centralist and half as arrogant as this, I could and would vote against it.
I hope that those Conservative Members who have an interest in education, a local government background—like me, many of them were on councils before coming here—a care and affection for local government and an interest in democracy and in not giving any Minister too many powers, will not be spineless enough to follow the Secretary of State into the Lobby. I fear that many of them will do so. There is one hope. Thank God that there is another place where there is more concern about education and local authorities. It exists only to stop this sort of tyranny occurring in the United Kingdom. I hope that that other place does not acquiesce in the Government's railroading tactics, and that the Minister will not have his Bill at use as a pistol to the heads of teachers and the local authorities when he meets them next, on 19 December.
§ Mr. Alan Haselhurst (Saffron Walden)
I do not know whether, in his last few words, the right hon. Member for Halton (Mr. Oakes) was speaking with a certain longing and yearning in his voice. I agree with him that this is not a debate in which to re-run the teachers' pay dispute. we should look at the principle of the Bill, what it means and what opportunities it will create. As the right hon. Gentleman acknowledged, it is a Bill about mechanisms. I do not see the scares in it that he has put before the House. I understand that he and other Labour Members may be anxious to whip up such fears as may exist in the teaching profession about the measure, because they would like to maintain maximum hostility among the teachers to the change that this represents. The motive for that may be to put off the possibility of settlement for that much longer.
57 We are trying to get rid of the Burnham machinery, and the more that one learns about that and some of the ways in which it has performed in the past, the more one realises that it cannot long be mourned. It was inevitable that any unilateral move to end it would be branded as dictatorial, even if there was multilateral dissatisfaction about it, as there is.
What my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has presented today is acknowledged as an interim measure, which means that there is scope for an agreed longer-term answer. Some of my right hon. and hon. Friends have referred with disfavour to the NUT advertisement in the newspapers today. I add my voice in saying that the sentence that I found particulary offensive and misleading was that which reads:The Bill will also deny teachers any opportunity to negotiate on their pay or conditions of service ever again.That is grossly untrue, and it is the clear intention of my right hon. Friend that some other procedure should be found. This is clearing the decks, ready to find such a procedure.
The Bill should not make a settlement of the current dispute more difficult. We are edging towards agreement. People are changing their positions, and my right hon. Friend has been generous enough to say that his door is open and he is prepared to consider all representations. If everyone shares that spirit of give and take, a settlement can be achieved.
I see as an ingredient in that settlement the need to find new machinery for determining teachers' pay. Teachers must have some hope about what they can expect in future. They must have some hope that they will not slip behind in the way that they did following the Houghton settlement and such arrangements in the past. Equally, in asking them to look to their future. I urge them not to try to get everthing settled at once now, as though they have a mission to get everything in education, and their pay, right to the maximum, regardless of other demands on the public purse. There has to be give and take in that sense as well.
I hope that the Bill is seen as a watershed, after which thought might be given to the structure of the profession in a new way. Its divisions into warring factions should not be perpetuated for ever and a day. Parents simply do not understand differences between the unions. Parents do not see teachers as belonging to this or that union. The unions themselves do not seem to understand the differences between themselves.
Parents understand that some union members who they see on television from time to time do not appear to be the personification of dedicated professionalism. They also understand that this sectionalised squabbling of the past few weeks in particular looks light years away from professionalism. Many parents cannot square the image that they have seen portrayed in the newspapers and on television of the teaching profession with the teachers whom they may meet at their children's school. One is tempted to wonder whether the mass of teachers might not wish, if it were possible, to transform themselves into a united professional body setting, maintaining and upholding their standards.
Many practical difficulties cannot be dismissed just by wishing them away. Teachers would give a better account of themselves if they sounded as though they had a tolerance of each other's point of view and if they gave the impression of belonging to the same profession, 58 subscribing to common objectives. I do not imagine that this would produce a toothless champion of its members' rights. A united professional body would give added strength to the teaching profession and probably greater dignity to the cause of teachers and education.
Teachers might reflect on what the dreadful dispute of the past one and a half years has achieved. There may be more pay for them, but I wonder whether they believe that they have conveyed to the public a better understanding of the needs and nature of education. I wonder whether they have created more sympathy for state education among the public. There seems to be evidence that pressure for private education is growing all the time. A united professional body for teachers might be able to do rather better, and I counsel teachers to think about that.
A professional body, whatever it might be called, might attempt to seize for itself a leading role in the more permanent pay determination process that will follow what is being set by the Bill. I may be accused of a certain amount of day dreaming in reflecting upon this possibility, but I wish that it were not. I think that many parents would wish that it were not day dreaming, and I suspect that quite a lot of teachers would wish that. It is up to teachers, not my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, because he would be accused, as he has been today, of being dictatorial if he spoke with favour of any such move or said that he would like to see a teachers council set up.
Teachers and their representatives should not get hysterical and oppose the Bill in the way demonstrated by the NUT. They should recognise the lessons of the past and look to the opportunities that open up before them for a better way for teachers to organise themselves. If the Bill is a trigger for a serious search for that better way to begin, it is doubly welcome.
§ Mr. Clement Freud (Cambridgeshire, North-East)
I beg to move, to leave out from "That" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof,That this House, whilst recognizing the need to replace the Remuneration of Teachers Act 1965, declines to give a Second Reading to a Bill which makes no positive contribution to settling the current dispute on teachers' pay and conditions, removes the basic negotiating rights of 400,000 teachers, takes away the direct input of local authorities into negotiations and represents a drastic centralisation of power in the Secretary of State, rather than allowing for direct negotiations between teachers and employers on all aspects of teachers' pay and conditions within the context of a new system of pay comparability for the public services as a whole.I shall not follow too closely the line taken by the hon. Members for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Evennett) and for Saffron Walden (Mr. Haselhurst) who spoke from the Government side because I want to speak quite specifically to the Bill. The Bill sets out to abolish the Burnham system of negotiating teachers' pay. That system has existed for some 21 years, and the House will know that the alliance has not been enamoured of the Burnham structures, believing that they retained a false and damaging separation of two elements of teachers' employment which should logically and practically be dealt with together, namely pay and conditions. However, if the Secretary of State thinks that I propose to speak in support of his Bill, he should look at the amendment because that shows our total rejection of it.
Even though the Bill does away with Burnham and purports to replace that creaking and outdated machinery 59 with what the Bill describes as an advisory committee, the Bill must be opposed. We oppose the Bill not only because, unlike the previous Secretary of State, the bite of the present incumbent is worse than his bark, but because the Bill is conceived as a murder and even then it is flawed in motive and in execution. As a piece of employment legislation it threatens to create for schoolteachers a unique and uniquely discriminatory system of settling pay and conditions.
Other measures introduced by the Government have reduced employees' rights, and here one thinks of the abolition of the wages councils, but this Bill proposes to create a structure by which the pay of a large and important section of society will be determined without reference to the teachers' employers or to their union representatives. I can think of no other group of people to whom this applies. Even confining comparisons to other groups of local authority workers I come up against the fact that firemen negotiate, that the police put in claims which are considered and processed through negotiating machinery, and that the independent machinery for nurses is more independent than what the Bill proposes for teachers.
The Secretary of State is not in his place, but I challenge him or the Minister of State when she replies to give the House examples of other groups of people who are treated in this way, who are subject to an advisory committee filled with the nominees of a Secretary of State who is not their employer, and with terms of reference set by the Secretary of State, which will be told what factors it may take into account and whose report may not even be made public? The findings of the advisory committee can be totally ignored by the Secretary of State, and, under the terms of the Bill, the advisory committee need not even consider things annually. Any changes in the pay and conditions of teachers which happen to get through the minefield of restrictions and reservations held in the hands of the Secretary of State are to be subject to annulment in Parliament in an order the details of which will not even form part of that order but will have to be obtained separately from Her Majesty's Stationery Office.
§ The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mrs. Angela Rumbold)
It would be helpful to the House if the hon. Gentleman could tell us where it says in the Bill that the recommendations of the advisory committee will not be published.
§ Mr. Freud
That is in clause 3(3). I am glad that the Minister will now read the Bill. The Secretary of State frequently berates teachers for not behaving as a profession. This Bill will make teachers a second-class group and will not take them out of normal industrial relations because they are a special case, like the police, and ought to be treated with extra concern and cossetting, but will punish them because they have exposed this Government's shabby treatment of education. Teachers are to be disadvantaged because their strike action in the last few years has been a factor—
§ Mr. Freud
I shall not give way. That strike action in the last few years was a factor that caused a Tory loss of control in many shire counties. Allowing the teachers and 60 their employers to reach a deal and then funding that deal would mean that the Secretary of State would not be able to take the credit for solving the problem of the teachers' dispute. Most of all, the Government know that without a deal their whole approach to education would stand exposed at the next general election.
The Bill has nothing to do with education itself, nothing to do with the rights and wrongs of the teachers' case or with the finding of a long-term solution that will really bring peace to our schools. It has everything to do with the highly charged political question of electoral politics. The Government, having lost much of their influence at local level, are seeking to get it back, not by winning the arguments and defending their case, but by abolishing local government altogether.
The reason why the Secretary of State is so keen on issues such as local financial management—an enlightened step that was taken by my county council in Cambridgeshire—is not because the Government see it as an enlightend step but because it undermines local education authorities.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Bob Dunn)
Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that it was started by his county council when that council was under the control of the Conservative party?
§ Mr. Freud
That is right. It is a united and now balanced county council. The point that I made to the Minister was quite simply that the reason why the Secretary of State was previously against it and is now for it, is because he sees it as yet another device to undermine the local education authorities. Teachers' pay accounts for about half of any shire county's budget and has simply got in the way of those ambitions. The Bill is a way, not a particularly subtle way, of removing another obstruction to a Tory monopoly of power that cannot be gained through the democratic process. He who pays the piper will thus not only call the tune but will write the score and fashion the instrument. It is a dangerous monopoly and I predict that it will backfire badly.
Although the Bill does not repay careful study, I shall take the House through it clause by clause because only then will its true nature become apparent. It is a mixture of farce and nastiness which is uniquely depressing, even from this Government from whom one does not expect uplifting legislation. Clause 1 is the only clause in the Bill that we shall not seek to amend. I suspect it is unintentional that this clause will boost the establishment of tertiary colleges falling under FE regulations and therefore beyond the scope of the rest of the Bill. That clause is welcome.
Clause 2 is extraordinary and one can only marvel that it comes from the man who stood up before his party and said, "I am only the Secretary of State. I have no power." In clause 2 the full monopolistic ambitions of that man are revealed. The clause says that the Secretary of State shall refer matters to the committee and will tell its members what they should consider and the constraints to which they shall subject themselves. I suspect that constraint will prove more accurate than consideration. It will be interesting to know whether the prevailing electoral position will feature publicly as one of those constraints.
The plot thickens in clause 3, because here the Secretary of State asserts another weapon in his armoury. Not 61 content with both selecting the members of the advisory committee and the terms under which the Committee will consider teachers' pay and conditions, he reserves the right totally to ignore the findings of the Committee or to make,such other provisions with respect to that matter as he thinks fit.He compounds the aggrandisement by insulting teachers and their employers in clause 3(4)(c). The Secretary of State cannot do what he proposes to do and then have the arrogance not only to be absent from the House but to say to the teachers—
§ Mrs. Rumbold
The hon. Gentleman said that clause 3(3) said that the Government and the Secretary of State would not publish the findings of the advisory committee. I do not think it says that in the Bill and I would be grateful if the hon. Gentleman could tell me where that appears, because I understand that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has every intention of publishing the findings.
§ Mr. Freud
I am pleased to hear what the hon. Lady says and I am sorry, if she has every intention of publishing the findings, that there is no mention of that in this rotten little Bill. One normally supposes, with this ungenerous Government, that what is not in a Bill, will not come about.
The Bill enables the Secretary of State to limit the extent of any role for negotiations involving teachers and local education authorities and to set the terms for whatever small, residual, place they are to occupy. We shall attempt to amend that in Committee.
§ Mr. Freud
I shall not give way again.
The alliance will not sit back and let the Secretary of State fashion for teachers a wholly unique unsatisfactory system for establishing pay and conditions which is operated along unsatisfactory lines of annulment. At the very least, we would want the orders to be subject to affirmative resolution procedure.
The rest of clause 3 conjures up the unappetising spectacle of the Secretary of State putting on a rather poor imitation of John Wayne cantering in for a post meridian rescue to be in the last scene before the credits roll. Not satisfied with pre-empting discussions about negotiating machinery, clause 3(6) empowers the Secretary of State, by statutory instrument, to impose a pay structure on teachers. It resembles a "Try your Strength" competition at a fairground with a successon of more or less hapless and frustrated Secretaries of State confronting the teachers shouting, "Let me have a go at it." The methods may vary but the intention is consistent.
As for clause 5, I ask the Secretary of State to furnish the House with other examples. There are Acts of Parliament which are subject to annual votes such as the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978, which we are to discuss on Thursday and the pools competition legislation about which I seem to speak annually and make 62 the same points year after year. I remain to be convinced that the Government believe that this is the best way in which to deal with important matters or indeed the best method of governing the country.
It seems that we shall soon have so many expediencies in our legislation that everything will be exemptions rather than rules. I cannot believe that the Secretary of State wants to encourage that trend. What makes this one worse is the fact that it is to have an afterlife. Not content with erecting a system of affirmative and annulling orders, we are being given something, the provisions of which live on after the Act expires. It is like the Cheshire cat remaining in situ after the smile has gone.
There is an even more worrying feature of clause 5. We are asked to accept that the Bill meets an emergency, that it is an expedient to get us over some temporary crisis. The precedents are not auspicious—the income tax legislation, the Defence of the Realm Acts, the Official Secrets Act 1911 and the Import, Export and Customs Powers (Defence) Act 1939 were all designed to meet a historically specific need and all were prolonged far beyond their original intention.
In this context, I fear that the Secretary of State is being a trifle disingenuous. It is quite clear to me and my colleagues that the Bill is not the consequence of the failure of the existing machinery and that it does not represent a posture of crisis. Both claims are true only as far as they go, and both represent a partial representation of the facts. The Government are overlooking the fact that reform of the Burnham machinery is already on the agenda after Coventry. It is the existing machinery, albeit supplemented with ACAS and some fresh impetus, which has produced the Nottingham ACAS agreement.
I will not say that the Secretary of State does not want a settlement, but whatever that settlement was, and however it was to be achieved, he wanted to change the machinery to bring total control into his own hands. The Secretary of State often says that he sees the education system as a wheel in which there should be more power at the rim and less at the hub. What he always leaves out of his attractive analogy are the spokes. One cannot run a local education system from either the hub or the rim. All parts of the wheel must work smoothly and together. The Secretary of State will not solve the teachers' dispute by eliminating from his considerations the local education authorities and the teachers' unions.
The Secretary of State, in view of his renowned passion for the English language, should realise that an imposed settlement is a contradiction in terms. The casualties of such a step will be awesome and much of the damage irreparable. We all have reservations about the Nottingham ACAS agreement. I am not convinced that it permits good management in schools, although I appreciate the arguments about collegiality. I accept the case for incentives, but suspect that the problem is rather to reward the majority of good teachers than to produce a sharply tapered scale for the few.
The alliance has severe reservations about Burnham. The deal that teachers and employers have struck abandons Burnham in that it involves a third party—ACAS—and deals with pay and conditions together. The right response to that is not to rubbish what has been achieved or to leap into a largely imaginary fray and rush through premature legislation which, in every respect save its deceptive appearance, is hasty and ill-considered.
63 The Government must take very seriously the point that any negotiated deal is better than any imposed deal, however technically deficient the former and however technically perfect the latter. I do not say that because the Government have no role to play, for they clearly have one; I say it because it is simply wrong to deal with teachers as the Bill proposes. The consequences will be worse than a sane Government should be prepared to countenance and I believe that what the Bill proposes will make the education system worse rather than better.
The alliance supports the replacement of Burnham. The Secretary of State said to me the other day that he can see no difference between alliance policy and Labour party policy; we support the role of a third party in an advisory committee and taking pay and conditions together. We cannot support the timing, the details or the motivation behind the Bill.
§ Mr. Freud
Indeed. Or the principles. I ask Conservative Members to stop talking about things which confuse the issue, however important they may be, and to concentrate their minds on the evils of the Bill and the singular powers that it will give a Minister without requiring the consent of this House. Like the right hon. Member for Halton (Mr. Oakes), I am very grateful for the existence of the other place, which will look at the Bill dispassionately and without feeling that it ought to be done in time for a general election.
§ 6.7 pm
§ Mr. Tony Baldry (Banbury)
The speech of the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, North-East (Mr. Freud) confirms that the alliance always wants to be all things to all people. It pursues a policy which enables it to tell parents that it supports them and that it opposes disruption in schools, and to tell teachers' unions that it supports them and opposes what the Government are trying to do. The alliance is never firm about what it wants to achieve. It simply tries to be all things to all people.
We all want to ensure a better education for our children and a system that enables them to acquire the skills that will enable them to go forward into the 21st century with confidence. We want to enable them to continue to write history, not simply to read it.
We have now had about two years of disruption in our schools. The existing machinery has ground on, trying to find a settlement, and Opposition spokesmen have accused the Secretary of State of dithering one day and of acting too quickly the next. They cannot have it both ways. The present machinery gives the Secretary of State, who has to foot the bill, practically no powers, but expects him to take all the responsibility. That has to change. He has to meet the lion's share of the bill, but has by far the smallest opportunity to influence what happens.
§ Mr. Baldry
I genuinely believe that hundreds of thousands of parents and thousands of teachers would be glad to see a resolution to the dispute and that they see within the Bill the seeds of such a resolution.
The simple problem about the Burnham machinery, which was set up in 1919, is that it has outlived its 64 usefulness. It has become increasingly ineffective in producing agreement on teachers' pay and has no power to consider conditions of service. Furthermore, the employers, under the leadership of the Labour groups, have come to to accept a collegiate approach. It seems to be a new expression in the English dictionary, but it means eroding differentials and incentives for better teachers. The result has been a reduction in promotion prospects for teachers, which has been exacerbated by falling pupil numbers, and a prolongation of the dispute, which has been largely cost-free to teachers, because those who have been involved in industrial action over the past two years have lost little of their pay.
There has, alas, been a decline in the regard in which teachers are held by the public. That is sad, because if we are to recruit and retain teachers it is essential that they are rewarded well and are seen to be held in high public esteem. More than any other group, the teachers themselves have undermined that esteem.
Under the existing Burnham machinery there have been constant negotiations, which have produced no settlement, and constant disruptions of our schools. I am sure that every hon. Member believes that the children of our country are entitled to uninterrupted education.
An improvement in the standing and quality of teachers must be a key element in ensuring better schools. There can be no disagreement in the House that ensuring that teachers are properly remunerated must be an essential prerequisite to getting good teachers. The Bill will help, because it will enable the Secretary of State to make decisions to clarify conditions of employment, provide for appraisal, reward teachers properly and create a pay structure that substantially improves career prospects.
The agreement negotiated by the Labour-dominated employers and the teachers' unions does not provide a pay structure which improves career prospects. Fewer teacher posts would be incentive posts that are rewarded according to merit, attainment and capability. At present, about 40 per cent. of posts are incentive posts. The agreement suggested by the employers and unions would reduce that number to about one third, whereas the sensible proposals of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State would increase the number to about 50 per cent., which reflects the position in virtually every other profession.
It is essential that disputes about the extent of teachers' responsibilities should cease. The Bill will help teachers to know what they can be required to do, help heads and parents to know what they can reasonably expect of teachers, and ensure that local authorities can rely on teachers without constantly looking over their shoulders to see whether their decisions will be tested in the courts.
The Bill will help because it will put responsibility on the Secretary of State, whom the whole country thinks of as having responsibility. Day after day the Secretary of State has been berated in the House for not taking powers to settle the dispute. Everyone who knows anything about the matter realises that, because of an Act of Parliament, the Secretary of State does not have those powers. By giving him power we shall allow him to concentrate wonderfully the minds of employers and teachers unions to consider the issues that must be resolved if we are to bring harmony back to our schools, to improve our schools and to compete with countries such as West Germany, the United States and Japan in the 21st century.
Much has been achieved. The 13-point list of teachers' duties proposed by the local authorities and unions 65 matches closely the 19 points in the Government's package announced on 30 October. As the hon. Member for Durham, North (Mr. Radice) acknowledged, that is good progress, but it has largely come about only because employers and trade union representatives detected that the Secretary of State was determined to ensure that progress would be made. That progress came about as a result of the announcement that more money would be made available if an agreement on duties was reached.
The Opposition present themselves as the friends of the teachers, but we should never forget that under the Labour Government teachers' pay fell 13 per cent. below the value of the Houghton award. That drop resulted from the combination of leapfrogging comparability awards and the high inflation which was a consequence of Labour's economic policies. Since 1979 teachers pay has been restored to, near enough, the value of Houghton, and the new Government package would take their pay 10 per cent. above Houghton by October 1987.
The additional £600 million set aside by the Government can be released if sensible conditions are met and if a clear contract and a satisfactory pay and promotion package are produced. That extra money would provide an average rise for teachers of 16.4 per cent., giving them a pay increase of 24 per cent. over the two years up to October 1987.
§ Mr. Ken Weetch (Ipswich)
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the Secretary of State is intervening because he wants to establish the principle of more differentials in pay in schools? Does the hon. Gentleman realise that posts of responsibility have been a divisive factor in the classroom for a very long time and have given rise to a good deal of ill feeling? Does the hon. Gentleman not agree that if we establish a main professional grade much of the fragmentation will disappear? Under the Government's proposals a teacher will say, "You have the money for the responsibility; you get on with it."
§ Mr. Baldry
It is extraordinary that the Opposition try to apply to teachers norms that exist in no other profession. In every other profession good people are rewarded and have incentives to do well. We hope that there can be a similar situation in our schools, so that good teachers are paid well for teaching well. The Government and, I believe, every parent want a pay structure that rewards and motivates good classroom teachers and those who accept responsibility outside the classroom. The unions' proposals do not provide incentives for good teachers.
§ Mr. Patrick Thompson
Does my hon. Friend agree that the whole purpose of the Government's proposals is to introduce more flexibility into the way in which incentive posts are introduced? That is exactly what we want. I hope my hon. Friend agrees that we want to give teachers more chance to stay on in the classrooms to get good salaries for good work.
§ Mr. Baldry
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We want to see good classroom teachers rewarded, and not a parent in the country would disagree with that.
§ Mr. Baldry
No. We want to encourage teachers to take on extra responsibilities, and I do not believe that any parent in the country would disagree with that. We want 66 to pay for skills that are in short supply—we are constantly berated about the lack of teachers in physics and mathematics—and I do not believe that any parent in the country would disagree with more pay for skills in short supply. We want to attract good teachers to demanding posts which may be difficult to fill, for example, in inner-city schools, and not a parent would disagree with that.
In reality, at present there are about 105,000 promoted posts on scales 2 and 3 and the senior teachers' scale. The Government's package allows for 140,000 promoted posts, which would mean that half the profession would hold such posts and be heads or deputy heads. The local authority proposal would provide only 80,000 promoted posts, which would be enough for only one third of the profession.
The rewards offered to teachers who take on extra responsibilities must be adequate and, clearly, the local authority and union proposals fail in that respect. Indeed, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers has described them as "shooting differentials to pieces." Under them, for example, a deputy head who assumed the role of head teacher and took on his responsibilities in his absence would be paid only £5 a week more for doing that. I am not sure whether the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Weetch) regards that as being divisive, but it would be lunatic to expect teachers to take on the extra responsibilities of heads and to discharge them decently for only £5 a week more. That is unrealistic. Therefore, we are keen and anxious to ensure that those who are prepared to take on proper responsibilities are properly rewarded.
The Bill will ensure that the remuneration of Teachers Act 1965, which sets out the legislative framework for the Burnham negotiating procedures, is repealed. That Act gives no statutory role to the Government, other than to publish the orders which the Burnham committee proposes and to provide much of the resources to meet its requirements. In short, this Bill will place the responsibility where it should be—on the shoulders of the Secretary of State for Education and Science.
The country looks to the Secretary of State for a lead and expects him to discharge his responsibilities, and he will do that under the Bill. The Bill does not remove negotiating machinery from the trade unions or the teachers, as Opposition Members have sought to suggest. The interim advisory committee, which the Secretary of State will appoint, will consider advice from all quarters, including teachers unions and local authority employers.
That committee will not give the implied veto that the Burnham committee gave to the NUT, until its numbers on that committee were reorganised. Because the NUT had a majority on the employee side of the Burnham committee, it effectively had a veto, so for two years we made no progress because it was in the interests of the NUT that we made none. The NUT had a statutory enablement to ensure that we made no progress. Now we will make progress because we will have a committee to advise the Secretary of State. Its members will be independent, and will be seen to be independent, and their role will be to represent parents' interests, the national interest and community interest. The Secretary of State will be empowered to give effect to its recommendations by order. If he chooses materially to amend the recommendations of that independent committee, he will have to come to the House to argue his case.
67 Hon. Members are responsible to their electorates, and for two years we have been sitting impotent on the teachers' dispute because we have had no influence. Everything has been down to the Burnham committee, over which we have no influence. Parliament gave the power to the committee on which the NUT has had a majority on the employees' side. Under the Bill we shall be answerable to our electorates. If the Secretary of State introduces proposals with which we do not agree, we can tell him that we disagree. That is what will happen, because the Bill is placing responsibility on the House to ensure that teachers' pay and negotiations are properly discharged.
§ Mr. Patrick Thompson
Does my hon. Friend not find it surprising that Opposition Members should oppose proposals to get rid of the Burnham negotiating procedures when, year after year, as a result of those procedures—I speak as someone who has been in the teaching profession for 23 years—we have had unsatisfactory, badly structured pay settlements? Despite that, the Opposition defend those procedures.
§ Mr. Baldry
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We have waited far too long to see a settlement of the teachers' pay dispute. No settlement has been forthcoming through the present machinery. It is high time that the House took to itself the powers to ensure a decent pay settlement which properly rewards teachers and ensures no more disruptions in our schools and that our children can compete well into the next century.
§ Mr. Guy Barnett (Greenwich)
I should like to spend some time dealing with the many inaccuracies and misunderstandings in the speech of the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry), but as many hon. Members wish to speak there is time only to pick up some of them as I go along.
I agree strongly with those who have already pointed out that the introduction of the Bill is an arrogant abuse of our procedures. I agree with those who point to the centralist nature of the legislation. The Government have pursued a centralist policy since they were first elected and it is in sharp contrast to what we always used to hear from the Conservative party in the 1950s, 1960s and, even, the 1970s.
This is a constitutional outrage and I am particularly worried about the type of language used by the Secretary of State and Conservative Members about the trade union leadership in teaching.
§ Mr. Barnett
No. The hon. Gentleman spoke for long enough.
Some of those leaders are personal friends. The trade unions have been led responsibly in the extremely difficult circumstances of the past five years—that needs to be stressed—despite provocation from the Secretary of State and his predecessor. It is not surprising that as a consequence of their behaviour there has been so much disruption in our schools.
The hon. Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Evennett) made an important point when he said that the teaching profession was undervalued by society. I hope 68 that he will listen to what I am saying because I listened to what he said and I may be able to teach him some things which he does not yet understand. The hon. Gentleman said that the teaching profession was undervalued and that is the starting point. In the light of that it is exceedingly dangerous for the Secretary of State to introduce this legislation.
When the Secretary of State was appointed I was hopeful that he would be an improvement on his predecessor and that he would try to work with local education authorities and the profession. Twice in parliamentary questions I encouraged him to do so because it seemed important that he should gain the confidence of the teaching profession. But I am afraid that one of the consequences of introducing the Bill is that he will lose the confidence of the entire profession. We need only see the letters that hon. Members have received from representatives of practically every trade union to see that there is almost complete opposition to the Bill because it removes the negotiating rights of trade unions and devalues teachers and their representative organisations. That is a bad first step for the Secretary of State to take.
In the light of what has happened over the past few days, I can only believe that it was always the Secretary of State's intention to introduce this legislation and that he was hoping that Coventry and Nottingham would fail so that he would have an excuse to do it. He spends his time trying to point out the degree to which there is division within the teaching profession when the profession has made an earnest attempt over the past few months to reach a measure of unity. I think that they have achieved that unity to a remarkable extent. Nevertheless, the Secretary of State has done everything he can to divide the profession. Even in the speech we heard this afternoon, he was trying to point out yet again the areas of difference rather than the areas of agreement which across at Coventry and, later, at Nottingham.
It is important to point out some of the consequences that the Secretary of State's legislation is likely to have. Many Opposition Members have been appalled by the way in which the Secretary of State and other Conservative Members refer to good teachers. If there are good teachers, the implication is that there are also bad teachers. He suggests that 50 per cent. of the profession are good teachers and the rest are moderate, indifferent or bad. That is the implication behind what Conservative Members are saying. They are saying that there are two sorts of teachers, falling roughly into two classes. They say that we should pay half of them over the odds and give them special allowances and the rest have to make do with what they get. That is the way in which it is read by teachers up and down the country.
It is suggested that the good teachers will be given a reward for being good teachers. I want to contest that. Who chooses the good teachers? On what basis is it decided that somebody is a good teacher and somebody is not a good teacher? I have taught on the staff of several schools and, inevitably, I have had my private views about what I believe to be the capacity of other teachers. I have often been proved wrong. I have often come to the wrong conclusion about somebody. Sometimes I realised that someone was not as good as I had thought, and sometimes I discovered that someone was a much better teacher than I had realised. It is an extremely difficult judgment for anybody to make. It cannot be made by the head teachers or inspectors. Who will make the decisions? It is very 69 dangerous for anyone to attempt, as the Secretary of State's words imply, to separate the sheep from the goats in the teaching profession.
My hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Weetch) intervened earlier in the debate. He pointed out that the decision to separate the teaching profession into two halves is about as divisive as one could possible get. I agree that the teaching profession has been undervalued in the past. I also agree with those who say that everything is to be gained by making the profession one profession and getting a measure of agreement. My own union, the National Union of Teachers, has long wanted to see all teachers working together in one union or one association of unions. I believe that that will one day come, but it will not come as long as attempts are made by the Secretary of State and Conservative Members to divide the profession, because that is the way in which they are proceeding.
§ Mr. Oakes
I agree with my hon. Friend. One never hears the Secretary of State for Defence talking about good soldiers or bad soldiers and one never hears the Home Secretary talking about good policemen or bad policemen. It is only the Secretary of State for Education and Science who has that divisive technique.
§ Mr. Barnett
I agree with my right hon. Friend. The fact that they talk in that way is indicative of the way in which Conservatives think about education. They do not talk about good doctors or bad doctors or good colonels and bad colonels but they certainly talk about good teachers and bad teachers, and I have heard enough of it. I hope that it will stop.
In his able speech my right hon. Friend the Member for Halton (Mr. Oakes) drew attention to the reference to areas in different parts of the country. We do not know what that means. I hope that when the Minister replies to the debate she will explain what that means. The suggestion is that teachers in different parts of the country will be paid at different rates. The suggestion is that in inner cities people will be paid at different rates. There may be arguments there, I do not know. However, there are costs as well. The cost is divisiveness within the profession. Since I first joined the profession there has been pressure to try to pay teachers in subjects where there are shortages more than those in subjects where there are no shortages. The consequence of that is that teachers of computer studies, science and mathematics will get special responsibility allowances only because they are teachers of those subjects, not because they are good teachers. One of the consequences, I am afraid—I am making a general point, but I believe that there could be some truth in it—is that whenever a job is advertised in history, English, geography or one of the subjects for which a fair number of teachers are available, there is often a long list of applicants. Inevitably, the person appointed, assuming the appointment committee appoints the best person who applies, will be a fairly good teacher because he or she will have had to face a lot of competition. The consequence of that, inevitably, is that there will be many "good" teachers of arts subjects who will not get the responsibility allowance, because only 50 per cent. of teachers will get it, but that all science teachers will get it. That is another divisive consequence of the Secretary of State's proposals.
§ Mr. Barnett
I will not give way because I want to give other right hon. and hon. Members the opportunity to speak and I do not want to go on longer than I can help.
I want to draw attention to the effect of the divisiveness which will result from the proposals in a profession that needs to be united nationally and within schools. I can tell the House about the divisiveness that can exist within staff rooms as a consequence of allowances going to one section and not to another. I believe, as I said earlier, that appraisal of teachers is exceedingly difficult. Where special responsibility is called for, that is a different matter. Where extra duties are required, obviously those extra duties have to be paid for. However, I am doubtful about the devaluation that will take place of, the ordinary classroom teacher. In my opinion, that is the most important job done by the profession as a whole. That is why the agreement worked out between the employers and the unions was such a valuable one. It recognised the crucial value of the classroom teacher.
The next point I want to make is about the word "incentive". We are constantly told that teachers will not teach properly or do their job properly and will feel no incentive to be better unless there is the possibility of them earning more as a consequence of some appraisal exercise that demonstrates that they are better than average or at least in the top 50 per cent. I am worried about that. Those who know the history of education will recall the method, "Teaching: payment by results". We were told earlier in the debate that there is no profession where there is not a special allowance for people who do better than others. I am not so sure. Do we have special allowances for good doctors or social workers? A profession in which we give special allowances for the quantity of work done is dentistry. The consequence of that is that the richest dental surgeons are those who fill or pull out the most teeth. Within dentistry much too little time and trouble is spent on dental education and dental health. There is a lesson there. Whatever way one tries to reward teachers or whatever incentives one tries to provide, the danger is that one will distort the job that the teacher is trying to do and that it will have unforeseen consequences. They may do certain things and neglect others in order to get that special responsibility allowance that is being offered.
I am concerned about education. This could be a bad day for education. With my right hon. and hon. Friends, I shall fight the Bill during all its stages. It is damaging constitutionally that the Secretary of State for Education and Science should be granted these powers. The Bill is damaging to the relationship between local education authorities, the Department and the unions. Last, but not least, I believe that the Bill is divisive for the teaching profession as a whole.
§ Mr. Robert Key (Salisbury)
I have a long and happy association with the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Barnett). We are parliamentary chairmen of the Council for Education in the Commonwealth. I am, therefore, unhappy to follow him in the debate when he has been so divisive in representing the union for which he is parliamentary adviser, the National Union of Teachers. I am parliamentary adviser to the Assistant Masters and Mistresses Association. This exemplifies one of the root problems that have bedevilled us for two years. There is not a united teachers' union. The hon. Member for Greenwich talked of the idea that 50 per cent. of teachers 71 were bad teachers. I have never heard my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State or any other Conservative Member suggest any such nonsense. That may be a good debating point but it bears no relation to the truth.
Each of the four headmasters under whom I served as a teacher for 16 years encouraged his teaching staff to look outwards from the school in which they served to the community. Because we served in the independent sector, with all its privileges, it was important for us to look outward to see how the maintained sector operated. We were encouraged to become involved in the community, especially in the world of education. That helped us to realise our deficiencies and those of the maintained sector. Working as a governor for five maintained schools, including as an elected parent governor, I saw that head teachers and teachers from the primary sector onward faced great frustration. I was not uncritical of the comparatively easy conditions of employment in the maintained sector. However, I always thought that there would be nothing but trouble when the teaching profession moved down the road of defining its duties too closely. Over the years, the antics of some union leaders severely eroded the status of teachers, and this had exactly the reverse effect to what was intended, reducing the esteem—or otherwise—in which the public held them.
The teachers' associations and the unions have so much good to offer that I am distressed that the seed of what they have contributed to education is all too easily flung away. The teaching unions can contribute a great deal to the future. The Bill is a great challenge to the teacher unions. But, of course, confusion reigns. The system does not work. If anyone was in any doubt about the issue with which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is grappling, he should have listened this morning to the leader of the NUT on BBC Radio's "Today". I do not recall when I last heard so much reactionary obfuscation. There was nothing positive, no suggestions and no mention of children and parents. There were just the pure forces of reaction.
Teachers are very frustrated. I very much agree on that point with my hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Haselhurst). Many of us have received representations from a small organisation called Teachers for a Common Policy. It said:We argue that just as a government is said to be the better for a strong opposition, so an education minister and department need to face a confident and co-ordinated teaching profession, if policies are to be creatively debated and effectively implemented.It is education's loss as well as our own that at present our six unions cannot provide their side of this equation.We believe the differences between teachers are insufficient to justify the lack of co-ordination, and the rivalry, between our unions.How true.
§ Mr. Radice
I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman has seen another letter which was sent to the Secretary of State and which was signed by the general secretaries of the four major teacher unions, including the union to which the hon. Gentleman is a parliamentary consultant. That letter stated:We are united in our opposition to your Bill 'Teachers' Pay and Conditions' which removes from teacher organisations the right to direct negotiations. We urge you to 72 reconsider your position and to accept the principle that any new negotiating machinery for teachers' pay and conditions of service should include direct negotiation.Does the hon. Gentleman agree?
§ Mr. Key
I shall explain why I will support the Bill. I have told the Assistant Masters and Mistresses Association precisely why I shall do so. The NUT, which would not accept last January's ACAS agreement, now recommends boycotting the outcome of those negotiations and opposes the Baker package. The National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers rejects the Baker package and condemns the ACAS results, but it played a leading role in mounting the ACAS exercise. The Professional Association of Teachers called on my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to intervene, but then voted for a package which it knew he would reject. The National Association of Head Teachers repudiated the deal, but the Secondary Heads Association supported it. The Assistant Masters and Mistresses Association is balloting members with a recommendation to accept the package.
This bizarre scene is best summed up not by me but by a union leader writing recently in The Times Educational Supplement. He said:on what terms can the unions bury their various rivalries, if only in a shallow, temporary grave? Can they ever get their act together long enough to present a common front?He continued:Depressingly however, the unions … may well emphasise the issues on which they say they differ irreconcilably rather than the matters on which they can, with enough will, achieve a degree of unity.There is a perverse sense, of course, in which the unions need to appear in sharp disagreement with each other to justify their continuing separate existences … The resulting arcane quarrels have confused teachers, disaffected the public, and given heaven-sent opportunities to those bent on slamming schools and teachers at every opportunity.
§ Mr. Flannery
The hon. Gentleman has sat on committees with me. He is a teacher and he knows as well as I do that the separation of the teachers began because they taught in different sectors. It was not intense rivalry. Members of the AMMA taught in the grammar schools, which became private schools. If the hon. Gentleman would examine the other teaching sectors, he would realise the terrible task of bringing them together. Like Topsy, they grow'd in the sector of education in which they found themselves teaching.
§ Mr. Key
I agree with the hon. Gentleman that the historic roots of the unions have led to many of their disagreements. I agree with the hon. Member for Greenwich that, for a long time, many people in the unions have wanted to come together. But there is more to it than that. The stances of the different organisations are important. In the past 18 months, my organisation has grown from 70,000 to 117,000. The Professional Association of Teachers, with its no-strike faith, has emerged. Teachers' representation is evolving. This means that all unions are faced with a unique opportunity.
Despite the many strengths of the unions, they have shown themselves to be rather bad at collective bargaining. There has not been any collective bargaining under Burnham, if only because he who has partly paid the piper has not even partly called most of the tune. I understand the opposition of the leaders of the teachers' unions to the Bill. I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has considered their worries, especially with regard 73 to International Labour Organisation conventions, including Nos. 91, 113, 151 and 163, which contain points that must be answered. Unions such as the AMMA regard it as rather perverse that, since the NUT veto went, along with its overall majority, and since a range of issues not only have been put on the agenda but have been discussed, my right hon. Friend has, as they see it, taken an axe to the negotiating table and chopped it up. I must say to my friends in the AMMA and to all those teachers who, like me, have loathed what has happened in the past two years and who want the status and effectiveness of the profession to be enhanced, that it is common ground that the existing machinery does not work.
The Bill is time-limited. The teaching unions have more than three years—until 31 March 1990—to get their act together and to work with their traditional partners in the education service to ensure that direct collective bargaining—real collective bargaining—with all the parties involved becomes a central feature of the successor to this Bill. That is why the Bill is time-limited and precisely why it is intended to give a breathing space. Will the unions and employers insist upon raking over the embers of the past two years and seek partisan advantage or will they accept the breathing space offered by the Bill as an opportunity to design a new future for the profession?
§ Mr. Jack Dormand (Easington)
All the speeches from Tory Members so far have called for the best possible education service, an end to the disruption, the best fiscal provision, and so on. I have no doubt that Tory Members sincerely believe what they have said. We are all in favour of sweetness and light and all against sin. However, Tory Members have not addressed themselves to the Bill, because many of them feel that the Bill is really atrocious and they do not support much of its contents. Perhaps they will join us in the Lobby tonight.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Durham, North (Mr. Radice) repeated a point made by many Opposition Members, which has not been answered. It relates to the reasons for the Bill's existence. We want to know why, after 18 months or two years of being unable to get a penny out of the right hon. Member for Leeds, North-East (Sir K. Joseph), there is suddenly such generosity. The figure of £600 million for teachers' salaries has been repeated ad nauseam, and that is quite apart from any other aspect of the education budget. Had we such a response originally, we would have been saved the trouble and disruption that has been faced by parents, teachers and this House during the past 18 months or two years. I am not suggesting that everything would have been agreed immediately, but at least the major problems would have been settled.
We are today faced with a Draconian Bill. Even considering the kind of legislation introduced over the past seven years, I find the measure quite breathtaking. Since 1979 the Government consistently proclaimed a philosophy of non-intervention in industrial matters. We must now draw the conclusion that they will intervene when it suits them. The Secretary of State's excuse, of course, is that he represents the taxpayer. To that we have to say, "What is new?". That has been the position for many years. If the Government feel that it is such a matter of principle, they should have done something soon after 1979. In fact, the Bill is only an excuse to allow the Secretary of State to adopt dictatorial power in education, 74 where negotiation is probably more important than in most other areas of industrial relations. Apart from anything else, the future of thousands of children is at stake.
In place of negotiations, there is to be an advisory committee. It is abundantly clear that the committee will simply be the tool of the Secretary of State. It can only examine and report to him on such matters as he may refer to it. When it has reported, and there seems to be some doubt whether the reports have to be published—perhaps the Minister can clarify this when he replies—the Secretary of State does not have to accept its recommendations. It is difficult to imagine a more useless body.
The reasons that the Secretary of State has given for opposing the negotiated agreement are a façade—nothing more, nothing less. He may not agree with the cost or structure proposals in the agreement, but his objection is that an agreement has been reached at all and that a new negotiating machinery has been established.
The Bill requires that the Government should consult local authorities and the teachers organisations. Given the provisions, and indeed the philosophy, of the measure—I cannot place too much stress on that—does the Secretary of State really think that anyone will believe it is genuine consultation? It will be token consultation, a mere going through the motions. That has already been said not only by union leaders, but by the rank and file members.
One of the most depressing aspects of the present position is that the Secretary of State simply does not appreciate how far the teachers have moved by reaching agreement with the local authorities. They are now accepting proposals which two or three years ago they would not even have discussed. They are doing that, not because they are entirely convinced of the measures, but because they are genuinely determined to bring about a framework for stability and progress in the education of our children. By failing to recognise that, the Government are sowing the seeds for further disruption.
§ Mr. Harry Greenway (Ealing, North)
I am always interested to hear the hon. Gentleman's comments on education, as he has a long and very real experience in this area. However, does he not think that there is room for further negotiation? Although he is strongly backing the local government and ACAS agreement, does he not think that there should be further discussion on some points? On the question of the 13 points—it is admirable that the unions have accepted some of them, and there is no reason why they should not—does he not accept that they have been the basis of the professional lives of most teachers for many years?
§ Mr. Dormand
I am not sure that I understand the hon. Gentleman's question. However, he referred to consultation, and that was one of the points that I was making. The provisions of the Bill do not permit genuine consultation. That is where the Government will come a cropper.
§ Mr. Dormand
The hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Greenway) referred to my experience in education. For seven years before I came to this place I was a chief education officer. We should not overlook chief education officers when we 75 are talking about the merits of classroom teachers. I had my share of problems with teachers—two strikes and so on—but throughout that period there was always a trust between the education committee, the teachers and the Government. I warn the Government that that trust is rapidly disappearing. Indeed, some would say that it has already gone. That is the most important point that I have to make. The Bill could scarcely be better designed to destroy the trust that is crucial for an effective education service.
I am concerned about a matter on which some agreement has been reached by the Government, unions and local authorities. As I believe that on previous occasions I was the only Member to refer to this, I was glad to hear my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Barnett) mention it today, and I echo much of what he said. I refer, of course, to the appraisal of teachers—a matter of considerable importance, not least because the Secretary of State constantly refers to the need to recognise good teachers in monetary terms and, presumably, in promotion terms.
Who is to determine whether a person is a good teacher? Will it be the head teacher, the local education authority adviser or Her Majesty's inspectorate? Or will it be a team of qualified people whose sole function will be to visit schools to appraise teachers ability? I have been associated with all those systems, and there are grave difficulties with all of them. Perhaps I shall be able to dwell at length on that aspect in a later debate this week. I know that there has been agreement by all concerned on six pilot projects, but it is vital that the results of those pilot schemes be scrutinised with the utmost care. I predict that there will be no clear-cut answer, which means that there will be serious problems with the Government's repeated assertions about rewarding what the Secretary of State describes as good teachers.
The Government are not being fair in not recognising how far local authorities and teachers have compromised to reach agreement. I shall identify five new areas which show that free negotiations work. First, a system of appraisal is introduced for the first time. Secondly, there is a detailed agreement on conditions of service where none existed before. Thirdly, new negotiating machinery is established to replace the Burnham system. Conservative Members cannot have been reading their briefs very carefully, as at least two of them seemed not to realise that the unions had agreed that Burnham must go. Fourthly, a new salary structure is created for the profession. I know that there is still disagreement, but that is a move forward. Fifthly, salary levels are increased to reward effective teaching.
I have expressed slight reservations about some parts of that agreement, but they are of little importance compared with the steamrollering that will occur if the Government insist on pushing through the provisions of this pernicious Bill. Removing collective bargaining and telling local education authorities and teachers that they will no longer have the right to negotiate is a step so momentous that it goes far wider even than the important sphere of education. I am sure that the whole trade union movement will have seen the immense danger in it. I urge the Government to make substantial changes when we reach later stages of the Bill on Wednesday.
§ 7.3 pm
§ Mr. J. F. Pawsey (Rugby and Kennilworth)
The hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Dormand) was somewhat critical of my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, North-East (Sir K. Joseph), but my right hon. Friend obtained substantial sums from the Treasury for teachers. Those sums have now been exceeded by my right hon. Friend the present Secretary of State, showing clearly how greatly the present Administration value teachers and appreciate their worth. I remind the hon. Member for Easington that Houghton was eroded under the Labour Government when inflation reached 27.5 per cent., so the hon. Gentleman is in no position to castigate the Conservative party for what happened in the past.
If justification is needed for the present legislation. It is to be found in recent statements by union leaders following the ACAS talks in Nottingham. Four out of six unions, representing between a third and half of the profession, have now come out against last month's deal. It seems that only the National Union of Teachers and the Assistant Masters and Mistresses Association remain in favour of that agreement. With the unions in such disarray, there is no possibility of agreement being reached among the unions, let alone between them and the employers or between that lot and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. If progress is to be made on pay and conditions for teachers, and if we are to avoid the disruption that has occurred in the past 18 months to two years, it is necessary for legislation to be in place.
The Bill repeals the Remuneration of Teachers Act 1965 and sets up an interim committee to advise the Secretary of State on pay and conditions of service. It seems to me in the wake of the Nottingham fiasco, that Burnham has clearly outlived any usefulness that it might once have had, and it is time for a change. The Burnham system has become an unwieldy, ineffective instrument, blunted by long abuse. Its principal function now seems to be to highlight differences between the various teacher unions and between them and the employers and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. What most Conservative Members find extraordinary is that the Burnham system has survived for so long. It is a dinosaur. It is clearly outdated and must go.
The setting up of an advisory committee on teachers' pay is an interim measure. It will ensure that real consultations take place with teachers unions as well as with local education authorities. Those bodies will clearly have the opportunity to make a considerable input into the deliberations of the Secretary of State. I believe that the repeal of the Burnham machinery will make it easier for future negotiations on pay and conditions to be truly constructive. Certainly no one wants a re-run of the past year or so of disruption in schools with so much damage to children's education. Paradoxically, however, some schools in my constituency have achieved the best examination results ever and I congratulate the majority of teachers in my constituency on putting the interests of their pupils first. They are to be commended for that.
Most reasonable people recognise that a teacher's job involves a great deal more than long holidays and free periods, and it is only right that their worth be recognised by adequate remuneration. I very much hope that my right hon. Friend's offer, which amounts to a 25 per cent. increase over 18 months, will be accepted. My right hon. Friend's proposals reflect the fact that teachers' pay had 77 slipped back and they redress the situation. It is significant that the cry, "Back to Houghton," has been conspicuous by its absence lately. That is because my right hon. Friend's offer increases teachers' pay a fraction beyond Houghton in money terms.
§ Mr. Pawsey
I appreciate that it does not restore the situation in terms of compatability with other groups, but 25 per cent. over 18 months is a substantial increase and the Government are putting their money where their mouth is. Anyone who doubts that the Burnham system is overdue for dismantling needs only to reflect upon recent events. No one—trade unions, teacher or Minister—has said a word in its favour, and no one argues for its retention. The one thing on which everyone agrees it that Burnham should go, and that it should go speedily.
It has been said that this legislation will not of itself guarantee peace in our schools. My right hon. Friend and Secretary of State has been urged for a considerable period to move closer to the teachers' position as expressed at Nottingham. It is fair to remind the House that although my right hon. Friend is being urged to move closer to the Nottingham position, especially on scales, no reciprocal move has so far been made by the unions. Even if my right hon. Friend were to accept the Nottingham agreement, it would not change matters, since the majority of unions have repudiated that agreement. The unions have abandoned the Nottingham position, so there can be no virtue in my right hon. Friend moving in that direction.
What is now needed to bring peace to our schools is a fair and reasonable contract. If, sadly, the unions cannot agree among themselves on what constitutes a fair and reasonable contract, clearly, in the interests of the nation's children, it is right that my right hon. Friend should take powers to ensure that such an agreement can, if necessary, be imposed.
The principal difference between the Government's offer and that of Nottingham is that the Government believe that a pay structure must be in place which adequately rewards teachers for added responsibility and ensures that they are well motivated towards better teaching. The Government's structure proposes additional incentive posts, which would be available for about half of all teachers. My right hon. Friend proposes five scales, which will provide the appropriate financial motivation to encourage the development and expertise of the effective teacher.
The effective teacher recognised by a fair system of appraisal will do much to improve the quality and standard of education in schools. That must be the principal aim of any education legislation introduced into the House. It is significant that, although Opposition Members have developed various themes, we have not heard much from them on the importance of education to the children of our country. They seem to regard education merely as a vehicle for teachers. Although I acknowledge the importance of the teaching profession, equally they should acknowledge the need to ensure that our children have adequate education. It should be remembered that Nottingham exceeded the Government's package by £85 million, and although the hon. Member for Durham, North (Mr. Radice) sought to denigrate the amount of 78 that increase, none the less it still amounts to more than £80 million. That is substantial funding in anyone's language.
For too long it has been said that our schools have not adequately prepared children for the world of work. It is significant that a discussion paper produced by the "Think British" campaign referred to what it described as "the illiterate generation". It posed the question:Is our education and training system failing British industry and, by failing industry, failing the nation?Sir John Egan, chairman and chief executive of Jaguar plc, has said that there are evident weaknesses in applicants' abilities, which range from basic mathematics to verbal and written communication.
Even more interestingly, British Rail said:The country cannot be getting value for money from the education system when the present number of youngsters leave school ill-equipped to enter the world of work, with low standards of literacy and numeracy, few if any other skills and no qualifications, leaving employers and further education to pick up the pieces. Too many are totally disenchanted with school. The truancy rate is high and they cannot wait to leave. This suggests that the present system is unsuitable and irrelevant.British Rail is not alone in that opinion. Bass plc—here we reach the nub of the argument—said:
The quality of education provided depends more on the quality and dedication of the teachers than on the system itself. Regrettably, this quality is variable and the current level of teachers' pay does not encourage the most able applicants. Any improvements in this direction should be related to merit.We can almost hear the voice of my hon. Friends on the Treasury Bench making that point, which has been made so well and so often by them during this and earlier debates. That is the voice of practical experience. The argument which is being so clearly advanced is that more must be done to improve the quality and standard of teachers so that, in turn, they may improve the quality and standards of school leavers.
I have said before in the House that the overwhelming majority of teachers are dedicated to their profession. They do a splendid job, almost despite the pay, but that is now being remedied and Government should be applauded for the action being taken. This Government have given teachers what they have long asked for—remuneration which adequately reflects their responsibility and their ability.
It is entirely right and just to argue the case for good and effective teachers getting more money. It seems that the only way in which society recognises a professional's worth is by improving the size of the pay packet. If that is a mercenary attitude, it is none the less true. The funds obtained by my right hon. Friend are substantial and will improve teachers' pay by a massive 25 per cent. over 18 months. That can only be described as a hefty increase in anyone's language. Very few of our constituents can claim a similar increase in basic pay over such a short period.
Like most hon. Members, I am under no illusions about the problems that face teachers in many of our schools today. In my view, a good or effective teacher will earn every penny that he will receive under the new proposals on the table. I hope that the interim committee being set up by my right hon. Friend will include representatives of industry, for it is important that we get practical advice from people who are at the sharp end of wealth generation, as shown by my earlier references to Bass plc, Jaguar plc and British Rail. If our young people are not motivated, 79 trained and educated in the basic skills of literacy and numeracy, British industry will always be at a disadvantage vis-à-vis our competitors.
It is significant that the "Think British" campaign has argued that the management role of the head teacher is inescapable, and that since his appointment is the key to a school's success it should be subject to the approval of parent representatives. The campaign also argues that a massive expansion of parent power is necessary and that the present monopoly inherent in our education system must be broken. Those are all points which have been taken on board, certainly by Conservative Members. That is why we have supported the Education Act 1986, which gives parents representation on governing bodies equal to that of the local education authority.
The "Think British" campaign argues a cogent case for more involvement of parents and industry in education. Note the wording which I choose to use. I say "industry" as distinct from "industrialists". It is most important that schools recognise the value of increasingly gearing education to what takes place in factories and offices. Although it may be useful to know about peace studies and sociology, and although history has undoubted attractions, emphasis should be placed in our education system on those subjects which will benefit the pupil when he reaches British Rail, Jaguar plc, Bass plc and all those other companies which exist outside.
I welcome the Bill. It will restore teachers' pay to a reasonable level and ensure good pay for effective teaching.
§ Mr. Derek Fatchett (Leeds, Central)
It is always a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey). His debating style reminds me of a football team which likes to have a few shots at the opposition's goal but which is often weak in defence. The hon. Gentleman committed such a defensive error when he said that he had heard no Opposition Member talk about education—
§ Mr. Fatchett
Children and education. I remind the hon. Gentleman that the debate about standards, about the amount of money spent on books and about the amount of money spent on school buildings has been led by Opposition Members. When the hon. Gentleman associates himself with that campaign it will be for the first time.
The hon. Gentleman slipped into making an error that was common among Government Members during the debate. They tried to talk around the current negotiations and to forget the fundamental nature of the Bill. I do not wish to fall into that trap, but I cannot resist making a few comments about the current round of negotiations and about what the Secretary of State said earlier in the debate. Although hon. Members have not mentioned it, I wonder whether it is appropriate for the House to set itself the task of discussing in detail pay salaries, structures and scales and points for individual teachers. We have almost reached the stage where some hon. Members are setting themselves up as experts on matters which are not appropriate for the House. That should be the job of others. It may be the local authority employers or civil 80 servants from the Department of Education and Science. It will certainly be trade union negotiators and teachers, but it should not be Members of Parliament. We are going down a dangerous road by setting ourselves the task of examining individual pay and scales.
The Secretary of State and some of his colleagues seem to have derived much pleasure from the fact that some of the unions which signed the original ACAS agreement no longer support it. I fear that the Secretary of State, remarkably smugly, is deluding himself about the support for his proposals. He is making a simple mistake. He believes that if people move away from the Nottingham and London agreements, they will move towards his agreement. He seems to derive pleasure from the negative, but he cannot offer a positive in part exchange for it. The Secretary of State is in great danger of running into difficulties, because he is obsessed with undermining an agreement that has been reached voluntarily with the unions.
I can illustrate that point by mentioning a case in my surgery on Saturday. A group of teachers—members of the Assistant Masters and Mistresses Association—told me that, at no stage during the dispute, were they prepared to take industrial action. However, on Saturday they said something different. They said clearly and determinedly that if the Secretary of State imposed his settlement,they would for the first time in their teaching lives, consider taking industrial action. There was a seriousness and a determination about those teachers that the Government should recognise. The Secretary of State should think about negotiation and conciliation, not about imposition. He said that the door was still open and that he would still have talks. How far is that logically consistent with the powers that underpin the Bill? The Bill would make talking obsolete and would take the powers into the office of the Secretary of State. I have doubts about his purpose in offering those talks.
I make three points about the abolition of the Burnham machinery. My right hon. Friend the Member for Halton (Mr. Oakes) spoke in great detail and with great conviction about our anxiety over increasing the powers of the Secretary of State. I need not add to that because the point was made with such force and conviction. I simply repeat what my right hon. Friend said: If Conservative Members are worried about centralisation in our state, they should consider the powers that the Secretary of State will assume to himself through the Bill. I hope that at least some of them would have the decency and respect for our constitution not to support the concept of a Secretary of State having such powers and to vote against the Bill.
The Bill, whether it is only for an interim period or whether it is characteristic of most interim legislation and will become almost permanent, will abolish collective bargaining. I have a simple view: That it is a pre-requisite in a pluralistic democracy that people should have a right to belong to a trade union. An essential characteristic of trade union organisation is the right to bargain with an employer over pay and conditions of employment. In other countries, that right has been recognised in legislation — [Interruption.] If the hon. Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Bruinvels) wishes to show his knowledge of comparative industrial relations, I am perfectly willing to listen to him.
§ Mr. Peter Bruinvels (Leicester, East)
The hon. Gentleman is correct to say that there is a right to belong to a trade union, but there is also an inherent right not to belong to a trade union.
§ Mr. Fatchett
Indeed. I had looked forward to greater knowledge than that. However, in view of the hon. Gentleman's record, perhaps my hopes were too high. An obvious corollary of the right to belong to a trade union is the right not to belong to a trade union, and in many industrial relations practices that has been observed. Had the hon. Gentleman listened to my argument, he would have known that my point was that integral to the right to belong to a trade union is the associated right to bargain collectively with an employer. The Bill will remove that right and, in that respect, is a fundamental attack upon democratic rights in a pluralist state.
§ Mr. Fatchett
The hon. Gentleman shakes his head, but he should recognise the reality of that statement. He must also recognise that the rhetoric from the Conservative Benches points in only one direction—to the abolition of collective bargaining for teachers.
My third point is that the Bill changes, at a stroke, the relationship between central and local government. At a stroke, the Secretary of State assumes to himself the power to determine the pay and conditions of many local government employees. The local government employers will not be involved directly in the process. They will be told by central Government how much they should pay teachers and the conditions under which they should employ them, and they will not have a direct say. That is a damaging and worrying change from the traditional relationships between central and local government. If we believe that local government is an institution which must be respected, we must oppose this power. Conservative Members were elected on a mandate of decentralisation. This is a centralising power that will further weaken local autonomy and democracy.
We have three fundamental changes: the power of the Secretary of State, the abolition of the democratic right of collective bargaining and the change in the relationship between central and local government. How have those changes been justified? At no stage during the debate have we heard a valid argument to justify those changes. Quite the opposite. We have had one smokescreen after another. No hon. Member, nor the Secretary of State, has tackled the fundamental question in the debate. Let us consider some of their arguments.
One of the Secretary of State's arguments is that the Burnham machinery creates inter-union rivalry, therefore, we should abolish it and abolish all those fundamental rights. The right hon. Gentleman's knowledge of industrial relations in Britain is none too great if he believes that teachers' pay and teachers' negotiations are the only areas in which inter-union rivalry exists. If we extended his argument it could cover local government, all the Health Service and many other areas. The right of collective bargaining could be taken away from them because of the existence of competing trade unions. That is a specious, weak argument. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will come to regret that argument when he considers the way it can be extended into other sectors.
The second argument which has been put forward today is that Burnham is messy. It is argued that it causes 82 delays and that therefore what we need to do is to abolish fundamental rights. There can be no argument in a democratic society for saying that simply because one piece of machinery is imperfect and inconvenient we should, at a stroke, take away human rights that are an important part of our democracy. There is no justification simply on the basis of bureaucratic inefficiency. There must be another argument.
The third argument is that concerning the taxpayer; the taxpayer funds the bill and therefore the taxpayer should be the person who controls any negotiation through the Secretary of State.
§ Mr. Fatchett
The hon. Gentleman in his new trappist position as parliamentary private secretary—a role for which he is characteristically unsuited—said, "Quite right." I would be happy to give way to him because his contributions are always of great value. Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that that principle is appropriate for other sectors of local government where the taxpayer pays less than 50 per cent., or, for example, the Health Service, which receives all its money from the taxpayer? Does the hon. Gentleman wish this principle to be extended to other sectors? I will happily give way to him because I realise that he probably does not speak on behalf of the Government and is clearly a maverick voice.
All the arguments put forward, including the sedentary contribution from the hon. Member for Mid-Worcestershire, do not carry a logical conviction. The Government have not come forward with a case to justify the Draconian powers in the Bill.
Other aspects of the Bill can be criticised. I criticise the regional variation and the different treatment that will exist between those working in further education and those working in primary and secondary school education. My fundamental criticism though is that this Bill is an attack upon teachers' basic rights and an attack upon democracy in our society.
I hope that some Conservative Members will support us in our opposition to the Bill not just because the imposition of the current proposals put forward by the Secretary of State are dangerous and risky to the security of education in our society but because the Bill is so damaging and has important consequencies in many other respects.
We used to say that we looked forward to the day when the previous incumbent in the position as Secretary of State for Education would retire. We used to criticise the right hon. Member for Leeds, North-East (Sir K. Joseph) but I believe that there are some of us who may start a campaign to bring him back. At least one could say of the right hon. Member for Leeds, North-East that he was sensitive to education and sensitive to the nation's constitution. That cannot be said of the present incumbent. That is why we shall vote against the Bill, and I hope that some Conservative Members will join us in the Lobby tonight.
§ Mr. Peter Bruinvels (Leicester, East)
I was not disappointed by the remarks made by the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett). He has always specialised in attacking the Government. That is his role as a Back-Bench Member of Parliament. Perhaps he 83 aspires to be a private parliamentary secretary to one of the Ministers for Education. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would like to be a trappist. I do not know.
I do not need a lecture on industrial relations because I worked for a former Labour Member of Parliament, Mr. Robert Maxwell, for two and a half years, in charge of personnel. One quickly realised that those people in the union got far better jobs and far better treatment than those who were not. Unless one voted Labour one did not have a cat in hell's chance of keeping a job in the printing industry. I do not need a lecture on that subject.
I cannot understand the surprise which has been expressed on the Opposition Benches regarding this Bill. Hon. Members heard the Loyal Address that made clear that my right hon. Friend would bring in such a Bill. It also made it clear that the provisions of the Bill were temporary. I would have thought that even those hon. Members on the other side who perhaps, unlike myself, did not benefit from a good grammar school education, would understand what was meant by an interim provision. In fact, two public schools are represented on the Opposition Front Bench but I do not need to name the hon. Members as they are known.
Recently, I attended the annual prize-giving at Tiffin boys school in Kingston. I listened to the annual report of the headmaster, John Roberts, who stated that, in the past 18 months, there had been no industrial dispute at the school. That is a great credit to the pupils and teachers of Tiffin school. I also attended St. John's in Leatherhead, which is a public school, and that too had not suffered from any industrial dispute. That does show that there are some caring teachers. I do not understand why hon. Members should say that we have cast aspersions on the profession and that we consider that 50 per cent. of teachers are bad. I do not know where that claim came from and it is certainly not my view nor the view of any other Conservative Members.
We must consider the Bill with some sadness because it was not of our making that the Bill was brought here today. The Bill has been brought here because of inter-union wrangling especially between the assistant Secretaries of the NUT and the NAS/UWT. They were desperate to control the financial and inter-union arrangements. If the unions could have resolved their differences this Bill would not be necessary.
This is not a draconian measure and I am fully confident that my right hon. Friend is a good Secretary of State. He has shown great dedication and in the short time that he has held this position he has taken up the subject lock, stock and barrel. He does not deserve the criticism levelled at him by the Opposition regarding his mental capabilities.
With regard to the financial arrangements, my right hon. Friend has proposed a package that all sides of the unions should accept—£3 billion package over 20 months which will give a 25 per cent. pay rise between April 1986 and September 1987.
It is depressing that , in the meantime, instead of a clear and calm atmosphere, it seems that some schools are still union battlegrounds. That is worrying. What is also worrying is the front page of the Teacher. There is an article dated 8 December which states: 84Union members must, by their votes, make it politically embarrassing for the Government to use this legislation to impose its own settlement and to take away negotiated rights from teachers.Is such extra-parliamentary activity encouraged by the other side? Some Opposition spokesmen are connected with the NUT and that is significant and worrying.
What of the provisions of the Bill, which will expire on 31 March 1990? There are different rates for inner city teachers and that is to be welcomed. There are difficulties, for instance, in the city of Leicester, where we need more teachers. Why not pay more to get the best quality? What is wrong with that?
If hon. Members value the professional standing of teachers they should welcome better pay for good teachers. One should pay a teacher for doing a good job. We should welcome the five incentive posts which, in our proposals, are available for half of the teachers. Why should we not promote our teachers? It is perfectly correct for local schools to decide for themselves with regard to teacher recruitment. My right hon. Friend has been blamed for everything with regard to the teachers and everything that goes wrong in the schools and perhaps is it right that such problems should now be referred back to him.
In my view the Nottingham talks and those with ACAS have done nothing but foster unrest and produce poor promotional prospects whereby very few people will be rewarded. It is all very well for the NUT to go on about secondary schools, but a number of NUT members in primary schools with whom I have spoken do not see how genuine career development is possible under the proposals that the NUT is propagating at present. We must therefore arrive at a solution that benefits all teachers.
I agree with the view that too many unions are involved in the teaching profession. That has made it terribly difficult to negotiate in the way that the Government have been trying to do. An issue of principle is involved, in that we must reward the profession well enough to keep teachers in these important roles well into the 21st century.
If we were to accept the unions' case, more than 25,000 teachers would immediately lose their scale payments. I want all teachers to be guaranteed proper promotion and incentive prospects, and I look forward to the day when the Opposition accept that incentive posts for all teachers should be encouraged. We must therefore pay good teachers more, even though the unions want more for the good, the bad and the ugly. That is nonsense.
We must look at all the various promotion posts that are available—
§ Mr. Bruinvels
I know that Opposition Members are worried that the Bill will be enacted at once, but it has no possibility of coming to fruition until February-March of next year at the earliest. Until then we must pay for the existing conditions that have been well negotiated.
The 13 points that have been agreed in the appendix should be particularly encouraged. There is nothing wrong with such an arrangement. Boyle had it in mind in 1963, and we can look at the pilot projects as they come forward and encourage them.
The Bill will repeal the Remuneration of Teachers Act. That makes a lot of sense, bearing in mind that the 85 Burnham machinery for negotiating school teachers' pay had to be replaced. It was not working well, had become outdated and, indeed, had been in operation since 1919.
We want to see an interim advisory committee, and that must look at teachers' pay and conditions of service. All hon. Members must be concerned at the way in which teachers are fulfilling their roles. Most of them do extremely well indeed, but even the Opposition have said that Burnham has outlived its usefulness and has become ineffective because it cannot reach agreement as, up to now, the NUT has always had a majority vote. As a result, there have been no genuine agreements.
We must look to better promotion prospects for all teachers. I appreciate that with falling rolls it will be more difficult as classes will get smaller and some teachers may be surplus to requirements. Some teachers will have to go, anyway, but those coming into the profession want to be paid for the resuls that they achieve. They have agreed to be appraised and that should be encouraged.
The dispute that has now gone on for two years has cost a lot of time, and disruption has been the ultimate result. However, as I have said, there have been excellent results in many schools in spite of the dispute. Most teachers do not reflect the views of the extreme parts of the NUT or the NAS-UWT because they really care about the children. We must talk more about the children and encourage them to get the best possible tuition.
There is no doubt that events over the past two years have led to a drop in teacher esteem among the public. The profession has been brought into disrepute by its petty squabbling and its refusal to undertake certain obligations that some of us want to see encouraged. It is only right to clarify teachers' conditions of employment, given that they will get a very good salary. The appraisal that has been agreed must be carried out, as I am convinced that under it all teachers will be rewarded most generously.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) said, it is remarkable how the Secretary of State has been able to raid the Treasury funds to make so many extra millions of pounds available. That will obviously affect what happens in the next Budget. After all, we are talking about £3 billion.
On looking further at the pay structure, it will be seen that all good classroom teachers will be rewarded. We shall encourage teachers to take on extra responsibility, for which they will be paid. We must also pay extra for maths and science teachers, as at present there is difficulty in recruiting them. We must pay for such skills, because there is no doubt that teachers of that ilk are in short supply.
Burnham will be abolished under the Bill and the interim advisory committee on teachers' pay and conditions of service will be set up. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will have the power by regulation, if necessary—I hope that he will not need it—to determine pay and conditions. Therefore, the Remuneration of Teachers Act 1965 will go.
The interim advisory committee will not be a negotiating committee but will consider advice given from all quarters, including the teachers' unions. I hope that senior Opposition Members, who have great knowledge from their days as teachers, will also advise on what they see as being wrong with the teaching profession. I should like the Opposition to criticise far more often some of the power-crazy leaders of the NUT, such as Mr. McAvoy, and the NAS-UWT, such as Mr. de Gruchy, who are desperately waiting in the wings to take over from two 86 seasoned politicians with whom I do not always agree as they are not of the same party as me. I want the Opposition to take on real responsibility. I want pay to be determined properly. I look forward very much to the day when we have a happy teaching profession, and as well as the rewarding of good classroom teachers I want to see better results coming from our schools.
My right hon. Friend has made provision for the replacement of Burnham, and that will give him the power to legislate on both pay and conditions through the statutory instrument procedure. It might be necessary for my right hon. Friend to move fast, but I hope that he will not have to do so.
It looks as if between five and nine people will sit on this new committee, and they will make recommendations in the light of financial and other constraints. I sincerely hope that they will not encourage the payment of additional funds over and above those that have already been allocated, which I believe to be the most generous ever. Incidentally, it is clear that my right hon. Friend will be under no obligation to accept that committee's advice. We are therefore looking for peace in place of disharmony in our schools.
As The Times Educational Supplement said, the question mark is how long all the participants can be allowed to continue to sort out their own agreement before my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State makes his final decision and takes on these "draconian powers". I do not think that they are draconian. I know that the Burnham structure has been proved to be ineffective. I also know that the Bill will ensure that our children are taught in a far better way, and that the teachers will be paid for good and improved results and will be rewarded by genuine promotion opportunities. There must also be flexibility.
The situation at present is ridiculous, as there are no real differentials on promotion. The 140,000 teachers must be encouraged and should be allowed to get on to a good promotion scale. Promotion prospects will be enhanced and flexibility will be assured. Teachers will be paid according to results. There is nothing wrong with the Bill.
Without giving any secrets away, Conservative Members have not even been subjected to a three-line Whip because this darn good legislation is needed as the best way to solve the problem. We very much hope that the teachers' unions will come to a speedy solution and that all children will be remembered and put first. We should never forget the children, and we must have happy people teaching them. Teachers need a professional role and good money for the job. Once that is established, they should never be let down.
§ Mr. Sean Hughes (Knowsley, South)
I am sure that all Opposition Members share the fears that were expressed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Halton (Mr. Oakes), who was worried that the Bill was taking us another step down a dangerous road.
I appreciate that hon. Members on both sides of the House have said that we should concentrate on the Bill and not on the industrial dispute that has preceded it, but they all spent some time discussing the dispute.
The Bill should be seen within the timetable and the atmosphere of the recent industrial dispute in our schools. The Government carried out a persistent attack on the integrity of the teachers and on the local education authorities with which they disagreed. That did not work, 87 so they fiddled with the Burnham committee. That did not work, so the Government tried to undermine the negotiations between the teachers and the local education authorities, and that did not work. When the teachers and the local authorities agreed to a package, the Secretary of State announced that he wanted to renegotiate it and that he would wait until mid-February before acting. In the Bill, he is now asking for powers to take away teachers' negotiating rights altogether.
We should not be surprised, because, as my hon. Friend the Member for Durham, North (Mr. Radice) reminded us, the Secretary of State learnt his tricks at the Department of the Environment, which abolished a whole tier of local government because it had the temerity to disagree with the Government.
I should like to mention the role, or rather the non-role, of the local education authorities in the Bill. We have become accustomed to the contempt with which the Government view local democracy. The party that now forms the Government—and this has done so for the past seven and a half years—is the party which has paraded itself as the defender of local democracy. Hon. Members will recall the outrage that it expressed when the House debated a national system of comprehensive education.
In the debate on 4 February 1976 there was a veritable howl of protest by Conservative Members in favour of local democracy. The hon. Member for Brent, North (Dr. Boyson), who is now the Minister for Local Government, spoke from his heart when he said:Education needs a healing armistice so that people can come together and see what the problems are. Instead, we have this highwayman's gun demanding unconditional surrender."—[Official Report, 4 February 1976; Vol. 904, c. 1322.]I never thought that I would live to see the day when the present Secretary of State would make the hon. Member for Brent, North appear a wet. However, if we are looking for fairly damp statements from unlikely sources, I refer the House to the Second Reading of the Education Bill on 12 February 1970. Referring to the role of local authorities and central Government, the then Opposition spokesman for education, now the Prime Minister, declared that both local and central Governmentare elected bodies, both finance the education system, both should have a say in the decision-making process."—[Official Report, 12 February 1970; Vol. 795, c. 1474.]The right hon. Lady went further and decried the fact that the word "impose" had figured several times in the Bill. However, she now has a taste for imposition, and everybody is to blame except the Government.
The Government justify the Bill by referring to the teachers' dispute. They use the most inflammatory language against the teachers. We have had a taste of that from the Secretary of State today. Part of his speech seemed to come from that which he made to his party conference in October.
Everybody accepts how damaging the dispute in our schools has been, but the blame should be put where it belongs—on the Government's shoulders. At the beginning of the dispute, which, it should be remembered, was concerned with an annual pay award, the Government introduced the issue of teacher appraisal. They tried to pretend that while they were concerned with the quality of education, all that the teachers were interested in was filthy 88 lucre. The fact that the largest teachers union had already committed itself to appraisal was, of course, conveniently ignored.
Even after my hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Dormand) had pointed that out, Conservative Members still persisted in not seeming to recognise that the teachers and the LEAs had already agreed that the Burnham Committee should be replaced. The teachers accept that because the Secretary of State picks up about 46 per cent. of the bill, he should have a powerful role. Section 7(1) of the agreement between the teachers and the LEAs provided for a national joint council in which to carry out those negotiations. However, macho politics demand that there must be victory, and above all the Government demand that the teachers must be vanquished.
The Government's conduct of the dispute has proved that they have been involved in a financial rather than an educational exercise. The Prime Minister's paranoia with the public sector borrowing requirement has been the core of the problem. The gaff was blown earlier this year when the former Minister of State, the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Patten) argued in a television programme on 2 March that if there was greater demand for more public spending on education, the money would be found. So, the former Minister of State—whose brief tenure of that office was meant to add style to the Government's case—said that there was more money if only people would demand it. However, the previous Secretary of State for Education and Science, the right hon. Member for Leeds, North-East (Sir K. Joseph), spent the whole of the teachers' dispute telling us that there was no more money, so it did not matter who demanded it. The present Secretary of State has conveniently found more money.
One of the most insidious aspects of the Bill is the power to allow the Secretary of State to impose what could be a regional, area or even a school-based settlement. That idea was trailed earlier this year in the Audit Commission report. It stated on page 67 that what might be appropriate in, say, Huddersfield as an inducement to mathematics teachers would be inadequate in Newbury, where computer software skills are in particular demand. Depending on the subject, the market price in Newbury might, by the same token, be excessive in Penzance. Hence the fears that have been expressed on that point by my right hon. and hon. Friends. Those comments—not the Government's much-paraded belief in quality—form the truth of the matter.
The greatest travesty of the Bill and, indeed, of the whole education debate during the lifetime of the Government, has been the assertion that the Government are concerned with quality in education. In this country we have always had one of the most divisive and unequal education systems in the Western world. The education system in Britain today is based on postal districts, and the Secretary of State's proposals, including the Bill, will exacerbate that. The effect will be exactly the opposite to that predicted by the Secretary of State.
I have never held that Government should interfere in our every breathing moment, but I do believe that the Government set the tone for society. This Government have certainly done that. They have not shown any urgency in putting right the glaring wrongs in our education system, but they moved quickly enough—with indecent haste—over the Bill, which was published last week, has its Second reading today and its remaining 89 stages on Wednesday. The Government's arrogance has been breathtaking. The Secretary of State may exude the arrogance of some of his colleagues, but he cannot legislate for good will, and he cannot impose a spirit of co-operation on our schools.
§ Mr. Flannery
I see the Secretary of State sitting there, and I wonder out loud whether the idea is not merely to rush the Bill through the House of Commons and get it through the House of Lords quickly, but to get Royal Assent by 19 December so that the right hon. Gentleman can go to the meeting and say that it is accomplished. Can the Secretary of State tell us whether that is his plot?
§ Mr. Hughes
I shall give way if the Secretary of State wishes to reply to my hon. Friend.
The fear expressed by my hon. Friend and by others of my right hon. and hon. Friends is that the Bill represents a sinister move towards the central control that the House should never allow. As my hon. Friends have said, I hope that some Conservative Members will join us in the Division Lobby in voting against the Bill.
§ 8 pm
§ Mr. William Cash (Stafford)
The need for the Bill has become increasingly apparent over the past few years. The recent activities and attempted settlements in Nottingham, Coventry and London have added fuel to the argument that something needed to be done. I commend the Secretary of State and his team on having grasped this extremely difficult nettle.
I have great respect and admiration for the teaching profession. I was a governor of one school for nine years and of another for about four years, and I was always conscious of the difficult role that the teacher had to play. I am also aware of the fact that although much criticism is heaped upon teachers because sometimes people say that they have long holidays and they do not really have to do as much as others in similar occupations, the reality is that the teaching profession has been through a difficult time. That is symptomatic of a much deeper problem that is affecting society.
As with other areas of professional activity, in the teaching profession, self-regulation, the manner in which people respond to their professional duties, and the need to put the public interest first—by which I mean the interests of the children and society as a whole—is something that has been increasingly lost in the welter of argument about pay and remuneration.
I was on the Committee that considered the Financial Services Bill last year and I am just about to go on the Committee dealing with the Banking Bill. I was also on the Committee that considered the Administration of Justice Bill, which dealt with similar matters. I argued consistently and vigorously for tougher and more responsible self-regulation in the City. In the medical and legal professions, in journalism and, indeed, the BBC if one is allowed to mention it, self-regulation—the extent to which the balance is struck between power and responsibility, and the extent to which people regulate the activities of colleagues in the public as well as the private interest—has become increasingly a matter of concern in modern society. I have given several good illustrations of that. It is symptomatic of what is happening today, in a time of significant change. Emphasis must be placed upon what is really being done by the professions in question and what 90 is being given by those providing services in the City, in law, or in journalism. They must understand that the object of what they are doing is every bit as important as the activity in which they are engaged.
As a legal adviser to the College of Preceptors for many years I have been made aware of the intense importance placed by many teachers on the qualifications and standards of excellence that the teaching profession seeks to achieve. This is the point of an intervention that I made earlier. Unfortunately, unlike the chartered bodies, which made quality, excellence and objectives their first priority, the invasion of pure unionism into teachers' activities has meant that the profession has been edged out by the unions. It is particularly interesting to note the increase in the numbers in the Professional Association of Teachers. I repeat that I have the highest regard for many teachers. I have them in my constituency, and I know how dedicated they are. I shall not be told either by Labour Members or even by my hon. Friends that that is not so. They work immensely hard and have a difficult role to play. On the other hand, it is becoming increasingly evident that some teachers are disturbed by what is going on in their own area of activity. Much of that is directed at the activity of the caucus of the teaching profession that has gained control of the unions.
I have to say to the hon. Member for Durham, North (Mr. Radice), whom I know to be an honourable man, and who is fair-minded, that he knows perfectly well that underneath the welter of confusion and of economy with the truth with which his speech was spattered, the responsibility that his party bears for the fact that we have difficulties today should not be underestimated.
§ Mr. Dunn
Does my hon. Friend accept that the problem is not so much the caucus within the union organisation but sometimes the caucus within the caucus? When one examines the role of the Inner London Teachers Association, in particular, within the National Union of Teachers, it is not surprising to note the developments in Brent, Haringey and other such boroughs.
§ Mr. Cash
Absolutely. I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. He has had the greatest possible experience of teaching and education.
I participated in the passage of the Education Bill when we came back after the summer recess. I voted on sex education. I made no apology for it then, and I make no apology for it now. I believed that it was essential that Parliament should protect parents and children from the activities, not of teachers as a whole, for obvious reasons, but of the perverse, loony Left to which my right hon. Friend—
§ Mr. Cash
I retract that. My hon. Friend referred to that. It is the caucus within the caucus, that part of the clockwork orange, with which we are primarily concerned, and a rotten orange it is too.
I had the misfortune to take part in a phone-in on local radio a few years ago with Mr. Doug McAvoy, and he and I discussed questions that are germane to the matters raised in the Bill. I was deeply concerned about his attitude and the question that arises—
§ Mr. Cash
I am coming to that point. The need for the Bill has been demonstrated amply by the disarray within which that caucus within a caucus has operated in the past two years. It has done a disservice to education and to teachers as well as to parents and children. Labour Members are misleading themselves if they underestimate the extent to which parents are deeply worried about the way in which this exercise has been conducted by the unions over the past few years.
The criticisms levelled at the Bill by most Labour Members have been tinged with a certain air of unreality, and have been without a sufficient sense of proportion. The Bill provides a window of opportunity for the teaching profession to get its act together in the remaining months before the next general election. We heard much about the imposition of draconian powers and controls by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State through the Bill. However, Labour Members, including the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery) have not read the Bill. This came out over and over again as I listened to one version of the Bill after another, from the Opposition Front Bench spokesman, from the Opposition Back Bench Members and from the now, as all too often, absent alliance Members. They come and go, as Bacon once said, like bats that fly in the night.
The Bill provides an opportunity for a negotiated settlement on a sensible basis, building upon the very discussions that have already taken place. The hon. Member for Durham, North is laughing. He must be laughing up his sleeve. He remarked about the good that took place during the course of the discussions, which he must know were a good basis to build upon. Instead, he carps and criticises.
The Bill is a cautionary and provisional measure. It is permissive only. It provides an opportunity for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and the unions to come together at this late hour and ensure that there is a reasonable settlement before these powers need to be put into effect. Clause 3 says that where the advisory committee has reported to the Secretary of State on any matter "he may, after consulting". It is worth bearing in mind that the word "may" has not been substituted by the word "shall", which means that the provision is not draconian and does not impose controls. It is permissive only.
§ Mr. Cash
The hon. Member for Hillsborough pays me a compliment. He is right to say that I am an unprejudiced speaker. He and I both come from Sheffield and he knows that there are no prejudiced people in that part of the world.
The Bill says that the Secretary of State "may, after consultation". The hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Dormand) insisted that there would be no consultation and that any reference to consultation was derisory and amounted to nothing. I sought to intervene in his speech, but he decided to leave me to make my own remarks later 92 on, for which I thank him. Consultation is governed by well-understood legal principles, which show that there is a significant difference between "may" and "shall". The Bill does not say "after they may have consulted" but "after consultation" which means after they shall have consulted. Where there is a requirement to consult, there is an obligation to listen, within a judicial and proper framework, to the representations made by the people who are engaged in the consultation. It is not just "take it or leave it." We have to listen to what people say and take it into account. It does not mean that we have to do what the person has said. Therefore, I commend the provision because it will ensure that the views of those who wish to be heard will be heard.
It has been suggested that the advisory committee is a strange body, which will be put together by the Secretary of State simply to get the views that he wants from the committee. I remind Labour Members of what happened in the case of the BBC recently when we appointed Mr. Hussey to the position of Chairman.
§ Mr. Cash
I should say that whoever was responsible appointed Mr. Hussey. When an appointment is made to a body, be it the BBC, the advisory committee, or, to go back to my earlier reference, to the City, under the Financial Service Act or the Banking Bill, those persons are appointed to what is effectively a statutory body, and they acquire significant independence by virtue of that appointment. Another important point, which I ask hon. Members to remember, is that these people are subject to review, so it follows that what they do acquires independence by virtue of their appointment.
It would be a great mistake for Labour Members to imagine that the members of the advisory committee would be nodding automata. They would be nothing of the kind. They would be significant persons with independence and an opportunity to speak on behalf of the main interests that were represented on the body, including in particular the public interest and the national interest.
The point that I wanted to make earlier, at the beginning of my speech, concerns the vacuum between power and responsibility, which is the consequence of present negotiating machinery. There is the Department of the Environment on the one side, with its connecting links with local education authorities, and the Department of Education and Science on the other, and the unions on the one side and the profession on the other. This has created a vaccuum within which trust has gone out of the window. The Bill and the mechanism that it provides, and the advisory committee that will be set up, will provide an opportunity for that trust to be reintroduced in the teaching profession. That would be a tremendous advance and would provide the mechanism by which this Bill should and could operate.
One of the problems of the procedural arrangements for negotiating teachers' pay was that in the Wilson era there was a breakdown in the concordat between the teaching profession, the Department of Education and Science and the negotiating bodies. This Bill fills the gap created by the breakdown of that concordat. It would be an enormous mistake if the Opposition or people in the teaching profession imagined that there is a draconian objective in the Bill. The Bill is justified precisely because the existing arrangements have broken down.
93 There is no doubt that the pay offer made to the teaching profession is reasonable. Under the previous Administration, teachers' average pay had fallen in value by 13 per cent. from the level set by the Houghton award. Since 1979—this is directly germane to teachers' pay—it has been restored to the value set by Houghton, and the Government package would take pay 10 per cent. above Houghton by October 1987—if we assume a rate of inflation rising no higher than 3.5 per cent. It is precisely because the negotiating machinery has broken down, even though this extremely good offer has been made, that we need to have the kind of fallback position that the Bill provides.
I should now like to turn to the conditions of contract. I have discussed with the Minister of State the matter of competitive sport. Many things need to be included in the conditions of contract. I hope that they will include not only the need to ensure that there is proper coverage for absent colleagues, that essays are properly marked and that parents have an opportunity to meet the teachers—basic things like that—but also that competitive sport will be covered.
Education is the mainspring of the nation's future and just as in past centuries its importance was recognised, so today, in this modern and complex society when we are going through a time of massive change, it is essential for teachers and the teaching profession to be able to assess themselves by using the appraisal system so that there is a proper relationship between headmasters and the other members of the teaching staff and a proper balance between administrative and teaching staff. That needs to be done on a proper and well-paid basis and the negotiations have not so far provided for that. However, the Government's offer provides it, and that will ensure that we have a good and effective education system, not simply for the benefit of teachers or the Government but for the benefit of the nation as a whole. It must be for the benefit of our children because they are the trustees of the future. They must be given the opportunity to ensure that Britain becomes as great as it was in the past.
The Bill is a good mechanism for ensuring that education and the opportunities it provides for the benefit of the nation will not be destroyed by selfish disputes between caucuses within caucuses—the clockwork orange of which I spoke earlier—in unions that are more interested in remuneration than in the public interest.
§ Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
As a backcloth to the Bill it is necessary to say something about the beginning of the teachers' struggle. The most charitable thing that I can say about the Bill is not that Conservative Members have not read it, because I think they have, but that they do not understand exactly what it is. Its impact will be tremendous, and Conservative Members do not know that. However, they will learn.
The Minister spoke in his usual unctious, glib manner and had his permanent smile on his face as if he was not doing anything wrong. That made me think that Conservative Members have long forgotten how the dispute began. Almost two years ago the Government made an offer of 4 per cent. to teachers. That was approximately 3 per cent. below the rate of inflation. Of course, the teachers did not accept it, because not only had they lost everything that had ever been awarded by 94 Houghton, but they were desperate. Well-heeled Conservative Members talk about the teachers as though they are greedy. Bearing in mind the money and the shares held by Government Members, it is nauseating to hear them hurl endless abuse at the teachers who, with pitiful wages, were honourably trying to do the best they could to teach our children. That abuse had the effect of driving teachers more deeply into their struggle.
The unseemly and indecent haste with which the Government are pushing the Bill through is a measure of their desperation. When the Minister came in for a few minutes a short time ago and smiled across at us, I utilised the opportunity to make an intervention during the speech of one of my hon. Friends to try to make the Minister say that we were debating the Bill on two days this week and that by 19 December the Bill would receive Royal Assent. The Minister could then go to the powers that be among the teachers and say that he had got it.
The only time that I can remember when such unseemly haste appeared to be somewhat seemly was when war was imminent and the Government had to rush through a Bill. Other instances that come to mind are when the Birmingham bombings took place. When terrorism intervened, the Government had to rush a Bill though and, prior to that, when the outbreak of violence in Northern Ireland called for something quick to be done, if I remember rightly a bill was pushed through within a day to enable us to send troops to Northern Ireland. This time there is no need for such haste; it is simply that the Government are frightened.
By a vote of 84 per cent., on a turn out of 89 per cent., the Scottish teachers decided that they were still opposed to the offer. I went out this evening for a short time hoping that I would be called about 8 o'clock, but then there was a long speech from the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Cash), who seems to have disappeared from the Chamber. When I was out, I saw the headline "Victory" in a newspaper. The story was about Mr. Chirac, who introduced a draconian bill in France. As a result, he and his Government have suffered a major defeat, even though their Bill was not as draconian as this one.
Anybody who does not believe that does not have to accept my opinion. The latest edition of the journal Education states:New Bill gives Mr. Baker an awsome armoury of powers. Tyrannical powers, unprecedented in peacetime, are bestowed on the Secretary of State for Education and Science in the Bill which was given its first reading in the Commons last Friday.The Bill came out last week and had its First, so-called, Reading on Friday. It is being debated today and again on Wednesday, and we are all supposed to be quiet about the Draconian powers that it provides. The only charitable thing that I can say is that Conservative Members do not know what they are doing. The Bill will unite the teaching profession, no matter how disparate it appears to be now. There will be serious trouble as a result.
The whole trades union and Labour movement is watching the Bill with great care, because all unions will be in serious trouble if it goes through. Mr. Willis has said:We deplore the attempt of Kenneth Baker, the Education Secretary, to remove teachers' collective bargaining rights … Have he and his colleagues really learned nothing from GCHQ? … I am sure that they"—the Trades Union Congress general council—will share my view that unless the Government scrap this ill-conceived legislation, they are risking further industrial unrest in schools, damage to children's education and another major rift with this country's trade union Movement.95 Far more people than the sparse audience in the Chamber today are watching what happens.
I hear attacks on Burnham, but the Government made it impossible for it to continue to do its work so, finally, everybody had to agree that it must go, but what will the Government put in its place? The Burnham committee was democratically elected. In its place we are to have an advisory council, the members of which are handpicked and appointed by the Secretary of State. He will also appoint the chairman and deputy chairman and lay down what the committee has to do. If that is democracy, I can only say that the Government are drunk with power and dizzy with success. The Bill abandons negotiation. That is why the unions are watching it with great care. It renders unions unnecessary except as groups of people who have discussions but no power. That is why Mr. Willis says that the unions are watching.
The Bill is the most important concerning education since 1944 as it will change the face of British education unless it is thrown out. We should consider what powers the Secretary of State is taking. Clause 3(1) says:Where the Advisory Committee has reported to the Secretary of State on any matter, he may, after consulting—Subsection (6) says:
- (a) such associations of local education authorities as appear to him to be concerned and any local education authority with whom consultation appears to him to be desirable, and
- (b) such organisations representing school teachers as appear to him to be concerned."
The Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument coming into force before 1st October 1987, without any report of the Advisory Committee but after consulting—The right hon. Gentleman's power reeks. The Bill is so Draconian that if it goes through it will change everything. The schedule empowers the Secretary of State to put in position those whom he wants to put in position.
- (a) such associations of local education authorities as appear to him to be concerned and any local education authority with whom consultation appears to him to be desirable, and
- (b) such organisations representing school teachers as appear to him to be concerned".
The secondary school heads have said that they will not put up with a Bill which does not give them the democratic right to be on a committee which discusses their affairs. That is true of all of the unions which are fighting. What the Bill implies for education is quite unbelievable. As I said recently to the Secretary of State, if he had planned disruption in the classroom he could not have done it more brilliantly. It is undoubted that there will be disruption. No matter how provoked we are, the Opposition hope that we can get through this struggle without the disruption which we fear is inevitable.
The Bill abolishes the right of teachers to negotiate on pay and conditions. In place of negotiations, it establishes an appointed advisory committee with an appointed chairman and deputy chairman. The committee would report only on matters which were referred to it by the Secretary of State. Local education authorities, after conducting consultations, would be compelled to implement the Secretay of State's conditions. Different salaries would be paid in different areas if the Secretary of State wanted that. That would produce absolute chaos, but no Conservative Member seems to understand it, no matter how high or low he is.
96 The Government's approach, and that of the Minister, is one of diktat. It will unleash a new struggle which I believe will unite the teaching profession as never before. It will have Draconian legislation imposed upon it. We talk about the teachers being in loco parentis. The Minister is here in loco Draconis. He is imposing on teachers a situation which they have not experienced before. Conservative Members may smile, but we should face reality. There has been a two-year struggle and we have the Bill because the Government can see no way out by negotiation. They can see a way out only by imposing their will.
The Secretary of State does not seem to have a scintilla of a glimmer of an understanding of what he is unleashing. He and the Government must think again. It is time for wiser counsels, not peremptory diktats, and I hope that the Government will think about the matter more before the Bill goes through.
§ Mr. Patrick Thompson (Norwich, North)
I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak in support of the Bill. I am also pleased to speak after the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery), who was for many years a member of the teaching profession before becoming a Member of Parliament. I also was for many years a member of the profession before becoming a Member of Parliament. That proves, if anything, that no one teacher can stand up and say that he speaks for all members of the teaching profession. I know from my constituency that there are as many views about the Bill and about education as there are teachers. I am sure that the hon. Member for Hillsborough will not disagree if I say that he cannot claim to speak for the whole teaching profession any more than I can.
It has been the habit of the Opposition to try to give the impression that they carry the torch for the entire teaching profession. They represent the views of many teachers, I know, but they do not represent the views of all teachers. The Opposition have tended today to put the view of only the NUT. That is fair enough, but we must not regard that as the general view of the teaching profession.
There is no doubt that the Bill is about the way in which education is run, and it is wrong for anyone to say that it is just a little Bill which will not last long. I am sure that all hon. Members recognise that it is a highly significant measure which sends out signals for the future of education which we should debate thoroughly. Education is too important to be submerged in a bitter political conflict. We must get it right. I support the Bill, but I agree that we must consider its implications outside the immediate party political controversy.
I joined the teaching profession in 1960 after a short spell in engineering. I taught physics in Manchester and my wife was also a teacher. She became a senior mistress in Manchester and between us we have long experience of education in various parts of the system.
I remember my first impressions on joining the profession. I found dedication among teachers and, certainly, low pay, because pay was not good then, just as it is not as good as some would like now. I found a divided profession, because as now, there was a multiplicity of unions. There is no point in teachers pretending that they are united; I know that they are not. It is a sad fact, though 97 some of the reasons for that state of affairs are good historical reasons. The Government must take that fact into account when arriving at their important decisions.
As a new teacher, I found that there was not enough emphasis on in-service training for new teachers. That is probably still true. I found that there was not enough incentive, leadership or emphasis on career development. As a result, many square pegs ended up in round holes, and that may still be true.
Teaching is a vocation and I agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Cash) said when he waxed eloquently about the importance of professional standards in teaching. Teaching is more than just another job. It is a vocation and teachers usually choose to go into teaching because of their enthusiasm to help children. Like many hon. Members, I pay tribute to the good work done by teachers, especially in my constituency. That is all part of the good side of what is happening in our schools.
The hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Barnett) talked of misunderstandings about incentives, but I felt that he misunderstood the Government's aims in the Bill. I agree with him that it is not the slightest good introducing incentives that involve payments by exam results. That sort of thing is superficial nonsense and should be rejected at the outset, but I see nothing of that sort in the Government's proposals. If I did, I should speak against them.
However, the fact that one speaks against ill-advised incentives does not mean that one is against incentives and motivation generally. I was sad to find during my time as a teacher that there was a lack of motivation and incentives. We must find the right motivation, the right incentives and the right leadership to get the best out of our teachers.
§ Mr. George Park (Coventry, North-East)
When the hon. Gentleman and his wife were teachers would they have been content to be told by a Minister, of whatever political colour, what their salary levels were to be and that they could not negotiate through their chosen representatives?
§ Mr. Thompson
I never took any part in the political activities of teachers' unions and I concentrated entirely on education in the classroom. My impression at the time was that various results of the Burnham procedure were imposed on me. I had no complaints about that, because I did not spend all my time wondering about what the next salary increase would be. The hon. Gentleman misunderstands the Bill.
§ Mr. Thompson
Well, the hon. Gentleman's understanding is different from mine and I do not see the dangers that he sees.
Judging by the results and the effects on the teaching profession, the local education authorities and the Burnham procedures have failed to address the various problems that I have mentioned. We have to find a new way. That is why I support what my hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key) said about the Bill being a challenge rather than a threat. The Bill introduces a radical change and can be seen as a threat or a challenge. I believe that hon. Members and members of all the teaching unions, whether or not they are involved in union matters, should see the Bill as a challenge and an 98 opportunity for the future. I know that that is the spirit in which the Secretary of State has made his proposals. To suggest otherwise is to do a grave disservice to the serious thought that has gone into the Bill.
The hon. Member for Durham, North (Mr. Radice) did not explain why, when or how he would reform Burnham.
§ Mr. Thompson
At least the hon. Gentleman concedes that there is a need for change. I favour the abolition of the Burnham procedures.
I think that all hon. Members would agree that if the current negotiations could proceed to a conclusion that was acceptable to the Government and to Parliament, that would be the best outcome. I have heard no one suggest that an imposed settlement would be the best way forward. However, we cannot afford month after month of the sort of uncertainty that our schools have had to put up with during the past few months.
§ Mrs. Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)
I was at the University of Lancaster on Friday evening and I spoke to various new undergraduates. Several said that their prospects had been seriously damaged by the strike and that some of their friends had had to repeat a year. They felt strongly that a conclusion should be reached, and they were very much behind the Government.
§ Mr. Thompson
I welcome that intervention, because I am trying to make the point that the Government have the responsibility for ensuring that the uncertainty of previous years, and particularly of the past year, comes to an end. I know that the vast majority of professional teachers, who have no axe to grind, will be thankful if the uncertainty and continual wrangling over pay comes to an end. Although the most desirable solution would be a negotiated pay settlement that everyone was happy about, the Secretary of State cannot allow the uncertainty to continue.
The most important point is that pupils suffer from the strikes. As an ex-teacher who would not have thought it right to go on strike in any circumstances, I am sure that we all hope that such action will never take place in our schools again. It has had a deplorable effect on the schools and on the children, and there is nothing good to be said for it.
I am striving for a better teaching profession with a better pay structure and more money, which is already on the table, available. That is not helped when industrial action occurs in our schools. Throughout the country that has reduced respect for teachers and as an ex-teacher I take that seriously.
I look to a future where decision-making is pushed more into the schools. Therefore, I do not see the danger of centralisation, to which Opposition Members have referred. I see an end to too much bureaucracy and too much intervention by the Secretary of State. I see decision-making being moved more towards head teachers. That is Government policy and something which we are keen on. I also see increasing flexibility over pay.
I should like to see head teachers having more influence than they have over the way in which pay is distributed within a school. That is why I agree with the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Weetch) that it is unsatisfactory to have an over-rigid pay structure. I went along 100 per cent. with 99 part of what he said. It is not good for the teaching profession to have scales 1, 2, 3 and 4, as we have had for many years. We need a more flexible system. However, I could not agree with the hon. Gentleman's attack on the Government's proposals. He failed to realise that they would be more flexible on promotion posts than the present system.
I look forward to an era when education is free from the political differences and activism which we have seen recently.
§ Mr. John Powley (Norwich, South)
Does my hon. Friend agree that we should view the Bill, not in isolation, but together with the Education Act 1986? The advantages of this Bill should be taken in conjunction with the great responsibilities given to parents, governors, and teachers properly to manage their affairs and the curriculum within a school.
§ Mr. Thompson
I agree with those remarks. We are looking for responsibility to be taken within schools by school governors and head teachers and for less devolvement to bureaucrats. I support that.
I speak out strongly against the type of political involvement that we have had in schools recently. Would it not be good to turn on the television set, and watch a news programme where those who spoke about education were, not politicians and trade union leaders, but teachers and head teachers? I would not care what their political views were, but it would be good to see educators talking about education. I look forward to that era.
The Bill gives an opportunity for a fresh start. With good will—and there should be good will from all sides of the House because this is too important a matter for party political bickering—it can lead to a brighter future. Indeed, it will lead to a brighter future for our schools, teachers and pupils. Therefore, I hope that everyone will tackle the Bill in that spirit. I support it with enthusiasm.
§ Mr. Ken Weetch (Ipswich)
In opposing the Bill I must first say that the Government have been completely disingenuous. They have said that the Burnham machinery is defective, but that does not lead logically to the complete demolition of the negotiating machinery. Over the years the teachers' bargaining machinery has certainly creaked at the joints from time to time, but that in no way justifies sweeping aside the whole machinery. That does not follow logically, nor is it justified.
Secondly, if the Government could have chosen one issue which would provide a recipe for continuing discontent in the teaching profession, it is this issue. What group of workers from whatever occupation will stand aside and see their negotiating machinery destroyed? In a democracy, part of one's dignity, wherever one works, is to have a just say in the negotiation of one's conditions of work and salary. By sweeping that aside, the Government have ensured that there will be not stability in our schools.
The Government were right to emphasise the need for stability for the good of education. Unfortunately, in the Bill they have provided the conditions that will determine that the reverse will happen. The Bill effectively tramples across the negotiating machinery for determining teachers' conditions and salaries. It is ill advised and autocratic. It 100 is based on petulance—the Secretary of State has been unable to get his way over the distribution of the money available, so he has taken his football home and dug up the pitch.
The House should vote against the Bill for several reasons. It is dictatorial and contrary to the principles of free collective bargaining. Earlier it was pointed out that teachers have been singled out for tyranical treatment. Indeed, the word "tyranical" was quoted from one of the teachers' employers—the Association of County Councils.
Pay bargaining in the public sector involves a collection of methods, and when one looks at other groups of workers in the public sector one can see a variety of them. It serves large parts of the Civil Service, The National Health Service and many people employed in local government. In some areas there are review bodies and in others there is indexation. But this Bill subverts the collective bargaining machine of one particular group of public service workers.
When the Secretary of State opened the debate I listened carefully because I was waiting for him to say what, if the collective bargaining machinery represented by the Burnham committee had proven defective over the years, he proposed to put in its place. I am glad that he is here to listen because he made no proposals either to identify the weaknesses in the Burnham machinery or for its reform. There was very little that was constructive about collective bargaining in the Secretary of State's speech. It was merely a presentation of the Bill which sweeps the current bargaining machinery aside. That is dictatorial and it is the first reason why the Opposition will vote against the Bill.
The Bill is part of what I would call a sinister syndrome—entralisation. Centralisation is a pretty odd thing to come from a Conservative Government whose political philosophy, I thought, was based on devolved power. It is an odd political argument to be coming from the Conservative Benches. It is not the first example of centralisation that we have had from the Government. We have had it in local authority finance and the proposals for the new technical colleges that the Secretary of State is proposing. The whole approach to local government is now moving towards a quite and increasing power at the centre. That trend is a pretty sorry one for British education because the tradition of British education has been completely different. It has been based on local participation, free collective bargaining and on flexible responses to conditions in localities. In fact, British education's great strength has been the devolved responsibility to the localities. We are now seeing a substantial transfer of power to the centre, and it is sinister.
Let us take one step back from the argument about the machinery and look at the Secretary of State's motion for bringing the Bill before the House. One of the motives is that he has the view that there should be more pay differentials in the structure of teachers' salaries in schools. The argument is not from the point of view of two extremes. It is not an argument about no differentials or a great number of differentials. It is a matter of more or less. My argument is that we should need fewer differentials, not more, in the structure of salaries. I say that for a number of reasons. The editorial of The Times on 26 November effectively sums up the argument. It says: 101But whereas the ACAS deal gives most to those who do least well, extending the rewards for grade one and two teachers, the Government wants to introduce incentive posts for good teachers".Who told the Government that all the good teachers hold posts of responsibility? There are a great many teachers up and down this country who do not hold posts of responsibility and never will because they wish to stay in the classroom where there is a real relationship with the children.
§ Mr. Weetch
The Secretary of State should listen because I am making a fair point.
I have been a teacher on the basic scale in my time and I have held posts of responsibility. I can tell the Secretary of State that some posts of responsibility are given for some weird and wonderful things. They have caused more division within the teaching profession over the years than anything else. If there are more of those differentials the teachers who remain on the main professional grade, on the basic scale, will say to the people who hold responsibility, "You get the money, you do it."
§ The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mrs. Angela Rumbold)
That is extraordinary.
§ Mr. Weetch
It is not extraordinary, it is the truth. In fact, we should say that there is a main professional grade which is well paid and then there would be an integration of responsibility, not fragmentation.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
It is a most remarkable statement to say that professional people will tell others who have responsibilities that it is their job and that they should get on with it and that they will not be teaching in a classroom and doing the job they are employed to do. That is a most extraordinary view of teachers.
§ Mr. Weetch
I did not say that. I said that if a main professional grade was established which was well-paid, teachers in any school would work together in a co-operative spirit. Once one starts singling out one from another, especially on doubtful criteria of responsibility, the fragmentation will start from then on. I do not know if it is a question of "ought"—whether it ought to be so—but that is precisely what will happen and, indeed, has already happened in many schools.
Even though the results of the negotiations were not quite what the Secretary of State wanted, it would have been far better to let recommendations emerge from the teachers rather than have them imposed from outside. Although the Secretary of State might get away with that in the short run, he is providing a formula for long-term discontent. I appeal to him. Taking away the right of teachers to bargain collectively in a manner than they are entitled to expect in a democracy will send morale even lower.
The Secretary of State has put forward no long-term proposals for collective bargaining reform. I understand that the advisory committee is a temporary expedient. In education, provisions begin by being temporary but end up by being permanent. I am afraid that, having found this new advisory machinery convenient—because it does not answer back—there will be a great temptation to stick to it. Temporary expedients have a way of lasting a very long time. The Government do not understand the 102 psychology of the nation's schools. The Bill, which is mistaken in its purpose and content, is a step down the road of that misunderstanding.
§ 9.7 pm
§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Denton and Reddish)
I wonder whether the Secretary of State is finding it a little ironic that, while all his colleagues are seeking to denationalise everything in sight, he is setting out to nationalise our education service. With the Bill and his announcements at the weekend of his curriculum proposals, he seems to be setting out to abolish all local control over education. I should have thought that he would realise that this is a major kick in the teeth for local government and local democracy—increasingly taking away their powers over the curriculum and their powers to work out teachers' pay and conditions. I should have thought that, if the right hon. Gentleman were not concerned for local democracy as a whole, he would have some concern for those loyal servants of his party who for so long have run the education service in many of the shire counties.
I realise that the Secretary of State wants to be the next Conservative Prime Minister, but the Bill suggests that he is increasingly power mad.
§ Mr. Bennett
You are not only taking power from local government and making it merely a rubber stamp in education matters, but you are abolishing the concept of collective bargaining. You are riding roughshod over the ILO conventions. Your government signed—
§ Mr. Bennett
I am sorry, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Government signed those conventions. The Secretary of State should have listened to the debate. My right hon. Friend the Member for Halton (Mr. Oakes)—one of my milder colleagues—had some pretty hard things to say about the way in which the Government were enslaving teachers by their tyranical proposals, taking away teachers' rights to collective bargaining, and that point was repeated by many of my colleagues.
The Government and the Secretary of State will claim that the person who pays the piper should call the tune. I agree. However, it is not the Government, but the taxpayers and ratepayers, who pay the piper and pay for teachers' salaries. The taxpayers and ratepayers have as much right to be represented in the negotiations by the local authorities as they have to be represented by the Government. The tradition is that education is a locally provided service. Until the Government receive a mandate for a nationally provided education service, they should leave the negotiations in the hands of the locally elected representatives. In fact, at the last elction the Conservative party manifesto contained references to returning power to local authorities. The Government have no mandate for imposing on local authorities the pay and conditions of the people whom they employ.
It is also ironic that during the three years of negotiations the Secretary of State's predecessor made it clear that the negotiations had nothing to do with him—he washed his hands of the dispute. Time and time again, from the Dispatch Box, he argued that it was for the local authorities and teachers to negotiate a settlement. 103 Now, just as a settlement is within grasp, the Secretary of State decides to intercede in the negotiations. He appears to be following his predecessor's practice in that every time there is a chance of the negotiations reaching a successful conclusion, he makes a statement that wrecks the proposals.
We have a unique opportunity—a window of opportunity—to achieve a pay deal that will satisfy the teachers and local government and produce peace in our schools for the next five years. We need just a little more negotiating and patience and there will be an agreement.
I do not suppose that the agreement will greatly please the teachers. The Secretary of State ought to be aware that in all the discussions over the past two or three weeks some concern has been expressed by the teachers about the ACAS proposals, but there has been absolute, total and united rejection of the Secretary of State's proposal to impose a settlement. The Secretary of State has an opportunity, and if he allowed people to return to negotiations there could be a settlement that would produce co-operation and good will from the teachers. It may be possible to impose a settlement, but it is impossible to impose good will on our schools. That is the real problem facing the Secretary of State.
At present, it appears as though the Secretary of State will delay any settlement by at least a month so that the teachers will not receive their money in January. That will save the Government about £40 million. The Secretary of State may delay it by two months, and thus save £80 million. The longer the Government can delay, the less they will have to put forward. We are really very close to producing a solution, and it is very sad that the Government—
§ Mr. Kenneth Baker
I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way. He is implying that in the process of further negotiations it is possible that teachers will not get the money payable to them from 1 January. I want to make it clear that the Government's proposal is that the 16.4 per cent. should be spread in two installments—the first on 1 January, and the other on 1 October. That is still our intention. Whether the teachers can be paid from that particular date depends on the progress of the legislation. I want to make it absolutely clear that it is not our intention to defer entitlement to that beyond 1 January.
§ Mr. Bennett
I am grateful for that statement. I suggest that the Secretary of State is still making some savings because if the money is put down later, the local authorities will save a considerable amount in interest. If the money is paid a little later, there will obviously be a little more money to put into the proposals.
If the Secretary of State wishes peace to return to our schools, he must achieve that through negotiation. If he achieves it by negotiation, he should not be using this legislation to blackmail the teachers. Blackmailing the teachers will have two results:—the Secretary of State will either gain their sullen acquiescence, which is the best for which he can hope, or the conflict will be continued. Neither will produce high quality education.
The Government seem determined to throw over the ACAS agreement, but what is the real sticking point? It seems to be that the Secretary of State feels that the agreement will pay teachers too much. The Government 104 want to insert an extra scale to stop some teachers getting so much money. That is why the Secretary of State says that the agreement is too expensive.
I agree that bad teachers should not be paid as much as good teachers, but I do not want bad teachers in the schools at all. That is the problem that the Secretary of State must face. When he talks about allowing only 50 per cent. of teachers to reach the higher rates, he implies either that 50 per cent. of teachers are not good enough, or that some good teachers will be underpaid. When pressed as to how many bad teachers there are, most Conservative Members suggest about 2, 3 or 4 per cent. Yet the Government's proposals mean that a substantial number of good quality teachers will never get off the basic scale. The Secretary of State should consider carefully the basic scale proposals in the ACAS agreement, which offer rewards for first-class teachers who never have the chance to advance beyond the basic scale.
If the Secretary of State wishes to weed out the very small number of bad teachers, he should consider two aspects. He should ensure that people who fail the basic probationary year are given a way out of teaching so that they do not have to try to cover their incomptence and continue. He should also continue the provision in the ACAS agreement which makes it clear that if the local auhority is not satisfied with the quality of service in the preceding 12 months there is no need to pay the increment to the teacher concerned. Although that mechanism has rarely been used, it is nevertheless available, harnessed to the appraisal system, to deal with the very small number of bad teachers.
In effect, the Government are proposing a quality bar. Under their proposals, certain teachers will be paid more because they are good teachers. That brings an entirely new concept to the management of schools and will involve considerable difficulty for head teachers and others who have to allocate resources. At present, teachers are paid extra for extra responsibility. Primary schools often have to parallel reception classes and parents may be keen for their child to go into one of those classes because the teacher has a good reputation. At present, the head teacher can point out that both teachers are paid equally and recognised as good class teachers. Under the Secretary of State's proposals, one may have a special allowance for being a good teacher.
The head teacher will need considerable management skill to persuade parents that their child has to go into the class run by the teacher who is recognised to be less good. I should certainly be very resentful if my youngster were pushed into the less good teacher's class. The more one formalises this, the greater the problems caused. The same applies in secondary schools. Under the Secretary of State's proposals, one fourth-year English set may be taught by a teacher recognised as deserving extra pay due to the quality of his or her teaching. Despite the limits on class size, parents will legitimately want their children to be in that teacher's class.
There will also be problems of allocating posts to schools, but there is even worse to come. The Secretary of State is too young to remember the 1920s, but people who worked in the education service in the 1920s and 1930s, member the chaos and resentment caused by different rates of pay in different areas.
§ Mr. Bennett
I accept that there is the question of London weighting, and I shall come on to it. Once there is a proliferation of extra scales, a major problem is produced. It is bad enough that the Government are busily creating two or three nations—those parts in the south which are reasonably affluent, and some pretty depressed parts in the north. It is far worse if they start to institutionalise that divide into the rates of pay offered within schools.
§ Mr. Bennett
No, I shall certainly not give way to the hon. Gentleman after his discourtesy in walking out of the Chamber as soon as he had made his speech. There is a concept in the House that hon. Members remain and listen to other people's speeches.
There are considerable problems with the way in which one introduces extra rates of pay. Let us take, for example, a teacher to whom I spoke recently close to the House of Commons. At 55, he considers that the rates of pay that he receives are perfectly reasonable because he bought his house 25 years ago and his extra costs of living in London are very small. He has tremendous sympathy for a teacher in the 25 to 30 age group who wants to try to buy a house in the south of England and to take up a teaching post in that area. He told me that in a short time he can sell his house and retire to a low-cost part of the country. He will take with him a nice capital gain on his house and an enhanced pension because of London weighting. He can see good reasons why there should be some extra assistance for the young teacher in the London area who has housing problems, but he cannot see why there should be a difference in pension because of the London weighting because he will no longer be living in the London area and he will have made a substantial capital gain on a house move. Yet someone else in a different part of the country will not have had problems with house buying.
If the Government are worried about housing costs, there is a simple solution. One solution is to ensure that enough housing is built in areas such as London where it is needed for teachers. The other alternative is to encourage local authorities to come up with housing to solve the problems of young teachers in those areas.
Pay differentials between areas would not be a solution. The Secretary of State talked glibly about paying physics teachers or mathematics teachers extra, but there are considerable practical problems in doing that. Does one pay the physics teacher extra, or the teacher who is teaching physics extra? That is a considerable problem in many schools. It would be difficult to decide whether to pay the first deputy head in a school extra because his degree was in physics and because when he taught in the classroom he taught physics often, or the other deputy head, on the same grade, who was not teaching physics—
§ Mr. Bennett
No, not at this point. Would the Secretary of State give the person who is qualified in physics the extra money, or would he give it to the person who is teaching physics? Of course, the problem would then arise of the qualified teacher of physics and the unqualified person who is doing his best to teach it. There are 106 considerable problems in paying out different sums of money to people with different qualifications or who give a proportion of their timetable to subjects were there is a shortage of teachers. There is no easy solution. So far, I have seen no practical proposals.
That brings me to the problems mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett). He said that the House of Commons and the Secretary of State are not in a position to carry out these detailed negotiations. Nor, especially, is an advisory body with a handful of people on it. The people with the expertise in these matters are those in local government who employ teachers and have the day-to-day practical problems and the teacher unions that understand the practical problems. It would be extremely dangerous to take powers in this legislation to pay different rates in different parts of the country and different rates for different subjects.
The Government's proposals for the amount of money that they are putting up are for the gross amount. It is nothing like as much as they say. The Secretary of State knows only too well that a good proportion of the money that the Government are putting up will find its way straight back to the Treasury in national insurance, tax and VAT payments. The Government should spend some time considering the matter.
The Minister of State more or less promised that the advisory committee's reports would be published. I hope that when the hon. Lady replies she will give a categorical assurance that those reports will be published and that, in Committee, she will accept an amendment to place that provision in the legislation. I hope that she will also tell us how she envisages collective bargaining working under the Bill.
We should have an explanation of why further education is not included in the Bill. The Secretary of State said that he was pleased with the conduct of further education negotiations. The only trouble is that, in further education, salaries are slipping behind the Houghton agreement even faster than are teachers' salaries. The Government are satisfied with the proposals in further education because, so far, lecturers have been unable to obtain the same amount of money from the Government, but there will be major problems if lecturers in tertiary colleges and further education colleges generally are paid substantially less than teachers. The Government must find the money to provide a decent settlement in further education.
I hope that the Minister will tell us what is happening with school meals. We are extremely anxious to get peace in our schools, but as the Government would not accept a national rate of pay for school meals supervision, there appears to be simmering unrest in local authorities. Different schemes apply in different areas, and many head teachers are extremely worried about the proposals for lunchtime supervision. If the Government want to return peace to the schools, it is time that they produced a national scheme for midday supervision. I hope that the Minister will tell us whether the Government are satisfied with what is happening on the ground.
Finally, why are the Government trying to rush through the legislation? History shows us that legislation that is rushed through the House is always bad legislation. It is not well discussed in Parliament or outside. All the evidence shows that if we take our time with legislation there is a proper debate in the country and, from that proper debate, Parliament becomes well-informed of the 107 advantages and disadvantages of the legislation. My hon. Friends have quoted many examples of unsatisfactory legislation that has been rushed through the House.
Several of my hon. Friends hope that the other place will slow down the legislation. I hope that it will, but the Government have an alternative. The Secretary of State does not need the legislation. He could obtain a successfully negotiated settlement. The best way to do that is to demonstrate to the teacher unions and the local authorities that he comes to them with good will, not with the blackmail of this legislation. If the Minister announced tonight, or the Secretary of State announced in Committee, that he will delay completion of the parliamentary stages of the Bill to have one last go at negotiations, there would be a good chance—
§ Mr. Bennett
The Secretary of State knows perfectly well that it has not been five years. For three of those years the Government refused even to contemplate providing any money. During the past two years negotiations have progressed each time the Government have shown their willingness to produce some money. The Secretary of State should try to make the negotiations work.
§ Mr. Bennett
The hon. Lady should consider what is happening in the schools. From the evidence that I have, I would suggest—
§ Mr. Bennett
No, I shall not give way. I have already taken up the hon. Lady's comment from a sedentary position about a third of the unions. [HON MEMBERS: "Give way."] Go on then.
§ Mrs. Kellett-Bowman
Will the hon. Gentleman accept that the majority of teachers in my area prefer the Secretary of State's proposals to the other proposals? They want the incentive posts that are being offered. They are dismayed that the one overweening union that has dominated for so long should want to reduce the incentive posts, and they consider that that is wrong. That is what the vast majority of first-class teachers want.
§ Mr. Bennett
I notice that the hon. Lady qualified her question with final words "first-class teachers". I am sure that that is an insult to a large number of teachers in her area. The hon. Lady should look at the NUT ballot results in her area. She should recognise that the vast majority of teachers in the NAS/UWT are totally opposed to the Secretary of State's proposals and that there are a large number of teachers who are dissatisfied with the Government's proposals.
There is an opportunity for the Government to come up with a small amount of extra money, and a small amount of further negotiation, which will produce a settlement.
§ Mr. Bennett
The incentive is not there for 50 per cent. of teachers who cannot get above the basic scale. The big 108 attraction of the ACAS proposals was that they offered a career grade for those teachers which would go up to £15,000 as opposed to the £12,500 proposed by the Secretary of State. That is very attractive to the first-class teachers, who want recognition for the first-class job that they are doing in the schools.
If hon. Members vote for the Bill, they are saying that they have no confidence in the negotiating abilities of the Secretary of State. The right hon. Gentleman should think carefully about that. If the right hon. Gentleman believes that he has negotiating skills, he should delay the introduction of the Bill and say firmly that he is prepared to go out and negotiate. Anybody who is not prepared to negotiate is frightened, and that suggests the Minister's weakness.
§ The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mrs. Angela Rumbold)
This has been an important debate and I have listened with great interest. I listened with the interest of someone who sat on the Burnham committee for four years. Thus, some of the stories that I have heard about the way in which the Burnham committee operates have been interesting, if not accurate.
I listened carefully to the speech of the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, North-East (Mr. Freud) who moved the amendment to the Bill. Unfortunately and sadly for him, the hon. Gentleman was not very well supported by the other signatories to the amendment. Indeed, I do not think that any of them bothered to enter the Chamber.
§ Mr. Clement Freud (Cambridgeshire, North-East)
Will the Minister accept that, whereas 390 of her supporters were not in the House when I spoke, only 25 of my hon. Friends were not in the House when I spoke.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
It would be tempting for me to say that I could understand why there were so few hon. Members present when the hon. Gentleman spoke but that would not be gallant of me and I have no wish to be ungallant. It is rather a pity that so few of his party were bothered to support him. That is such a shame because the hon. Gentleman made a rather good speech although it was somewhat inaccurate.
The hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) said two things of particular interest. He said that my right hon. Friend could settle this dispute—it would be simple for him to do so. After all, all that was asked of him was to spend a few more pounds, another £85 million. That extra money could be easily added to the Bill. That is rather a lot of money—a considerable amount—on top of what is already on offer to the teachers. We have put £600 million on the table—a significant sum. Simply to add more just for the convenience of what may or may not be a settlement with the teachers unions—
§ Mrs. Rumbold
We have been waiting for that for a very long time.
It was said that the disruption within the teaching profession had lasted for only two years, but I remember the first moves towards trying to get the teacher unions to discuss conditions of service. That was seen by the local authorities—which we are all so keen to support and help—as being absolutely vital so that they could tell the teachers whom they employ that there was something 109 in their contracts for which they were being paid. That would have solved the problem of telling the teachers, "Here we have a contract for £X but we are not sure what we are paying for." At long last they were trying to negotiate the conditions of service, and it is perfectly true that that is what has emerged from the recent negotiations.
But the Bill is concerned with the pay and conditions of service of teachers—a large and vitally important group of people. We have heard a lot about them from hon. Members on both sides of the House who themselves were former teachers. My hon. Friend the Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Evennett), among others, made an excellent speech in support of the honourable profession of which he was a part.
The standards and quality of education in our schools to a large extent depend on the teachers. They are very important people, not only in respect of the quality of their pupils but for the future development of our political and social life. They are also important for the economic development of the country. We are talking about 400,000 highly qualified people and a total pay bill of £5 billion.
It is essential that we recruit and retain suitable people for this service. We must provide for professional development throughout their careers and promote their optimum deployment among the 100 or so local authorities that are responsible for 25,000 schools. It is to this end that the Government have taken appropriate steps to plan and improve the quality of initial teacher training and to strengthen the arrangements for in-service training, underpinned by the systematic appraisal of teachers and their performance.
Teachers' pay levels, pay structure and conditions of service must be set within that context for the maintained sector of education. It is inevitable that there will be strains in trying to meet the aspirations of all the teacher unions. We must try to staff all our schools satisfactorily across the range of local authorities, bearing in mind the number of subjects that have to be taught, and all this must be done within the limits of what can be afforded.
It has become increasingly clear, as some of my hon. Friends, including my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) have said, that in recent years the Burnham framework has not been satisfactory. As I have already explained, my own personal experience is that we tried hard within the Burnham machinery to make it work, but we did not succeed. That is why the Bill is needed, that is why we must have some interim arrangements for involving an advisory committee, and that is why the Bill provides for consultation with the local authorities and the unions and why the Government's conclusion should be referred to Parliament.
One of the points raised by the hon. Member for Durham, North (Mr. Radice) concerned the ILO convention. I do not accept that we shall be breaking ILO convention No. 151. That convention provides that representatives of public employees should participate in the determination of terms and conditions of employment, but that does not have to be by direct negotiation, and the teacher unions will continue to participate. They will submit evidence and representations to the advisory committee, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will certainly be consulting them.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
110 Article 6(2) of the European Social Charter is framed in general terms, requesting Governments to promote voluntary collective bargaining where necessary and appropriate.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
I shall not give way at the moment.
The article clearly recognises that circumstances can occur in which voluntary negotiations are not appropriate. That has happened in the case of Burnham, which has failed to promote settlements that are acceptable to all parties and are achieved without unacceptable disruption. In those circumstances, it would be inappropriate to maintain existing negotiating machinery if it does not work.
Some, indeed, many, Opposition Members said persistently in the debate that we are moving too quickly, but most people have agreed—significantly—that the Burnham machinery must go. They agreed that because it has been agreed by all parties, including the unions, the Burnham machinery must go. It would have been impossible for them to deny that. The final settlement at the end of this long-running saga has always been just around the corner. The hon. Member for Denton and Reddish said, "Wait a little longer. It will be all right at the end of the day. It will happen soon."
§ Mrs. Rumbold
Other hon. Members have said that, but we must begin to put in place new machinery that will allow the dispute finally to be brought to a close. I can see no point in perpetuating a negotiating process which has produced never-ending talks, but which, even now, after so long, falls short of delivering a sensible final agreement.
Opposition Members have made other points to us. They have said, "Why doesn't the Secretary of State move towards the unions' point of view and the ACAS point of view?" May I ask another question of the House? Is it possible that the people who negotiated the Nottingham ACAS agreement could move slightly towards my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State? [Interruption.] Is there not a possibility that he may be right?
§ Mrs Rumbold
Indeed. We are amazed to see that we have not had any sort of movement towards my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. He has been eminently reasonable. Teachers and parents throughout the country and many ordinary professional people have said how right the Secretary of State's proposals are as a structure for a decent profession. It would be impossible for us to do otherwise than continue on this road. It would be most imprudent of my right hon. Friend—or any Government—mindful of the course of the dispute, to sit on his hands.
The Secretary of State, as he reminded the House in his opening remarks, has a final responsibility for the education service. My hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth reminded us that the Secretary of State has a duty to ensure that there is a decent public education 111 service. The Government cannot stand idly by. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has made it clear to all the parties that his door remains open, and he is shortly to have meetings with the local authorities, the Secondary Heads Association and the Professional Association of Teachers. But there remains a large gulf of principle and philosophy on the shape of the pay structure. It is our belief that the importance of an efficient management structure is the cornerstone for the effective development of education in our schools. Burnham clearly failed to come up with that.
We cannot risk another period of wrangling, stalemate and disruption. Our children deserve better than that. The parents deserve better than that. The future generations deserve better than that. We must have a machinery that will work for the future, hence this short but important Bill.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
No, it is not. The hon. Gentleman must wait for my peroration.
The Government have been accused by the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) of removing the negotiating rights of teachers' unions. Much of the debate centred round that.
The Government have not denied that the teachers' unions have a role in pay determination. I assure the House that there will be no shortage of consultation. Under the Bill, the advisory committee will be required to notify the relevant associations, local education authorities and teacher organisations, of matters being considered by the Committee and will have to give such bodies a reasonable opportunity to submit evidence and representations. When my right hon. Friend has received a report, he will be required to consult the relevant associations, local education authorities and teacher organisations before making an order giving effect to or modifying the recommendations. This process of consultation will be taken seriously.
§ Mr. Marlow
Would this be a proper stage in my hon. Friend's speech for her to emphasise the generosity of the award that has been made? Perhaps she could make a comparison between, say, a senior teacher and a senior social worker? Is not a senior teacher being offered some £3,000 more than a senior social worker? This happens through all the other professions. It happens in medicine, in hospitals and in a series of other jobs. What the teachers are being offered is real wealth compared to what an awful lot of other people are getting.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
My hon. Friend is making a valid point. No other group has received such a large pay increase as 25 per cent. within 18 months. Tell the pensioners that that is a miserly amount and see what response one gets. Tell the parents, many of whom will not have had a wage increase of 25 per cent., that that is a miserly amount. My hon. Friend is right, and I thank him.
Why are the Government talking about a new framework for the teachers? We are not confronting a normal situation. I do not know of any history of collective bargaining such as the one we have seen in recent years. I remind Labour Members that my right hon. 112 Friend has a responsibility for the well-being of our schools that goes far beyond the responsibilities of Government for the generosity of local authorities.
§ Mr. Radice
The hon. Lady has been making a good case for reforming the Burnham committee. She has not been making a case for getting rid of collective bargaining, and that is what she will have to do.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
If the hon. Gentleman will be patient I shall come to that.
The opening section of the Butler Act has stood for 40 years, and the Government will not shirk their responsibility for fulfilling their duty to education. We had no realistic choice other than to bring forward the proposals in the Bill. What the hon. Member for Leeds, Central has described as a fundamental attack on democratic rights is far from that. It is a measure to restore to children the right to an uninterrupted education.
Over the past few years many negotiating efforts have been made, and I recognise that some have been real. There was the traditional Burnham committee with the concordat, which allowed the Secretary of State to have some say in the total amount of money being discussed. Then we had the traditional Burnham committee without the concordat, which ruled out the Secretary of State having any say in the total amount of money. There have been collective bargaining working parties with local authority, union and Government representatives dealing with both pay and conditions and collective bargaining aided and chaired by ACAS. Not one of these processes has been successful in producing an answer to the problem of teachers' pay. That is why, for an interim period, we need an advisory committee to take evidence from all concerned and to offer advice to my hon. Friend the Secretary of State, who will then need Parliament's agreement to his conclusions.
I can assure the House that there will be no shortage of consultation. The advisory committee will be required to notify the relevant associations and all those bodies will have plenty of opportunity to look carefully at the representations made to my right hon. Friend. When the Secretary of State receives the report he will again consult. There will be endless consultation on these negotiations before he makes any sort of recommendation to the House.
We are told that this Bill is the end of democracy. Whatever the Secretary of State recommends, even if he decides not to make any modification, will be subject to a negative resolution of the House. That is a democratic process because all hon. Members will be able to vote on it. If my right hon. Friend, or the holder of his post, modifies the recommendations, that will be subject to the affirmative resolution of both Houses. What can be more democratic than that? As elected representatives we shall vote on those proposals and that must be the ultimate in democracy. It is not the denial, as we have been told, of democratic processes, nor is it the end of civilisation for the teachers and it is quite ridiculous to suggest that it is.
§ Mr. Peter Bruinvels
Does my hon. Friend accept that many members of the NUT, the people at the chalk face, want good jobs and do not feel that the NUT genuinely represents their wishes? They look forward to the additional promotion posts that my right hon. Friend is 113 offering. That is surely the way forward because it will ensure that the best teachers are those who are devoted to their pupils.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
That is true. My right hon. Friend is anxious to see that all those within the teaching profession are keen to serve the schools and the pupils to the best of their ability. We shall look at the results of the ballot to see how the teachers have voted. We shall see whether they vote in favour of the teachers' unions or for my right hon. Friend's proposals.
Let us be clear about the proposals that the Opposition advocate. Whether they like it or not, the teachers' unions are in disarray. One of the biggest unions, the NAS/UWT, was not prepared seriously to contemplate signing the ACAS agreement. The National Association of Head Teachers dismissed the ACAS agreement by saying that the differentials were shot to pieces and this meant that it would be impossible for head teachers to run their schools effectively and efficiently on the basis of the proposals in the ACAS agreement.
This so-called agreement originally covered four of the six unions. Five of them signed the so-called Coventry heads of agreement in July. On Friday, the council of the Secondary Heads Association unanimously voted to reject the agreement, which meant that the six had suddenly become three. On Saturday, the Professional Association of Teachers made it clear that it rejected the so-called ACAS agreement. The six had shrunk to two. The Assistant Masters and Mistresses Association ballot result will be known towards the end of this week and it remains to be seen which way that vote will go.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
No, I will not. He makes a serious mistake in suggesting that those of us who stand for the profession of teachers working in the classrooms are causing damage. My hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Thompson) made a telling point when he spoke about the experiences of himself and his wife. He was invited by the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Weetch) to say what would have happened if he had disagreed with Burnham. My hon. Friend said what most teachers are saying, that they were glad when conditions of service and pay were improved, but were not concerned about the mechanism by which that was done. They were anxious to deliver good education in the classrooms. That was their major preoccupation.
It is quite obvious that the NUT is rapidly becoming isolated. Its full-page advertisement in today's national press was alarmist and unhelpful. Its headline talks about the agreement made with ACAS but two teachers' unions withdrew from that agreement over the weekend. It was dangerously inaccurate. The so-called agreement is falling apart before our eyes. The NUT advertisement says that the Bill will give my right hon. Friend the right to scrap the ACAS deal and to deny teachers any opportunity to negotiate on their pay and conditions of service ever again. What absolute nonsense. It says nothing of the sort, as anybody who reads the Bill knows.
The chaos of the past few weeks is evidence enough that the Government have to take a firm lead. I am afraid that 114 it is the NUT which has been persistently inflexible. For years, local authority associations have tried to negotiate on conditions of service with teacher unions, and for years the NUT has dismissed serious discussions abour linking pay and conditions. In the early 1980s, I tried to chair a committee with teacher unions about conditions of service. Progress has been painfully slow.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
Indeed. It is not enough. In the autumn of last year, proposals which linked pay and conditions were put to the teachers and they walked out.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
The teachers' unions walked out of those discussions in 1985. It is true that, this year, there has been an ACAS agreement which puts together pay and conditions of service. My right hon. Friend has said that that is progress, and he is quite right. I have to remind Opposition Members, however, that the ACAS agreement also asks for a further £85 million. It is tremendously convenient to them to forget that.
We should consider just what Opposition Members have said. They have said that the Government are taking away the negotiating rights of unions and giving themselves carte blanche to impose a settlement. We have already said, clearly and categorically, that that is not the case. There will be plenty of adequate consultation. A greater nonsense would be the proposition that teacher unions and local authorities could sit down without the Government and decide the size of the pay bill without reference to the Government, or those who must pay the remaining 46.4 per cent. of the pay bill. It is very easy to discuss pay when one does not have to find the money. The Government do not intend to do that, and I am convinced that no Government in their right mind would be prepared to accept a pay bill that had been decided by parties other than themselves.
Opposition Members say that there is a possibility of my right hon. Friend being represented in some way under the ACAS agreement, but they have not been specific. My right hon. Friend is accused of being a tyrant and of taking unprecedented powers to tell teacher unions and local education authorities what teachers should be paid and how the money should be distributed. That is rubbish. He has already said that he will consult at all stages. Nobody seems to want to talk about how Opposition Members imagine that my right hon. Friend can discard his duty to provide education for our children while unions and local authorities continue to argue and wrangle.
Opposition Members have said that we should settle on this agreement and it will all be over. They have said that peace will return to our schools. My reply is "Until the next time they decide to have a wrangle." No thank you, Mr. Speaker, we do not want that. My right hon. Friend has a duty to the children of this country, to parents, to the nation's future and to our most precious asset. What other country in the world would allow its education system to be disrupted in this way? Is anyone really suggesting that we should take seriously the proposals of some of the unions to cede the power that they have 115 wielded over our public education system in the past weeks? I ask the House to reject the amendment and to pass the Bill.
§ Question put, That the amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 193, Noes 251.118
|Division No. 22]||[10 pm|
|Abse, Leo||Fisher, Mark|
|Adams, Allen (Paisley N)||Flannery, Martin|
|Anderson, Donald||Foot, Rt Hon Michael|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Foster, Derek|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Foulkes, George|
|Ashton, Joe||Fraser, J. (Norwood)|
|Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)||Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Freud, Clement|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Garrett, W. E.|
|Barnett, Guy||Godman, Dr Norman|
|Barron, Kevin||Golding, Mrs Llin|
|Beckett, Mrs Margaret||Gould, Bryan|
|Beith, A. J.||Gourlay, Harry|
|Bell, Stuart||Hamilton, James (M'well N)|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Hamilton, W. W. (Fife Central)|
|Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)||Hancock, Michael|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Hardy, Peter|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Harman, Ms Harriet|
|Blair, Anthony||Harrison, Rt Hon Walter|
|Boothroyd, Miss Betty||Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith|
|Boyes, Roland||Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Haynes, Frank|
|Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E)||Healey, Rt Hon Denis|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Heffer, Eric S.|
|Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E)||Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)|
|Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)||Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall)|
|Buchan, Norman||Home Robertson, John|
|Caborn, Richard||Howarth, George (Knowsley, N)|
|Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)||Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)|
|Campbell, Ian||Howells, Geraint|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Hoyle, Douglas|
|Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Hughes, Roy (Newport East)|
|Clark, Dr David (S Shields)||Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)|
|Clarke, Thomas||Hughes, Simon (Southwark)|
|Clay, Robert||Janner, Hon Greville|
|Clelland, David Gordon||John, Brynmor|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||Johnston, Sir Russell|
|Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S)||Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)|
|Cohen, Harry||Kirkwood, Archy|
|Conlan, Bernard||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton North)||Leighton, Ronald|
|Cook, Robin F. (Livingston)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Corbett, Robin||Lewis, Terence (Worsley)|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Litherland, Robert|
|Cox, Thomas (Tooting)||Livsey, Richard|
|Craigen, J. M.||Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)|
|Crowther, Stan||Lofthouse, Geoffrey|
|Cunliffe, Lawrence||McCartney, Hugh|
|Cunningham, Dr John||McDonald, Dr Oonagh|
|Dalyell, Tam||McGuire, Michael|
|Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli)||McKay, Allen (Penistone)|
|Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)||McKelvey, William|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)||MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor|
|Dewar, Donald||Maclennan, Robert|
|Dixon, Donald||McTaggart, Robert|
|Dobson, Frank||Madden, Max|
|Dormand, Jack||Marek, Dr John|
|Dubs, Alfred||Marshall, David (Shettleston)|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Martin, Michael|
|Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.||Maxton, John|
|Eadie, Alex||Meacher, Michael|
|Eastham, Ken||Michie, William|
|Edwards, Bob (W'h'mpt'n SE)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Evans, John (St. Helens N)||Millan, Rt Hon Bruce|
|Fatchett, Derek||Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)|
|Field, Frank (Birkenhead)||Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)|
|Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)||Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)|
|Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)||Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
|Nellist, David||Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)|
|Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon||Skinner, Dennis|
|O'Brien, William||Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)|
|O'Neill, Martin||Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'ds E)|
|Orme, Rt Hon Stanley||Snape, Peter|
|Owen, Rt Hon Dr David||Soley, Clive|
|Park, George||Spearing, Nigel|
|Parry, Robert||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Pavitt, Laurie||Stott, Roger|
|Pendry, Tom||Strang, Gavin|
|Penhaligon, David||Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)|
|Pike, Peter||Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)|
|Powell, Rt Hon J. E.||Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)|
|Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)||Thorne, Stan (Preston)|
|Prescott, John||Tinn, James|
|Radice, Giles||Torney, Tom|
|Raynsford, Nick||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)||Wareing, Robert|
|Richardson, Ms Jo||Weetch, Ken|
|Roberts, Allan (Bootle)||White, James|
|Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Robertson, George||Williams, Rt Hon A.|
|Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)||Winnick, David|
|Rogers, Allan||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Rooker, J. W.||Young, David (Bolton SE)|
|Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)|
|Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Rowlands, Ted||Mr. David Alton and|
|Sheldon, Rt Hon R.||Mr. John Cartwright.|
|Shields, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Adley, Robert||Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)|
|Alexander, Richard||Cockeram, Eric|
|Amess, David||Conway, Derek|
|Ancram, Michael||Coombs, Simon|
|Arnold, Tom||Cope, John|
|Ashby, David||Cormack, Patrick|
|Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)||Corrie, John|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y)||Couchman, James|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Critchley, Julian|
|Baldry, Tony||Crouch, David|
|Batiste, Spencer||Currie, Mrs Edwina|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Dicks, Terry|
|Bendall, Vivian||Dorrell, Stephen|
|Benyon, William||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.|
|Best, Keith||Dover, Den|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||du Cann, Rt Hon Sir Edward|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Dunn, Robert|
|Biggs-Davison, Sir John||Durant, Tony|
|Blackburn, John||Dykes, Hugh|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)|
|Body, Sir Richard||Eggar, Tim|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Evennett, David|
|Bottomley, Peter||Eyre, Sir Reginald|
|Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n)||Fairbairn, Nicholas|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Farr, Sir John|
|Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard||Favell, Anthony|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||Fletcher, Alexander|
|Bright, Graham||Fookes, Miss Janet|
|Brinton, Tim||Forman, Nigel|
|Brittan, Rt Hon Leon||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)||Forth, Eric|
|Browne, John||Franks, Cecil|
|Bruinvels, Peter||Gardiner, George (Reigate)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A.||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Buck, Sir Antony||Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian|
|Bulmer, Esmond||Glyn, Dr Alan|
|Burt, Alistair||Goodhart, Sir Philip|
|Butcher, John||Gorst, John|
|Butler, Rt Hon Sir Adam||Gower, Sir Raymond|
|Butterfill, John||Grant, Sir Anthony|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Greenway, Harry|
|Carttiss, Michael||Gregory, Conal|
|Cash, William||Grist, Ian|
|Channon, Rt Hon Paul||Grylls, Michael|
|Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n)||Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)|
|Hanley, Jeremy||Patten, Christopher (Bath)|
|Harris, David||Pawsey, James|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Hayward, Robert||Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian|
|Henderson, Barry||Pollock, Alexander|
|Hicks, Robert||Porter, Barry|
|Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.||Portillo, Michael|
|Hill, James||Powell, William (Corby)|
|Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)||Powley, John|
|Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)||Prentice, Rt Hon Reg|
|Holt, Richard||Price, Sir David|
|Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)||Proctor, K. Harvey|
|Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldlord)||Raffan, Keith|
|Hunt, David (Wirral W)||Raison, Rt Hon Timothy|
|Hunter, Andrew||Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)|
|Irving, Charles||Rhodes James, Robert|
|Jones, Robert (Herts W)||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine||Ridsdale, Sir Julian|
|Key, Robert||Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey|
|Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)||Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)|
|Knowles, Michael||Robinson, Mark (N'port W)|
|Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel||Roe, Mrs Marion|
|Lee, John (Pendle)||Rowe, Andrew|
|Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark||Rumbold, Mrs Angela|
|Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd)||Sainsbury, Hon Timothy|
|Lightbown, David||St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N.|
|Lilley, Peter||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)||Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)|
|Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|Lord, Michael||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|Luce, Rt Hon Richard||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Lyell, Nicholas||Shersby, Michael|
|McCrindle, Robert||Silvester, Fred|
|McCurley, Mrs Anna||Sims, Roger|
|Macfarlane, Neil||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|MacGregor, Rt Hon John||Soames, Hon Nicholas|
|MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)||Speller, Tony|
|Maclean, David John||Spencer, Derek|
|McLoughlin, Patrick||Spicer, Jim (Dorset W)|
|McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)||Squire, Robin|
|McQuarrie, Albert||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Madel, David||Steen, Anthony|
|Major, John||Stern, Michael|
|Malins, Humfrey||Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)|
|Malone, Gerald||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Maples, John||Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)|
|Marland, Paul||Stradling Thomas, Sir John|
|Marlow, Antony||Sumberg, David|
|Mather, Carol||Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman|
|Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin||Terlezki, Stefan|
|Meyer, Sir Anthony||Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)|
|Mills, Iain (Meriden)||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)||Thurnham, Peter|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Mitchell, David (Hants NW)||Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)|
|Moate, Roger||Tracey, Richard|
|Monro, Sir Hector||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Montgomery, Sir Fergus||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Moore, Rt Hon John||Wakeham, Rt Hon John|
|Morris, M. (N'hampton S)||Waldegrave, Hon William|
|Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)||Walker, Rt Hon P. (W'cester)|
|Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)||Wall, Sir Patrick|
|Moynihan, Hon C.||Waller, Gary|
|Mudd, David||Ward, John|
|Neale, Gerrard||Warren, Kenneth|
|Newton, Tony||Watson, John|
|Nicholls, Patrick||Watts, John|
|Norris, Steven||Wells, Bowen (Hertford)|
|Onslow, Cranley||Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)|
|Oppenheim, Phillip||Wheeler, John|
|Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S.||Whitfield, John|
|Osborn, Sir John||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Ottaway, Richard||Wilkinson, John|
|Page, Sir John (Harrow W)||Wolfson, Mark|
|Page, Richard (Herts SW)||Wood, Timothy|
|Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil||Woodcock, Michael|
|Young, Sir George (Acton)||Mr. Michael Neubert and|
|Mr. Francis Maude.|
|Tellers for the Noes:|
§ Question accordingly negatived.
§ Main Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 60 (Amendment on Second or Third Reading):
§ The House divided: Ayes 250, Noes 195.121
|Division No. 23]||[10.15 pm|
|Adley, Robert||Evennett, David|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Eyre, Sir Reginald|
|Alexander, Richard||Fairbairn, Nicholas|
|Amess, David||Farr, Sir John|
|Ancram, Michael||Favell, Anthony|
|Arnold, Tom||Fletcher, Alexander|
|Ashby, David||Fookes, Miss Janet|
|Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)||Forman, Nigel|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y)||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Forth, Eric|
|Baldry, Tony||Franks, Cecil|
|Batiste, Spencer||Gardiner, George (Reigate)|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Bendall, Vivian||Glyn, Dr Alan|
|Benyon, William||Goodhart, Sir Philip|
|Best, Keith||Gorst, John|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Gower, Sir Raymond|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Grant, Sir Anthony|
|Biggs-Davison, Sir John||Greenway, Harry|
|Blackburn, John||Gregory, Conal|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Grist, Ian|
|Body, Sir Richard||Grylls, Michael|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)|
|Bottomley, Peter||Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)|
|Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n)||Hanley, Jeremy|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Harris, David|
|Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard||Haselhurst, Alan|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||Hayward, Robert|
|Bright, Graham||Henderson, Barry|
|Brinton, Tim||Hicks, Robert|
|Brittan, Rt Hon Leon||Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.|
|Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)||Hill, James|
|Browne, John||Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)|
|Bruinvels, Peter||Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A.||Holt, Richard|
|Buck, Sir Antony||Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)|
|Bulmer, Esmond||Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford)|
|Burt, Alistair||Hunt, David (Wirral W)|
|Butcher, John||Hunter, Andrew|
|Butler, Rt Hon Sir Adam||Irving, Charles|
|Butterfill, John||Jones, Robert (Herts W)|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine|
|Carttiss, Michael||Key, Robert|
|Cash, William||Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)|
|Channon, Rt Hon Paul||Knowles, Michael|
|Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n)||Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Lee, John (Pendle)|
|Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark|
|Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)||Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd)|
|Cockeram, Eric||Lightbown, David|
|Conway, Derek||Lilley, Peter|
|Coombs, Simon||Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)|
|Cope, John||Lord, Michael|
|Cormack, Patrick||Luce, Rt Hon Richard|
|Corrie, John||Lyell, Nicholas|
|Couchman, James||McCrindle, Robert|
|Critchley, Julian||McCurley, Mrs Anna|
|Crouch, David||Macfarlane, Neil|
|Currie, Mrs Edwina||MacGregor, Rt Hon John|
|Dicks, Terry||MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Maclean, David John|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Dover, Den||McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)|
|du Cann, Rt Hon Sir Edward||McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)|
|Dunn, Robert||McQuarrie, Albert|
|Dykes, Hugh||Madel, David|
|Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)||Major, John|
|Eggar, Tim||Malins, Humfrey|
|Malone, Gerald||Sainsbury, Hon Timothy|
|Maples, John||St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N.|
|Marland, Paul||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Marlow, Antony||Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)|
|Mather, Carol||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|Maude, Hon Francis||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin||Shersby, Michael|
|Meyer, Sir Anthony||Silvester, Fred|
|Mills, Iain (Meriden)||Sims, Roger|
|Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Soames, Hon Nicholas|
|Mitchell, David (Hants NW)||Speller, Tony|
|Moate, Roger||Spencer, Derek|
|Monro, Sir Hector||Spicer, Jim (Dorset W)|
|Montgomery, Sir Fergus||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|Moore, Rt Hon John||Squire, Robin|
|Morris, M. (N'hampton S)||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)||Steen, Anthony|
|Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)||Stern, Michael|
|Moynihan, Hon C.||Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)|
|Mudd, David||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Neale, Gerrard||Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)|
|Neubert, Michael||Stradling Thomas, Sir John|
|Newton, Tony||Sumberg, David|
|Nicholls, Patrick||Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)|
|Norris, Steven||Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman|
|Onslow, Cranley||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Oppenheim, Phillip||Terlezki, Stefan|
|Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S.||Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)|
|Osborn, Sir John||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Ottaway, Richard||Thurnham, Peter|
|Page, Sir John (Harrow W)||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Page, Richard (Herts SW)||Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)|
|Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil||Tracey, Richard|
|Patten, Christopher (Bath)||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Pawsey, James||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth||Wakeham, Rt Hon John|
|Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian||Waldegrave, Hon William|
|Pollock, Alexander||Wall, Sir Patrick|
|Porter, Barry||Waller, Gary|
|Portillo, Michael||Ward, John|
|Powell, William (Corby)||Warren, Kenneth|
|Powley, John||Watson, John|
|Prentice, Rt Hon Reg||Watts, John|
|Price, Sir David||Wells, Bowen (Hertford)|
|Proctor, K. Harvey||Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)|
|Raffan, Keith||Wheeler, John|
|Raison, Rt Hon Timothy||Whitfield, John|
|Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Wilkinson, John|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Wolfson, Mark|
|Ridsdale, Sir Julian||Wood, Timothy|
|Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey||Woodcock, Michael|
|Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Robinson, Mark (N'port W)|
|Roe, Mrs Marion||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Rowe, Andrew||Mr. Tony Durant and|
|Rumbold, Mrs Angela||Mr. Peter Lloyd.|
|Abse, Leo||Blair, Anthony|
|Adams, Allen (Paisley N)||Boothroyd, Miss Betty|
|Alton, David||Boyes, Roland|
|Anderson, Donald||Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E)|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E)|
|Ashton, Joe||Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)|
|Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)||Buchan, Norman|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Caborn, Richard|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)|
|Barnett, Guy||Campbell, Ian|
|Barron, Kevin||Campbell-Savours, Dale|
|Beckett, Mrs Margaret||Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)|
|Beith, A. J.||Carter-Jones, Lewis|
|Bell, Stuart||Cartwright, John|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Clark, Dr David (S Shields)|
|Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)||Clarke, Thomas|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Clay, Robert|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Clelland, David Gordon|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||McCartney, Hugh|
|Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S)||McDonald, Dr Oonagh|
|Cohen, Harry||McGuire, Michael|
|Coleman, Donald||McKay, Allen (Penistone)|
|Conlan, Bernard||McKelvey, William|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton North)||MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor|
|Cook, Robin F. (Livingston)||Maclennan, Robert|
|Corbett, Robin||McTaggart, Robert|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Madden, Max|
|Cox, Thomas (Tooting)||Marek, Dr John|
|Craigen, J. M.||Marshall, David (Shettleston)|
|Crowther, Stan||Martin, Michael|
|Cunliffe, Lawrence||Maxton, John|
|Cunningham, Dr John||Meacher, Michael|
|Dalyell, Tam||Michie, William|
|Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)||Millan, Rt Hon Bruce|
|Dewar, Donald||Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)|
|Dixon, Donald||Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)|
|Dobson, Frank||Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)|
|Dormand, Jack||Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)|
|Dubs, Alfred||Nellist, David|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Oakes. Rt Hon Gordon|
|Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.||O'Brien, William|
|Eadie, Alex||O'Neill, Martin|
|Eastham, Ken||Orme, Rt Hon Stanley|
|Edwards, Bob (W'h'mpt'n SE)||Owen, Rt Hon Dr David|
|Evans, John (St. Helens N)||Park, George|
|Field, Frank (Birkenhead)||Parry, Robert|
|Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Fisher, Mark||Pendry, Tom|
|Flannery, Martin||Penhaligon, David|
|Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Pike, Peter|
|Foster, Derek||Powell, Rt Hon J. E.|
|Foulkes, George||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Fraser, J. (Norwood)||Prescott, John|
|Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald||Radice, Giles|
|Freud, Clement||Raynsford, Nick|
|Garrett, W. E.||Redmond, Martin|
|Godman, Dr Norman||Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)|
|Golding, Mrs Llin||Richardson, Ms Jo|
|Gould, Bryan||Roberts, Allan (Bootle)|
|Gourlay, Harry||Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)|
|Hamilton, James (M'well N)||Robertson, George|
|Hamilton, W. W. (Fife Central)||Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)|
|Hancock, Michael||Rogers, Allan|
|Hardy, Peter||Rooker, J. W.|
|Harman, Ms Harriet||Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)|
|Harrison, Rt Hon Walter||Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)|
|Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith||Rowlands, Ted|
|Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Sheldon, Rt Hon R.|
|Haynes, Frank||Shields, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Healey, Rt Hon Denis||Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)|
|Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)||Silkin, Rt Hon J.|
|Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Home Robertson, John||Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)|
|Howarth, George (Knowsley, N)||Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'ds E)|
|Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)||Snape, Peter|
|Howells, Geraint||Soley, Clive|
|Hoyle, Douglas||Spearing, Nigel|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport East)||Stott, Roger|
|Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)||Strang, Gavin|
|Hughes, Simon (Southwark)||Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)|
|Janner, Hon Greville||Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)|
|John, Brynmor||Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)|
|Johnston, Sir Russell||Thorne, Stan (Preston)|
|Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)||Tinn, James|
|Kirkwood, Archy||Torney, Tom|
|Leadbitter, Ted||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Leighton, Ronald||Wareing, Robert|
|Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Weetch, Ken|
|Lewis, Terence (Worsley)||White, James|
|Litherland, Robert||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Livsey, Richard||Williams, Rt Hon A.|
|Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)||Winnick, David|
|Lofthouse, Geoffrey||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Young, David (Bolton SE)||Mr. Derek Fatchett and|
|Mr. Ron Davies.|
|Tellers for the Noes:|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Bill read a Second time.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Portillo.]
§ Committee tomorrow.