HC Deb 10 December 1986 vol 107 cc598-624
Mr. Radice

I beg to move amendment No. 126, in page 2, line 16, leave out 'may' and insert 'shall'.

The Second Deputy Chairman

With this it will be convenient to take the following amendments: No. 139, in page 2, line 22, leave out from beginning, to end of line 20 on page 3 and insert— 'from time to time (and as soon as may be) lay before Parliament the report of the Advisory Committee. If such a Report is disapproved by a resolution of either House of Parliament passed within forty days beginning with the date of laying (and exclusive of any period during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days) then the Secretary of State shall as soon as may be make such changes or further changes in the Report as appear to him to be required in the circumstances so that the statement of those changes be laid before Parliament at latest by the end of the period of forty days beginning with the date of the resolution (but exclusive as aforesaid).' No. 143, in page 2, line 23, leave out from 'Committee' to end of line 25.

No. 144, in page 2, line 23, leave out 'with or'.

No. 145, in page 2, line 23, leave out from 'modification' to end of line 25, and insert— 'providing any modifications have first been referred back to the Advisory Committee for further consultation prior to the placing of any order.'. No. 146, in page 2, line 24, leave out lines 24 and 25.

No. 153, in page 2, line 26, leave out subsection (2) and insert— '(2) Any order made following the recommendations of the Committee under section 3(1), shall not be made unless a draft of the order has been laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.'.

No. 156, in page 2, line 26, leave out 'which contains" and insert 'must contain'.

New clause 10—Provisions as to Orders

  1. '(1) An order may, instead of containing the provision to be made, refer to provisions set out in a document published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office and direct that those provisions shall have effect or, as the case may be, be amended in accordance with the order.
  2. (2) The effect of an order is—
    1. (a) so far as it relates to remuneration, that the remuneration of teachers to whom the order applies shall be determined, and they are to have regard and financial or other constraints to which their recommendations are to be subject, and as to the time within which they are to report to him.
  3. (3) An order made under this Act may make retrospective provision but not so as to require the reduction of a.teachers pay in respect of a past period.
  4. (4) No order made under sections 4 and 5 of this Act may make different provision for different areas or for different cases otherwise then in accordance with an agreement made between teachers and their employers.
  5. (5) The Secretary of State may not approve any recommendation of the Advisory Committee as regards conditions of employment so as to remove or diminish any contractual entitlement of a teacher.'.

Mr. Radice

As we should all know after 18 or 19 hours of discussion, the objective of the Bill is to abolish collective bargaining and substitute in its place a system of ministerial diktat. The purpose of this group of amendments is to highlight the exceptional and unacceptable powers that clause 3 grants to the Secretary of State.

I should like to remind the Committee of the powers that will be granted. Clause 3(6) allows the Secretary of State to impose a settlement by order before 1 October 1987. It will also be possible for the Secretary of State to backdate any order to April 1986. That is the first exceptional power. I need not remind the Minister that it is a new power. Contrary to what the Secretary of State told us, he does not have that power under the Remuneration of Teachers Act 1965 or under the Education Act 1944. Once the advisory committee is set up—and we should remember that the Secretary of State will appoint the members of the committee, he will pay for it, set its agenda and also choose the chairman and deputy chairman—the Secretary of State can modify recommendations and impose his own settlement.

When the Secretary of State makes an order, he or she can make provision for different areas. That point has been highlighted earlier. He can also impose conditions of service on teachers through their contracts of employment, though the Government do not employ teachers. The local authorities are, of course, their employers. The Secretary of State can impose on the local authorities the obligation to impose conditions of service through teachers' contracts of employment. That is a most unusual and exceptional power that has been commented upon by the Opposition during the debate and by commentators outside Parliament.

I am terribly sorry, but I seem to have forgotten the name of the Deputy Chairman. Of course, it is Sir Paul; Forgive me, Sir Paul; after 18 hours of debate it is a dreadful insult to forget your name and I apologise for that.

The Opposition amendments are designed to minimise the damage caused by clause 3 and I do not pretend that they will do more than minimise that damage. No doubt my hon. Friend the Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) will discuss the amendments in more detail when he replies. In principle we oppose the authoritarian assumption of ministerial powers. Therefore we will not only be voting for our amendments but, if we have the opportunity, will vote against clause 3 stand part.

Mrs. Rumbold

It would be for the convenience of the House if I tried to explain the Government's position with regard to the amendment so that I can clarify the position before the debate continues.

Mr. Radice

It would also be useful, as this is in a sense a clause 3 stand part debate—I doubt whether we shall have an opportunity to have a clause 3 stand part debate—if the Secretary of State will tell the Committee why he is taking the powers that I have outlined.


Mrs. Rumbold

I believe that the hon. Gentleman is referring to the power to backdate.

Mr. Radice

No, I did not mean that.

Mrs. Rumbold

Very well, I will consider the amendments as they appear on the Amendment Paper and proceed to consider amendment No. 126 which seeks to delete "may" and insert "shall".

The amendment would, in effect, compel the Secretary of State to make some provision by order after receiving a report from the advisory committee. It is certainly expected that on most occasions when the advisory committee has reported to the Secretary of State, he will proceed to make such an order after consultation with the local authorities and trade unions. However, that may not always be so. The committee may have been asked to report on a simple, single issue, for example, problems of shortage subjects. The committee might recommend a course of action that entailed changing present remuneration. The Secretary of State might then consult the local authorities and/or unions. As a result of the consultations, he might be persuaded that the advisory committee's advice should not be taken and that it would be better to leave matters as they were.

If the clause was amended, that discretion would not rest with the Secretary of State and he would be compelled to make an order on the subject even if he had no changes to propose. It is better to have discretion which Opposition Members may be absolutely assured that the Secretary of State will use sensibly and reasonably.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

Does the Minister accept that under the provisions in the Bill, the Secretary of State will hand pick his committee and if it makss a recommendation that he does not like, he can veto it again at that stage?

Mrs. Rumbold

The Secretary of State is bound to consult local authorities and the unions. Having done that, he may have to explain his views and they may explain theirs. He must act reasonably. Whatever his advice, the Secretary of State must bring it to the House. If he chooses not to alter that advice, as we have explained before, it will be subject to a negative resolution. In other words, Opposition Members may call for a debate on a negative resolution.

If, on the other hand, the Secretary of State receives advice that he wants to alter, he must bring that to the House on an affirmative resolution and that will be debated on the Floor of both Houses. There is a safeguard for this House and the other place to have adequate debate on the subject.

Amendment No. 139 seeks to delete most of clause 3 including all of the order-making powers of the Secretary of State and put in its place a provision that the reports of the advisory committee are to be laid before Parliament and subject to disapproval by resolution of either House and subsequent amendment. There is no power left to the Secretary of State or anyone else to make the recommendations in the report effective. That is a little difficult to understand, and I am not sure that I follow the arrangements as envisaged in the amendment.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

The aim of the amendment is to get over the problem that always faces the House of Commons that when it receives an order it can either approve it or throw it out. A package may contain five or six good points and one to which the majority in the House might object, yet that package may still be passed.

The amendment is a device to enable the House to amend the order, and transfers considerable power back to the House rather than to the Minister. I expect to hear reasons why the Government oppose the amendment. However, if they are claiming to be granting Parliament safeguards and control over the Secretary of State, then they should accept the amendment.

Mrs. Rumbold

By the time such a matter came to the House in the form of a negative or an affirmative resolution, I would hope that there would have been adequate consultation and agreement between the parties seeking to implement the advisory committee's proposals.

Mr. Freud

The Minister has said that there shall be adequate consultation. She will notice that the amendment asks for no more than that. It simply asks that "may" be deleted and "shall" be substituted. She said that there shall be more consultation. I cannot understand why the Government cannot accept this minor amendment.

Mrs. Rumbold

I have been trying to explain, somewhat tediously, the difference between the words, "may" and "shall". If we have "shall", that is an imperative, and the Secretary of State has to make an order even if there is nothing on which he can make an order. Amendment No. 139 is strange because, in effect, it suggests that Parliament would censure a report by an independent body such as the advisory committee. As there is no machinery for implementing the advisory committee's recommendations, such arrangements are clearly absurd. I ask the Committee to reject the amendment.

Amendments Nos. 143, 144 and 146 would render the consultation with local authorities and unions about the committee's recommendations pointless. Whatever that consultation produced, the Secretary of State would have to implement the committee's recommendations as delivered. That gives the committee a greater power and a much more powerful role than is intended. The committee's recommendations should be subject to full consultation between local authorities and the unions. We do not want that to be ruled out.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

The hon. Lady is not looking at the picture built up by the group of amendments. If she accepts the power of the House to amend the orders, it can make considerable sense to follow that through. I accept the hon. Lady's argument that it would be illogical for us to press this little group of amendments on its own, but, taken in conjunction with amendment No. 139, powers to vary the orders, would be given to the House instead of to the Secretary of State.

Mrs. Rumbold

That would be an extremely untidy arrangement and certainly would not comply with my right hon. Friend's vision of the clear advice that the advisory committee will give after it has had an opportunity to undertake the relevant consultations and reach its conclusions. It is then the job of the Secretary of State to go back to the unions and the local authorities for their views and, having had their views firmly fixed in his mind, to decide what recommendations to make to the House. It would be unsatisfactory in the extreme to change that arrangemnt.

Amendment No. 145, which was tabled by the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, North-East (Mr. Freud), concerns procedures when it has been decided not to accept the advisory committee's recommendations in full. The Government believe that, during consultation with local authorities and unions, the best course of action may be to make some provisions differing somewhat from the committee's recommendations. If so, it would be for the Secretary of State to put those recommendations to the House. Consultation would be limited in scope if it were not possible to move far forward from the committee's recommendations. I hope that the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, North-East realises that it is important to have the two sets of consultations.

It is not necessary to have three lots of consultation with the committee. The committee will have given its independent advice. It will then be for the Secretary of State to consider that in consultation with the local authorities. In that case, the committee will have had adequate time to consult with the parties and the Secretary of State will then go back to them to consult them on the committee's recommendations. To go back to the committee does seem to be appropiate at this stage.

Mr. Freud

We take issue with the subjunctive. We are concerned with the steady insistence that the Secretary of State "may" and the steady feeling that teachers will have that he will not.

Mrs. Rumbold

I think that I can honourably say that my right hon. Friend or any hon. Gentleman—

Mr. Tony Banks

Or hon. Lady.

Mrs. Rumbold

—or hon. Lady who holds the post of Secretary of State would act in a way that was totally appropriate to and compliant with the spirit of the interim committee's work. I remind the committee that we are talking about a body that has a rather short life according to the Bill.

The intention of amendment No. 153 is to make all orders subject to affirmative resolutions. The Government believe that their procedures, which are laid down in the Bill, are preferable. When an order implements recommendations of the independent advisory committee, it is to be subjected to less parliamentary control than when it departs from those recommendations. The advisory committee will be of such standing that I hope that this proposed variation in procedure will be appropriate.

Amendment No. 156 would render pointless the consultation with local authorities and unions about the advisory committee's recommendations. Whatever that consultation produced, the Secretary of State would have to implement the committee's recommendations as delivered. This gives the committee a much more powerful role than we intend. Its recommendations should be subject to full consultation. What is finally implemented by order after consultation with the Secretary of State may be substantially different from the advisory committee's recommendation.

We are also considering new clause 10. I remind the Committee that the Bill's purpose is to set up interim arrangements for determining teachers' pay. It is not intended that any party should have a veto over the advisory committee's recommendations. There has always been regional variation in pay. Since 1945, a London weighting has been paid. I am sure that Labour Members would be the first to admit that that has been a benefit in present circumstances. Indeed, teachers' unions press every year, as I know to my cost, for this weighting to be increased. Different rates are paid for teachers in special schools and classes. The principle is already there, and this matter may well be referred to the advisory committee. I therefore suggest that that principle should remain.

I have endeavoured as best I can to give the flavour of what the amendments mean in the context of the clause. I hope that the Committee will accept my explanation and reject the amendments.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

The Opposition are disappointed, but not surprised. The whole thrust of the legislation is to give the Secretary of State considerable extra powers. The Under-Secretary of State said that its provisions are intended to be temporary until March 1990. The Government do not seem to be confident of that, because they have included powers to continue those provisions for one year, and to go on continuing them after that. This may well be one of those pieces of legislation that are rushed through the House and are renewed year after year. It is not a good enough excuse to say that this is a short-term measure.

It is not satisfactory to say that the recommendations may be the subject of negative procedures. We can give many examples of the way in which the Government are able to take advantage of the House by using the negative resolution procedure, with the associated problems of considering prayers, and so on. With the affirmative procedure, if there is no matter of contention, the Government can have the measure passed at 10 o'clock on the nod with no problems. That means leaving power with Members of Parliament rather than with the Government. Labour Members and, I think, Liberal Members, feel that the Government should consider in the other place making this provision subject to affirmative order.

We must tackle the fact that orders cannot be amended. We had an example of this yesterday upstairs in Committee with regard to student grant regulations, the majority of which increase the grants for students. It was impossible for Opposition parties to vote against a set of orders that increased the grant for students even though we felt that the grant increase was insufficient, and the minor clauses that dealt with the provisions for mature students were particularly unfair.

If we can find a way which will allow the House to amend those sort of orders it would be much more reasonable for Ministers to take increased powers to make such orders. However, as long as Ministers have the power to lay an order and the House has to take it or reject it, that stokes up the power far too much in favour of the Minister and takes far too much power away from the House of Commons.

I hope that my hon. Friends will join me in the lobby to vote for our amendment, which shows our dissatisfaction with this part of the Bill.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 146, Noes 235.

Division No. 34] [11.30 am
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Eastham, Ken
Alton, David Evans, John (St. Helens N)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Fatchett, Derek
Ashdown, Paddy Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)
Ashton, Joe Fisher, Mark
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Flannery, Martin
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Barron, Kevin Foster, Derek
Beckett, Mrs Margaret Foulkes, George
Beith, A. J. Freud, Clement
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh) Garrett, W. E.
Bermingham, Gerald Godman, Dr Norman
Blair, Anthony Golding, Mrs Llin
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Gould, Bryan
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Gourlay, Harry
Bruce, Malcolm Hamilton, James (M'well N)
Caborn, Richard Hancock, Michael
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Hardy, Peter
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y) Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Carter-Jones, Lewis Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Cartwright, John Heffer, Eric S.
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Clarke, Thomas Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)
Clay, Robert Howells, Geraint
Clelland, David Gordon Hoyle, Douglas
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Hughes, Roy (Newport East)
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S) Janner, Hon Greville
Coleman, Donald John, Brynmor
Conlan, Bernard Johnston, Sir Russell
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Corbett, Robin Kennedy, Charles
Corbyn, Jeremy Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Kirkwood, Archy
Craigen, J. M. Lambie, David
Crowther, Stan Lamond, James
Cunliffe, Lawrence Leadbitter, Ted
Cunningham, Dr John Leighton, Ronald
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly) Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'I) Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Dobson, Frank McCartney, Hugh
Dormand, Jack McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Dubs, Alfred McKelvey, William
Eadie, Alex MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
McTaggart, Robert Shields, Mrs Elizabeth
Madden, Max Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Martin, Michael Short, Mrs R.(W'hampt'n NE)
Maynard, Miss Joan Silkin, Rt Hon J.
Meacher, Michael Skinner, Dennis
Meadowcroft, Michael Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Michie, William Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'ds E)
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Snape, Peter
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe) Soley, Clive
Nellist, David Spearing, Nigel
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Stott, Roger
O'Brien, William Strang, Gavin
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Straw, Jack
Park, George Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)
Parry, Robert Thorne, Stan (Preston)
Pavitt, Laurie Wainwright, R.
Pendry, Tom Wallace, James
Penhaligon, David Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Pike, Peter Wareing, Robert
Powell, Raymond (Ogmore) Weetch, Ken
Radice, Giles Welsh, Michael
Raynsford, Nick Winnick, David
Redmond, Martin Wrigglesworth, Ian
Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N) Young, David (Bolton SE)
Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)
Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) Tellers for the Ayes:
Rowlands, Ted Mr. Don Dixon and
Sheldon, Rt Hon R. Mr. Tony Banks.
Adley, Robert Dicks, Terry
Aitken, Jonathan Dorrell, Stephen
Alexander, Richard Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.
Amess, David Dunn, Robert
Ancram, Michael Durant, Tony
Aspinwall, Jack Dykes, Hugh
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble) Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y) Eggar, Tim
Baldry, Tony Evennett, David
Batiste, Spencer Eyre, Sir Reginald
Bendall, Vivian Fallon, Michael
Biffen, Rt Hon John Fenner, Dame Peggy
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Fookes, Miss Janet
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Forth, Eric
Boscawen, Hon Robert Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Fox, Sir Marcus
Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n) Franks, Cecil
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Fraser, Peter (Angus East)
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Freeman, Roger
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Fry, Peter
Bright, Graham Gale, Roger
Brinton, Tim Galley, Roy
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Gardiner, George (Reigate)
Bruinvels, Peter Garel-Jones, Tristan
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Buck, Sir Antony Glyn, Dr Alan
Butterfill, John Goodhart, Sir Philip
Carlisle, John (Luton N) Goodlad, Alastair
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Gow, Ian
Cash, William Greenway, Harry
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Gregory, Conal
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)
Chope, Christopher Gummer, Rt Hon John S
Churchill, W. S. Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n) Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Hampson, Dr Keith
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Hannam, John
Cockeram, Eric Hargreaves, Kenneth
Colvin, Michael Harris, David
Coombs, Simon Haselhurst, Alan
Cope, John Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
Cormack, Patrick Hawkins, Sir Paul (N'folk SW)
Corrie, John Hayhoe, Rt Hon Barney
Couchman, James Hayward, Robert
Critchley, Julian Heathcoat-Amory, David
Crouch, David Henderson, Barry
Currie, Mrs Edwina Hicks, Robert
Dickens, Geoffrey Hill, James
Hirst, Michael Pawsey, James
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling) Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian
Holt, Richard Powell, William (Corby)
Hordern, Sir Peter Price, Sir David
Howard, Michael Proctor, K. Harvey
Howarth, Gerald (Cannock) Raffan, Keith
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Hunter, Andrew Rathbone, Tim
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Rhodes James, Robert
Jackson, Robert Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Jessel, Toby Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Jones, Robert (Herts W) Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Kershaw, Sir Anthony Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Key, Robert Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
King, Roger (B'ham N'field) Roe, Mrs Marion
King, Rt Hon Tom Rossi, Sir Hugh
Knight, Greg (Derby N) Rowe, Andrew
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston) Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Knowles, Michael Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Knox, David Sayeed, Jonathan
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Scott, Nicholas
Lang, Ian Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Latham, Michael Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Lawler, Geoffrey Shelton, William (Streatham)
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Shersby, Michael
Lester, Jim Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd) Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Lilley, Peter Spencer, Derek
Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant) Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Squire, Robin
Lyell, Nicholas Stanbrook, Ivor
McCrindle, Robert Stern, Michael
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute) Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Maclean, David John Stewart, Ian (Hertf'dshire N)
McLoughlin, Patrick Tapsell, Sir Peter
McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury) Taylor, John (Solihull)
McQuarrie, Albert Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Madel, David Temple-Morris, Peter
Major, John Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs M.
Malins, Humfrey Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Malone, Gerald Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Marland, Paul Thurnham, Peter
Marlow, Antony Townend, John (Bridlington)
Maude, Hon Francis Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Trippier, David
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Twinn, Dr Ian
Mayhew, Sir Patrick van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Mellor, David Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Merchant, Piers Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Meyer, Sir Anthony Walker, Rt Hon P. (W'cester)
Miller, Hal (B'grove) Waller, Gary
Mills, Iain (Meriden) Ward, John
Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon) Warren, Kenneth
Mitchell, David (Hants NW) Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)
Moate, Roger Whitfield, John
Morris, M. (N'hampton S) Wiggin, Jerry
Morrison, Hon P. (Chester) Winterton, Nicholas
Moynihan, Hon C. Wolfson, Mark
Neale, Gerrard Wood, Timothy
Neubert, Michael Woodcock, Michael
Nicholls, Patrick Young, Sir George (Acton)
Onslow, Cranley Younger, Rt Hon George
Oppenheim, Phillip
Ottaway, Richard Tellers for the Noes:
Page, Sir John (Harrow W) Mr. David Lightbown and
Patten, Christopher (Bath) Mr. Michael Portillo.
Pattie, Geoffrey

Question accordingly negatived.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

I beg to move amendment No. 168, in page 2, leave out lines 37 and 38 and insert 'not provide for other than a system of remuneration to be consistently applied throughout England and Wales.'.

The Chairman of Ways and Means (Mr. Harold Walker)

With this it will be convenient to take the following amendments: No. 169, in page 2, line 37, leave out paragraph (a).

No. 173, in page 2, line 41, leave out from 'that' to end of line 43 and insert— 'matters may be settled by agreement between, or in a manner agreed between, teachers and their employer.'. and No. 174, in page 2, line 41, leave out from 'provide' to end of line 43 and insert— 'that to the extent that matters specified in the order have not been settled by agreement between, or in a manner agreed between, teachers and their employers at the date on which the order is made, the order shall have effect with regard to those matters.'. and new clause 11—Starting salaries for teachers in shortage subjects'No arrangement or determination made pursuant to section 3 of this Act shall preclude the headteacher of a school from appointing a member of staff in a shortage subject at a higher starting salary than that for which the appointee would otherwise qualify.'.

Mr. Bennett

This group of amendments deals with the question of whether different rates of pay can be paid in different parts of the country or for people doing different jobs. Let me make it clear at the outset that different rates of pay already apply in different parts of the country. The most obvious example is the London allowance and there are also different scales north of the border. In addition to those two geographical differences, different rates are paid in special schools. There were in the past special rates of pay in social priority areas and in one or two other circumstances.

Labour Members do not want to ask too many questions about the present payment of different rates, either for different areas or for teaching different groups of pupils. However, we would be alarmed if that system were to be extended. There have been a series of comments from Ministers which suggest that they are giving some consideration to that. If the Government want the legislation to proceed without many wild rumours and much concern, it would be helpful if they could make a clear statement on how far they see the extension of such variations to other parts of the country on a regional basis.

I have one or two doubts about the wisdom of the original introduction of London allowances. The introduction of that, not only in education but in quite a few other areas, may well have contributed to an increase in house prices within the London area. Each time the allowances are put up they may allow house prices to rise, and a vicious circle is created. However, that cannot be changed in education because the London allowances are tied to allowances in all sort of other areas and because of the extremely high housing costs within London.

However, to begin to extend that principle to different regions would create many problems. First, I am sure that the Minister is aware that there are some people on the boundaries of areas where London allowances are presently paid who feel that house prices are just as high in the area where no London allowance is being paid as some house prices within the area in which the London allowance is being paid. I am sure that the Minister is aware of that problem. Such problems always arise when one tries to designate particular areas in such a way.

If the Government were to consider London allowances along with others for other parts in the south of England, there might be lower rates of pay in parts of Wales or Lincolnshire, or other areas where there are allegedly low housing costs or where perhaps unemployment rates are high. That would be unfair as a matter of principle and the Government would be storing up major problems among people living close to areas in which such allowances were payable.

11.45 am

On Second Reading I made the point that a particular unfairness arises when a benefit is carried through into a pension. Someone who is living in an area where the higher allowance is paid—in this case that would be London—who moves to a low cost area will continue, as I understand it, to receive a pension which takes into account the average of the best years' earnings in the previous three years. Therefore, that takes into account the London allowance. Such a person would continue to receive an enhanced pension compared with someone who has always lived in such a low cost area and who cannot enjoy a capital improvement on moving from one area to another. There are already problems about allowances which are paid according to regions and I hope that the Government will not attempt to go further along that line.

We must recognise that there are shortages of young teachers within the London area. The problem for young teachers is their basic rate of pay and that is one reason why the NUT in particular was keen to press for the long basic teacher allowance which would help people applying for a mortgage to show that their income would steadily increase to enable them to meet the repayments. In the short term, local authorities in London must look at assistance with housing and in the long term the Government must tackle the housing shortage within London so that not just teachers but many other people who are now finding it almost impossible to earn sufficient to pay a mortgage on a dwelling can obtain a house. Much more effort should be put into solving housing problems rather than in continually extending variations in pay.

Let me deal now with subject differentials. Various supporters of the Government have suggested that one of the solutions to shortages of maths and physics teachers is to pay higher rates for such teachers. Again, I had only a brief opportunity on Second Reading to point out some of the problems in this area. The real questions are first, how to define a shortage subject, and, secondly, a teacher of that shortage subject. One can often have teachers with an academic qualification in, say, maths or physics, who are, for one reason or another, not spending a great deal of their time teaching those subjects. The most obvious example is a head or a deputy head in a school. It would be illogical to pay such people extra because of some qualification if they are not using it or are using it for only part of the day.

Then there is the problem of those people who are filling in for a specialist who are doing their best to teach, say, physics, chemistry, design and technology, mathematics or one of the other shortage subjects. They will not have an academic or professional qualification in that area, but they are doing their best and will probably be putting in extra time to keep up with the subject. Yet, would such people be eligible for any extra payment? Once the Government start to look at such problems they will see that there are major practical difficulties.

If the Government want to solve the shortage of teachers of maths, physics, design and technology and micro-electronics they will have to consider the education service as a whole. In particular, they must try to attract more children to study these subjects in our schools and then go into further education. They must also consider how to retain the teachers of shortage subjects. That could be done by raising the basic rate of pay for teachers and by ensuring that teachers have a long basic teaching scale, which will provide promotional opportunities. That would encourage them to remain as subject teachers instead of being lured away by the higher pay that is offered for administrative posts in schools—for example, deputy heads and head teachers.

Many of the problems over the teaching of science begin at primary level. We need more teachers in primary schools who are science literate, thus enabling them to include a small amount of science teaching in their normal class subjects. However, it would not be practical to pay one class teacher more for his science qualification and another teacher less. If specialist teachers are paid more money, it leads to problems. On many occasions they will be doing exactly the same work as their colleagues, yet they will be paid considerably more.

Schools frequently organise combined geography and biology field courses. Geography might not be recognised as a shortage subject, whereas biology is recognised as a shortage subject. There are many other examples. Many schools sensibly provide a combined science course for fourth and fifth year pupils—

Mr. Patrick Thompson

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that heads already exercise flexibility over payment for specialist subjects, in particular for shortage subjects? Surely we want to encourage head teachers to exercise more discretion and flexibility.

Mr. Bennett

Perhaps I may be allowed to finish my point. There are many other examples. Teachers with different qualifications may be teaching children the same subjects. That has been the position in schools for many years. Various means have been found to pay teachers of shortage subjects more money.

When I was a teacher on probation, another probationer—a maths teacher—who began at the same time as me made it clear to the head of the school that he would not remain there beyond his probationary year unless he was moved from a scale 1 to a scale 2 post. Those who teach shortage subjects are promoted more quickly. On some occasions they are promoted beyond their capability because the school wants either to attract or to retain a specialist teacher.

My teaching experience suggested that when that was done blatantly it caused a great deal of resentment and did not produce the co-operation that is needed to encourage a good atmosphere in schools is to be encouraged so that pupils can be taught well. At one school in which I worked a teacher was recruited to teach mathematics. He was put on a fairly high scale. He insisted upon teaching only the most able pupils in the first to the fifth years, leaving his colleagues to cope with the pupils who were less willing to study. The fact that he was receiving a considerably higher rate of pay than his colleagues, who had to work so much harder in the classroom, caused considerable resentment.

Mr. Flannery

If a physics teacher is already being paid extra for an important post, is my hon. Friend able to say whether he would also be paid more for teaching physics?

Mr. Bennett

I cannot answer my hon. Friend's question. It depends upon the Minister's intentions. It is tempting to float the idea, and the Minister may suggest that the advisory committee could look at it, However, I suspect that it would generate a great deal of resentment and that it would cause far more problems than it solved.

At this stage it would be better if the Secretary of State could give the idea a brief, preliminary airing and then conclude that when one introduces different rates of pay for teachers who are working side by side it is bound to create difficulties. Teachers have always been paid extra for additional responsibilities, on the basis that the extra responsibilities relate to duties outside the classroom or to duties that are in addition to their normal classroom teaching.

Classroom teachers ought to be paid the same basic rates. I accept that there has always been a small differential, depending upon whether teachers have undergone a two, three or four-year training period and also upon whether they have obtained ordinary or good degrees. Sufficiently significant differentials, introduced to attract teachers of specialist subjects, cause a great deal of resentment. I hope that the Minister of State will say that the Government do not intend to increase the differentials.

Mr. Madel

Bracketed with amendment No. 168 is new clause 11, to which I should like to address my remarks. It provides: No arrangement or determination made pursuant to section 3 of this Act shall preclude the head teacher of a school from appointing a member of staff in a shortage subject at a higher starting salary then that for which the appointee would otherwise qualify". According to the Bill, a head teacher can offer various promotional opportunities, but he cannot offer what is contained in new clause 11. The object of the new clause is to maintain the best possible curriculum for schoolchildren.

The hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) made a very interesting speech about the shortage subject problems which have been with us for many years. Both sides of the Committee have grappled with the problem created by the shortage of maths and physics teachers. Evidence was given to the Cockroft committee, after which it produced its report and conclusions. The House debated the report, but the problems remain. My object in putting down new clause 11 is to try to alleviate the problem, bearing in mind that we are moving towards a new advisory committee which, on a temporary basis, will advise the Secretary of State and take evidence from interested parties as to the pay and conditions, for the time being, of teachers.

The first problem for head teachers, which will be alleviated by new clause 11, is the tremendous variation in housing costs between the north-west and the south-east. There is a great deal of movement between those areas. If an industrial firm in the north-west wants its employees to move to the south-east, it has to dangle various salary carrots in front of them to encourage them to move to the south-east.

The problem does not relate just to housing costs. Rates are also a problem. There are sharp differences between the rates that are paid on houses in the south-east and those that are paid on houses in other parts of the country. There can be even sharper differences between the rates that are paid on houses in one county in the south-east and the rates that are paid in another county in the south-east.

Mr. Richard Holt (Langbaurgh)

I hope that my hon. Friend is not suggesting that the rates in the north are not excessive. Cleveland has the highest rates in the country.

Mr. Madel

I am not saying that at all. I am not making any comments on the rates in the north. I am talking about rates and the general cost of living in the south-east. I take my hon. Friend's point. I believe that Cleveland is involved in an interesting discussion about the rate support grant. I shall pull away from that rapidly because it would not be in order, although I would dearly like to make a great speech on the problems—

12 noon

Mr. Flannery

I am confused about what the new clause means. Can the hon. Gentleman give us an example of how a head would bring a teacher into a school at a rate higher than that due to him on the pay scale? How would the head do that?

Mr. Madel

I shall deal with that, but I was distracted. The hon. Gentleman knows that it sometimes takes me a little while to get to my main point. I think that we have all suffered from that in the past 18 hours.

I felt it appropriate to talk about regional variations because that is the sort of problem facing head teachers in Bedfordshire, to name but one county. If LEAs wish to fill a post, they have often difficulty attracting a person at the starting salary. The starting salary goes right through the age range. I feel that we must try to build positive inducements into the teachers' salary system so that people can move out of industry to teach shortage subjects. If people have worked in industry until they are 45 or 50, they would go into the teaching profession on the starting salary. I think that the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery) is "indicating assent", which is how such things are described in the Official Report.

As I have said, that problem thwarts head teachers in their desire to appoint a member of staff to teach a specialist subject.

The next question is, who will decide what?

Mr. Stephen Dorrell (Loughborough)

Does my hon. Friend agree that regional differences in salary structures need not only represent regional differences on cost, that is to say, rates, living costs and so on? They may also reflect the difficulty of recruiting people in areas that are not immediately thought of as attractive places to live in by many teachers. Regional variations could be used not only to compensate for differences in the cost of living but to encourage teachers to go to areas where local education authorities find it difficult to recruit the number and quality of teachers they need.

Mr. Madel

I agree with my hon. Friend. We all have our own roots. We were all born somewhere, as were our wives, and often family connections and a history of having lived or gone to school in a particular area create an obstacle to people moving and they want something really attractive to persuade them to move and teach in a particular area. How will we deal with that matter in practical terms? My hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough (Mr. Dorrell) has hinted at that.

The Education Act 1986 gives greater powers to the governors and head teachers, and, above all, it gives greater powers on the question of budgets in schools. We now have a system where there will be an annual meeting of parents, governors and the head teacher and accounts will be presented to the parents, the ratepayers and all those interested. Therefore, for the first time, people will have a statutory right to see the running cost of schools in a particular education authority. That will mean that as it gets under way in about two or three years—it is early days yet—and because there is a rising parental interest in education, people will say to the head, "You are spending so much on books and equipment, and yet in your report you refer to the difficulties involved in attracting someone to teach a specialist subject. Why do you not use new clause 11 of the Teachers' Pay and Conditions Bill because it would help to attract someone at a different starting salary from what he or she would expect?"

I believe that this new clause meets that point. It gives head teachers the opportunity to respond positively to parents at that meeting, who might say, "For the next two years shift your costs slightly in favour of the salary rather than the books and equipment." There will not be a uniform rule. It will depend entirely on what type of school it is and the history of the school and it will particularly depend on whether there is a static or rising population in the area in which the school is situated. I think that the Government will welcome the new clause because it fits neatly in to the—

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

If there is a shortage, there will be a tendency for teachers to go round suggesting to heads that they are paid extra either to stay in a school or to be attracted to a school. As long as there is a shortage, all that will happen is that those groups of teachers will be paid extra and one will merely move the shortage round from one school to another.

Mr. Madel

I do not think that it will be like that. Not every school is in that position.

Mr. Dorrell

Surely the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) totally misunderstands the nature of the causes of shortages in specific subjects. There are shortages in subjects such as mathmatics and physics because people who have those skills are able to command higher salaries, such as the new clause will allow the local education authorities to pay, in professions outside the education service. It is precisely in order to redistribute the shortage in favour of education or to be able to allow the education service to compete with employers outside that my hon. Friend the Member for Bedfordshire, South-West (Mr. Madel) tabled his new clause.

Mr. Madel

That is right. On many occasions my hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough (Mr. Dorrell) has drawn attention to that. Conservative Members are trying to bring forward practical suggestions as to how the shortage could be overcome. We all visit the schools in our constitutency and we so often hear the head teacher say that he has lost a physics teacher to a certain firm or a mathematics teacher who has been tempted by another firm. I am trying to reduce the possibility of temptation with the new clause.

Mr. Park

I am trying to follow the logic of what the hon. Gentleman is saying. I understand the difficulty about shortages of particular teachers in particular areas. However, on considering the suggestion in the new clause, I begin to wonder how it would work in practice. The hon. Gentleman says that it may be necessary to offer financial incentives to bring in a teacher in a shortage subject for whatever reason, and to pay that teacher an enhanced salary. However, is it not a fact that the adverse conditions, whatever they may be, also apply to the existing staff? If one brings in a new person on an enhanced salary other members of staff will feel that they are already adversely affected and they will wonder why that new person is receiving preferential treatment.

The Chairman

Order. Please be brief.

Mr. Park

I am sorry, Mr. Walker. I have not intervened before and I hope that you will use your discretion.

Looking at the practical application, I think that the hon. Gentleman's new clause would bring one more element of discontent into schools.

Mr. Madel

I think not. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will agree that this is not an easy problem. I am treating it seriously. It is as difficult as some of the industrial relations problems that the hon. Member for Coventry, North-East (Mr. Park) has referred to many times when he has addressed the House.

Mr. Patrick Thompson

Does my hon. Friend agree that the shortage of physics and maths teachers has now reached the proportions of a national crisis which is being debated by such organisations as the Royal Society and the Institute of Physics? There is a desperate need for some action. That is why I welcome new clause 11 and why I am glad that my hon. Friend is addressing himself to the problem.

Mr. Madel

My hon. Friend is right. If a shortage subject post is not filled, that runs contrary to the Education Act 1944, as it constitutes a failure to maintain a good education system. Although we can draw attention to difficulties that will occur if new clause 11 were added to the Bill, failure to do anything merely exacerbates the problem and puts the Government and the Secretary of State for Education and Science at risk of being taken to court. A few years ago, there was, I believe, a tremendous argument in Hereford and Worcester about why music had been dropped from the curriculum in a certain school. As far as I remember, the matter ended in the courts. We do not want that; we want a sensible Bill which goes some way to meet the problem.

The Education Act 1986 gives greater influence and power to governors. We hope that some governors will have experience of management training in industry. I look to some governors to attract people from industry to help bridge the gap. There are many people in industry who have done 20 or 25 years' hard work. The hon. Member for Coventry, North-East knows how demanding a job in industry is and how demands increase each year. I am not for one fleeting second suggesting that teaching is an easy job, but it is for many people a welcome, refreshing and challenging change. New clause 11 could attract people from industry to work just as hard but in a different environment with a different set of challenges in what is often a more rewarding job.

The Government have indirectly added to the problems. I am not criticising, but drawing attention to the facts. Conservative Members know how popular the technical and vocational education initiative is, but it does not apply to every school. The Government never intended that it could immediately, although an increasing number of schools are taking advantage of it. TVEI is starting to bring people in from industry. It is proving an attractive curriculum, and in schools where TVEI does not exist parents are asking whether some of the elements of TVEI can be included in the curriculum. That will continue as interest in the science curriculum increases.

New clause 11 would help the Government over a difficulty which might not have been seen at first. I support TVEI to the hilt and it is proving extremely popular, but it has some spin-offs which were not foreseen. Giving a head teacher the powers that I suggest would help overcome some of the problems. The Government are also introducing city technology colleges, which will have a science-based curriculum. They will also want to attract people from industry. Teachers in schools might be tempted to CTCs. Only time will tell how popular and successful they will be—education is a continuing experiment—but by creating another opportunity and another system of education which emphasises science and technology we could add to the shortage of certain teachers.

Mr. Holt

Does my hon. Friend agree that the Bill will affect what happens many years in the future? There have for some time been moves to introduce industry-based courses such as City and Guilds and the Royal Society of Arts so that there is greater integration between education and training. Teachers will want to bear that fact in mind.

Mr. Madel

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. During the past seven years the Government have put in place a whole host of welcome new initiatives to improve the curriculum. As I have written in my notes, there may be more new initiatives and changes to the curriculum which have a bearing on the shortage of specialist teachers.

University requirements and curriculums often change, and that has a bearing on what is taught at school. The new advisory committee will take evidence from throughout the country. We should remember that we have a widely varying pattern of comprehensive education—different education authorities have different systems. The curriculum depends on the age range in a county. A middle school that runs from nine to 13 can widen the curriculum and bring in teachers on a higher salary because different subjects are taught, but middle schools that run from eight to 12 do not have an automatic right to the additional funding that a middle school which runs from nine to 13 enjoys. That variation would be covered by new clause 11, because it speaks only of "a school".

The advisory committee will also take evidence from the polytechnics and colleges of further education, which are tied in with the teaching profession. The number of students who attend polytechnics has rocketed since 1979. That is welcome.

12.15 pm

New clause 11 is yet another attempt to solve a difficult problem. We have spent many hours in many debates on it. The new clause is strengthened by the existence of the Education Act 1986 which gives greater powers to head teachers, governors and parents. I believe that, in a short time, there will be an enormous increase in parental interest in how schools are run, how money is spent, how the curriculum is taught and in the efforts that are made to ensure that the curriculum is thoroughly covered. That has always been Conservative policy—the broadest curriculum properly carried out. New clause 11 is part of Conservative policy, and I therefore commend it to the Government.

Mr. Pike

I shall speak briefly to amendment No. 168.

In clause 3(4)(a), the Government might have made a genuine attempt to deal with the problem that we are debating but, because of the haste with which they are trying to force the Bill through, they have not considered the matter properly or consulted adequately on it and if clause 3(4)(a) is allowed to stand we will create a bigger problem. Amendment No. 168 is important and should be carried.

One of the problems is attracting teachers to different areas. I know that people who live in the south, for example, believe that Lancashire is a county of long rows of blackened houses dominated by the dark satanic mills from the last century. It is not like that. Lancashire is a beautiful county and in my constituency one can see green hills from wherever one stands. However, when people look at jobs advertised in different schools in Burnley, if they have not seen that part of the country, they will have an image of it created by "Coronation Street", and which rest on images that they learned at school many years ago, when the position has changed considerably and the areas are different. I may have ideas about certain parts of the country that I have not visited that are very different from the reality.

It could be argued that, if this part of the clause were allowed to stand as it is, it could be used to attract people to apply for jobs in those areas. However, it would be difficult to define those areas. For instance, even in the county of Lancashire, there are wide differences between the Fylde coast and the section of north-east Lancashire and other parts of the country. I can see arguments about who will designate areas that are less attractive and proving a problem in attracting teachers to fill vacancies. That is an important problem, and it could cause bigger problems, if we were to move in the direction proposed by the Bill.

There is then the difference in the cost of living. We all recognise the problem of living in London and its immediate surroundings. The biggest difference is in housing. The cost of housing makes it difficult for people who are selling a house in the cheap area of London to be able to move into the London area to take up a job if they should so wish. Anyone moving to other parts of the country could be in an advantageous situation. The part of the country that I represent must be one of the cheapest areas for buying property. In Burnley, one can buy a semidetached house for £20,000, and would be paying a high price at that.

Mr. Tony Banks

There are other problems associated with living in London, such as transport costs. On average, Londoners have to travel much further from home to work than do people in other cities, where people are much closer to work, assuming that they are lucky enough to have some work.

Mr. Pike

Transport is the second problem in the London area, but that problem is created by the first problem, since so many people are forced into outlying areas because in the inner London area property is either not available or its price is too high for ordinary people.

Mr. Corbyn

In my constituency, somebody who has come to the area to start a teaching job and wishes to buy a one-bedroom flat would have to spend between £50,000 and £60,000, which is impossible. As a result, teachers cannot come, and working class families are forced out by the market economy, which encourages the speculators to move in, destroying communities. Is this not an important point, which is coming home to roost in the teaching profession?

Mr. Pike

My hon. Friend is emphasising the point that I was making. The cost of housing is compounded by the cost of transport because people are forced to live outside of London. In rural areas, some people may have difficult journeys to travel to work. The deregulation of buses has aggravated the problem.

The clause attempts to deal with the problem of the cost of living but even within regions there are wide variations. We have already heard about the rates difference in the south-east, but there are other costs that vary considerably from one region to another, even in my region of the north-west. It would be difficult to know how to determine a high cost area, except in London, where the situation is more clearly defined.

My hon. Friend the Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) drew on his experience as a teacher before coming to the House, and that was valuable in showing difficulties in other aspects of what this part of clause 3 would do. It would allow different rates of pay for people who specialise in subjects in which there are difficulties in recruiting teachers. He rightly spoke about the friction among teachers that would result from such a move. I have never been a teacher, but I know, as a school governor for a number of schools, the friction caused even when one genuinely used additional responsibility to give certain people a move up the scale. There tended to be some suspicions that it was not being used correctly, and one had to be careful to ensure that it was being correctly used and could be fully justified.

This move would cause considerable difficulties. When teachers work side by side with each other, they find it difficult to accept certain of their colleagues who, in their eyes, are working no harder, with no greater responsibility and are doing the same job but, because of a shortage of teachers in that category, are getting more pay.

Mr. Marlow

Why do teachers in public sector schools find it so difficult when teachers in private sector schools do not find it difficult, and people who work in industry and other businesses do not find it difficult?

Mr. Pike

That point is not relevant. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to speak in the debate, he will have the opportunity to make his own case. I have no wish to deal with schools in the private sector. That would open a different avenue.

While the intention of this part of the clause could be genuine, it would create more problems than we already have. We need to think much more about what we do because we have enough problems in education already. I am sure that even the Government do not wish to add to those problems. If this section of the Bill is allowed to stand, it will worsen the situation and affect the morale of teachers.

12.30 pm
Mr. Madden

On a point of order, Mr. Walker. I regret that I must raise it, but it is a genuine point of order. Could you instigate inquiries to find out whether the access of hon. Members to the House is being impeded by large numbers of people trying to gain access to the House through St. Stephen's entrance? The Norman porch entrance to the other place has been shut and large numbers of tourists wish to visit the House. I had a group of constituents, nursery nurse students from Bradford college, and they had to wait a long time to get into the House. Such things will occur more and more often as the Government try to force through more centralist measures of this sort—

The Chairman

Order. I shall deal with the hon. Gentleman's point of order and we shall see whether there is any need to take it further. I remind hon. Members that we are in Committee and that the matters raised by the hon. Gentleman are matters for the authorities of the House. I shall make sure that they are immediately drawn to the attention of the authorities so that we can see what action may be taken about this matter.

Mr. Madden

Further to that point of order, Mr. Walker. Could it be suggested that for debates like this, which I am sure will happen more and more, the Norman porch entrance to the other place be left open so that people who wish to tour the House can do so without causing undue congestion? Such congestion occurred this morning, and large numbers of people who wished to listen to the proceedings in Committee were not facilitated because only one entrance to the Palace was open.

The Chairman

I again remind hon. Members that they are in Committee. I am the Chairman of the Committee and, as such, I do not have authority to deal with these matters. As I have said, I shall make sure that the matters are drawn to the attention of the appropriate authorities and that any remedial steps which can be taken are taken.

Mr. Robert Atkins (South Ribble)

I listened to the point of order by the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden). I have just come in through the entrance that he spoke about and found it entirely clear. The hon. Gentleman has raised an entirely bogus point of order.

The Chairman

Order. We must recognise that we are hon. Members and that that sort of remark does not help our proceedings.

Mr. Flannery

A long time ago, many of us said that this Bill would cause chaos, and it is already doing so in Committee. The Bill is a minefield and clause 3 is confusion worse confounded. I should like to speak to amendments Nos. 168 and 169. Clause 3(4) says: An order may as regards remuneration—

  1. (a) make different provisions for different cases, including different provision for different areas".
What does that mean? How in heaven's name will it work? We tried to do things like this in the past and ended up in a mess, even though we had the noblest of intentions. For a long time, we have had to face the London allowance as best we could, but we still do not know what to do about it. The hon. Member for Langbaurgh (Mr. Holt) said that the rates in Cleveland were higher than anywhere else. According to him, anybody working in Cleveland would be in considerable difficulty.

Hon. Members will recall the Plowden report on primary education. That report considered the east ends and other difficult areas of the great cities and recommended an allowance to everybody who taught in schools in such areas. We all thought that was a splendid idea. I told that to a conference of teachers and arranged such a scheme with a group of teachers in Sheffield. No sooner had we tried the scheme and found out how good it was than people from all over the city complained bitterly that their areas were far worse than some of the areas to which we had given the allowance. Some of the areas complained about were next to areas that received the allowance and we had a constant demarcation line. That scheme proved to be a nuisance, although at the time we had the noblest of intentions.

The part of the clause which says "make different provision for different cases" prompted the tabling of amendment No. 168, to leave out lines 37 and 38 and insert not provide for other than a system of remuneration to be consistently applied throughout England and Wales. We are to have a system under which people in Yorkshire will be able to negotiate—which this Bill hardly allows—in that area. What sort of pressures for negotiation will one area have that another area does not have? Is it possible that the councils or the unions in one area might be stronger than councils or the unions in other areas? Will negotiation be allowed if the pressure is strong enough, and will teachers in those areas get more money than they would get in another area? Matters like that persuaded us to table this sensible amendment.

Amendment No. 169 seeks to remove subsection 3(1) (a). If accepted, it would avoid all this confusion. Can the Minister explain why there will be negotiations about different amounts of money for people in different areas?

New clause 11 was referred to by the hon. Member for Bedfordshire, South-West (Mr. Madel). I know that he spoke to it with complete integrity, because I have worked with him for a long time and know him well, but it is dangerous to try to introduce such a clause, no matter how noble the motive.

My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North-East (Mr. Park) spoke about a science or mathematics department that needed three maths teachers. Let us suppose that two are available and the third must be taken from industry. One is then faced with the problem, specified by my hon. Friend, that having spent years in industry and being almost at the top of his profession with a good salary, that candidate for the teaching post can hardly be expected to begin at the bottom. If he is started high up on the salary scale, what happens to the other two teachers? Have they not a right to the same salary as the third teacher? By trying to remedy the problem, real trouble will be caused in the school.

This new clause has so many anomalies and suggestions for setting things right that it is a positive minefield. The hon. Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) came into the Committee, intervened two or three times, and then went out. He told us about private schools and said that they could solve these problems. What nonsense! This Bill has all the hallmarks of having been drafted by people educated in private schools and in grammar and public schools. The only thing they know about the state system is how to destroy it. That is what will happen.

I should like the Minister to explain some of the convoluted points made in the debate. I should like him to explain subsection (4) and reply to my query about teachers from industry. I know that many people enter teaching and that not all of them will come from industry, but those are the people that I have mentioned because their employment as teachers will give rise to great dangers.

Sir Anthony Meyer (Clwyd, North-West)

Will the Minister assure the Committee that clause 3(1)(a) is not intended to pave the way for differential regional wage scales? I am not talking about allowances. Clearly, there must be a cost-of-living allowance in areas such as London. I am no great supporter of national wage bargaining. It is one of the worst things with which we have been landed. But if we do away with national wage bargaining, we should do it by the front door, not the back door. We should not use the Bill as a way of eroding wage bargaining. I shall be unhappy if the Bill ensures that Wales gets second-class teachers with second-class salaries. Can my right hon. Friend assure me that the Bill will not discriminate between regions, but will make provision for inner cities areas where there is a special need to attract teachers to shortage subjects?

Mrs. Rumbold

The discussion on the first amendment suggested that Opposition Members—the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett) admitted this—are not addicted to the principle of London weighting. The hon. Gentleman said that there had to be a London weighting, but he was not fond of the idea of it. Had the matter been left to him, he would not have subscribed to it. I understand what he said. I have heard the argument many times. London teachers would not be happy if it were suggested that they should not have London weighting.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

I did not suggest anything of the sort. I suggested that if we could go back to the point at which the matter started, which perhaps led to the escalation of house prices in the area, we might not have wished to go along that path. Once there is London weighting in schools and in other occupations, I accept that it will be impossible to get rid of it.

Mrs. Rumbold

I am glad to hear that the hon. Gentleman accepts that it will be difficult to get rid of it. Until about 1945 there were different salary scales for different areas within London attracting a higher rate. Territorial differences have been applied. There was a scale 1 for purely rural areas—I am talking about a different London from the London that we know today. There was a scale 2 for partly rural areas. Perhaps my constituency would have been a partly rural area then. There was a scale for partly urban areas, and scale 3 for industrial areas, or partly urban and partly industrial areas. There was scale 4 for London. In 1945, those scales differentiating between various parts of the country were abolished, but teachers in the London county council and certain areas adjoining London received the London area allowance. The allowance was comprised of two rates. The higher rate applied either when the person attained the age of 37 years or on the completion of 16 years' service in the London area, whichever was the earlier. These arrangements continued until 1965.

Before then, the only recorded significant change was the extension of the London area to include parts of Kent, Essex, Surrey and Hertfordshire which fell within the metropolitan police district. In 1965, the two rates were abolished and replaced by one rate. In 1974, there was a special pay board on London allowances. As a result, three rates of London allowance were established, and they are still in existence. From 1 March 1974, teachers in ILEA and certain outer London boroughs—Brent, Barking, Haringey, Ealing, Merton and Newham—received the highest rate. Outer London areas, including those adjacent to London, received a lower allowance. A new fringe allowance was established for selected parts of the home counties that never before had attracted London weighting.

Mr. Corbyn

I am sure that the hon. Lady listened carefully to the speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Pike). Does she accept that house prices in London are high, particularly for young teachers? It is impossible for young teachers to buy a house in virtually any borough in London. Because of the pressure on public sector housing, it is almost impossible to get public sector housing, either. They must travel a long way or we must face a serious shortage of teachers in many inner urban areas, such as the one that I represent. I should imagine that the same problem applies in the Minister's own constituency.

12.45 pm
Mrs. Rumbold

That is a powerful argument for the maintenance of the London weighting. It is one of the obvious reasons why we need the provision as drafted in the Bill. There is a provision for different cases. This will allow us to continue the higher rate of pay in special schools and social priority allowances for the inner cities. It is an important method of ensuring that there are teachers in schools that are in serious need of an extended number of teachers to help with their special deprivations. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will agree with that.

It is unfortunate that Opposition Members are obsessed with paying everyone the same rate. It would create difficulties if we were to apply their argument to this differentiation. We seem to agree that there are special needs because of the price of houses and the price of housing generally within the south-eastern area. I do not include only London, although I accept that London housing is highly priced. People in all sorts of professions in my constituency have great difficulty in buying houses. In the south-east generally, the price of houses is different. Therefore, the London weighting is an important—though not perhaps great—incentive to teachers to remain within London.

The hon. Members for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery) and for Burnley (Mr. Pike) talked about regional differences. They were concerned about any proposition that there could be different regional pay. Their argument was that the proposed pay structure that should be accepted included sufficient rewards for classroom teachers and there was no need for any incentives for shortage teachers or shortage skills, and no need to get teachers to go into difficult posts by having different scales because it would create difficulties.

The Government's argument is the reverse. It is important that individual head teachers can offer special rewards and that individual authorities can examine the possibility of attracting people to areas in which they can pay for shortage teachers or shortage skills that they believe are important, and also that they can get good teachers to take up difficult posts either in inner city areas or in rural areas. In rural areas, it can be just as easy, for different reasons, to have deprivation and just as easy to find it difficult to attract people to work in rural areas. It is important that one should not rule out the possibility of there being some differentials, incentives and some special posts within the structure of the salary scales.

The House has not yet decided the issue of regional pay. I urge Opposition Members not to make too many assumptions about regional pay but to have an open mind. Recruitment problems differ from one part of the country to another. The hon. Member for Burnley reminded us about how beautiful his home county of Lancashire is. That is quite true. I have associations with Yorkshire people who claim that Yorkshire is marginally more beautiful. The hon. Member for Hillsborough will agree that Yorkshire has marginal attractions over the county of Lancashire. These are matters about which all hon. Members have different opinions. I do not wish to extend that argument. It might divide the Committee in a different way from the customary one. There is clearly a case for asking the advisory committee to consider the possibility of some regional pay differences. I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd, North-West (Sir A. Meyer) that in no circumstances would we seek to make regional differences in such a way as to deprive one area to benefit another, but there may be good reasons for providing enhanced remuneration to attract people with shortage skills to a particular area.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bedfordshire, Southwest (Mr. Madel) referred specifically to recruiting problems and the need to give head teachers discretion to pay salaries higher than the prescribed starting salary to staff teaching shortage subjects. He made some cogent and powerful points. We recognise the need to recruit staff to teach shortage subjects such as mathematics, physics and craft and technical design. As I have said, our proposals allow for an increase in salary and an expansion in a number of incentive posts.

This is the matter of principle that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has tried to explain to local authority employers and to individual unions. He feels very strongly about this because he believes that it is essential to have a number of incentive posts available to teachers. He believes that this will allow good quality teachers, including those with specialist skills that are in short supply, to be properly rewarded and motivated. We certainly do not rule out the idea of appointing teachers at a higher starting salary to attract people to the profession, but I think that it would be inadvisable for the House to lay that down prescriptively in the Bill. Again, I think that it would be preferable to ask the advisory committee to consider the matter. I accept, too, that the technical and vocational education initiative and the city technology colleges might also use the advisory committee.

I hope that I have managed to cover many of the points raised in the debate and to put the Government's view. Much of what has been said today should be noted and some will certainly be taken on board by the advisory committee, but I hope that the Committee will reject the amendment.

Mr. Freud

I shall be very brief. I have just a few points to make. I have never felt it important to occupy time simply because I wanted to make a point. I have listened to most of the debate, and I apologise to the few hon. Members whose speeches I did not hear. It is totally unacceptable for central Government to impose different pay scales for different areas on the local education authorities. I take a fairly relaxed view of a local authority coming to an agreement with a teacher within a pay scale, but I would not wish the advisory committee to be involved in that. There is a danger that Conservative councils, which undervalue teachers, might pay them too little while certain irresponsible Left-wing councils might pay them too much. Provided that the pay scale was agreed within the top and bottom guidelines, I think that alliance Members would be content to allow local education authorities to negotiate with teachers.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

The Minister has given substance to our fears that there will be major demarcation problems between one area and another and between one subject and another. It is therefore important that we register our opposition to the proposals in the Division Lobby.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 139, Noes 220.

Division No. 35] [12.54 pm
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Freud, Clement
Alton, David Garrett, W. E.
Anderson, Donald Godman, Dr Norman
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Golding, Mrs Llin
Ashdown, Paddy Gould, Bryan
Ashton, Joe Gourlay, Harry
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Hamilton, W. W. (Fife Central)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Hancock, Michael
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Hardy, Peter
Barron, Kevin Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Beckett, Mrs Margaret Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Beith, A J. Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh) Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall)
Bermingham, Gerald Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)
Bidwell, Sydney Howells, Geraint
Blair, Anthony Hoyle, Douglas
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Hughes, Roy (Newport East)
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Janner, Hon Greville
Caborn, Richard Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Kennedy, Charles
Campbell-Savours, Dale Kirkwood, Archy
Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y) Lambie, David
Clay, Robert Lamond, James
Clelland, David Gordon Leadbitter, Ted
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S) Leighton, Ronald
Coleman, Donald Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Conlan, Bernard Livsey, Richard
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Corbett, Robin Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Corbyn, Jeremy McCartney, Hugh
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Craigen, J. M. McKelvey, William
Cunliffe, Lawrence McTaggart, Robert
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly) Madden, Max
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l) Mallon, Seamus
Dewar, Donald Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Dobson, Frank Martin, Michael
Dormand, Jack Maxton, John
Dubs, Alfred Maynard, Miss Joan
Eadie, Alex Michie, William
Eastham, Ken Mikardo, Ian
Edwards, Bob (W'h'mpt'n SE) Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Evans, John (St. Helens N) Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Fatchett, Derek Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Nellist, David
Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn) Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Fisher, Mark O'Brien, William
Flannery, Martin Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Owen, Rt Hon Dr David
Foster, Derek Park, George
Foulkes, George Parry, Robert
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Pavitt, Laurie
Pendry, Tom Stott, Roger
Penhaligon, David Strang, Gavin
Pike, Peter Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Powell, Raymond (Ogmore) Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)
Radice, Giles Thorne, Stan (Preston)
Redmond, Martin Torney, Tom
Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S) Wallace, James
Ross, Ernest (Dundee W) Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) Wareing, Robert
Rowlands, Ted Weetch, Ken
Sheldon, Rt Hon R. Welsh, Michael
Shore, Rt Hon Peter Williams, Rt Hon A.
Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood) Winnick, David
Short, Mrs R.(W'hampt'n NE) Wrigglesworth, Ian
Silkin, Rt Hon J. Young, David (Bolton SE)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury) Tellers for the Ayes:
Snape, Peter Mr. James Hamilton and
Soley, Clive Mr. Don Dixon.
Spearing, Nigel
Adley, Robert Fenner, Dame Peggy
Aitken, Jonathan Fookes, Miss Janet
Alexander, Richard Forman, Nigel
Amess, David Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Ancram, Michael Forth, Eric
Ashby, David Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Aspinwall, Jack Fox, Sir Marcus
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E) Franks, Cecil
Baldry, Tony Fraser, Peter (Angus East)
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Freeman, Roger
Batiste, Spencer Fry, Peter
Bellingham, Henry Gale, Roger
Bendall, Vivian Galley, Roy
Benyon, William Gardiner, George (Reigate)
Biffen, Rt Hon John Glyn, Dr Alan
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Greenway, Harry
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Gregory, Conal
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n) Hampson, Dr Keith
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Hannam, John
Bright, Graham Hargreaves, Kenneth
Brinton, Tim Harris, David
Bruinvels, Peter Haselhurst, Alan
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
Buck, Sir Antony Hayhoe, Rt Hon Barney
Burt, Alistair Hayward, Robert
Butcher, John Heathcoat-Amory, David
Butterfill, John Henderson, Barry
Carlisle, John (Luton N) Hicks, Robert
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Cash, William Hill, James
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Hind, Kenneth
Chope, Christopher Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Churchill, W. S. Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n) Holt, Richard
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Hordern, Sir Peter
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Howard, Michael
Cockeram, Eric Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Colvin, Michael Hubbard-Miles, Peter
Cope, John Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Corrie, John Hunter, Andrew
Couchman, James Jackson, Robert
Crouch, David Jessel, Toby
Currie, Mrs Edwina Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Dickens, Geoffrey Jones, Robert (Herts W)
Dicks, Terry Kershaw, Sir Anthony
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Key, Robert
du Cann, Rt Hon Sir Edward King, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Dunn, Robert King, Rt Hon Tom
Durant, Tony Knight, Greg (Derby N)
Dykes, Hugh Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Knowles, Michael
Eyre, Sir Reginald Knox, David
Fallon, Michael Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Farr, Sir John Lang, Ian
Favell, Anthony Latham, Michael
Lawler, Geoffrey Robinson, Mark (N'port W)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Roe, Mrs Marion
Lester, Jim Rossi, Sir Hugh
Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd) Rost, Peter
Lilley, Peter Rowe, Andrew
Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant) Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Macfarlane, Neil Sayeed, Jonathan
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Scott, Nicholas
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute) Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Maclean, David John Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
McLoughlin, Patrick Shelton, William (Streatham)
McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury) Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
McQuarrie, Albert Shersby, Michael
Madel, David Silvester, Fred
Major, John Sims, Roger
Malins, Humfrey Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Malone, Gerald Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Marland, Paul Soames, Hon Nicholas
Marlow, Antony Spencer, Derek
Maude, Hon Francis Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Stanbrook, Ivor
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Stern, Michael
Mayhew, Sir Patrick Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Merchant, Piers Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Meyer, Sir Anthony Stewart, Ian (Hertf'dshire N)
Miller, Hal (B'grove) Tapsell, Sir Peter
Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon) Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Mitchell, David (Hants NW) Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Moate, Roger Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Morris, M. (N'hampton S) Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Moynihan, Hon C. Thurnham, Peter
Neale, Gerrard Townend, John (Bridlington)
Neubert, Michael Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Nicholls, Patrick Trippier, David
Norris, Steven Trotter, Neville
Oppenheim, Phillip Twinn, Dr Ian
Ottaway, Richard van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Pattie, Geoffrey Ward, John
Pawsey, James Warren, Kenneth
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Watts, John
Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)
Portillo, Michael Wheeler, John
Powley, John Whitfield, John
Price, Sir David Wiggin, Jerry
Proctor, K. Harvey Winterton, Nicholas
Raffan, Keith Wolfson, Mark
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Wood, Timothy
Rathbone, Tim Woodcock, Michael
Rhodes James, Robert Young, Sir George (Acton)
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Tellers for the Noes:
Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm Mr. David Lightbown and
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy) Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones.

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment proposed, No. 183, in page 3, line 9, leave out subsection (6).—[Mr. Radice.]

Question, That the amendment be made, put and negatived.

Clause 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

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