HC Deb 10 December 1991 vol 200 cc717-8
3. Mr. Andrew MacKay

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the proposed independent pay review body for teachers.

The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Kenneth Clarke)

The school teachers' review body has been asked to make recommendations on the pay and conditions of school teachers in 1992–93. It will report to the Prime Minister in the new year.

Mr. MacKay

Parents in my constituency are anxious that teachers should be properly remunerated because teachers with low morale are bad teachers, and they are particularly concerned that there might just be a slight possibility of a Labour Government next year, with a resultant cut in teachers' real pay, as happened when Labour was last in office. Will my right hon. and learned Friend confirm that under Conservative rule there has been a 30 per cent. increase in real terms in teachers' pay and that there was an increase of only 6 per cent. during the last Labour Government?

Mr. Clarke

My hon. Friend is correct. There has been a substantial advance in real-terms pay under our Administration, and this year the pay award that has been made for the current year is increasing the teachers' pay bill overall by 11.3 per cent. I agree with my hon. Friend that raising standards requires having a good quality teaching force, properly rewarded and encouraged. The public welcome the way we are treating teachers as a professional body by taking the advice of the independent review body, and we look forward to Graham Day and his colleagues producing the kind of advice that we require about how our teachers should be rewarded. The fact that Labour Members voted against the review body approach to teachers' pay should provide the warning that my hon. Friend described.

Mr. Skinner

Why should teachers have to submit to an incomes policy when the bosses made a 22.7 per cent. average increase last year? What is good enough for the bosses should be good enough for the teachers.

Mr. Clarke

The hon. Gentleman has just been reminded of the shabby teachers' pay record of the Labour Government whom he supported some years ago—[Interruption.] It was his Government then, although their successors may not be represented on the Front Bench in quite the way that the hon. Gentleman would wish.

We have set up a review body to advise the Government on the proper remuneration for teachers. It is a status that we give to very few public servants, but we are giving teachers a special status because we realise that their professionalism and commitment are essential to a good teaching service.