HL Deb 30 April 1919 vol 34 cc395-7

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, the object of this Bill is to extend to Scottish teachers the benefits that English and Welsh teachers have obtained under the School Teachers Superannuation Act. A superannuation scheme is no new thing in Scotland. Such a scheme was framed in 1911, in accordance with the general directions given in Section 14 of the Education (Scotland) Act, 1908. This scheme is on a contributory basis, the necessary funds being provided by contributions from teachers, managers, and the Education (Scotland) Fund, which is administered by the Scottish Education Department. The pensions payable under the scheme are proportionate to the teacher's salary and length of service. This scheme has given general satisfaction, and would no doubt have continued to do so but for the passing of the English Act of last year, which provides, as regards teachers in England and Wales, for the payment of pensions on a more generous scale and on a non-contributory basis.

The result of the passing of the Act of last year is that Scottish teachers are now in a less favourable position in this respect than their colleagues in England. To remedy this, it has been decided that the main provisions of the English Act of last year shall be applied to Scotland, but there are difficulties in the way of adopting the English Act as a whole. In the first place, the different educational conditions of the two countries make it difficult, if not impossible, to adapt for Scottish purposes the phraseology and some of the detailed provisions of the English Act. In the second place, it is necessary to bear in mind the fact that the separate superannuation scheme has been in existence in Scotland for seven years, and that special provision must be made for the transition from the existing scheme to the new one.

It is accordingly proposed in this Bill to follow the precedent set by Section 14 of the Act of 1908, and to empower the Department, subject to certain general instructions, to frame a new superannuation scheme, which will not take effect until it has been laid for one month before each House of Parliament. Clause 1 of the Bill will confer this power upon the Department; Clause 2 contains the more important of the instructions which the Department are required to observe in framing the scheme; Clause 3 enumerates further matters which may be dealt with in the scheme; and Clause 4 provides for the payment of pensions in the case of persons who are mentally disabled.

The remaining clauses scarcely demand separate notice, except Clause 6, which relates to the finance of the new scheme. As I have already said, the expenses of the existing scheme are met by contributions from managers, teachers, and the Education (Scotland) Fund. In future, managers and teachers will be exempted from the obligation to make any contributions whatever, and the whole cost of the scheme will be met from the Education (Scotland) Fund. Into that fund will be paid, year by year, eleven-eightieths of the expenditure on the superannuation of teachers in England and Wales, and there is every reason to anticipate that this will be sufficient to meet the cost of the new scheme. If, however, it should at any time fall short of the sum required, the deficiency will be made good from the other sources of Government grant which constitute the Education (Scotland) Fund.

The scheme which it is proposed to make in terms of the Bill, if it passes your Lordships' House in its present form, is already in an advanced stage of preparation, and copies of the draft have been available for consideration and discussion by those interested. It provides for the payment of annual superannuation allowances, lump sums, gratuities, and death gratuities, similar in amount to those payable under the English Act of last year. It provides also for the repayment of contributions made, by teachers who have not yet retired, to the existing superannuation fund. It deals with the case of teachers already retired on pension, many of whom are in receipt of allowances which are altogether inadequate, especially at the present time, to meet the cost of living. Such allowances will be supplemented by further payments on a scale which it is hoped will be found to be sufficiently generous.

These are the main provisions of the scheme, which it is proposed shall come into force as from April 1 this year. In framing it the Scottish Education Department have kept in close touch with the various interests concerned, and there is every reason to anticipate that the scheme, when finally adjusted, will commend itself to the teaching profession in Scotland. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a(Lord Stanmore.)

On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.