HL Deb 28 May 1924 vol 57 cc730-4

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, I beg to move the Second Reading of a Bill to amend the Education (Scotland) (Superannuation) Act, 1922. This Bill is on the lines of another Bill which has been under discussion in your Lordships' House during the week. It is, in substance, merely an extension of time Bill. In these circumstances I shall not deal with the large question of superannuation, with which it is concerned, nor shall I go back further than the year 1918. When I was moving the Second Reading of the Bill to which I have referred, the School Teachers (Superannuation) Bill, which was before your Lordships the other day, I informed your Lordships that in 1918 a non-contributory scheme of pensions was passed by an Act of that year for teachers in England. Of course, Scotland in this matter had to follow suit, because it was quite impossible that a contributory scheme for Scotland should continue while a non-contributory scheme was in being in this country. So, in the following year, 1919, an Act was passed to deal with the question, and a scheme, corresponding in all essentials to the English scheme, was brought into operation—that is to say that under the provisions of that Act of 1919 there was no contribution enforced on the part of the teachers.

As your Lordships know from what happened with regard to the Act of 1918 in relation to England, that Act had to be superseded because of the grave financial position which arose out of it, and the public demand for economy in all Departments of Government. So an amending Act was likewise passed in Scotland in 1922, following the English Act on the same general lines. It imposed on teachers a 5 per cent. contribution on their salaries. Hut there was this notable distinction between the Scottish Act of 1922 and the English Act of 1922, that there was a contribution on the part of the managers under the Scottish Act, of 2 per cent., on the teachers' salaries. This Act was limited to a period of two years, which period expires on May 31. The proposal of this Bill is that that period of two years shall be extended until July 31 of next year. Originally, the date as it stood in the Bill when it was introduced in another place was July 31, 1926, but His Majesty's Government were prepared to accept the shorter period of one year in the case of this Bill, because (and this is noticeable, and distinguishes it from the English Bill) all parties concerned were prepared to accept a permanent scheme on the lines of the Emmott Report, that, is, on a contributory basis. That, in brief, is the history of this question up to the present moment.

Turning to the Bill itself, may I very briefly put its provisions before your Lordships? I need not dwell on Clause 1, because it is identical, except for the shorter period of extension, with the clause in the English Bill which is, now before your Lordships for Third Reading, and it merely amounts to an extension of time. But when we come to Clause 2 some further explanation is required. Pensions of Scottish teachers are met out of the Education (Scotland) Fund, and not by the Exchequer directly, and, by Section 6 of the Act of 1919, to which I have before referred, there was annually paid into the Education (Scotland) Fund, as an Exchequer contribution towards superannuation, a sum equal to 11/80ths of the corresponding expenditure in England—and this, as your Lordships will realise, at a time when no contribution was required from the teachers. When, under the amending Act of 1922, a contribution was imposed and levied on the teachers' salaries, that contribution of five per cent. was found to produce more than 11/80ths of the corresponding sum which was raised in England, and, as the teachers' contributions were used in appropriations-in-aid, a distinct injustice was done to Scotland. The result would have been that, except for the adjustment which is proposed under Clause 2 of this Bill, the net amount payable to Scotland would have been less than the 11/80ths which was provided by Section 6 of the Act of 1919. So Clause 2 provides that there should be compensation from the Exchequer to Scotland for that adverse balance.

I wish one of my Scottish colleagues had to deal with this matter, because this is one of those things on which the Scottish Office and Scotsmen generally become lyrical when they describe the great superiority of Scottish educational matters, and of the Scottish educational system over our English system. But it may be worth while to mention in a couple of sentences how the curious result came about that when the Scottish teachers had to contribute 5 per cent. on their salaries the amount was more than the ll-80ths which is regarded as the appropriate proportional fraction as between Scotland and the rest of Great Britain.

In the first place, while I suppose the Scottish teachers have not a higher average salary than the English teachers have, the fact that a larger proportion of the Scottish teachers are doing secondary school work and consequently drawing a correspondingly higher salary is one of the reasons which contribute to this result. In the second place, there are in Scotland practically no uncertificated teachers. The proportion would probably be 99 per cent. of certificated teachers to 1 per cent. of uncertificated teachers; whereas we know that in England there is a large proportion of uncertificated teachers whose salaries are not on the full Burnham scale and whose contribution to superannuation would, therefore, be correspondingly lower. In the third place, there are in England some 13,000 to 14,000 supplementary teachers who have no counterpart in Scotland, whose qualifications do not entitle them to the benefits of superannuation and who, in the result, make no contribution. So it comes about that, so far as Scotland is concerned, in comparison with England this adverse balance would be struck unless the provisions of Clause 2 of this Bill were inserted for the purposes of adjusting the difference between the two countries. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Viscount Chelmsford.)


My Lords, I have no desire to detain your Lordships with any lengthy observations upon this Bill. I rise merely for the purpose of supporting it, and I support it with all the more pleasure because of the, alteration of the date, which I hope will have the effect of slightly hurrying our British procedure. The noble Viscount has given a full and interesting explanation of why Scotland is making a slightly larger contribution than England, and I congratulate him on the lucidity of his statement.

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


My Lords, I think I ought to warn your Lordships that the Act for which we are obtaining an extension of one year will expire unless this Bill is passed tomorrow or Friday, and I shall have to move to-morrow the suspension of Standing Orders in order to enable the Bill to be taken through its remaining stages in your Lordships' House in one day. I know how strongly your Lordships feel on this question of the suspension of Standing Orders, and I only pray that the noble Earl, Lord Beauchamp, will not be too severe on this request of mine. I can assure him that the position is not due to any delay in this House, but because the Bill came up so recently from another place.


My Lords, I think that same explanation is due to your Lordships' House as to why the Bill came so late to this House. It seems to me that the explanation of the noble Viscount is very incomplete. How was it that the Bill came so late to this House? Was it not introduced into another place early enough, or was it introduced early and then entirely neglected with the idea on the part of the noble Viscount's friends that they might treat this House with complete disrespect and not regard our Standing Orders? I should be glad to hear from the noble Viscount, Lord Chelmsford, or from the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack, some explanation of the matter.


My Lords, the Bill was introduced in another place some time ago and was discussed and was then put aside to make way for other business in the House of Commons. The unfortunate Secretary for Scotland tried hard to bring it forward from day to day but was not able to do so, and it was only very lately that it passed through the House of Commons, That is the explanation, though not perhaps a very good one, of how the position has arisen.