§ [References are to Bill (226) as first printed for the Commons]
§ [Nos. 1–3.]
§ Clause 1, page 1, line 12, leave out '1st January 1977' and insert '1st March 1977'.
§ Clause 1, page 1, line 15, leave out '1st January 1977' and insert '1st March 1977'.
§ Clause 2, page 2, line 14, leave out '1st January 1977' and insert '1st March 1977'.
§ Lord KIRKHILL
My Lords, with the leave of the House, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 1 to 3 en bloc. The purpose of these Amendments is to delay the coming into operation of the provisions of the Bill by two months, that is, until 1st March, 1977, in order to give teachers affected a longer period of warning. They were accepted at Committee stage in the other place by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland on 3rd November. The date of 1st January originally inserted in the Bill was, at the time the Bill was 426 introduced, considered to be the earliest date on which its provisions could reasonably come into force. I myself made this point during the Second Reading debate on 27th July last. The passage of the Bill through the other place has not been as fast as was originally hoped, and as a result there would be only a matter of five or six weeks between the Royal Assent and 1st January.
There was some discussion in the other place that the Bill contravened the Contracts of Employment Act 1972, in that it did not permit 12 weeks' notice to be given to teachers affected.
However, as my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland made clear on 3rd November, the provisions of the Bill related to retirement and not to dismissal, redundancy or other forms of termination of employment. My right honourable friend was advised that the normal notice given by employers under the Contracts of Employment Act would not be necessary. Even so, the Government accepted that the arguments put forward at Committee stage in the other place, namely, that the teachers affected would have insufficient warning of the coming into operation of the provisions of the Bill, were well-founded, and that it would be reasonable to have a later commencement date than that originally proposed so that education authorities could give reasonable warning to the teachers affected.
My Lords, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland also indicated that when the Bill receives Royal Assent a circular will be issued to education authorities asking them to take decisions as soon as possible so that teachers affected can be given the earliest possible warning.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.