HL Deb 26 January 1987 vol 483 cc1155-78

5.25 p.m.

House again in Committee on Clause 1.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (The Earl of Listowel)

Before I call Amendment No. 2, I should point out to the Committee that if it is agreed to I cannot call Amendment No. 3.

Lord Rochester moved Amendment No. 2:

Page 1, leave out lines 11 to 15 and insert— ("by provisions agreed between, or settled in a manner agreed between, teachers and their employers, subject in the case of school teachers to provisions having effect under this Act.").

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 2, I should like to speak also to Amendment No. 4. Like the amendments we were discussing earlier, these amendments offer a different procedure from that proposed by the Government for determining the pay and conditions for school teachers in the future.

The noble Lord, Lord Beloff, said in the course of our earlier discussion that we should not now be concerning ourselves about the future but rather about the interim arrangements. As a number of noble Lords have already said, the trouble about that is that it takes insufficient account of the fact that for an indefinite period during the lifetime of the advisory committee collective bargaining rights are to be withheld from teachers' organisations and from local authorities. I do not think that is good enough. My fear is that teachers will not either and that this will ultimately have a further damaging effect on the children in our schools.

That, then, is the reason for proceeding with this amendment. I make no apology for so doing. As I said earlier, we are seeking at this stage to do no more than set out the general principles of the negotiating procedure that we propose should operate for school teachers and to elicit the support of the Committee. I recognise, however, that in approaching the matter in this way I owe it to the Committee to outline now in a good deal more detail what we have in mind. To take first Amendment No. 2, our intention is simply to indicate that in future all teachers, and not alone teachers in further education, should retain collective bargaining rights but that in the case of school teachers they should be exercised within a framework that is set out in the new clause contained in Amendment No. 4.

In that new clause, first place is given to the establishment of a standing independent review body. The criteria for membership of that body are that those appointed should have experience of or an interest in education and that they should include a number of people drawn from local education authorities, teachers' organisations and bodies representing the interests of governors of voluntary schools.

We envisage a process of consultation aimed at obtaining the widest possible agreement among interested bodies—even including the main political parties, if they can bring themselves to face such a prospect—before the membership of that body is decided on. Once set up, the review body would take evidence from local education authorities, teachers' organisations and any other individuals or groups from which it might wish to invite representations. Before putting forward its proposals on pay and conditions of school teachers the review body would also be made aware of the views of the Secretary of State, including those concerning the financial contribution that the Government were willing to make towards the cost of any changes in pay and conditions.

In respect of the method proposed for the appointment of the review body, its composition and the extent to which its agenda would be free from direction by the Secretary of State, the review body would enjoy considerably more independence than the advisory committee is to be accorded under this Bill, even taking account of the amendments that the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, will no doubt later be moving.

A further function which Amendment No. 4 envisages for the review body is that it would provide a basis on which teachers' organisations and employers would negotiate. In this way collective bargaining rights would be retained but they would be exercised within a framework constructed in a more objective, coherent and generally realistic way than the arrangements provided by Burnham in recent years.

Next, we have in mind that teachers' organisations and local education authorities should be able to submit amendments to the review body's proposals, but only amendments submitted by the teachers' organisations as a whole or by local education authorities as a whole would be admissible. Any amendments that were agreed between the unions and local education authorities the review body would be obliged to accept, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State. Where agreement could not be reached between the teachers' organisations and the local education authorities, or where the Secretary of State withheld his approval from an agreed amendment, we propose that the matter should be referred to arbitration by ACAS or by some other acceptable agency.

A process which we favour for arbitration is that which goes by the name of pendulum bargaining. This means that in making an award the arbitrator would have to choose between the positions of the parties in dispute. He could not choose an intermediate position. In my view it may also be helpful if the arbitrator's award was made on explicitly stated grounds that included summaries of the parties' submissions. Finally, the award of the arbitrator would be binding, subject only to ultimate parliamentary authority.

Thus our overall aim is to establish a negotiating procedure which at every stage will encourage the parties to adopt responsible attitudes, to act as single units within each party and then to draw closer together in the negotiating process. We would also aim in this way to discourage extravagant claims and generally to weaken the influence of extremists of any kind.

In conclusion, I simply remind the Committee that our amendments are deliberately framed at this stage in general terms, which I have endeavoured to amplify so that our overall intention is plain. I invite the Committee to consider and to support these amendments in principle. I beg to move.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

The noble Lord, Lord Rochester, seems to have ignored in moving this amendment the discussion which we had at considerable length on the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, on the point that it is unwise to try to rush a permanent and final arrangement by way of amendment at the committee stage of this Bill. I think, a good many of your Lordships on the previous occasion took the view that the Government were right to go, as the Bill does, for an interim solution, during which a sensible and permanent system could be worked out in discussion with all concerned. However, this amendment, if adopted, excludes that and produces a new system intended no doubt to be permanent.

I confess that I do not wholly understand the terms of Amendment No. 2, which read: ('by provisions agreed between, or settled in a manner agreed between, teachers and their employers, subject in the case of school teachers to provisions having effect under this Act.')". It does not appear to bear any specific relationship to the structure of the Bill at all.

However, my even stronger objection to this amendment occurs over the last sub-section of Amendment No. 4 which as I understand it we are discussing with Amendment No. 2. In the event of the Secretary of State not agreeing with the proposals put forward from the body which has been discussing them, there will be arbitration.

The noble Lord, Lord Rochester, referred to, "subject to overriding parliamentary authority". Looking at his amendment, I do not know what he means by that. Perhaps I have overlooked some further amendment. But on these amendments as they stand it looks as if there is to be arbitration, and when legislation lays down that there shall be arbitration, then arbitration is final and binding on the Secretary of State, as on the other parties. I do not know whether the noble Lord has some explanation to give, but that last almost give-away line which he put to the Committee about, "subject to overriding parliamentary authority", does not seem to be followed up anywhere in these amendments.

If that is right, this amendment treats the Secretary of State and his responsibilities even worse than did the amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey. The amendment of the noble Lord, although it put the Secretary of State rather on the spot, ultimately gave him the right, if he could command a majority in both Houses of Parliament on an affirmative instrument, to vote down an agreed proposal. This, on the other hand, unless the noble Lord can point to what he means by the reference to overriding parliamentary authority, seems to leave the final decision to the arbitrator.

In view of the very large expenditure of public money involved in teachers' salaries—and I was reminded by the noble Lord, Lord Alexander of Potterhill, that the central government share is 46 per cent., which amounts to a very large sum indeed—and in view of the importance both of that sum in itself and the example which it gives to the national economy for which the central government are responsible, I do not see how any Secretary of State whatever could accept this.

As I have said to the Committee, this puts the Secretary of State in an even worse position than did the kindly nature of the suggestion put forward by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey. It seems to me that if this is intended as a contribution to the solution of the problem, and a permanent solution, it is a terribly bad one.

Baroness Cox

Let me speak briefly, as one who, I confess, was initially in favour of an independent review body and was rather puzzled, and indeed disappointed, that the Government had not opted for this other solution, I had a certain inherent sympathy for the amendment now before us, but rather like Paul on the road to Damascus I saw the light and became understanding as to why the Government were not going for this option at this stage.

Lord Renton

If my noble friend will allow me, we find ourselves fortunate that she was not blinded by the light as Paul was.

Baroness Cox

I thank my noble friend for that correction and stand very embarrassed by my misrepresentation of the Holy Book. Paul regained his sight, and I hope I have now seen why this amendment is not acceptable to us at present. Perhaps I may briefly give three reasons why I would not feel happy about supporting the amendment. First of all I must emphasise, as has my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter, that it is something which could be considered in due course. As an interim measure, it may well be that a review body could be the solution in due course. But as this amendment stands I am a little worried because it seems to fall between two stools. As I understand it, the other professions which have independent pay review bodies, whether it be the nurses, doctors, dentists or the armed forces, are truly independent; whereas it seems to me that the composition proposed for this body would contain or represent interests within education. Therefore it is not independent in the sense of being a truly independent body from the professions and the vested interests.

Secondly, the point made by my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter about the exclusion of the Secretary of State, as I understand it, from the direct considerations makes it absolutely unacceptable, given the very high proportion of money involved paid for by the Government. The fact that the only role for the Secretary of State is at the end of the line in terms of referring matters to arbitration seems to me quite unacceptable.

Finally, I feel that the whole series of procedures outlined in the amendment before us could well be, I am afraid, a recipe for protracted chaos. The concept of proposals first of all being created, then going as a basis for negotiation which may be sent for arbitration worries me, given the realpolitik of the situation. In an ideal world with good faith that might well be an acceptable series of steps, but in the present situation, much though I sympathise with the idea, it seems to me that these proposals could set the scene for continuing protracted hassles, interminable wrangling and continuing disarray, during which our children continue to suffer.

So I hope that the concept of a pay review body will receive very favourable consideration in the talks and discussions about the final outcome after this interim period. However, I feel that at the moment I must support the Government on their proposals for the interim period, and unfortunately I cannot support the concept of a pay review body at present.

Lord Kilmarnock

I should like to support the amendment because it attracts me on the grounds that it seeks to introduce some balance into this Bill. Whether this year's settlement is imposed or reluctantly accepted, it is quite clear to us on these Benches that there must be some quid pro quo in the Bill. It is absurd to expect teachers not only to accept an imposed settlement but also to be obliged to contemplate an indefinite future without any negotiating rights or mechanisms. That is what the Bill as drafted would mean.

Like my noble friend Lord Rochester, I am in disagreement with the speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Beloff, on the last amendment when he suggested that it was inappropriate to discuss the longer term at the Committee stage of this Bill. As I suggested at Second Reading, the Secretary of State could have written a one-clause Bill to empower him to impose a settlement on a single occasion. We could have dealt with it simply on that issue.

Instead, he has chosen to arm himself with an advisory committee which would be in place for a minimum of three years and potentially a great deal longer. He has thus himself introduced the medium-term to long-term considerations into the Bill. That is why we say that the Bill should incorporate, if not the ultimate detail, a broad outline of a permanent structure so that teachers know that there will be a limit on their relegation to limbo. It seems perfectly possible on those grounds to be exploring this idea at Committee stage.

One of the great sins of the Bill in our view is that not only does it confer unlimited power on Mr. Baker but it also enables each and every one of his successors to subject the education system to destabilising reversals of policy when what is most wanted is continuity. It is precisely continuity that would be provided by an independent review body along the lines suggested by my noble friend. This is surely the only fair and sensible way ahead, though we may perhaps discuss details at a later stage of the Bill.

Incidentally, it is worth noting that there has been some speculation on the views of parents about the Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Glenamara, spoke of the opposition of the National Federation of Parent-Teacher Associations to the Bill. I think he is a vice-president of that body and he strongly advanced their opposition to the Bill. What he did not say was that they are advocating an independent review body very much on the lines of what has been suggested by my noble friend Lord Rochester.

If the Government are interested in the views of parents, there is a body of associations representing some 4 million who seem to be tending to favour the Alliance solution rather than the national joint committee which has been proposed by the Labour Party. So I hope many Members of the Committee will feel that the noble Lord has moved an amendment which will not only bring a measure of balance into the Bill but will also indicate the type of structure that would create the conditions for long-term stability in our schools.

5.45 p.m.

Lord Renton

Amendments are sometimes tabled in this Chamber, with a view to discussing the principle and exchanging views about it but without seriously deciding whether the amendments should be made to the Bill. I think this is an interesting principle to discuss but I find difficulties about the amendment in addition to the one mentioned by my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter.

The first difficulty is that if it were made it would require a number of consequential amendments which have not so far been tabled. I do not say that if the principle were found acceptable they would not eventually be tabled, but we have the disadvantage at any rate that some of the necessary consequential amendments have not been tabled and therefore we do not know precisely what the noble Lord, Lord Rochester, would have in mind with regard to that.

However, there is another difficulty and I hope the Committee do not think it is too technical to be considered. As I see it, the proposals in these two Amendments, Nos. 2 and 4, create a precedent. They break entirely new ground. The independent review bodies which we have at the moment are very rare. So far as I remember, they are bodies which have been appointed by the Prime Minister. They report to the Prime Minister and are therefore non-statutory. As an alternative to the present arrangements, to the arrangements envisaged in the Bill or to any arrangements which might emerge after negotiation when the Bill eventually expires, I very much doubt whether in principle it would be right to have the kind of independent review body which, though rare, is well-established. I have serious doubts about that.

Also, I think one should perhaps bear in mind that the review bodies we have had so far, the best known of which is the Top Salaries Review Body, which simply gives guidance to the Government and is not binding on the Government, are not subject to arbitration. That is very different from what is envisaged in these amendments. I do not think there is any independent review body which deals, for example, with a large number of people in government service or local authority employees. So, although this is an interesting principle to discuss, it would be wrong to make the amendments to the Bill.

Lord Beloff

The time has come—if I may use a phrase that we shall hear from the Alliance more than once, I suspect, this week—to look at their comments and proposals—

Baroness Seear

I should like to thank the noble Lord for the advance publicity.

Lord Beloff

The noble Lord, Lord Kilmarnock, has suggested that the advisory committee might outlive the Bill and that it is therefore a move in the direction of a permanent arrangement. I find it very difficult to construe a Bill which declares itself to be temporary and which sets up a permanent institution. I should have thought that all the provisions of the Bill would expire on the date of expiry, and what that date will be we shall discuss later. So I do not think that that can be used as a precedent for these proposals.

The proposal for an independent review body has an enormous attraction. The attraction is the word "independent" which, in the language of the modern philosopher, is a "hurrah" word rather than a "boo" word. Indeed, I sometimes think that the success of a newspaper which was referred to earlier in our proceedings is largely due to its genial choice of title. The only trouble about this independent review body, as the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, has pointed out, is that it is in no sense independent, because the notion of independence is at the opposite extreme from the notion of representation.

If a body represents no doubt honourable institutions—trade unions, employers' organisations and so forth—then it has a role, and that is the kind of body to which the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Harringey, drew our attention. That is a possible model. But one cannot conceive of a body intended to be independent which is also composed of representatives.

Let us suppose that the National Union of Teachers is asked to nominate to this body and nominates Mr. Fred Jarvis. Why not? Would one really suspect that on this body he would hold different views or be amenable to different pressures from those when he is representing his union in a negotiating stance either on Burnham Mark I or, if we had agreed to it, on Burnham Mark II?

The other difficulty is that of arbitration. Arbitration is not a "boo" word; it is roughly a "hurrah" word. Pendulum arbitration is very fashionable, but I am rather surprised that, with his experience of industry, the noble Lord, Lord Rochester, thinks that pendulum arbitration would be suitable in this case. As I understand it, the fear has been that if you have, in an ordinary wage bargaining situation, two positions, one side saying "Let us give them £5" and the other side, the employees, saying, "Let us have £10", you will finish up with £7.50 if you put it to arbitration, because arbitrators will not want to offend either side. Pendulum arbitration means that you have to go for either the £5 or the £10, and there may be something to be said for that.

What has caused most of the trouble over teachers' pay and conditions is that you cannot dissociate the structure of the profession—the various arrangements made for the different grades, jobs and responsibilities—from their pay. Therefore, I cannot see how an arbitration could ever be faced with something so simple that it could be solved in a pendulum fashion, because any arbitrator might say "I like the proposed structure that the employers have put up, but I think that the teachers ought to have more money." Therefore, it seems to me that this must be appended simply to make the thing more palatable. For that reason, as with the rest of the amendment, I agree with my noble friend Lord Renton. It is nice to discuss it, but it is not for us.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The Opposition are naturally sympathetic to any constructive proposal to replace the provisions of the Bill by something which could take place more quickly, more effectively and on a more long-term basis. Precisely because we are opposed, as is well-known, to the interim nature of the proposals and the fact that no long-term solution will be reached for a very long time, we are favourably disposed to the amendments which have been moved by the noble Lord, Lord Rochester.

However, there are a number of questions about them on which I should very much welcome the response of the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, who, I understand, is to speak in a minute, not least because she has a hundred times more experience of industrial relations than I have. My understanding was that independent review bodies tended to be set up when there was no existing negotiating machinery and when it was felt that something had to be done to put some colour into an existing procedure where somebody laid something down and that was that—with no independent or outside consideration—as regards the pay and conditions of a group of employees. This tended to happen particularly when there was no procedure for review or negotiation to take place on an annual basis.

Perhaps the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, will tell us whether it is intended that there should be annual review or whether it should be on an ad hoc basis. My personal predilection would be not to have the kind of review which takes place when things have got out of hand and when massive efforts have to be made to catch up on behalf of those whose pay and conditions are being considered.

As has already been said, an independent review body really ought to be independent if it is to be worthy of the name. How do representatives of the teachers or employers, or anybodyt else, come to be on such a body and what is their status? Are they in some way different, as regards voting procedure, from the other members who are presumably independent? Who appoints the non-representative members of the review body? What is the balance between them? Is there a majority for the representatives or a majority for the independents? All of these points make a great deal of difference to the kind of consideration which the body will give to the issues before it.

Most important is the phrase: … which shall form the basis of negotiations between those teachers and their employers". Here, it is open to the review body virtually to pre-empt any negotiations by setting out a very detailed structure of pay and conditions and by analysing and setting out the cost of that structure. In those circumstances, the negotiations provided for in subsection (2) of the new clause would not be very meaningful. On the other hand, it is possible within the terms of the amendment for the independent review body to state its conclusions only in the most general terms. In that case, it is the negotiations which would be more important, not the constitution of the independent review body. That is a matter on which the noble Baroness might like to comment.

Similarly, can the negotiations actually overturn the detail of the recommendation made by the independent review body? That is not clear from the amendment. But it is of the greatest importance if we are to know whether the negotiations will be meaningful. Then there is the question of the role of the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State may withhold his approval of an agreement between the parties". Presumably, he has no role in the conclusions of the review body which go into negotiation.

We then have the possibility of four different stages in the procedure. First, we have the review body; secondly, we have the negotiations; thirdly, we have the consideration by the Secretary of State of the result of negotiations; and, fourthly, we have the appointment of an arbitrator by somebody who is not specified and the conclusions of the arbitrator.

Despite all our sympathy, as it stands it seems that this could be an excessively complicated and long drawn out procedure which, on the face of it, does not achieve any of the objectives which we want to see as regards teachers' pay and negotiations. It does not establish full negotiating rights for teachers and their employers. It does not recognise the fact that 54 per cent. of teachers' pay is met by local authorities. It does not establish adequately the interests of the Secretary of State either in the remaining 46 per cent. of pay negotiations or in his responsibilities as a member of government for the overall control of public expenditure. It does not set out clearly the point at which procedures move from one stage to another or the force of the recommendations and proposals put at any of the intervening stages.

I have no doubt that the noble Baroness has good answers to all of those questions. If she does, we shall be delighted to support her in the Lobbies. However, this is a difficult proposal and it deserves the most serious consideration.

6 p.m.

Lord Butterworth

Before the noble Baroness speaks, perhaps I may add two points which she may care to take on board when she replies. The amendment says: An independent review body shall be established". Those are curious words to have in a Act of Parliament. An independent review body shall be established by whom? Who is the power being given to? Within what limits will the power be exercised? An independent review body shall be established—shall come out of the air—and in whom is the power to be vested?

Secondly, as a matter of industrial relations, I should have thought it unfortunate to talk about arbitration and not to make clear whether the decision of the arbitrator is to be binding. In industrial relations, if one goes to arbitration it is generally far better that any award should be binding. The clause is silent upon that point, and it is probably silent because a difficulty lies behind it which has already been referred to. It concerns the responsibility of the Government and the power of the Secretary of State.

I thought that in the debate we had earlier this afternoon we were moving to a very interesting consensus springing out of the concordat. It was clear that both sides of the House recognised that the Secretary of State, because the Treasury contributes almost half of the salary of teachers, must have a position which should be not less than that given to him by the concordat which was abandoned in 1985.

Under the concordat the Secretary of State had a right of veto. However, he undertook not to exercise it at the beginning of negotiations. There is therefore in Clause 3 an apparent difficulty about whether arbitration should be binding and how one marries that with the responsibilities of the Secretary of State.

Lord Elton

Before the noble Baroness replies, can she also take on board the fact that it would be most helpful if she could tell the Committee how it is expected to treat this amendment? The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, suggested that there may be occasion for him to march into the Lobby in her not unfamiliar company should a Division take place. However, it is evident from his speech that there is so much which is not said in the amendment that none of us would know what we were voting about.

If the noble Baroness wishes us to vote, I shall have a great deal to say about what is wrong with the amendment. However, if she is here to trawl for opinions about a general principle so that she can come back at Report stage enriched and wiser with a new proposal, while I regard it as a not very beneficial use of time, I should not hold the Committee up by arguing against it.

Baroness Seear

I have been asked to reply to a number of points. Let me say straight away in reply to the noble Lord, Lord Elton, that at this stage we do not intend to put the amendment to the vote. I do not agree with him that it is therefore a waste of time. This is an attempt to discuss a proposal which we believe may be most appropriate when developed and discussed in detail, as we intend to do in the later stages of this Bill. At this stage we are discussing the principles that we are putting forward and the reasons for putting them forward.

The reason for putting this amendment forward is that we, like the Government, are extremely concerned at the lack of progress in the negotiations in relation to schools, at the chaos in schools and at the anxieties of parents, and indeed all of us, about the condition of children who have in many cases been denied the education to which they are entitled because of our inability to solve these problems.

My reasons for putting the amendment forward are that we do recognise that special measures are needed. Although we are determined to get back to negotiations, as we said at Second Reading, we do not accept that a strict return to negotiation along the lines of a reformed national joint council is possible at the present time. We believe that if we had followed the lines of the Labour amendment that has been voted upon this afternoon, we should not get a solution and we should be back to where we have been over recent months. That is why we did not support the Labour proposals in the Lobby this afternoon. However, that does not mean that we are in the least happy with what the Government are putting forward, and this is why we intend to put forward another option as a better way of dealing with the difficult problem which confronts us.

We do not like what the Government have put forward because it gives arbitrary powers to the Secretary of State to appoint a council when it does not say where that council is to come from. We are told that this council will exist for a limited period of time. However, the time built into the Bill goes up to 1990 and the Bill includes the power to add year by year to the life of the council.

While many speakers in the Committee today have suggested that because the Bill is said to be temporary we need have no fears and it will disappear, surely the experience of other temporary legislation does not lead us to believe that merely stating that a Bill or any other measure is temporary means that it will disappear at the date built into it or indeed for some considerable length of time.

We have other reasons for objecting to the Government's proposals. Not the least of those is that we do not think it will achieve the results that the Government want. An imposed settlement on the teachers at this stage will not bring peace in our schools. Secondly, we do not believe that if the settlement is imposed in the way the Government propose that they will get the co-operation of the teachers in carrying out what they need to have done, which is essential if we are to make progress.

The new conditions of teachers' work which are built into these proposals—and quite rightly so in our view—that pay should be matched by conditions of employment, are to be monitored by the teachers and their organisations, as I understand it. They and their organisations undertook that they would see that the conditions were complied with. That is essential. If it is not going to be monitored by the teachers or their organisations, by whom is it to be monitored? Without the willing consent of the teachers, how will the Government see that they conform with what is required, which is one of the major objectives of the Government; that they will substitute where teachers are away; and that they will do the out-of-school duties? All this requires consent from teachers.

From where will consent come when the Government impose a settlement with a council on which the teachers have no say and where they have no opportunity to come forward to say what they want and what they consent to? How will they get the good will of the teachers from this proposal? Without that the whole thing falls. Under these extremely difficult circumstances we have attempted to see whether there is another way.

I am glad that a number of Members of the Committee have said that it is an interesting proposal for discussion. This other way is put forward to try to get back to genuine negotiations. But to do that we believe that there has to be some kind of review body. It has been called a review body and we have called it a review body. There has to be a body set up after consultation with people with interests and knowledge in this field. Let me emphasise that it is not to be a representative body. If it were a representative body in the strict sense of the term, it simply would be another negotiating body. I take the point of the noble Lord, Lord Beloff. The people on it will be people recognised as having expertise, interest and knowledge in the field. They are not to be representatives.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I agree that the amendment does not say "representative" but it says: persons … drawn from local education authorities, teachers' organisations and so on. How does the noble Baroness conceive that those who are drawn from these bodies will somehow distance themselves from the bodies from which they are drawn? Does she think that they will take a view independent from the collective view of the bodies from which they are drawn?

6.15 p.m.

Baroness Seear

One of the great objections to the Government's proposals was that the people who are to be on this council were not people who would be recognised as being knowledgeable in the field. If such a body were established—and there are a number of ways in which it could be done—the teachers, knowing that they were not representative, knowing that it was not a negotiating body, would at least know that people experienced in this field and with knowledge of the various aspects involved would be sitting on the body. They would not be a group of people brought together by the Secretary of State, who would be, as was said in the previous debate, or who might be, simply the Secretary of State's poodles.

I know that there are difficulties. I should like to take up the point of the noble Lord, Lord Renton. He said that this is a very unusual kind of review body. Having sat for 13 years on the Top Salaries Review Body, I agree with him that it is an unusual kind of review body. In fact, it might be better to give it a slightly different name. It is an independent body, a body that is not representative. But the point is that it would put forward proposals and the Secretary of State would make his input. Having taken evidence and having listened to what people had to say, it would put forward those proposals to the negotiating body.

We want to get back to negotiation. I want to underline that point. That is our purpose. When one has sat on a review body one begins to know what are the limits beyond which one cannot go; that certain things are likely to be accepted and other things are totally unacceptable. One has heard evidence from all these people and one puts forward informed proposals. It is on the basis of those informed proposals that negotiation then takes place.

If we had confidence that one could have satisfactory negotiations without this body, of course it would not be necessary. But we do not. Experience of the last years has shown that one cannot have that confidence. This body prepares the ground and puts forward proposals, and the negotiation takes place on the basis of those proposals. It sets the limits within which negotiation can take place, those limits having been set by means of factual information and advice; ideas and proposals put forward by people who have an interest and knowledge in this field. In that case the people putting forward the proposals would represent interests. At the Top Salaries Review Body we saw all the union people and all the interested parties and then we began to know within what boundaries it would be possible to arrive at a satisfactory negotiated settlement.

What is not said in the amendment but what will be said at Report stage is that if the negotiation then reaches agreement, the body that has put forward the proposals will not have the right to reject it. This is quite unlike the other review bodies. I accept that point. In saying that I think one would have to devise a new name for it. It is not a review body like the TSRB. It is a way of forcing negotiation to work and to come to effective decisions within the limits which are acceptable. This is what we are trying to do. In this whole area of public sector pay it is very difficult to arrive at settlements. This is a new idea. It is a quite difficult idea, as a number of Members of the Committee have said, but as an idea it is well worth exploring.

One hopes that in this way, and with the incentive to arrive at an agreement, in the great majority of cases agreement would be arrived at. If it is not, the Secretary of State then says what he believes is or is not acceptable. If agreement still cannot be arrived at, we go to the question of arbitration. The advantage of pendulum arbitration—and this is not written into the Bill and is not written into the amendment but it is what we should like to see—is that it is a disincentive for people to put forward ridiculous proposals. If they put forward ridiculous proposals the arbitrator almost automatically will go the other way. Pendulum arbitration encourages the putting forward of rational proposals. That is the idea of putting it in and that is why we have put in this stage of arbitration.

Arbitration would normally be binding. We say that the Secretary of State would not veto except when both Houses of Parliament had done so. This means that in the last resort the Secretary of State could do so, because with the majority that any government would have it would go through both Houses of Parliament. There is that last resort which the Secretary of State plainly has to have.

That is the thinking. I am not saying that it is perfect as it stands. We are putting the idea forward because we believe that it is far more acceptable to the teachers than the proposal put forward by the Government, which is arbitrary, imposed and will not win their collaboration. That must be of the greatest importance to the Government. The scheme cannot work unless the teachers collaborate. We believe that it is far more realistic than the proposal Labour has put forward, because Labour is simply asking for the update of Burnham and the update of Burnham at this stage is not practicable.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

Will the noble Baroness clarify one or two points? She said that the members of the review body would not represent the specific areas from which they were drawn, but the amendment says, representing the interests of governors of voluntary schools". Would they represent the interests, or is that not intended?

The second part of the amendment refers to proposals relating, to the remuneration and other conditions of employment of school teachers in England and Wales which shall form the basis of negotiations between those teachers and their employers". Does that mean that the negotiations can go outside what has been recommended by the independent review body? Can they go beyond it, or are they the ultimate parameters within which the negotiations would take place?

The third point, if the noble Baroness will bear with me, is that she said an imposed settlement is in her view out of the question. Does that mean that the teachers would at present have to wait for their money, part of which is already due to them and the rest due in October under the proposals that the Secretary of State has in mind? Will they have to wait until the review body is set up, by whoever is to set it up, and until that body has done its work and proposed what the award should be?

Baroness Seear

Where the amendment says "bodies representing the interests" I believe I have explained that it is not representative in the sense that they are elected by those bodies. They are chosen from those bodies. The Secretary of State would set this up. He would have to, because they cannot come out of space. The Secretary of State would look to those various groups so that on the committee there will be knowledgeable people. They will be representative not in the sense that they are elected, as are Members of Parliament, but they will be knowledgeable people who have experience in that field. Perhaps the noble Baroness could repeat the second part of her question.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

Could the items for discussion which form the basis for negotiations go outside what the independent review body puts forward?

Baroness Seear

No, the whole idea is that the independent review body puts forward the parameters to the negotiating bodies. It sets the limits within which negotiations can take place. If the negotiators wish to come back and amend that, they can, but the review body can refuse it. If within those parameters the negotiating bodies reach agreement, the review body cannot refuse it. It then becomes a negotiated and accepted settlement, because all the bodies concerned have agreed to it.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

My third point, and the most important one, is whether the teachers would have to wait for their money until the review body had done its work.

Baroness Seear

No. They could have this immediate money because we want to get on with it now. We can set up this arrangement quickly if we want to. The Secretary of State knows that he has to set up something and it is a matter of the speed at which he decides to work.

Lord Parry

The noble Baroness is a persuasive advocate. It is strange that she wishes to get back immediately to the negotiating panel and that she wishes to do so with haste, but I understand that her amendment, which has won my support, is not to be put to the vote this afternoon.

A great many teachers will just about now have arrived home from their schools and will be looking at their television sets to see what the Committee has done in this debate so far and at the proposals which are before us this afternoon. They will not be much encouraged by what has been achieved in the past couple of hours. We have had a debate on one amendment which has failed to carry the support of—may I say?—the Right-wing of Her Majesty's Opposition. It has not been able to support what the moderate and non-self-seeking part has put forward. In the deeply serious matter of the disillusionment and disappointment of teachers, they will be further disappointed by what we have done this afternoon.

Baroness Seear

I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord, but the teachers will not get their money any quicker if we put this amendment to a vote now or if we do so on Report because the Bill will not become an Act before then.

Lord Parry

I have always maintained that the matter of money gets far more prominence in this place than it does in the staff rooms of the country, because it is conditions and their general feeling of commitment to education that mostly attracts teachers' attention. They will be feeling that we should have put this amendment to the vote if it is a serious proposition. Nothing would hasten its discussion more than to see it put to the vote this afternoon.

Lord Belstead

I have enjoyed the debate on this amendment. I have done so because I always enjoy listening to the noble Baroness, Lady Seear. As she spoke I was thankful that I was not called upon to answer questions about two apparently quite innocuous amendments which turned out to be amendments of almost Byzantine complexity.

My conclusion is that of my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter. An independent review body may well be a solution for the long term, but not yet and certainly not in the way that it is laid out on page 1 of the Marshalled List. Members of the Committee, including my noble friends Lord Renton, Lord Beloff, Lord Butterworth, Lady Cox and Lady Carnegy, have put forward searching questions, not to mention those questions put forward by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, from the Front Bench opposite.

I shall content myself with answering one question only. I do think—and I wonder whether the noble Baroness will agree that I have some right in thinking this—that subsection (2) of Amendment No. 4 shows the problem with which Members on the Alliance Benches are having to wrestle. By tabling the amendments, and as shown in that subsection, the noble Baroness and her noble friends are in effect recognising that there is a grave problem and that something must be done. They are grasping at trying to have both a review body and a negotiating process at one and the same time.

Therefore, we have the proposal that the review body is to make proposals which are to form the basis of negotiations between teachers and employers, and that is an odd task for a review body, independent or otherwise. It sounds more like the activities of ACAS in seeking to bring together the different sides, which as we have seen has failed in the case of the teachers; and there is no mention in these amendments of the Secretary of State at the negotiating stage.

I suggest to the Committee that the procedures in the Bill are greatly preferable because they involve my right honourable friend in a dialogue with the employers and unions after the advisory committee has reported.

I should like to take this opportunity to give an assurance that before the Secretary of State lays a pay or conditions of employment order under the Bill he will be ready to see, individually or collectively, any of the bodies he is statutorily required to consult. That is a significant commitment which brings employers and teachers into direct dialogue with my right honourable friend in a way which the Burnham machinery did not do and which these amendments do not do.

Therefore, I join with many other Members of the Committee in asking, but not going through them, the many questions about these amendments. I have to say that the Government reach the conclusion that because something must be done the procedures in the Bill are greatly preferable to the procecdures in these amendments.

Lord Rochester

I thank all Members of the Committee who have contributed to this debate. At the outset I made it plain that at this stage we are putting forward the proposals in general form as a matter of principle. One of the advantages of taking that course of action is that it enables what has actually happened this afternoon to take place; namely, many questions have been asked and views have been expressed. We should like to take those views into account and at this stage I simply reserve our position with the view of possibly bringing forward some other amendment on Report based on the principles we have just been discussing. Therefore, I shall not detain the Committee further and beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 3 not moved.]

Clause 1 agreed to.

[Amendment No. 4 not moved.]

Clause 2 [Advisory Committee on School Teachers' Pay and Conditions]:

6.30 p.m.

Lord Ritchie of Dundee moved Amendment No. 5: Page 1, line 16, after ("State"), insert ("after consultation with representatives of teachers, local education authorities, voluntary schools, parents and other interested parties").

The noble Lord said: One of the main objections to the Bill, which has been stated many times this afternoon—I shall not weary the Committee by going into it again—is the Secretary of State's unfettered freedom to appoint members of the committee. It is feared that the advisory committee may be a row of puppets who will bob, nod and smile at the behest of the master puppeteer and who will have no other qualifications for being there.

If it is to be he who moves Amendment No. 9, the Minister will stipulate that the committee should include suitably qualified persons. I fear that that may not be an adequate safeguard. We must remember that the Secretary of State may not always be the present incumbent of that office and that the Government may eventually be of a different political nature. There should be a requirement for full consultation with interested bodies before appointment to the committee. They should include representatives from the private sector of education because teachers move in and out of the private sector. That would offer some reassurance to those who have misgivings about the implied autocratic powers of the Secretary of State in his appointments.

It is partly the public image that is important. Surely it would cost the Government nothing to invite nominations from teachers' associations, the Association of County Councils, the Association of Metropolitan Authorities, the National Association of Governors and Managers and the Headmasters' Conference and to consider such nominations before appointment. That important public image would surely be worth the additional time and trouble.

It must be borne in mind that the Bill is meeting great opposition from the education world. I do not say that that opposition is universal because there is no means of knowing. I have never received—I am sure many Members of the Committee are in the same position—so many letters protesting the writers' dismay at what is proposed. They are not only from local education authorities and their representatives and of course from teachers' associations but from individual teachers and schools. Most significantly, they have come from parents' organisations. The National Confederation of Parent-Teacher Associations has already been mentioned this afternoon as being dismayed at the proposals. The All-London Parent Action Group has also been mentioned.

It should be pointed out that parents have the strongest vested interest in this matter. The Government always insist that parents should have a pre-eminent position in making decisions relating to their children's education. If they are dismayed at the Bill, they should be listened to. This speech looks like developing into a Second Reading speech. I do not intend it to do so. Any amendments of this type that can be made to the Bill will help to allay the misgivings and anxieties of those involved. Parents are closely interested. Like everyone else, they are aware that their children's education depends on the teachers, and teachers will not give of their best if they are not happy and prepared to co-operate.

The institution of an appraisal system is totally dependent on teachers' co-operation. If they do not co-operate, that is one important field in which all our hopes will break down. I hope that the Committee will agree that the amendment is in no way destructive or wrecking and that it is worthy of support. I beg to move.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

After the more dramatic changes in relation to previous amendments which have been discussed, this is a modest little amendment, but it deserves the Committee's support. I do not wish to add at great length to the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie of Dundee. I think it is worth saying that this proposal fits in well with the present structure of the Bill. Under Clause 3(6) the Secretary of State would have the power before 1st October 1987 to impose a solution without going to or taking account of the views of the advisory committee. To insert the proposed provision for consultation on the membership of the advisory committee would in no way delay the immediate settlement which it is the Government's intention to impose. No teacher need have any fear that his pay packet will be affected by a single day as a result of this amendment.

I believe that the proposal is the minimum that could be put forward to reassure teachers, employers, parents and voluntary schools that there is some vestigial intention by the Government to pay attention to the concerns about education and the Bill which have been expressed.

A number of Members of the Committee have referred to the postbag they have received and the degree of concern which has been expressed in letters from individual teachers, groups of teachers, bodies representing parents and groups of parents in individual schools and, at a more official level, from the county organisations and the central lobby of the teachers' unions and the local authority associations. The least the Government should concede now is that the representatives of such people should be consulted about the advisory committee. I know that the Government do not like the suggestion that I made on Second Reading that the advisory committee could be the Secretary of State's poodle. If I am wrong, this is the Government's opportunity to show it.

Lord Renton

We should bear in mind that Schedule 1, paragraph 1(1), states: The Advisory Committee shall consist of not less than five or more than nine members. It is unthinkable that the Secretary of State would not make careful inquiries before making such appointments. I must say that I like Amendment No. 9, tabled by my noble friend, which provides: The members of the Committee shall include persons having relevant knowledge of or experience in education. That is obviously what such members should be like.

If we make it a statutory provision that there should be consultation with representatives from the five bodies representing teachers, the local education authorities (the Welsh education authorities may want a separate consultation), the voluntary schools—I should have expected, in view of my interest in MENCAP, that special schools should also be among those consulted—parents, of whom there are several millions, and other interested parties, that is a tremendous volume of statutory consultation. I wonder whether it has occurred to the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie of Dundee, that if we make this provision statutory a judicial review, which could hold things up, could be requested by anyone who claimed that he was one of the other interested parties.

Many parents may feel that the person whom they heard had been consulted as a representative of parents had not been consulted and therefore the matter could be held up. It could become a quite unnecessarily elaborate exercise. I should have thought that rather than specifying the consultations in the way that the amendment so innocently appears to do, we could be making a mistake and that honour will be satisfied and the right choices made by accepting the Government's Amendment No. 9 when we come to it.

Baroness Hooper

I understand the concerns about the composition of the advisory committee. It is of the utmost importance to get it right. However, most of us are agreed that the most important aspect of the advisory committee is that it should be independent. It should not represent various interests, each with its own self-interest, but should consist of independent minded people who can look at difficult problems objectively and come up with an appropriate and helpful solution. I am not convinced that the committee's independence would be enhanced by formal consultations about its membership such as are proposed by Amendment No. 5.

My right honourable friend has made it clear on many occasions that it is his intention to appoint independent minded members to the interim advisory committee as he has done with bodies such as the University Grants Committee, which performs a controversial task without evidence of political bias. He will take this responsibility seriously and consider any suggestions about membership which are put to him, whether from teachers, local education authorities, parents or others.

I trust that this assurance will go some way to allay the misgivings to which the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie, referred. We therefore think that it is misconceived for the amendment to be pushed hard that members of the interim advisory committee should be there in any representational role or that there should be a requirement for formal consultation, which is the basis of Amendment No. 5.

However, in response to concerns that have been expressed both here during Second Reading and in the outside world, we are prepared to see inserted into the Bill the subsection which is contained in the Government's Amendment No. 9. It would require that members of the committee shall include persons having relevant knowledge of or experience in education. Clearly an entirely independent component within the interim advisory committee will be very important for reasons of objectivity and the valuable comparative experience that it can provide. But we acknowledge at the same time that there will need to be included within its membership people having relevant knowledge of and experience in education. In view of this amendment offered by the Government, I trust that Members opposite will feel able either to withdraw their amendment or that the Committee will reject Amendment No. 5 and accept the Government's Amendment No. 9 when we come to it.

Lord Kilmarnock

Before the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie, decides what he will do about this amendment, in relation to the question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Renton, am I not right in thinking that the advisory committee is not due to come into any operational role until well after the current year's settlement, which I think I am right in saying is 1st October this year? In that case there would be plenty of time to trawl for opinion concerning its composition and to have it set up well in time for the purposes set out in the Bill.

6.45 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Before the noble Lord responds, surely the objections of the noble Baroness and the noble Lord, Lord Renton, are entirely misconceived. There is no suggestion in this amendment that after consultation the members of the advisory committee should be representatives of the teachers, the parents or anybody else. It is simply that they should be consulted about the membership. Why should they not be consulted about the membership in this form? Would the noble Lord care to suggest independent people who have a knowledge of education in the terms of Amendment No. 9 who would be acceptable to him or to whose presence on the advisory committee he would not object?

This is not a very major amendment but it is a vestigial attempt to involve those who are most concerned with education in the setting up of the advisory committee. It forms no threat whatsoever to the Government's intentions.

Lord Renton

The noble Lord must have overlooked the fact that the amendment calls for consultation with representatives of these various people. That becomes a statutory requirement. They would therefore have to be properly constituted representatives.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

That could be on the basis that they were asked to suggest suitable independent members. That would be a minimum gesture by the Government to a democratic process.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

It is apparently intended that it should be, as my noble friend Lord Renton says, a statutory provision. Perhaps either the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, or the noble Lord on the Liberal Benches could tell me who is a suitable statutory representative of parents.

Lord Kilmarnock

It is right to say, as the noble Lord is well aware, that a body exists that has already been referred to during this Committee stage. That is the National Confederation of Parent-Teacher Associations, with over 4 million members.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

Will the noble Lord tell the Committee what percentage of the parents in this country that rather aggressive body represents?

Lord Elton

I was going to ask the noble Lord again—if I can have his attention—whether if I were to set up an organisation to represent parents of my way of thinking I should then have the statutory right to be consulted. If any noble friend was to do the same thing, what is the criterion? Does it have to be a statutory body?

Baroness Hooper

The suggestion that this amendment is in any way necessary must be nonsense. Perhaps I can reassure any noble Lord in doubt. I draw attention to the fact that the Main Committee which looked at teachers' pay and conditions in Scotland included within its membership a head teacher and a former member of an education committee. It has been a much respected committee and no such formal requirement or limitation was placed on the Main Committee.

Perhaps I can respond to the question raised by the noble Lord, Lord Kilmarnock, about the timing of the formation of the committee. On the basis of a further pay increase on 1st April 1988, the advisory committee would have to be established long enough in advance to be able to take its own first process of consultation very seriously and to make recommendations in time for the Secretary of State to have his consultations prior to 1st April next year. The committee will therefore need to be established by the early autumn, although it is a possibility that the name of the chairman of the advisory committee may be announced during the course of the summer.

Lord Parry

Am I wrong in thinking that the Secretary of State for Scotland did not find it necessary to dismantle the negotiating machinery?

Baroness Hooper

We are not talking about that. We are talking about the composition of the committee that was set up. We are proving that the possibility of choosing an independent committee lies there without any formal statutory requirement.

Lord Parry

The noble Baroness will understand that I was making the point that I should like to be in the same position as the people of Scotland.

Lord Ritchie of Dundee

I have listened carefully to the arguments and would like to make some further points in response to them. My main reason for introducing this amendment is that in the present overheated and stressful state of affairs in the teaching profession many teachers and others involved will be greatly reassured by the very use of the word "consultation". It is the absence of the word and of the idea of consultation that is causing so much anxiety about this Bill. The mere suggestion of consultation at this stage would allay a great deal of anxiety. I accept that there would be difficulties about the many bodies that would have to be consulted. My idea is simply that the Secretary of State should use those bodies to get ideas. Where else will he look for ideas? They may just come out of his head. We have all turned to interested parties and asked, "Who do you suggest?" In effect, they will be nominating members of a committee. However, the Secretary of State does not have to follow the suggestions that are made.

I believe that the noble Baroness made reference to the Secretary of State undertaking that he would appoint an independent-minded body. That seems to me to be the vaguest and most indefinite phrase. Who is to decide whether or not a body is independent-minded? How will he know what is inside their minds? If he does, he may use it to his own purposes.

The amendment to be brought forward by the Minister which has already been mentioned—the amendment providing that the persons sitting on this committee should be those who are interested in education and have some knowledge and experience of it—is altogether too vague. All of us who are parents have had some experience of education and have some knowledge of it. What is to be the criterion of that?

In all the circumstances, I should like to pursue this matter and test the opinion of the Committee.

6.52 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 5) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 75; Not-Contents, 113.

Airedale, L. David, B.
Alexander of Potterhill, L. Diamond, L.
Ardwick, L. Elwyn-Jones, L.
Aylestone, L. Ewart-Biggs, B.
Baldwin of Bewdley, E. Falkender, B.
Beswick, L. Fitt, L.
Bonham-Carter, L. Gallacher, L.
Brockway, L. Galpern, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L. Graham of Edmonton, L.
Chitnis, L. Grey, E.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L. Hampton, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L. Pitt of Hampstead, L.
Hatch of Lusby, L. Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L. [Teller.]
Hirshfield, L.
Hooson, L. Prys-Davies, L.
Howie of Troon, L. Ritchie of Dundee, L. [Teller.]
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L. Rochester, L.
John-Mackie, L. Ross of Marnock, L.
Kennet, L. Seear, B.
Kilbracken, L. Serota, B.
Kilmarnock, L. Silkin of Dulwich, L.
Kirkhill, L. Simon, V.
Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B. Stallard, L.
Lloyd of Kilgerran, L. Stedman, B.
Lockwood, B. Stewart of Fulham, L.
Longford, E. Strabolgi, L.
Lovell-Davis, L. Tordoff, L.
McCarthy, L. Turner of Camden, B.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. Underhill, L.
Milford, L. Wallace of Coslany, L.
Monkswell, L. Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Mulley, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L. Whaddon, L.
Nicol, B. White, B.
Northfield, L. Wigoder, L.
Oram, L. Williams of Elvel, L.
Parry, L. Wilson of Rievaulx, L.
Phillips, B.
Alexander of Tunis, E. Kaberry of Adel, L.
Ampthill, L. Killearn, L.
Atholl, D. Kimball, L.
Bauer, L. Kinloss, Ly.
Beaverbrook, L. Kinnoull, E.
Beloff, L. Kintore, E.
Belstead, L. Lane-Fox, B.
Boardman, L. Lauderdale, E.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Lawrence, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Layton, L.
Brentford, V. Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Bridgeman, V. Long, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Broxbourne, L. Lurgan, L.
Bruce-Gardyne, L. Macleod of Borve, B.
Butterworth, L. Manton, L.
Caithness, E. Margadale, L.
Cameron of Lochbroom, L. Marley, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L. Merrivale, L.
Campbell of Croy, L. Mersey, V.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Monk Bretton, L.
Carnock, L. Mottistone, L.
Cathcart, E. Mountevans, L.
Coleraine, L. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Colwyn, L. Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Constantine of Stanmore, L. Nathan, L.
Cox, B. Nugent of Guildford, L.
Craigavon, V. Onslow, E.
Craigmyle, L. Orkney, E.
Crawford and Balcarres, E. Orr-Ewing, L.
Davidson, V. [Teller.] Pender, L.
De La Warr, E. Penrhyn, L.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Portland, D.
Dundee, E. Rankeillour, L.
Eden of Winton, L. Renton, L.
Elliot of Harwood, B. Renwick, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L. Rochdale, V.
Elton, L. Romney, E.
Faithfull, B. Rugby, L.
Falmouth, V. St. John of Bletso, L.
Fraser of Kilmorack, L. Salisbury, M.
Glenarthur, L. Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Gridley, L. Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Henderson of Brompton, L. Selkirk, E.
Henley, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Hesketh, L. Sudeley, L.
Hives, L. Suffield, L.
Home of the Hirsel, L. Swinfen, L.
Hood, V. Teviot, L.
Hooper, B. Thorneycroft, L.
Hylton-Foster, B. Tranmire, L.
Trefgarne, L. Windlesham, L.
Trumpington, B. Wynford, L.
Vaux of Harrowden, L. Young, B.
Ward of Witley, V. Young of Graffham, L.
Westbury, L. Ypres, E.
Whitelaw, V.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

7 p.m.

Lord Ritchie of Dundee moved Amendment No. 6: Page 1, line 16, after ("an") insert ("Interim").

The noble Lord said: The amendment relates to the duration of the proposed enactment. We have already spoken about the matter this afternoon and therefore it is not necessary for me to say more than a few words.

The Secretary of State has repeatedly referred to the proposed committee as an "interim" committee and the words "interim" and "temporary" have been spoken many times in committee this afternoon. The drastic measures that the Bill proposes have been largely justified on the grounds of temporary expediency aimed at achieving an immediate peace in our classrooms before further damage is done. Noble Lords will be aware of the fact that a considerable amount of anxiety exists among teachers and education authorities and their representatives that the measures may become permanent, as have the portakabins in which they have to teach. Surely therefore it makes sense to have the temporary nature of the Bill proclaimed on the face of it at an early stage. I feel this would do much to allay mistrust and anxiety about the intentions of the Government. That is all I should like to say. I beg to move.

Baroness Hooper

It is true that we have always sought to emphasise the interim nature of the advisory committee and frequently refer to it as such. Therefore we are very happy to accept this amendment. There is a consequential amendment that may be required in Clause 6 to the definition of the term "advisory committee" which will then relate to any reference to the committee throughout the Bill. I suggest that we may be able to cope with this by tabling this evening a government amendment which could be dealt with tomorrow during the later stages of the Committee.

Lord Ritchie of Dundee

I accept that with thanks. I never quite know what to do in these circumstances; but I express my gratitude and appreciation.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Hooper

This may be a convenient moment to take a break in the proceedings. I therefore beg to move that the House do now resume.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

Before that Motion is put, perhaps the noble Baroness can indicate whether or not we shall return to this particular business before 8 o'clock.

Baroness Hooper

I should have said that the break will be until 8 o'clock. I beg to move.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.