HL Deb 27 January 1987 vol 483 cc1256-318

3.15 p.m.

Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Belstead)

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now again resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Belstead.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD ABERDARE in the Chair.]

Clause 3 [Power of Secretary of State to make provision by order]:

Lord Kilmarnock moved Amendment No. 43: Page 3, line 11, after ("1987") insert ("but not before 1st April 1987").

The noble Lord said: I put this amendment down immediately after Second Reading when I thought there may still be a spasm of life in the idea of a compromise. I thought then that the employers and the unions might go to three or four differential grades and that the Secretary of State might go a little way towards meeting the larger unions on the main professional grade. The intention of the amendment was not to remove the power to impose a settlement but to secure a stay of execution until 1st April while there was still even a shadow of hope for an agreed settlement.

The motive behind the amendment is well illustrated in an article by Anne Sofer in The Times today, pointing out the extreme difficulties of implementing and policing an imposed settlement. Also there is a very real fear that the virtual consensus which was almost miraculously achieved on conditions, covering, appraisal and so forth would almost inevitably unravel under an imposed settlement. Those fears remain.

It is, however, pretty clear now that the amendment will serve no useful purpose because the Secretary of State—if the journalists and informed opinion are to be believed—appears to be adamant and Mr. Pearman for the employers is now of the view that there is no point in further attempts at a compromise, and so I shall not press the amendment.

However, it still provides me with an opportunity to probe the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, and the Government on what the Government's attitude would be if the employers withdraw their package at the Burnham meeting on 2nd February and accept the Secretary of State's package in the overriding interests of harmony in the schools and if they were backed in this by a significant body of teachers who are anxious to see normality restored.

I am not prophesying that this will happen. In fact I think it is rather unlikely, but it is not an inconceivable scenario. If a development on these lines came about so that the Secretary of State's package became an agreed settlement, and it thus became unnecessary to trigger the imposition clause in the Bill by an order in Parliament, what would the Government's attitude be to the rest of the Bill? In return for statesmanlike restraint by the other parties in the interests of children and parents, would the Government be prepared to encourage a better atmosphere by modifying some of the other provisions in the Bill? Would they agree to a strict limit on the life of the advisory committee? Would they agree to examine carefully and constructively our proposals for the future, which we shall flesh out at Report stage? Would they seek to assure the teachers and the employers that they are genuinely anxious to have new and viable machinery in place with the minimum delay?

I know that the noble Lord will reply, or is likely to reply, by saying that I am asking hypothetical questions that he is not in a position to answer. But I am giving him the opportunity to reassure the Committee and the country of the genuine interest on the Government's part to restore peace in our schools and to allay the fears that they may be more interested in provoking disruption than in restoring peace with a view to a total remodelling of the whole educational system.

I am not saying that that is their intention, but it has been suggested in some quarters that it is. It would be extremely useful and conducive to a far better atmosphere if the noble Lord were to take this opportunity of reaffirming the Government's concern to get the system back into good working order and saying that in return for moderation—if it is possible to achieve moderation—they would not insist on all the powers they are arming themselves with in this Bill and would offer teachers the assurance of genuine and speedy consultation on the re-establishment of negotiating rights within a durable framework. I beg to move.

Lord Belstead

The noble Lord has made it clear that he is probing in this amendment. I shall try to give some information to him in answer to his first amendment. There must be a real prospect, contrary to the hypothesis that he put forward, that a resolution of the existing pay dispute will not have reached a conclusion by the time that this Bill receives Royal Assent. I emphasise, however, that the Government remain willing, within the existing pay determination processes, to seek an outcome consistent with the principles of a pay structure which provides adequate differentials and a sufficient number of incentive posts, together with an overall cost that is within the resources available which total the enormous sum of £608 million over 1986–87 and 1987–88. That will mean that over an 18-month period, if that is done, the teaching profession will have received a 25 per cent. pay increase.

These amendments would require that no such order should come into force before 1st April this year. That would mean that teachers would receive a pay increase in respect of 1st January 1987, which is when they were supposed to have got the first slice of their increase, and they would not get that first slice until a good deal later than they would have hoped. Therefore, I am not entirely surprised that the noble Lord is not pressing the amendment. There must be adequate consultation on any order, but it must be in the interests of teachers that an order is made as soon as possible so that they can get their pay increase due on 1st January as early as possible.

That was all I was going to say, but the noble Lord has asked a direct question. It was this. Suppose the pay and conditions package which my right honourable friend has put forward were suddenly to be agreed by the employers and the teacher unions, would it be necessary to go ahead with the Bill? The answer is yes. The reason is simple. As we debated at great length yesterday on Amendment No. 1, what we have to find for the future is a reliable negotiating process and that has to be worked out. It is that which we hope the Bill will make possible.

Lord Kilmarnock

I am grateful to the noble Lord for his answer. It is certainly not my intention to introduce any mechanism which would mean that teachers were delayed in receiving their first back payment. I accept what the noble Lord says: £608 million is a large sum of money and there is an increase of 25 per cent. over a period of something like two years. However, I think I heard him say it was possible that some kind of consultation would still be continuing after the Bill receives Royal Assent. I hope I understood him from that to mean that if there is any life at all in any type of consultation the Government will stay their hand.

The other point I should like to make to the noble Lord is that I was not asking whether in the event of the employers accepting Mr. Baker's package and dropping their own the Government would drop this Bill. What I was asking was whether in return for a moderate approach by the employers and the majority of the unions the Government would consider mitigating some of the harsher aspects of this Bill and dropping some of the powers which we on these Benches consider to be rather excessive, particularly its prolongation indefinitely and also what we consider to be inadequate procedures for the setting up of the advisory committee and its powers. I was not asking the noble Lord whether the Government would drop the Bill. I quite understand they would not do that and could not be expected to. I was asking whether they would look rather more carefully at some of the suggestions which the Opposition parties have made during the course of the Committee stage.

Lord Belstead

We looked with considerable care yesterday at some of the proposals that have been made in regard to the setting up of the advisory committee. I have to say to the noble Lord straight out that the Government were happy to accept some changes to the Bill, and indeed I was particularly happy that we accepted immediately the insertion of the word "interim" before "advisory committee", which the noble Lords, Lord McIntosh of Haringey and Lord Ritchie of Dundee, put forward. That shows the intentions of the Government to be as they have said that they are. This is an interim Bill. However, there were a great many other proposals put forward for the setting up of the advisory committee which I hope the noble Lord, Lord Kilmarnock, will forgive my saying were ones that we felt we could not accept.

So far as his second point is concerned in regard to the prolongation of the Bill, that is a matter we shall come to in connection with Amendment No. 55 and subsequent amendments.

Lord Kilmarnock

I am most grateful for what the noble Lord has said, and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 44 to 47 not moved.]

Baroness Hooper moved Amendment No. 48:

Page 3, line 15, after ("desirable") insert— ("( ) such bodies representing the interests of governors of voluntary schools as appear to him to be concerned,").

The noble Baroness said: This amendment has already been spoken to together with Amendment No. 33. I beg to move.

Lord Renton

I just draw attention to the fact that by the time this amendment has been made the words, as appear to him to be concerned", will have appeared three times in six lines of the Bill. Perhaps at Report stage this could be tidied up.

Baroness Hooper

We shall certainly look at that point.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 49 and 50 not moved.]

Lord Henderson of Brompton moved Amendment No. 51: Page 3, line 21, leave out from ("shall") to ("and") in line 22 and insert ("not be made unless a draft of the order has been laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament)").

The noble Lord said: This is the second of the four amendments of a parliamentary nature which I am moving. With the aid of the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, I had some success yesterday and I hope to have a little more today.

On Second Reading I said that I agreed with the drafting of Clause 3(2), which provides that where the Secretary of State substantially agrees with the advisory committee and makes an order, that order should only be subject to negative parliamentary control. On the other hand, when the Secretary of State substantially differs from or rejects the recommendations of the advisory committee he clearly has a duty to justify his difference or objection from those recommendations and accordingly should bring his order to Parliament for affirmative resolution. Clause 3(2) does just that, and the purpose of the amendment is to assimilate what I take to be that philosophy into Clause 3(7) and thus convert that subsection from the negative procedure into the affirmative procedure.

It seems to me that if it is right that the Secretary of State should bring a draft for affirmative resolution whenever he differs substantially from the advisory committee, it would be all the more desirable that orders made by him after the commencement of the Act and up to the 1st October 1987 should be subject to affirmative resolution, because the Secretary of State will be acting on his own without the benefit of any recommendations from the advisory committee, which will not by that time have been set up.

The Joint Committee on Delegated Legislation in its second report of 1972, when it was chaired by the late Lord Brooke of Cumnor, considered most carefully the question of criteria in subordinate legislation—that is to say, whether it is practicable or desirable to establish principles or criteria in subordinate legislation. That committee very reluctantly decided that it was not possible to do so, but it did—and I quote from the report— indicate some of the main features which normally attach to each of the categories of instruments".

In paragraph 40 the committee stated—and I quote again— It [that is, the affirmative procedure] would seem the appropriate procedure for cases which raise a substantial question of principle where Parliament considers that the Government should be armed positively to justify the action taken or where the Government think that Parliament should be seen to share legislative responsibility for each instrument".

The orders in question are—and these are the words in Clause 3—to, make such provision as he that is, the Secretary of State— thinks fit with respect to the remuneration and other conditions of employment of school teachers in England and Wales.

I should have thought that orders of such importance demand the affirmative procedure.

Under the Brooke Committee criteria, first, I should have thought that Parliament would consider the Government bound to justify the action positively taken; and, secondly, I should have thought that the Secretary of State would wish that Parliament should be seen to share legislative responsibility with him for each instrument. This is one of the means by which the Secretary of State can rebut the charge of taking dictatorial powers, and surely it helps him to carry the country and the teaching profession with him if Parliament is seen to share with him in the legislative authority. It is for that reason that I beg to move.

3.30 p.m.

Lord Belstead

Naturally I listen carefully to what the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, says so far as concerns questions of parliamentary procedure. Indeed, when the noble Lord speaks on other matters I also listen carefully. But there is a point here which the noble Lord has not perhaps brought out in his words and that is concerned with what, as the days go by, will become of increasing urgency; that is, to get the first slice of the very substantial pay increase to the recipients, the teaching profession, who quite rightly expect that it should have been paid on time, which was to have been the first pay day of this year, though clearly it will be later than that. I say that by way of background. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said that nonetheless that ought to be decided this year by the affirmative resolution procedure, come what may.

The second point I should like to make is that I do not think the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, in referring to the general rules of the affirmative and negative resolution procedures contradicted what I have always understood to be the generally received wisdom, which is that the affirmative procedure should be used only when it is clearly necessary; that it should not be the absolute rule and that it should be used when it is thought to be right and proper.

In that context, may I just say that we have obviously looked with some care at the places in the Bill where affirmative and negative resolution procedures have been proposed. We shall probably come to one of those in about an hour's time when both the noble Lord and indeed the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, have amendments down for affirmative resolution in the event of the Bill's life being extended. Although I do not think I ought to say anything ahead of the speeches to be made on those important amendments, because the Government will want to hear what is the feeling of the Committee, certainly those amendments ought to be looked at with very careful consideration.

But I think that the position is different here. The Government's proposals for this year's pay increases and the proposals in the ACAS document, which are different, are well known. They have been discussed exhaustively in another place. They were discussed at Second Reading in this Chamber and we went through again and again the difference of view as to how the enormous sum of £608 million ought to be distributed, during the first day of our Committee stage throughout the whole of yesterday.

The point I should like to get across is that I believe, and the Government believe, that this money, which ought to give all teachers better pay but should also be used to improve the structure of teachers' pay, should be paid as promptly as possible. The pay rise, when it is paid, will of course be backdated to 1st January, but the fact is that this amendment could well mean that there is some enforced delay and I do not think that would be in the teachers' interests.

Perhaps I may add one word more. In saying that I think in this particular case we ought to stick to the negative resolution procedure, that does not mean that this year's very generous pay increase will not be discussed. As I said, in both Houses of Parliament there have been long debates. In both Houses of Parliament there will be the opportunity provided by the negative resolution procedure. Nobody can prevent noble Lords or honourable Members in another place praying against an order subject to the negative procedure. Outside Parliament, after the Bill is passed, my right honourable friend must under the terms of the Bill consult the local authorities, the teacher unions and the voluntary school interests before proceeding to make an order at all.

But if the order is subject to the negative procedure my right honourable friend can make the order, and local authorities can make their arrangements for getting the money across to the teachers. If the order has to be laid in draft and is subject to approval, as I have said, there will be a longer period for teachers to wait for their first pay increase. I think that is of some importance and it is one of the reasons, but only one, why I feel that on this occasion I cannot accept the noble Lord's amendment.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I think all Members of the Committee share the Government's wish for any award made this year to be agreed as soon as possible so that teachers may know what it is they can expect; and if they are anything like me and have already spent any award, they need not wait too long to repay the debts that they have incurred. But I am surprised at the noble Lord's interpretation of the difference in time between the negative and affirmative resolution procedures, because both procedures are surely subject to the scrutiny of the joint committee. In that there is no difference.

The difference is that under the negative procedure the orders must be laid and must await the full 40 days, if necessary, before they are prayed against. I may have this totally wrong. But if there is a positive procedure it is open to the Government to introduce them very rapidly after they are first brought in, to get them out of the way and shorten the period. Surely the boot is on the other foot.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

As I said last night, I have great sympathy with most of the views of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson of Brompton, who in another capacity guided noble Lords with such skill and judgment over a great many years. But I am sorry to say that on this occasion in respect of this amendment I cannot support him. We are dealing only with a very short-term question, the time between now and 1st October, and the practical point which the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, has ducked is the question of timing.

If you have to rely on the affirmative procedure, you cannot do anything until you have not only tabled the Motions but taken them in both Houses. When both Houses are sitting there is still the problem—and the noble Viscount the Leader of the House knows this better than anybody—of finding time in the parliamentary programme for taking them. Our experience on this Bill is that matters relating to teachers' salaries do not exactly pass on the nod. Quite obviously there will have to be a substantial time allocated for discussion of the order.

Then there is the problem, on which the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, did not touch, of what happens when the House is in recess. The House will be in recess at Easter; the House will be in recess, I hope, at Whitsun, and the House will be very substantially in recess for the two months before the very date when the change in procedure takes place on 1st October. Therefore there seems to be no doubt at all that if the Committee were to decide on the suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson of Brompton, to go for the affirmative procedure, there would be some delay.

It is difficult to quantify it because one has to work out exactly when the final decisions will be taken, but there would be some delay as compared with the negative procedure. Is that really desirable? We were talking about this at great length yesterday and I think all Members of the Committee agreed that we want to see some peace and stability in the educational world. To keep the salaries question alive even for a few days more than is necessary is surely a mistake and one that will not help the atmosphere in the schools. Therefore, for this interim period—and I say nothing about the further matters which will arise—one seems to be pushing a point of principle to an impractical length in demanding the affirmative procedure.

What is the reality of this? It is inconceivable that, whether on the affirmative or negative procedure, your Lordships' House or for that matter, dare I say it? another place would reject the scheme put forward. If they did reject the scheme it woud be to defer for a very long time indeed the—in the view of some of us perhaps almost over-generous—increase in teachers' salaries which my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education is providing. If the order were rejected, either on the affirmative or the negative procedure, then the whole machinery would have to start again and another order taking account of the views expressed in Parliament would have to be produced. I venture to say that that would take us well towards the crucial date of 1st October. So, whichever procedure you have, there is no reality in the suggestion that the interim measure for the increase in salaries will be rejected.

Therefore I would have thought it was a mistake to strain at abstract principle, to strain at the decisions of the Committee presided over by our late noble friend Lord Brooke of Cumnor, and to go for the affirmative when all the practical reasons and the desirability of getting this settled as quickly as possible point to leaving the Bill as it is.

Lord Glenamara

I should like to support the noble Lord, Lord Henderson of Brompton. This is the old argument which we have all heard many times as between the affirmative procedure and the negative procedure. Normally I should have thought that this was a case for the negative procedure but I think there are two special circumstances. The first is that this affects a very large number of citizens. There are over 400,000 teachers, so it is not a small body of people, it is a very large number. That is one reason why I think it is a special case.

The second reason is because we have all heard on every side about the despair, almost, in the schools and their extremely low morale. If teachers felt that their pay settlement proposed by the Minister was being examined by both Houses of Parliament, I think it would reassure them. There are two commodities which are in short supply for every government in this country. One is money and the other is parliamentary time. I am quite sure that the only argument against this from the Government's point of view comes from the people who organise the programme, the business managers in both Houses of Parliament. The noble Viscount, Lord Whitelaw, and I have both been Chief Whips in the other place, we have both been leaders of the House in the other place. I know governments resist even a two-hour debate and any amendment or proposal which would lead to another two-hour debate in either House, but that is all it would mean; two hours after 10 o'clock in the other place and two hours here, and I am quite sure it would help to reassure the teachers.

It is always difficult for a Minister to climb down and go back on what he has said, but I hope very much that the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, will look at this again. It will not cost the Government anything; it will be rather troublesome for Ministers to have to do two short debates, but that is neither here nor there. It is a very small price to pay if it helps to reassure the teachers in the schools, which I am sure it would do.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

If the noble Lord has concluded, would he address his mind to this point? He put some weight on both Houses or either House of Parliament debating the matter and thought that that might reassure the teachers. Can he tell the Committee what is to prevent us using the negative procedure, a prayer being put down for annulment in either House, so facilitating that discussion, but without the delay involved in the affirmative procedure?

3.45 p.m.

Lord Kilmarnock

I think, if I may say so, that the argument against the negative procedure is the one advanced by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, when he said that the Secretary of State is, over this period, in the unique position of acting entirely alone. He has not yet had the benefit of his advisory body coming into being. So, over a period of something like six or seven months, he is acting entirely alone and entirely on his own say-so. Furthermore, the type of order that he is introducing or will be introducing will be breaking new ground. That would seem to me to be another important argument in favour of the affirmative procedure.

As far as the question of the back pay to teachers is concerned, the amount of back pay that teachers will receive will not in any way be affected by a very short delay, even if such a delay were necessary, as the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, has suggested. I think it is very likely the case, as the noble Lord, Lord Glenamara, has suggested, that teachers might much prefer Parliament to be keeping a proper eye on these very unusual arrangements for their pay, rather than having matters run through on the negative procedure. On all those grounds we would support the noble Lord if he chooses to press this.

Lord Elton

The noble Lord, Lord Glenamara, referred to what has repeatedly been called in this debate the "despair" of the teachers, and I think he intended to lay that despair at the door of the Government. The despair of the teachers springs to a large extent today from the fact that £56 million of Government money is available now, this year and £200 million of Government money will be available next year.

Burnham has been wrangling for two years; the committee appointed to sort out the negotiations has been wrangling for six years and they still cannot get the money. Therefore, I think the argument of my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter that anything which delays the payment will add to the despair is a good one.

I would also ask the Committee to consider the purpose of affirmative orders, as I understood them when I was a Minister. That was in very large part that nothing should be able to be slipped past an unsuspecting House of Parliament because it was not expecting it and had not bothered to look at the papers in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. Nothing could possibly have been given more publicity than this particular order. Every Member of your Lordships' House is now thinking about it with concentrated intellect. That has been the case in another place as well. There is no vestige of a possibility of this not being debated if your Lordships' House wishes it or if it is wanted in another place. So I hope that my noble friend Lord Belstead, if he is even tempted to consider climbing down or backing off, will bear in mind that this will not in any way help the teachers but will slightly clog the parliamentary programme.

Lord Parry

The intervention by the noble Lord, Lord Elton, shows the difficulty of coming to grips with the situation that over a very long time has caused increasing disillusion and disappointment within the schools, to the point of despair. It shows that we have firmly fixed in our minds the question of the money, and the amount of money that is made available, as quite basic to that despair. In one sense it certainly is.

But far more important in the staff-rooms of Great Britain is the feeling that teachers have seen the estimation of society of the contribution that they make to the development of society eroded since the high point of 1945. Even the great payments that have been made—and there are trig points there and they are represented on the Bench to my left by Lord Houghton of Sowerby—have left teachers disillusioned about the view that society holds of the contribution which the best—and there are so many of them—make to society. Every time we debate we do so in the context of what the sum of money should be and how it shall be dished out. I think this falls short of what this House should be addressing itself to.

That is why it is important in this debate that technical measures suggested by people who know the workings of the parliamentary system and who are perhaps not committed to the defence of particular parties and their achievements in office, either now or in the past, should be relied on. In my opinion, we should follow their guidance in this amendment.

Lord Ross of Marnock

If ever there was a case for an affirmative Motion, this is it. We have been concerned about the Government taking powers. Now we are talking about how the Government will use those powers. With all due respect to the Minister, although he said that we had talked about this on Second Reading and the rest of it we have not seen the fruits of the Government's first consideration. These will be the first scales produced by the Government. The noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, said that nothing moves speedily in this Chamber when we talk about education. The chances are that we shall never see this matter unless we have an affirmative Motion, because it will be said to us, "It has been debated and decided in another place".

What kind of debate will there be in the other place? These are not the old days when it was as easy as ABC to get up and talk all through the night. The debate will be limited to two hours. Consider the importance of the debate which we had yesterday. This is a most important matter, with the Government producing their plan.

Perhaps I may tell the Minister that it has already been decided in Scotland what will be done, which is that they will negotiate in relation to anomalies within the structure. If there has been delay in this matter, I blame the Government. Far more flexibility has been shown in Scotland. Malcolm Rifkind has much to his credit, as compared to what is happening here. The Government have almost created the stalemate in England, and, having created it, the Government plead the stalemate to obtain power. In order to get that power, they say that it is a matter of urgency.

I am not familiar with English salary scales. But when I went into another place 33 years ago, the salary scales for Scotland were produced in the way that is sought in this amendment. That was the normal way of doing things. To plead urgency suits the Government and the civil servants. From the point of view of getting matters through the Chamber quickly, we must look at how quickly this Bill went through another place just the other week. No time was wasted at all. That is the last argument we should listen to.

It is important that we should be able to see, to discuss fully and to check the Government's actions against their promises in relation to this new procedure. If ever there was a case for an affirmative Motion, it is this one. I hope that we shall support the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, in this amendment.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

I briefly rise to support this amendment. The clause provides that the Secretary of State should make such provision as he thinks fit. There is no question of working out some implementing machinery which lies within the statute itself. This is the introduction of a new provision without reference to a pre-existing statutory formula. In those circumstances, the Committee may well think that the affirmative resolution is more appropriate than the negative resolution.

Lord Alexander of Potterhill

There is one point which I think we should not miss. This will be the first time for a hundred years that the Secretary of State has imposed not merely an amount of money but also the salaries, the detailed structure of those salaries and detailed conditions of service upon teachers. This is a major event in the history of education. I cannot believe that it does not justify the procedure which my noble friend Lord Henderson has suggested.

Lord Belstead

I was interested in the intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock. He said that agreement had been reached in Scotland, where things are done so well. I agree with the noble Lord. The Committee will wish to be aware that the pay arrangements which my right honourable friend is proposing for England are very much akin to the arrangements which have been agreed in Scotland.

Lord Ross of Marnock

No, they are not.

Lord Belstead

There is no problem there. They are not exactly the same but they are certainly akin, and my right honourable friend was delighted to see the conclusion of the arrangements in Scotland. That is the first point.

The second point I should make is that everybody, both inside and outside Parliament, knows the extent of the pay offer made by my right honourable friend. It is unparalleled at £608 million. Indeed, I must make a point which has not been made during the proceedings on this Bill. That offer will restore in real terms the position of teachers, which has suffered very much after a period in the 1970s following the report of the noble Lord, Lord Houghton. This will be a real increase, as is only right.

We must get this money into the pockets of the teaching profession, and my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter has put his finger on the crucial issue; that is, that if we use the negative resolution procedure in this case it will be possible for the local authorities to get on with it once the order has been laid in draft. If the affirmative procedure is used, we shall have to wait for debates in both Houses. As my noble friend said, we shall also have to wait for the recess days which Parliament is having.

If I may say so to the noble Lord, Lord Glenamara, it is not a matter of government convenience. On this occasion it is a matter of thinking of actually getting the money to the teaching profession. As a final word, I remind the Committee that using the negative resolution procedure in this particular case does not mean that there will not be further discussions over and above the discussion going on in the Committee at the present time. There will of course be the discussion not only on a prayer on the negative resolution procedure, if that is thought proper by noble Lords or by the Members of another place; my right honourable friend must also statutorily, under this Bill, consult the local authorities, the teachers' unions and the voluntary school interests before proceeding to make an order.

I beg the Committee to take on board the first thing I said, which is that the Government are not trying to be stiffnecked about this. There are amendments which appear later in the Marshalled List regarding the extension of the Bill being subject to an affirmative resolution procedure. I can make no promises on behalf of the Government as to whether we can accept them. But I give an undertaking that when we come to those matters in about an hour we shall look at those amendments very carefully indeed. I think that there could very well be a case there. But in the interests of teachers, I think that here the case is not apparent.

Lord Henderson of Brompton

Before the noble Lord sits down, perhaps he can help me. I think that the only argument he advanced so far for rejecting the amendment, which has been supported by the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, is the delay in the payment to teachers if there were to be affirmative rather than negative resolution procedures. Could the Minister kindly say how much delay there would be? I think that information would help the Committee to make up its mind.

Lord Belstead

The amount of delay depends on whether one runs into the Easter Recess, the Whitson Recess, or (as I sincerely hope will not happen) the Summer Recess. The procedure on negative resolution is that the order can be made as soon as consultation is concluded. The order can then be laid before Parliament and brought into force. That means that everybody, including local authorities, can get on with it. The affirmative resolution procedure, as my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter has so rightly said, must wait upon not only the laying of the order but also upon debates in both Houses of Parliament.

Baroness Seear

Given that the Bill will no doubt go through soon, surely the Minister can give us an assurance that there is no reason why the order cannot be laid early in the summer. Is there anything to be done once the Bill has gone through? What could possibly delay it until the autumn? I accept the point that if it does not come in until September, then there would be problems. Is there any risk that that will not be done by the summer?

Lord Belstead

I may say that I am surprised at the intervention of the noble Baroness. She spent the whole of yesterday saying that the Government are trying to railroad their views through and will not listen to other people. Whenever the Bill goes through, the one thing that my right honourable friend will try to do, leaving aside the procedures on the Bill, is to reach agreement with both sides in the education service on the way in which this huge sum of £608 million should be distributed. How long that will take I simply cannot tell the noble Baroness, but I can say that my noble friend will try.

4 p.m.

Lord Glenamara

The noble Lord's main argument is about time. There is no substance in it, as those of us who have arranged government business know. If the order were made today, two two-hour debates could be fitted in next week. It could go to the Privy Council next week or the week after and the matter could he dealt with very quickly. There is no problem at all. What is he talking about when he says that there is going to be delay? There is no delay at all.

Lord Belstead

Perhaps I may say a final word from this side. With respect, I wish that the noble Lord, Lord Glenamara, would sometimes listen to what is being said. There is no way that the order can be made today because there is clearly a responsibility upon my right honourable friend, regardless of what happens with the Bill under discussion, to try to reach agreement if he can possibly do so with both sides of the education service on how this unprecedented sum of money should be distributed. It is not possible for me, or indeed for any other noble Lord, to say how long that will take. It is for this reason that I had to give that answer to the noble Baroness, Lady Seear.

Lord Glenamara

I am sorry that the noble Lord thinks that neither the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, nor I listen. I listen perhaps too carefully to what he is saying. I did not say that the order is going to be made today. I said if the order were made today.

Let me put it more clearly. The Minister will make an order on a day some time in the future. Surely the Government business managers plan ahead. They know that he is going to make it. They can be planning for the two debates in the week after he makes it. He can go to the Privy Council in that week. There is no problem at all. I have been Lord President of the Council and I know the mechanism involved. If it is made on one day the whole thing can be got through in the following week without difficulty. There is no substance in either the Minister's point or in the point of the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

The noble Lord is good enough to say that there is no substance in my point. Will he now condescend to answer the question that I put to him at the end of his earlier speech, which he conspicuously did not answer. Why cannot his belief, which is a quite reasonable one, that teachers may wish to have some discussion in Parliament on this matter be adequately met on the negative procedure by way of prayers in both Houses? Although the noble Lord, Lord Houghton, is right that in another place that could only be two hours, in your Lordships' happier House it can take a very long time indeed. Why is that not adequate?

Lord Glenamara

I do not know why I have to give an answer to the noble Lord, but if he wants to know, I am sure that the teachers will be much more reassured if we write into the Bill a requirement for a short debate in both Houses on the order when it is made, as I hope we will on subsequent orders. The negative procedure relies on a Member in one House or the other putting down a prayer. I am sure that the teachers would much prefer us to write into the Bill now the requirement that there shall be a short debate in both Houses, especially on this initial order and I hope very much on subsequent ones as well.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

Does the noble Lord really believe that there would not be a prayer? Would he not put one down himself?

Lord Monkswell

Perhaps I may intervene in this two-way debate. It appears to me—and I am open to correction by the Minister—that with the negative procedure the order has to be laid and then there has to be a period of delay during which a prayer can be laid. I believe that the period is 21 days. That is what one might call an automatic procedure. With the affirmative procedure, the order having been made, it can be debated within the week—within seven days as opposed to waiting 21 days. That decision will rest with the Government's business managers. I cannot speak for the Whips on this side of the Committee but I cannot conceive of a situation in which, if there was a requirement to pass it quickly, they would resist the Government's wish to hold a debate on this subject within a week of laying the order.

Given the way we debate orders in this Chamber and the Government's position in another place, I cannot conceive of a situation whereby the order would not be passed. The reality is that it is in the Government's hands to speed up the process and to pay this money more quickly.

Lord Belstead

This is the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and I think we ought to proceed to a conclusion. The reality is that the noble Lord, Lord Monkswell, has been talking about a crisis procedure. As was set out by my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter, if you use the negative resolution procedure, once you have laid the order everybody, including the local authorities, can get on with it. That is in the interests of the teaching profession. If you use the affirmative procedure you have to wait in both Houses until after the laying of the order and until after a period has gone by. Then you have to have debates, and you must also allow for extra time if recesses come into the matter. This factor could be quite significant.

As I said, the Government are not just trying to be stiff-necked in this case. We shall look carefully at the affirmative resolution procedure on which amendments have been tabled a little later in the Bill, but in the interests of the teaching profession I genuinely think that in this case the negative resolution procedure is the correct one.

Lord Henderson of Brompton

It is beguiling of the Minister to give some indication of a rather broader approach to future amendments, and we look forward to that change of approach. But I do not think that it should influence the Committee on this amendment. Only one argument has been advanced against it and that is the amount of delay. It has been authoritatively stated by the noble Lord, Lord Glenamara, and others, that the delay would be a matter of only a few days and perhaps a week. I cannot believe that this small delay should weigh in the balance against the tremendous confidence which would accrue to the whole process of this Bill if this small amendment were made and the teachers knew that the Secretary of State was sharing with Parliament the responsibility for making these amendments before the advisory committee is set up.

I am not pushing a point of principle. I am not straining at an abstract principle. I assure the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, that I am balancing these two factors. I find the factor of delay so slight that it does not balance the factor of good will which would be injected into the Bill by changing from negative to affirmative. I therefore wish to press the amendment.

4.8 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 51) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 112; Not-Contents, 145.

Airedale, L. Graham of Edmonton, L.
Alexander of Potterhill, L. Grey, E.
Alport, L. Grimond, L.
Amherst, E. Hampton, L.
Ampthill, L. Hayter, L.
Ardwick, L. Henderson of Brompton, L. [Teller.]
Baldwin of Bewdley, E.
Banks, L. Heycock, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Hirshfield, L.
Birk, B. Hooson, L.
Blyton, L. Houghton of Sowerby, L.
Bottomley. L. Hunt, L.
Briginshaw, L. Ilchester, E.
Broadbridge, L. Irving of Dartford, L.
Brockway, L. Jacques, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L. Jeger, B.
Bruce of Donington, L. Jenkins of Putney, L.
Buckmaster, V. Kearton, L.
Burton of Coventry, B. Kilbracken, L.
Campbell of Eskan, L. Kilmarnock, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L. Kings Norton, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Chitnis, L. Leatherland, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.
Cudlipp, L.
David, B. Lloyd of Kilgerran, L.
Dean of Beswick, L. Lockwood, B.
Denington, B. McGregor of Durris, L.
Diamond, L. McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. McNair, L.
Mais, L.
Dowding, L. Milford, L.
Elwyn-Jones, L. Mishcon, L.
Ennals, L. Monkswell, L.
Ewart-Biggs, B. Morton of Shuna, L.
Falkender, B. Mulley, L.
Falkland, V. Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Fisher of Rednal, B.
Gallacher, L. Nicol, B.
Galpern, L. Northfield, L.
Gladwyn, L. Ogmore, L.
Glenamara, L. Oram, L.
Paget of Northampton, L. Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Parry, L. Stallard, L.
Phillips, B. Stedman, B.
Pitt of Hampstead, L. Stewart of Fulham, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L. [Teller.] Strauss, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Prys-Davies, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Raglan, L. Tordoff, L.
Ritchie of Dundee, L. Turner of Camden, B.
Rochester, L. Underhill, L.
Ross of Marnock, L. Wallace of Coslany, L.
Rugby, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Seear, B. Whaddon, L.
Sefton of Garston, L. Williams of Elvel, L.
Serota, B. Willis, L.
Shepherd, L. Wilson of Langside, L.
Simon, V. Winstanley, L.
Ailesbury, M. Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Aldington, L. Harvington, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E. Hemphill, L.
Allen of Abbeydale, L Henley, L.
Allerton, L. Hesketh, L.
Arran, E. Hives, L.
Atholl, D. Hood, V.
Auckland, L. Hooper, B.
Beaverbrook, L. Hylton-Foster, B.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Ironside, L.
Bellwin, L. Kaberry of Adel, L.
Beloff, L. Killearn, L.
Belstead, L. Kimball, L.
Blake, L. Kinloss, Ly.
Blyth, L. Kinnaird, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Kintore, E.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Knollys, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Lauderdale, E.
Broxbourne, L. Layton, L.
Bruce-Gardyne, L. Lloyd of Hampstead, L.
Butterworth, L. Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, E.
Byron, L.
Caithness, E. Loch, L.
Cameron of Lochbroom, L. Long, V.
Lovat, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L. Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Lurgan, L.
Chelmer, L. Lyell, L.
Clitheroe, L. MacLehose of Beoch, L.
Coleraine, L. Macleod of Borve, B.
Cork and Orrery, E. Manton, L.
Cottesloe, L. Margadale, L.
Cowley, E. Marley, L.
Cox, B. Marshall of Leeds, L.
Cranbrook, E. Maude of Stratford-upon-Avon, L.
Crawford and Balcarres, E.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L. Merrivale, L.
Davidson, V. [Teller.] Mersey, V.
De Freyne, L. Milverton, L.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Molson, L.
Dormer, L. Monson, L.
Dulverton, L. Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Dundee, E. Morris, L.
Effingham, E. Mottistone, L.
Ellenborough, L. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Elliot of Harwood, B. Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L. Norfolk, D.
Elton, L. Nugent of Guildford, L.
Faithfull, B. Orkney, E.
Fanshawe of Richmond, L. Orr-Ewing, L.
Ferrier, L. Pender, L.
Fortescue, E. Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Fraser of Kilmorack, L. Porritt, L.
Gainford, L. Portland, D.
Gardner of Parkes, B. Quinton, L.
Gibson-Watt, L. Rankeillour, L.
Glanusk, L. Reay, L.
Glenarthur, L. Renton, L.
Gray of Contin, L. Rochdale, V.
Greenway, L. Romney, E.
Gridley, L. St. Davids, V.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. Saint Levan, L.
Saint Oswald, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly. Tranmire, L.
Sanderson of Bowden, L. Trumpington, B.
Sandford, L. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Seebohm, L. Vickers, B.
Selkirk, E. Whitelaw, V.
Sempill, Ly. Wise, L.
Skelmersdale, L. Wolfson, L.
Slim, V. Wynford, L.
Stanley of Alderley, L. Young, B.
Suffield, L. Young of Graffham, L.
Teynham, L. Ypres, E.
Thorneycroft, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

4.18 p.m.

Lord Kilmarnock moved Amendment No. 52: Page 3, line 26, at end insert ("but shall not include any provision in respect of any period after 31st March 1988.").

The noble Lord said: This amendment bites on the same part of the Bill. At present there is no time limit on the provision that may be introduced in the first—and, presumably, the only—order that the Secretary of State will introduce under Clause 3(6), which empowers him to make an immediate imposed settlement without consultation with the advisory committee, which indeed is unlikely even to have been formed. In theory, therefore, and in practice for that matter, the Secretary of State could impose the pay and conditions of teachers for, say, three years ahead in a single order, and the advisory committee would then not have a role in considering and responding to the Secretary of State's intentions.

The Government may well assure us that the advisory committee will start its deliberations as soon as possible and that the Secretary of State will not use his powers to the full. Nonetheless, the power exists in the Bill as drafted. The amendment would restrict the Secretary of State's power to impose the pay and conditions for 1986–87, which is provided for retrospectively in Clause 3(8), and for 1987–88, that is, the coming pay year starting shortly on 1st April. For the following year, 1988–89, it will be clear on the face of the Bill that he would have to consult his committee.

I believe that this would go some way towards reassuring teachers. It is possibly an oversight that the clause is drafted as it is; but even if that is not the case the Government should have no difficulty in accepting this amendment if they genuinely intend the advisory committee to have a real role to play from October 1987. I beg to move.

Lord Belstead

This amendment would mean that the first order made by my right honourable friend after the passage of the Bill cannot include any provision in respect of any period after 31st March 1988. I suspect, and having heard the noble Lord I think I now know, that he wants clarification of the Government's intentions as regards teachers' pay for the period after 31st March 1988. In that respect I can give an assurance that my right honourable friend's proposals for teachers' pay, like their Scottish counterparts, are designed to run up to 31st March 1988 and no later. The next date for reviewing teachers' pay would be 1st April 1988 and I presume that teachers would then revert to a normal settlement date of 1st April. The first order would not therefore contain any provisions on pay which are designed to run beyond 31st March 1988.

The noble Lord then asked: why not write it into the Bill? There is a reason, and it is a sensible reason. An order may, as the noble Lord will know, also cover conditions of employment other than pay. If a satisfactory definition of teachers' duties can be arrived at—and my right honourable friend has said that he is basically content with the definition in the ACAS document—there seems no reason to disturb it at 31st March 1988.

I see no reason why conditions of employment should not continue indefinitely during the life of the Act, but that is something which the noble Lord's amendment would forbid. That is why I ask the noble Lord not to press his amendment. I hope that the absolute assurance I have given the noble Lord will be sufficient to persuade him that his amendment is correctly conceived and that he agrees with the position in principle.

Lord Kilmarnock

Yes, I thought I had put my finger on a technical hitch in the Bill and I certainly welcome the noble Lord's assurance that the first order will not contain any settlement which will run beyond 31st March 1988. I welcome and accept that assurance from the noble Lord.

I also confess to the noble Lord that I did not in fact consider the question of conditions, but I think he is perfectly right in saying that it would be reasonable for the Secretary of State to lay down conditions, if they can be agreed, which will run for a further period. Obviously we do not want conditions changed. Therefore I entirely accept the noble Lord's explanation of the Government's intention and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 53 not moved.]

Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.

Baroness Cox moved Amendment No. 54: After Clause 3, insert the following new clause:

("Arrangements for settling remuneration and other conditions of employment of teachers in further education.

.—(1) Any arrangements for settling for the whole of England and Wales any matter relating to the remuneration and other conditions of employment of teachers in further education, or any description of such teachers, shall be such that every organisation which—

  1. (a) was represented immediately before the passing of this Act on the Burnham Further Education Committee, and
  2. (b) has members whose conditions of employment may be affected
is afforded a reasonable opportunity of participating in the process.

(2) The "Burnham Further Education Committee" means the committee set up in pursuance of section 1 of the Remuneration of Teachers Act 1965 to consider the remuneration payable to teachers in further education.

(3) It is the duty of the parties to any such arrangements to take any steps necessary to secure that the requirements of this secion are complied with.

(4) This section applies to arrangements notwithstanding that they were made before the passing of this Act and any steps required to be taken in relation to such arrangements shall be taken before anything is done in pursuance of the arrangements after the passing of this Act.").

The noble Baroness said: In moving this amendment I shall speak also to Amendment No. 74. I must declare an interest as a member of the Association of Polytechnic Teachers. It is necessary for me to identify that interest as the main objective behind this amendment is to ensure the continuing representation of the APT on any bodies set up to represent higher and further education following the dismantling of the Burnham Further Education Committee.

The Bill does not make explicit what machinery is envisaged to take over from the present Burnham Further Education Committee, but it must be noted that despite its name that committee was not concerned only with further education but also with all non-university higher education, including staff teaching at degree and post-graduate level and undertaking research. If, as was indicated in another place, the present informal and ad hoc national joint council is to take on the task of negotiations for public sector higher and further education, this amendment is very important, because at present that body excludes the APT and attempts by the APT to obtain recognition have frequently been rebuffed.

In making the case for legal provision for the continuing recognition of the APT as a negotiating body entitled to a place in any new negotiating machinery, the following points need to be emphasised. First, the APT had to fight a very hard battle indeed to obtain a place on the Burnham Further Education Committee—a battle which it eventually won in 1981. The arguments which eventually prevailed then still hold. The APT is a relatively small union but it represents a significant proportion—between 20 per cent. and 25 per cent.—of the teaching staff in the polytechnics and colleges of higher education. The policies of the APT attempt to ensure that the staff in the public sector who teach at degree and post-graduate level and who undertake research obtain adequate remuneration and conditions of service.

That is particularly important because the Council for National Academic Awards requires the non-university sector degrees to be comparable both in status and in standards with their university counterparts. If staff of an appropriate calibre are to be attracted to the polytechnics and colleges of higher education they must be offered comparable salaries and opportunities for research.

However, NATFE, which is a much bigger union and represents the majority of staff in further education colleges, naturally reflects its interests and adopts a much more egalitarian approach in negotiations on salaries. This distinction between egalitarianism and more differentiated salary structures is a theme which features elsewhere in our discussions on this Bill. The Committee is aware that the Government have favoured greater diversification of teachers' salaries in order to reward differences in responsibilities and qualifications. In this the APT philosophy is entirely in keeping with the philosophy of this Bill.

However, in order to understand the rather urgent necessity for this amendment it is important for the Committee to be aware of the history of antagonism shown by NATFE and some of the LEAs to the full recognition of the APT. For example, NATFE fiercely opposed the inclusion of the APT on the Burnham Further Education Committee. Even after the APT had won a place on that committee, when its representatives attended the first meeting the NATFE representatives walked out of that meeting. That is hardly an atmosphere conducive to constructive collaboration.

I am afraid that at college level similar obstructive attitudes are to be found. For example, when a health and safety committee had to be set up at the polytechnic of North London the NATFE representatives refused to sit in the same room as the APT members. Therefore two separate health and safety committees had to be established to serve the one college, one with APT representatives and one with NATFE members. This ludicrous and, I am afraid, long-lasting situation is a symptom of NATFE's intransigent refusal or reluctance to recognise or cooperate with the APT.

I mention these unhappy examples not to be provocative but because they indicate a lack of good will which has characterised relations in the past and the fact that the APT cannot be reassured by anything less than a legal provision for its continuing recognition in the future. Without this amendment there is a real danger that it might be excluded from national negotiations in the future.

I just add, in conclusion, that the professional contribution of the APT has been immensely valuable to the development of higher education in the non-university sector. The APT has never taken industrial action even at a time when NATFE has been on strike. As I said, the APT represents a section of staff in the non-university higher education sector whose interests need effective representation if it is to be able to fulfil that very important remit of providing higher education at the standard that was envisaged by Anthony Crosland when he established the polytechnics in their present form with a remit offering higher education that was different from but equal to the university sector.

While I do not fail to appreciate the great importance of all the other aspects of further education in the public sector colleges, I believe that their interests are effectively served by NATFE and other unions. The APT has a complementary and distinctive role which is of the greatest importance, and I urge the Committee to offer the association the protection that it deserves and needs. I beg to move.

4.30 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The noble Baroness speaks with great personal experience and has performed a valuable service in bringing this matter to the attention of the Committee. Certainly it is the case that the arrangements proposed in Clause 1 for the settlement of the pay and conditions of service of teachers in further education: by provisions agreed between, or settled in a manner agreed between, the teachers and their employers", cannot mean a continuation of the existing procedures. It cannot mean that the Burnham FE committee continues in the same form as now with an informal national joint committee. To that extent we must be sympathetic to the objectives behind the amendment of the noble Baroness.

However, there are a number of difficulties about the amendment and I think it is necessary to draw them to the attention of the Committee. The main problem is that the noble Baroness is relying too much on the existing Burnham machinery, under which the only two unions that are represented are NATFE and the Association of Polytechnic Teachers. But these are not the only unions which represent teachers in further education. After all, there are members of the National Association of Head Teachers and of the Professional Association of Teachers working in further education. The noble Baroness herself referred to the position of the Professional Association of Teachers, but her amendment would not make it possible for those members, if there were enough of them—and I do not know the numbers at all; I understand there are about 2,800 in the Association of Polytechnic Teachers—to secure representation on any negotiating machinery. There are also the more specialised bodies, such as the Association of Principals of Colleges, the National Society for Education in Art and Design and the Association of Agricultural Education Staffs. The amendment of the noble Baroness would exclude all these associations from the negotiating machinery because they are not now represented on Burnham and because her amendment requires that they should be represented on Burnham and have members whose conditions of employment may be affected.

That is only one part of the problem. The other part is that it is Members sitting opposite, and those on the government Back Benches in particular, who have been complaining about fragmentation of the representation of teachers and that one of the difficulties in reaching an agreement on the pay of school teachers was that there have been too many unions concerned. One of their complaints about my amendment to establish a national joint council was that it perpetuated the fragmented representation of teachers. Thai is exactly the effect of the amendment of the noble Baroness.

The other organisations to which I referred represent, it could be said, particular sections of teachers in further education. On the other hand, the Association of Polytechnic Teachers does not represent any particular interest within the group of polytechnic teachers. It simply represents those who do not want to belong to NATFE and who happen to work in polytechnics. I think it is necessary for the noble Baroness to say a little more clearly why she thinks that only the Association of Polytechnic Teachers should be treated in this way and how the problem of fragmentation of teacher representation in negotiations in further education is to be avoided.

Lord Kilmarnock

I think I am right in saying that it was the noble Lord, Lord Beloff (who will be speaking in a moment) who first placed this problem before Members at Second Reading. My recollection is that the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, said that he would certainly study the matter to see what could be done.

The whole point is that the APT is a non-political, non-Trades Union Congress trade union which, after considerable difficulties described by the noble Baroness, was granted a seat on the Burnham further education committee in 1981. Since that time it has taken part on that committee in all the negotiations for salaries. The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, suggested that the only reason for its existence was that it represented people who did not want to belong to NATFE, which seems to me to be perfectly legitimate. It is also the case, of course, that it represents a somewhat different constituency from that of NATFE. It has a far higher number of members paid within the grade of Lecturer I than Lecturer II. Of course, with the dismantling of the Burnham process a hiatus is likely to arise because the APT has always been excluded from any meetings of the national joint council of further education. If that is to become the new or the only remaining forum for the negotiation of these matters, the Association of Polytechnic Teachers is in danger of being left out in the cold. So in equity there seems to be a good case for trying to do something for it.

I have seen various versions of this amendment, and though I support it in principle, I am not sure that the version of the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, is the right one. There is one technical point that I would have suggested to her if I had had time, or by an amendment to her amendment; namely, that in subsection (1) (b) it is laid down that members whose conditions of employment may be affected are afforded a reasonable opportunity of participating in the process. The word in the amendment is "reasonable". After some legal consultation it has been suggested to me that in fact the phrase "full and proper opportunity" would carry rather more weight. That is perhaps something that we might consider writing into the amendment at a later stage.

The difficulties raised by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, on the question of fragmentation are obviously matters that we shall have to consider, but of course the NAHT will already be represented in whatever new forum eventually emerges as a result of this Bill. I think we must take it on board that something has to be done about the APT and basically we need to put ourselves in the hands of the Government and ask them to use their expertise to come forward with something which will get round the various objections that have been raised in the Committee this afternoon.

Lord Beloff

I was a little surprised when I listened to the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, because the facts at my disposal are not quite the same as those that he put forward in criticising this amendment when he said that only NATFE and the APT were on the present Burnham committee for further education. My understanding is that the Association of Principals of Colleges, the National Society for Education in Art and Design and the Association of Agricultural Education Staffs are already represented. So the list is fairly all-embracing, except—and here the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, is obviously correct—that the Professional Association of Teachers is not represented and under this amendment, as it is at present drafted, would not be represented on the new body.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

As this is a matter of fact—and I should not like to be in conflict with the noble Lord on this matter—I did not say that they were represented on the NJC but that they were not represented in Burnham and the NJC, which is what the amendment requires.

Lord Beloff

I believe that they are represented in Burnham. No doubt the Government can enlighten us on that point. My information is that they are represented on Burnham and therefore have been represented in the negotiating committee.

As I was associated in a minor way with the foundation of the Professional Association of Teachers and followed its fortunes, I should be glad to see it included in such a new body if it wishes to be so. However, I have not, and I imagine that the noble Baroness has not, received representations from PAT about representation in respect of further education. Perhaps it feels that its overwhelming interest is in the schools and that it does not at the moment see the necessity for such representation. If the amendment is to be redrafted, it may be possible to add bodies to the future.

I take the point that the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, made that there are problems in the diversity of unions and the interests that they represent. It is not the diversity that my noble friends deplore but the inability to reconcile those diversities by more give-and-take between the unions concerned. The history of the Professional Association of Teachers—which has a different point of view on some matters that affect the educational profession—shows this diversity. It was only the rather decisive intervention of the former Secretary of State, Sir Keith Joseph, which gave it negotiating rights.

However, my chief reason for supporting this amendment, either in its present or in any form that the Government may think more appropriate—and I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Kilmarnock, that we want to get it right—is this. I attach enormous importance, as does the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, to the role of polytechnics as distinct from the general provision of post-school education. While the university population has remained relatively static, the increase in those doing degree work higher education has very largely been borne by the polytechnics. If we are to regenerate our industries, as noble Lords opposite are always demanding, the polytechnics must have an increasing and perhaps more independent role than they have at present in our education provision.

If a union or association of this kind has as its central point the raising of standards of education within the polytechnics and the development of a self-sustaining system of publicly financed higher education we should give it the encouragement, if it asks us for it, of having a proper place in the negotiating field. It seems to me that that is an encouragement which no part of this Committee would wish to deny it.

Baroness Hooper

On Second Reading the Government promised to consider sympathetically this point raised by my noble friend Lord Beloff. The amendment tabled by my noble friends Lady Cox and Lord Beloff would have the effect of protecting the negotiating rights of minority unions at present in membership of the statutory Burnham Further Education Committee. The Government believe that it is an entirely appropriate change and support the amendment. It provides a right to participate in any new national voluntary arrangements for negotiating on further education teachers' pay and other conditions of employment.

The associations concerned are to have a reasonable opportunity to participate—not a limited, mute or transient opportunity. If attempts are made to circumscribe their rights to participate fully by denying them such reasonable opportunity, they may take their complaint to the courts with every expectation of a decision in their favour.

On the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Kilmarnock, my understanding is that the use of the word "reasonable" is indeed seen as a strengthening adjective, meaning that the APT and other unions' rights to participate would not be satisfied by something that was occasional or partial. For example, silent observership without a vote could not possibly be interpreted as a reasonable opportunity, although arguably it could be an opportunity. We therefore feel that the present wording covers the position adequately.

4.45 p.m.

Lord Kilmarnock

Before leaving that point, the noble Baroness appeared to cast some flicker of a doubt on whether the word "reasonable" was the right one—

Baroness Hooper


Lord Kilmarnock

She did not. I certainly had it on good authority that the phrase "full and proper opportunity" would be preferable and a safeguard against any hostile union perhaps trying to block participation or whatever it might be. This is advice that I have received. I pass it on to the Government and to the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, for what it is worth.

Baroness Hooper

I thank the noble Lord. I am sorry if I gave the suggestion of any flicker of doubt. If there was a flicker of doubt it was in relation to the word "opportunity" alone. We felt that the use of the word "reasonable" very much strengthened the position. Nevertheless, his comments and the advice behind them will be taken into account.

On the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, and my noble friend Lord Beloff, the amendment protects not only the APT's interests but also those of the other smaller unions currently represented on Burnham FE. My understanding is that those unions which have a right to be involved because of their distinctive contribution include the National Society for Education in Art and Design and the Association of Agricultural Education Staffs.

Because the requirement for representation means that the unions are represented not because of their numbers but because of the distinctive nature of their constituencies, I believe in response to the question raised by my noble friend Lord Beloff that PAT, NAS/UWT and AMMA are not currently part of Burnham FE and will not therefore be included in the effect of this amendment. These are the teachers' unions which have some members in FE and as a result are different in that one critical respect. Their membership does not reflect a distinctive group. They therefore do not have a special contribution to make and that is why they do not have seats currently on Burnham FE.

In view of this and of the commitment given by the Government to treat this matter sympathetically, we support the amendment and I commend it to the Committee.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Before the noble Baroness replies I think I should take an opportunity to apologise for misinterpreting my brief. I did not understand that these other unions were members of Burnham as well as the informal national joint council.

However, the reply of the noble Baroness, Lady Hooper, raises a question in my mind which had not been there before. The presence in the FE sector of those members of teachers' unions—not just the Professional Association of Teachers, but NAS/UWT, the Assistance Masters' and Mistresses' Association and so on—is because of the increasing number of tertiary colleges which are operating under further education regulations rather than under school regulations. The question is this. If this number is going to increase—and I think it will—will there not be an increasing number of members of school teachers' unions who will be operating under further education regulations but who will have no part in the negotiations? Therefore, I question whether it is wise to have such a conclusive definition of the membership of the new negotiating machinery to include only those who have been members of Burnham in 1986 and 1987 when conditions were perhaps different.

I also question whether it is wise to freeze the composition in tablets of stone in this way, particularly in the light of the willingness of the education committee of the Association of Metropolitan Education Authorities at its meeting last Thursday to open more widely the question of the respresentation of the teachers' side. I am sure that the ACC will feel the same. Is it wise at this time to press forward with the amendment in that very rigid form? I still have my doubts, although I am in sympathy with the intention behind the amendment.

Lord Alexander of Potterhill

I do not believe that the amendment would present any difficulties on the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh. As I understand it, the amendment is merely saying that those bodies which are now represented on Burnham shall be represented on a future body. However, it does not exclude the Secretary of State making new arrangements for negotiations on salaries and conditions of service in further education, which include bodies other than those now on the Burnham Committee. Therefore, I cannot see objection to the amendment at all. I do not think that it presents the problem feared by the noble Lord.

Baroness Hooper

I should like briefly to add that what is being put forward is the minimum requirement. Nevertheless, the amendment does not exclude anybody and merely guarantees a place for those who are presently on the Burnham Further Education Committee.

Baroness Cox

It remains for me to thank all noble Lords who have contributed so constructively to the debate on this amendment. I hope that the concerns raised by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey—whom I was pleased to hear support at least the idea behind the amendment—have been met by subsequent speakers in the debate. I personally feel that they have been met.

I have been particularly reassured by the sympathetic consideration from my noble friend the Minister, and I am grateful for her reassurance on the wording. For a while I shared the reservations expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Kilmarnock, as to whether the wording was sufficiently strong. However, I have been assured that the word "reasonable" is a strengthening adjective and should give the APT the strength it needs in any discussions which may be necessary. I thank Members of the Committee for their support for the amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 4 agreed to.

Clause 5 [Duration of Act]:

Lord Henderson of Brompton moved Amendment No. 55: Page 3, line 30, leave out from ("shall") to end of line 38 and insert ("remain in force until the end of the period of twelve months beginning with the passing of this Act and shall then expire unless continued in force by an order under subsection (4) below.").

The noble Lord said: We now come to Clause 5, which is concerned with the duration of the Act. A very large number of amendments have been tabled. We begin with the good words of the Minister ringing in our ears from our debate on a previous amendment; namely, that he will be listening to the argument but without any commitment. We are very encouraged by that statement.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

Will the noble Lord indicate whether he is taking a number of amendments together and, if so, which ones?

Lord Henderson of Brompton

I was just about to do so. It has been suggested, and I am quite happy about it, that Amendments Nos. 55 to 57, 57A, 58, 58B and 59 to 62 should all be discussed together. With the leave of the Committee, I propose that we should do that. However, at this stage I am formally moving the first of the amendments, Amendment No. 55. As the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, has rather suggested, this is a bit of a haystack and there are a lot of needles to find in it. I shall, so far as possible, help the Committee to sort out the needles from the haystack. My amendments fall into three groups and some are sharper than others.

The first group fortuitously belongs to Amendment No. 55, which I am now moving. I am referring to Amendments Nos. 61 and 62. Taken together they are intended to provide for a life of three years from the date of the passing of the Act, subject to a life-support system of annual affirmative resolutions within that three-year maximum period. I know that this group lacks an amendment which has been lost on the way, but I am sure that the government draftsman, if the Government are willing, can supply the missing component. Therefore, I do not apologise for the defective drafting because it is very easily mended.

The intention is that the provisions of this Act, through the three amendments to which I am talking, should as nearly as possible, other things being equal, be the same as the provisions for duration in the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984. Incidentally that was the last temporary provisions Act before Parliament. It had a life of five years subject to annual affirmative instruments. These amendments provide a life of three years, subject to annual affirmative instruments. That is my first preference. I put it first partly because the Prevention of Terrorism Act is the latest example of a temporary provisions Act which has been passed by the Houses of Parliament and I regard it as a very good model.

My second preference, which I actually put down first, are Amendments Nos. 57, 58 and 59. In my view they are not so good because, as I suggested on Second Reading, they merely provide for the statutory death to take place and be absolute in 1990, with no life-support system after that date. The amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, Amendment No. 56, provides a statutory death a good deal earlier, on 31st May 1988.

My third group is strictly minimal and it is not really a group. It could be effected either by Amendment No. 60 or No. 61. It provides for annual life-support after 1990 by affirmative rather than by negative procedure.

With the permission of the Committee I should like to examine those three groups in reverse order. Clause 5 as drafted—and I stress this—is the only temporary provisions Bill of recent years which provides life-support by negative parliamentary procedure. I find that extraordinary. I find it hard to understand how a temporary provisions Bill can come before Parliament without the draft affirmative procedure for continuation. I can only think that the explanation is that this Bill emanates from the Department of Education and Science, which is not used to bringing temporary provisions before Parliament. It has no experience of it. However, if it had consulted the Home Office it would have done better by bringing in provisions for continuation of the Act by affirmative instrument.

These are the latest examples which Parliament has passed in the past 10 years or so. There is the quinquennial Armed Forces Act 1986; the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978; the Act I have already cited, the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984, and before that the Northern Ireland Act 1974, all of which are subject to draft affirmative resolutions.

I am sure the Committee will agree it is highly important that in peacetime temporary powers should only be sought by government, and granted by Parliament, subject to stringent safeguards. The only permanent statute in peacetime to meet emergencies is the Emergency Powers Act 1920 and the use of this Act is stringently controlled by Parliament.

The first point I wish to make is that I hope the Government will give an undertaking that they will only come to Parliament for the continuation of temporary powers with the affirmative resolution procedures for any continuation. At all events in this case my Amendment No. 61 and Amendment No. 60, standing in the name of the noble Baroness (which is rather better than mine), put down a marker. I hope it will not be necessary to move either of the amendments because the Committee ought to demand and expect something better. I can omit further references to my second preference—namely, Amendment Nos. 57, 58 and 59—and ask the support of the Committee for my first preference, which is Amendments Nos. 55, 61 and 62. I hope that it is not necessary to press this matter to a Division, but that depends very largely on what the Government have to say.

As I declared at Second Reading, I speak as a supporter of the Bill, but only on condition that this clause is radically altered in one of the ways suggested. I say that for two reasons: first—and this is a purely parliamentary reason—we should be in dead trouble if we fail to preserve proper parliamentary procedures for temporary legislation, a fact which is too obvious for elaboration. The House of Commons takes this matter so seriously that they have Standing Order 62, which perhaps does not go far enough; but it is not for me to criticise a standing order in another place. The standing order says: The precise duration of every temporary law or enactment shall be expressed in a distinct clause or subsection of the Bill.". The Bill complies with the standing order in that the duration is expressed in a distinct clause—the clause we are now discussing. The standing order refers to "precise duration". Can it be said of this Bill that it is of precise duration when it can be continued annually for ever by negative resolution? I should have thought not. I should have thought that this was a rather imprecise duration. I shall leave that matter as it is but I thought it was worth mentioning in passing. I regard this as a primary parliamentary reason for having a close look at this clause and putting something much better in its place.

Secondly, there is the political reason, which I rate very highly. As I said on the previous amendment and repeat on this amendment, immense advantage would accrue to the Secretary of State if he would agree to make this Act truly shortlived, to use the expression of the noble Baroness, Lady Hooper, yesterday. She was referring to the advisory committee, but I am sure I can refer to the Act as shortlived. If it really is the intention of Ministers that this Act should be shortlived I appeal to them seriously to make it shortlived by amendments to this clause. I believe that acceptance of some of these amendments would effectively answer many of the damaging taunts which have been made both inside and outside this Chamber, some of which I heard yesterday.

The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, talked about the Conservative Government giving full rein to their centralist tendencies. There were references to the dictatorial powers that were being taken by the Government. I was particularly attracted by a phrase used by the noble Lord, Lord Murray of Epping Forest, which encapsulates the meaning of this discussion. He talked about the danger of permanency. I could not put it better than that. I believe that if we can find a better solution to this clause dealing with the duration of the Act than has been offered by the Government, it will give confidence to all parties in the teachers' pay and conditions dispute and will go a very long way towards providing the confidence which is necessary to provide permanent machinery for the future. I beg to move.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Alport)

I have to advise the Committee that if this amendment is agreed to I cannot call Amendment Nos. 56, 57, 57A, 58, 58A and 58B.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The noble Lord, Lord Henderson of Brompton, has moved this group of amendments with characteristic wisdom, moderation and indeed lucidity. I worry only that he has made it too easy for the Government to go for the simple and least commitment possible and to gain the acceptance of the Committee at very little cost. Although I believe that the noble Lord's analysis of the situation was precise and exact (I agree with every word that he said) I should not wish the Committee to feel that the Opposition would be satisfied simply with a change from negative resolution to affirmative resolution. That change would be desirable and we would not vote against it in any way. However it would not achieve the fundamental desire behind this group of amendments, which is to secure that the Government enact what they say they are enacting—a temporary Bill.

At the moment the Government have a Bill which continues in life for a period of approximately three years and can then be continued—whether by negative or by affirmative resolution is only a secondary matter—for as many years as the Government wish after that. From past legislative experience and from the experience which the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has cited we know very well that it is possible and not unprecedented for governments to make these temporary measures and continue them for many years.

Indeed, one of my noble friends rightly said that income tax was introduced as a temporary measure in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. In local government one knows that temporary planning permission is the most enduring of all forms of planning permission. It is very difficult to overturn such permission at the end of the temporary period. Our preference would not be so much for any change in the status of the orders, as to whether or not they should be negative or affirmative, but for an assurance on the face of the Bill that the Act cannot be continued in force after 1990. Therefore we are particularly enthusiastic about Amendment No. 62, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson of Brompton.

We are in favour also of the amendment the noble Lord is moving at present, which provides that every 12 months there should be a requirement for an order under subsection (4) for the Bill to continue in force. This has been a very useful precaution at times when the centralising tendencies of this Government and, to be fair, of all governments need to be kept under restraint by Parliament. It provides an opportunity for debate about not only the justification for extraordinary powers—and I think it is well accepted that this Bill contains extraordinary powers for the Secretary of State—but also the way in which those extraordinary powers have been exercised. For that reason we shall certainly vote in favour of Amendment No. 55.

There are two amendments in my name and that of my noble friend Lord Irving of Dartford which are contained in this group. I should like to refer to them because I believe that they add a further valuable refinement to the provisions in the other amendments. They are Amendments Nos. 57A and 58B, and both provide that if the Secretary of State thinks it is desirable at any stage, he can advance the date of termination. He does not need to wait until the end of the year before terminating the provisions of the Bill.

It is the Secretary of State's stated intention that the Bill shall result in a permanent, satisfactory and long-lasting settlement, other than that contained in the Bill, of the negotiation of the pay and conditions of teachers. Such a settlement may be achieved to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State at any month in the year, regardless of the closeness to any of the periods of termination of effect of the Bill.

Surely under those circumstances it would be desirable for the Secretary of State to be able to say, "We have got what we wanted. We don't have to wait until 31st March 1990", or 31st May 1988, or whatever it may be. "We can heave a sigh of relief. The Department of Education can stand down from its unwanted and probably unskilled role as a body determining the pay and conditions of teachers. We can go back to a decent and democratic system of determining the pay and conditions of teachers". I commend this group of amendments to the Committee with the preferences that I have already expressed.

Baroness Seear

I also should like to support these amendments. Our opposition to the Bill is based on our scepticism as to the truly temporary nature of this Bill. If we believed that it was going to disappear quickly, that it was as temporary as we have been told, we should feel much less strongly against it, because we recognise the differences that exist. If we could have the amendment which has been moved by the noble Lord for 12 months, and then for the measure to he renewed only on an affirmative resolution, it would take a great deal of the animosity against this Bill away from these Benches. I hope that this amendment will be accepted.

5.15 p.m.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

I can agree for once with the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, in his comment that the noble Lord, Lord Henderson of Brompton, moved this complicated group of amendments with the moderation and clarity that one would expect from him. I can sympathise too with the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, in his scepticism about anything being provisional or temporary. The French, as he may recall, have a very good summing up of it: rien dure comme la provisoire. It is right for the Committee to look at temporary provisions with some scepticism.

On the other hand, I think it is going a little far to put this Bill, valuable and important though it is, in the same category (as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson of Brompton, did) as the Prevention of Terrorism Act. That is a totally different measure, undoubtedly imposing on the liberties of the subject in the face of a dangerous situation, which we hope and believe will come to an end before long. I think that one exaggerates a little if one puts this useful Bill into that bracket.

Listening to the speeches it seems to me that two separate and separable points arise on this group of amendments. First there is the proposal that within the three-year period up to 1990 there should be an annual statutory instrument to continue the Bill from year to year. I must confess that I find that suggestion excessive and somewhat impractical.

If the Secretary of State is to get down to the real and difficult job—a job which, if I may say so, no one would envy—of resolving the problem of the settlement of teachers' pay and conditions, it is foolish to try to hustle him with an unduly tight timetable. To put him on a basis of year to year in dealing with that sort of problem may lead to botched work and certainly perhaps exercise an undue influence on the discussions that are taking place.

The Secretary of State is entitled, having taken the bold step—which I welcome—of trying to tackle this difficult problem (which previous Secretaries of State did not attempt to tackle), to his three years, and ought not to have to come back to Parliament every year of the three years for agreement to a statutory instrument.

On the other hand, I take a somewhat different view about what is to happen at the end of the three years. It may well be the case, regrettable though it would be, that the Act will have to be continued thereafter. That would arise only if either the local authorities or the teachers' unions, or some of them, were so obdurate, unhelpful and unwilling to come to a sensible arrangement that there was no option but to continue the suggested procedure of the advisory committee and the Secretary of State. Let us all hope that that will not be the case, and I see no reason to a assume that it will be.

On the other hand, to continue what is properly presented as an interim Bill—I think we have already accepted that the advisory committee is described as the "interim advisory committee"—beyond the three years contemplated is a much more serious step. For my part I would see no objection whatever to making a continuation beyond the three-year period a matter for a statutory instrument subject to the affirmative procedure.

Lord Houghton of Sowerby

I regard this group of amendments as the most important on the Bill. Here is the opportunity for your Lordships' Committee to regain something of the confidence which has been lost in the teaching profession and among the general public because of the unhappy dispute that has lasted so long and the unhappy solution which temporarily has to be found to resolve it.

When an authoritarian regime takes over, the question to ask is how long is it going to last. The authoritarians who have taken over will always promise that it will not last long. Sometimes they put an interim date to it which they do not observe. I think the nub of this Bill is that everybody wishes to see an end to it before we give it our final sanction.

There was a time in the earlier part of the Bill when I thought that 1990 was too long and I was prepared to support anything which would cut it down to 1988 or 1989. I felt that there was no reason why the Government should take so long to solve the two problems which are really referred to the Secretary of State for his ministerial attention during this interim period.

What are they? The first is to resolve the immediate pay dispute. The noble Lord, Lord Belstead, yesterday emphasised with some passion in his voice—which is quite unusual for him—that something must be done. We have reached a position when something must be done. I agree with that. We all agree with that. That is why we have the Bill. There has been a failure to do that something through the normal machinery of the Burnham Committee.

In the voluminous correspondence that I am getting from teachers I find grievous misconceptions about the present situation, none of which is to the credit of the Government. Many teachers say, "But we have an agreement. What is the matter?" They do not understand that that agreement has not received the approval of Her Majesty's Government and without that it cannot be made operative. Whatever the employers may wish to do in the Burnham Committee, they do not have the money themselves unaided to fulfil the agreement they have reached. That is the simple position. In those circumstances we do not have an agreement. The Secretary of State, under the provisions of the Bill, has to resolve that deadlock by reaching his own conclusions. That we understand to be the first urgent task under this Bill.

What is the other task? The other is to find a suitable form of machinery for negotiation that will replace the Burnham Committee, which is being abolished by the Bill. It seems to me that that will probably take a little longer than 1988 because there are two issues to be solved before satisfactory negotiating machinery can be devised: first, the role of the Secretary of State and, secondly, a better order in the arrangements between the unions themselves. The latter part of that will be very difficult indeed.

Part of the difficulty of the Burnham Committee has been the rivalry of the unions and the difficulty in identifying the constituents of the respective unions in terms of interests in the teaching profession. They overlap; they are rivals and it is difficult to see who represents whom and how they came to be there. Some are the relics of historical developments in the teaching profession such as the National Association of School Masters, which represented an anti-equal pay position years ago. The Union of Women Teachers, which merged with it, represented a feminist point of view and an equal pay point of view years ago. The opposites have come together in one organisation and occupy a substantial position on the Burnham Committee.

There is a new union, the Professional Association of Teachers, that is gaining favour with Her Majesty's Government. It represents almost anyone who will join it with a no-strike condition of employment and accepts conditions of service that the other unions are not able to do. That has to be resolved. A good deal of very hard work and determination is necessary to bring better order and a representativeness among the teaching organisations. At the present time they are very ragged indeed from a negotiating point of view. It is difficult to know who one is really dealing with and what interest in the profession one is talking to, and it is necessary to resolve that. Other unions have had this difficult task in the past to get some kind of negotiating machinery over a wide area which will be effective in discussions with representatives of the employers. I think the teachers have to tackle this, and it will take longer than a couple of years.

I would suggest that the important thing is to put a date firmly in 1990 beyond which this Bill shall not run without the reinforcement of Parliament by fresh statutory process. The noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, came very close to it, but it should be made clear that it would require new legislation to carry the provisions of this Bill beyond 1990.

As regards the intervening period, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, that legislating in each of the intervening years is probably a bit tough. What about after two years? Let us see what progress the Minister and all concerned have made in two years. We ought then to be within sight of where we are going. Will this reach the conclusions that we want or are we to take fresh stock?

In all the correspondence I am getting—it is not surprising that I am receiving a lot—teachers have forgotten the pay. They are not talking about their salaries; they are talking about being deprived of their rights in negotiation. That is their primary grievance and worry and they are using hostile language in describing their attitude towards it. This is a healthy sign from a democratic point of view: when it comes to the point the deprivation of democratic rights is the issue and not the money. That I believe is really the case. It does not matter what is presently on offer in money terms.

The teachers will not be satisfied, nor should the public be satisfied, until there is a restoration of the normal machinery which others enjoy for the settlement of their pay and conditions. The confidence of the profession and the public will not be regained by the Government unless they give a clear indication that in this period during which the Secretary of State will be the authority, first, he will conduct it so that we come to a more satisfactory permanent conclusion with the utmost speed and, secondly—this is important too—that he will not use this period to mess about with the pay and conditions of teachers beyond the immediate crisis, thereby introducing features into the organisation which are more proper to discussion and negotiation rather than authoritarian introduction while the Bill is in progress.

The interim period should not be misused. It should be used to concentrate on the two issues that bring this Bill about and then it should end. We ought to tell the Secretary of State, and the Government ought to impose it on themselves and on their successors, that this Bill comes to an end in 1990 and it will take another law to deal with any situation beyond it. That will probably have to encompass more permanent and satisfactory arrangements for negotiation.

That is my view and I hope that the Government will regard this as so important as to bring something forward which meets this objection and which reassures everybody that the Government have not come into this regime to stay in it but will get out of it at the first opportunity.

Lord Alexander of Potterhill

This is the most important subject that has come before the House during these two days. I do not think the complexities of parliamentary procedure will be understood or appreciated by the teaching profession, important as these are. Every spokesman for the Government, from both the Front Benches and Back Benches, has stressed that this is an interim measure. This taking of power is only justified in what is undoubtedly a difficult situation and it is only for a limited period until proper arrangements are made.

My own belief is that Amendment No. 62 is the one that matters. Nor am I worried as to whether it is subject to negative or affirmative procedures between now and then in extending it from year to year. It seems to me that a definite date should be set beyond which the Bill will not apply. That would be the greatest reassurance to the teaching profession.

This would have another advantage. I entirely agree with the points that the noble Lord has just been making on the work that has to be done. If a definite date is fixed, if the Secretary of State, the teaching profession and the local authorities know that they must find a satisfactory answer before that date, then they will be compelled to give the matter the most urgent and serious attention to try to reach a conclusion within that period of time. This seems to me to be the most likely chance of achieving two objectives: the first removing the bitterness which has been floating about, and, secondly, of securing the cooperation essential to achieving a satisfactory settlement.

A third objective would be to offer the teaching profession a clear goal. They must reach agreement; they must settle this multiplicity of unions which they should have settled long ago. Instead of competing with one another they should be co-operating with one another. Also, if I may say so, I think that the local authorities would do well to learn the art of co-operation instead of making life difficult by pursuing party political objectives rather than the interests of the education service: but we shall leave that aside for the moment.

I hope that the Government will find it possible to accept Amendment No. 62. This gives them three years. A reasonable question would be: is that long enough? I would say that it is much longer than it took to establish the Burnham Committee and much longer, in my experience, than it has taken to do jobs which were more complicated than this. In fact it is longer than it took to frame and take through the Education Act of 1944. So I think that the period of time is reasonable and I am allowing for the possibility of an election taking place in the interval, for the possible change of government and for the possibility of a hung Parliament. This job can still be done within three years.

Therefore I hope that the Government will reassure the teaching profession and the local authorities that they are not seeking to extend this Bill indefinitely and make the education service centrally controlled and directed for ever. They are determined to solve an immediate and difficult problem and to establish effective machinery which will restore the democratic rights of the teaching profession and the welfare of the education service.

5.30 p.m.

Lord Butterworth

I think we are coming much nearer to an understanding of the problems that lie behind this set of amendments. I found myself very much in agreement with what the noble Lord, Lord Houghton of Sowerby, had to say and I differed from him on only one conclusion.

On the one hand, it clearly is a balance between a healthy scepticism of the temporary nature of this Bill; and, on the other, the need to ensure that we have in position machinery to deal with the settlement in any given year. Perhaps I may take your Lordships year by year through the next three years? I think that would throw light on how we ought to treat some of the amendments that we are considering.

In the first year the Secretary of State will be consulting with the unions and with the local authorities and will then issue an order under Clause 3(6). That special provision will come into operation, and so if the legislation we are considering at the moment were to last for one year only, as I understand it, the machinery of the interim advisory committee would never come into operation at all unless the legislation were extended because the first time the interim advisory committee will operate will be in respect of the pay settlement due on the 1st April 1988.

Under the Bill as drafted, it would then apply on a second occasion: on 1st April 1989. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Houghton, that it may well take that amount of time. We may need that degree of experience under the interim arrangements before we can achieve a permanent settlement for the new style of negotiations.

However, there must be a responsibility to see that the interim arrangements apply until such time as those new negotiating arrangements are created. Therefore in my view it would be necessary that after 1990 the interim advisory committee should be continued from year to year, if necessary by a positive resolution, in order that we can ensure, if the worst were to come to the worst, that we would have negotiating machinery in existence.

However, it may be that once the interim advisory committee exists, all parties may come together, and indeed I would be rather optimistic about that. We might achieve some new proposals, acceptable to all parties and to the Government, before 1990, which is the expiry date contained in the present Bill. In that case, one would hope that the Government and the Secretary of State would immediately produce new legislation before 1990 in order to bring in the new negotiating arrangements and repeal the Act (as it would then be) which we are considering this afternoon.

Lord Belstead

There is no question at all that the great concern that lies behind these amendments, which the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, moved with great clarity, is that the Bill we are discussing could become permanent. None of your Lordships who has spoken wishes to see that. That is understood by the Government, and I was grateful to my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter for making the valid point that the Government had endeavoured to show our recognition of the main thrust of the debate bearing on today's discussion when yesterday we accepted a small but significant amendment to make the description of the advisory committee such that it became the interim advisory committee. That description has now gone on to the face of the Bill.

In order to discuss this today, the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, suggested that we should take most, but not all, of the amendments relating to Clause 5 together. All your Lordships and the Government are ready to do that, which means that there are several different forms of amendment. The noble Lord spoke to the first one, Amendment No. 55, which would cause the Bill to expire after 12 months unless continued by order. That would be, if we go to Amendment No. 62, for up to a maximum of three years.

The noble Baroness, Lady Seear, has an amendment down (Amendment No. 56) which would cause the Act to expire on 31st May 1988 unless continued by order. The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, has put his name to both those amendments and he also has down another amendment which would enable orders to be made terminating the operation of the Act before the 31st March 1990. The amendments in question are Nos. 57A and 58B.

The Government share the aim of developing satisfactory permanent arrangements as soon as possible; but the length of the present dispute and the conflicting interests of those involved do not, I must confess, lead us to be optimistic about the possibility of being able to reach rapid conclusions. I was interested to hear the noble Lord, Lord Houghton of Sowerby, say in round terms that there is going to be a lot of work to do and it could take two years or more. I must not misinterpret the noble Lord. He was quite clear that what he wanted was to see something which would make it necessary to bring in primary legislation after 1990 if we were still in a difficult situation.

My noble friend Lord Butterworth was quite right—and I was grateful to him for pointing it out—in saying that in effect the Bill provides for the advisory committee machinery to operate in respect of the 1st April 1988 and the 1st April 1989 teachers' pay settlements. The Bill will expire before the 1st April 1990 settlement. With two years' experience of the interim machinery, and after holding further discussions with all the parties concerned, the Government would hope to come to conclusions about long-term machinery by the second half of 1989.

I suggest that that is not such a long time. Let me just make the point that the decision to seek a restructuring of teachers' pay was taken as long ago as 1981 by the Burnham Committee itself. I do not think I have to make an apology for saying that the Bill will need to have two years of independent review by the work of the advisory committee. What will follow after that cannot be decided now, but I can say something more.

If in a new and more settled climate the Government were able to reach a conclusion by early 1989 on the form of future permanent machinery, it would be possible to legislate for new arrangements to start up in time to deal with the 1990 settlement. The Government are entirely sympathetic to that prospect and will not unreasonably delay legislation to bring forward new machinery once conclusions have been reached. But we cannot be sure that such a situation will come about, and that is why the Bill includes provision for extending the life of the interim advisory committee one year at a time only.

But there is another issue apart from the expiry, and that is if we have to extend the life of the Act how we do it. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has put down several amendments, to which other Members of the Committee have added their names, which would prevent altogether the extension of the Act beyond 31st March 1990. New primary legislation would be then required to extend the interim arrangements or to introduce new arrangements. As I said, the Government have every intention of establishing new permanent arrangements by March 1990, and I hope what I have just said shows that we are seriously considering the possibilities.

But I ask your Lordships to suppose that it is not possible. Suppose, as my noble friend Lord Butterworth in effect said, that with the best will in the world a sufficient degree of consensus has not been reached during 1989 on what the new permanent arrangements should be. Suppose the sort of disagreement that I had to read out from a rather sad press release during the debate yesterday, showing deep divisions of opinion among the teacher unions on the correct position for the Secretary of State in a new negotiating machinery, were to continue—I very much hope that that will not be the case—and that we were still in difficulties in 1989, it must surely be right to have interim arrangements so that at least there is the capability of prolongation if necessary.

In saying that, I realise that I come to the nub of the matter. Members of the Committee are saying to the Government, "If you really think that, you must make sure that at least there is affirmative resolution". My reply is that the Government are certainly prepared to accept an amendment so that the parliamentary procedure for extending the provisions of the Act beyond 31st March 1990 has to be affirmative and not negative resolution. There are two amendments to that effect. The noble Baroness, Lady Seear, has Amendment No. 60, while the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has Amendment No. 61, and the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, has put his name to both.

The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, put forward a powerful argument that all the temporary provisions legislation is subject to extension by affirmative resolution. I accept the noble Lord's argument. However, I have to say that the Government would prefer the more customary procedure which is set out in the amendment of the noble Baroness and under which an order would be laid in draft and it could not be made until the draft was approved by resolution of both Houses of Parliament. I hope that the Committee will accept Amendment No. 60.

I also hope that the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, as I have accepted his argument, which is a very powerful one, will forgive me if I say that we should prefer the noble Baroness's procedure rather than the one in his amendment. His amendment seems to imply that an order would be made first and then would be voted on, which, as I understand it, is sometimes used in cases of emergency but which, with respect, I should have thought was not so appropriate in this case.

What I have said—and I must come clean about this, because there is one last thing that I want to say—means that, although I hope the Committee will feel that the Government are going a very long way, and indeed have put on the record thoughts about 1989 which have not been voiced before, I cannot on behalf of the Government accept Amendment No. 62. We believe there should be the ability for the extension of the Act, as my noble friend Lord Butterworth explained, even though by accepting Amendment No. 60 of the noble Baroness it would have to be by affirmative resolution.

What I have tried to say to the Committee is, first, that yesterday by accepting that small but significant amendment to insert the word "interim" before the words "advisory committee", we made it clear on the face of the Bill that we recognise that this is an interim Bill. Secondly, we have agreed that the parliamentary procedure for extending the provisions of the Act beyond 31st March 1990 must be by affirmative rather than negative resolution. Thirdly, I have put to the Committee thoughts about the Government's intentions for the longer term.

If in a new and more settled climate the Government were able to come to a conclusion by early 1989 on the form of future permanent machinery, new legislation could be introduced which would set up that permanent machinery in good time for the 1990 settlement. The Government are entirely sympathetic to that prospect and will not unreasonably delay legislation to bring forward new machinery once conclusions have been reached. I hope the Committee will feel that this is one of those occasions where a debate in this Chamber has brought from the Government assurances which are important. I also hope that they will satisfy Members of the Committee in this debate which is taking place on Amendment No. 55.

5.45 p.m.

Lord Henderson of Brompton

I must express extreme gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, for what he has said. He has, quite unexpectedly, accepted the spirit of one of the amendments which I have put down.

In my opening speech I said that there were two choices and I suggested then that the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, was rather better than my own. I am glad that the noble Lord's opinion coincides with mine, and so I am very happy that he should have accepted her amendment rather than mine. I also have been persuaded by the arguments adduced by a number of Peers, not least the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, that it would be hustling the Secretary of State a bit too much—or words to that effect which the noble Lord uttered—if there were to be an annual renewal provision by affirmative resolution. I myself would not, certainly at this stage anyway, press Amendment No. 55, but I am in the hands of the Committee and I do not know what the views are.

I am very impressed by the support for the other Amendment, No. 62, that, This Act shall cease to have effect at the end of three years beginning with the date on which it is passed". I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, that these amendments are separate and separable. That is a separate amendment which can be separated and it has been very strongly supported by the noble Lord, Lord Houghton of Sowerby, who said he was convinced that there should be a fresh statutory process after 1990. He speaks with all his great experience in this field and I should have thought that his was a most important statement, of which this House and the Government ought to take note.

Secondly, the other noble Lord in this House who has unrivalled experience of negotiating pay in the teaching profession sits on these Benches behind me, the noble Lord, Lord Alexander of Potterhill. He described the proposal for a cut-off period after three years as the most important amendment that has come before us in these two days in Committee. The noble Lord, Lord Alexander of Potterhill, with all his experience, said that he thought that this would remove all the bitterness and that it would ensure cooperation from the teachers and settlement of the differences between them and a satisfactory settlement when the interim period comes to an end. Thirdly, this would give a clear goal to the teaching profession.

Well, here is this great expertise of the noble Lord, Lord Houghton of Sowerby, and the noble Lord, Lord Alexander of Potterhill. Both strongly support this date, which would be absolute and not subject to further extension by resolution, albeit affirmative resolution. I am impressed by what they have both said as well as by what other Peers have said and I should be inclined to test the opinion of the Committee on that amendment. But if it is the wish of the Committee, I shall beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 55.

Lord Elton

Before the noble Lord withdraws his amendment, I take it that this is the last opportunity we will have to discuss Amendment No. 62, if he proposes to move it. If we are to return to that amendment, I shall hold my peace but, if the Committee are to decide it without further discussion, I think there are other matters to be mentioned. I do not know whether my noble friend the Minister would guide us on that.

Lord Henderson of Brompton

I believe it is the case that, although we have agreed to discuss the subsequent amendments, it is open to anyone to move them if they so wish. So the noble Lord will have the opportunity if he wishes, when we come to move Amendment No. 62.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Again before the noble Lord formally withdraws Amendment No. 55, one or two points should be made about the situation in which we find ourselves. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has achieved an important victory. He has secured the agreement of the Government to a concession which goes some way—and I shall qualify that in due course—towards the recognition that the proposals under the Bill for the determination of teachers' pay and conditions cannot be a permanent solution for any serious length of time. He has achieved recognition of the sovereignty of Parliament, in that the affirmative resolution procedure has been recognised by the Government as appropriate for any continuation of a Bill of this kind.

However, the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, is quite right, as are the noble Lord, Lord Alexander, and my noble friend Lord Houghton of Sowerby that this does not go far enough. It may be wrong to hustle the Secretary of State before 1990, but there must be no opportunity left for him to carry this unacceptable procedure beyond 1990. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has indicated that he proposes to pursue Amendment No. 62. I wanted, before any further decision was taken about the fate of preceding amendments, to make it clear that he would have our full support in doing so because we believe that this, not being his first preference perhaps but being a reasonable compromise between his first preference and the concession which the Government have made, is a proper step for this Committee to take. It is a proper reassurance for teachers and employers and all concerned with education that there is a real urgency behind the move for a return to proper negotiation of pay and conditions of service.

Lord Elton

Since the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, has addressed Amendment No. 62, I should like the assurance of your Lordships that we shall be discussing it again before the noble Lord divides the Committee on it. It is important that we should not vote simply on the information now given.

Lord Henderson of Brompton

I can state that the opportunity will occur.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees

Is the noble Lord withdrawing his amendment?

Lord Henderson of Brompton

Yes, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees

I am not myself absolutely clear as to which amendments fall as a result of the recent debate. However, if I go through them in detail Members may tell me which ones they do not intend to move.

[Amendments Nos. 56 to 59 not moved.]

Baroness Seear moved Amendment No. 60: Page 3, line 45, leave out from ("shall") to end of line 46, and insert ("not be made unless a draft of the order has been laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.").

The noble Baroness said: Since this amendment has already been accepted, may I move it quite formally?

I move that Amendment No. 60 be accepted by the Committee.

Lord Mottistone

Perhaps I may suggest that the amendment should read, Page 3, line 45, leave out from ("shall") to end of line 47". That is a technical fault, I do not know if we can correct it at this stage.

Lord Henderson of Brompton

I think I can help the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone. The fault lies in the line numbering on page 3 of the Bill. I believe that the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, should read, Page 3, line 44, leave out from ("shall") to end of line 46", and the rest is absolutely as tabled. With that slight alteration, the amendment is accurate and in order. But the line numbering on page 3 at the bottom which says "45" should actually be "44". That is the cause of the confusion.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees

I understand that the numbering at the side of this page has gone slightly wrong, but that the amendments as called are correct.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 61 not moved.]

Lord Henderson of Brompton moved Amendment No. 62:

Page 3, line 46, at end insert— ('(5) This Act shall cease to have effect at the end of three years beginning with the date on which it is passed.").

The noble Lord said: This is the amendment which I agreed to move and on which a number of noble Lords have expressed a strong view. The noble Lord, Lord Elton, wishes to express a view on it and, since I have said all I wish to say about it, I shall give the floor to the noble Lord, Lord Elton.

Lord Elton

I have been persuaded that the Committee is possessed of sufficient information to make its mind up as it is.

Lord Houghton of Sowerby

I am sure the Committee is very much obliged to the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, for his very courteous and accommodating reply. However, it seems to me that we are now confronted with a purely procedural point. The issue lies between the positive resolution and fresh legislation as we run up to 1990. That is the issue. I submit that in order to convey the maximum impression of determination we should grasp the nettle and go for fresh legislation. This fresh legislation need not take up a lot of time if there is the prospect of reaching agreement but it gives a better opportunity to Parliament to debate whatever situation exists at the time.

There are limitations on the affirmative procedure which the Government are recommending us to accept. The debate may take place only on the Motion, there can be no amendment, there is bound to be limited time for discussion. No one who has had experience of the House of Commons in particular will regard an affirmative resolution as a substitution for legislation on a primary issue. This would be a primary issue.

I submit that it is not a question of continuing something in 1990. It is a question of renewing beyond the term anticipated a very important change in the conditions of service of teachers, with some elements of constitutional principle involved. If there is a prospect, as we run up to 1990, of settlement of the difficult issues which have been left to the next three years, then if a sure extension beyond 1990 is required that legislation will be forthcoming. I ask the Committee to grasp this nettle. I believe that psychologically it would count for much more than anything else which the Committee has been asked to do on this Bill.

6 p.m.

Lord Beloff

Perhaps noble Lords can consider one other aspect of this matter which I do not believe has been mentioned. The whole purpose of the limited period of a temporary and interim Bill was to provide not only breathing space for permanent conditions to be negotiated, which would require new primary legislation, but also to give the maximum incentive to the people concerned to come to an agreement.

If there is one element—which may be the Secretary of State, one of the local authorities or one of the teachers' unions—which knows that 1990 is an absolutely firm date, beyond which it is highly improbable that the Act would be prolonged (leaving aside the matter of new primary legislation), does that not give that element an incentive to hold out until the last possible moment for its own point of view? Is not the whole object of this kind of legislation to act as a kind of spur and to say, since everyone concerned is agreed in not liking the temporary arrangements, "You are going to have something very nasty until you agree, and if you do not agree you will go on having it"?

That sounds brutal and it is not a nice way to have to behave. However, as my noble friend Lord Belstead has reminded us, negotiations for a new permanent settlement, or at least investigations into the possibility of such a settlement, have been going on since 1981. That is six years, which is twice as long as this Bill is to be allowed.

I suggest, as regards the Government's concession to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, that if it is necessary to prolong this Act it should be by affirmative resolution, which maintains the pressure on the parties concerned to come to an agreement. Otherwise, as the noble Lord, Lord Alexander, has said, they may not be familiar with parliamentary procedure and they may interpret this absolute end in 1990 as an incentive to continue their dispute.

Lord Alexander of Potterhill

I feel that what the noble Lord has just said represents a very great danger. I am certain that teachers would interpret what he has said as meaning that this is not a temporary measure and that it would be made permanent. In other words, it is possible to extend this same central control and direction by affirmative resolution thereafter and the teachers will feel that this is what they feared from the word go—a central control and direction which is permanent and not temporary.

Lord Parry

The concession made by the Minister is far more important in the context of his and the Committee's wish to assure teachers that they want this measure to be temporary. I wish to take the emphasis away from the suggestion that has been made by the noble Lord, Lord Beloff, in the last few moments, though I respect what he is attempting to do. It is absolutely vital that the message gets across that this is a temporary measure which the Committee has agreed as a result of debate on this issue.

It would be a tragedy from the Government's point of view if teachers were left with a negative message when there is a considerable amount of money to be paid to them, so long as it is paid in the context of a technical solution which the teachers themselves can accept. I strongly support what has been said by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and the two noble Lords who are also very learned in the context of education and who have spoken in support of the amendment.

Lord Elton

Surely the message that ought to go out from this Chamber is that this Bill is as temporary as those who will be affected by it wish it to be. The purpose of the Bill is to cure a malaise in the teaching profession and principally among those members of the profession who seek to guide it on its path to proper remuneration.

Their minds need to be concentrated; it is they who need to take the medicine until they are cured of the malaise. If the bottle is to be thrown away after a couple of doses, regardless of the state of the patient, we shall not achieve the result we want. The message is clear: "This can be dealt with as quickly as you are prepared to deal with it". I think this is why we should proceed as has been suggested by my noble friend.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

Before the Committee comes to a decision, I should point out that the Committee is being asked to make something of a nonsense. A few moments ago the Committee accepted the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, under which the Bill can be continued after the three years by affirmative resolution. That was the decision of the Committee and it stands as the decision of the Committee at this stage of the Bill. A few minutes later, the Committee is being asked completely to contradict that and to say that it cannot be continued at all after three years.

I do not know what the procedural aspects of that decision would be; I bow to others on that matter. However, from a common sense and practical point of view, for a House of Parliament at one moment to come to an important decision without a Division (which is generally welcomed, as was the drafting of the noble Baroness) and a few minutes later contradict that and make the amendment carried on the Motion of the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, a nonsense, seems to be putting the Committee in an absurd position and one in which we are rather making fools of ourselves.

Lord Belstead

I think that the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, will want to come to a conclusion. Therefore I simply say from this Bench to the noble Lord, Lord Alexander, that the message to the teaching profession is that the Bill is certainly temporary. That matter is in the Long Title; the Bill provides for its own expiry. Only yesterday we put on the face of the Bill, as we shall in a few minutes do in the form of a consequential amendment, a temporary description of the advisory committee.

I am grateful to noble Lords who I think have recognised that during this debate we have been able to take these matters further forward by the Government saying that if, in a new and more settled time, they were able to conclude by 1989 on the form of future permanent machinery, new legislation could be introduced to set up that machinery in good time for the April 1990 settlement. I say that in answer to my noble friend Lord Butterworth.

The Government are entirely sympathetic to that prospect and will not unreasonably delay legislation to bring forward new machinery once conclusions are reached. However, we have now to decide Amendment No. 62 and I must leave the Committee to decide whether or not my noble friend Lord Boyd-Carpenter is right. I know that he generally is. It perhaps is not the best parliamentary procedure to follow up the acceptance of an amendment for an affirmative resolution by saying that that will never happen because expiry will be the death of the Bill.

All I would say is that the Government have felt that they had to go as far as the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, wished the Committee to go, and indeed as far as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, who put down similar amendments, wished the Committee to go, in that prolonging the Bill, if necessary, should be by affirmative resolution. I endeavoured to explain that one must leave that option, if it is necessary, and I shall leave the Committee to decide whether, in those circumstances, it is really possible to support Amendment No. 62.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I think it would be a pity for the Committee to decide on this amendment without dealing, with two misapprehensions which have recently arisen in the debate. The first is that of the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, who seems to think, because we had a debate in which we considered three options in what I thought was a reasonably rational way and yet had to have votes going for or against single options, that that is no reason for us to consider each of those options in turn after the general debate. That is what we are now doing.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

It is not a question of our having had a debate to consider options; it is a question of a Committee of the House of Lords as a part of the legislature putting a provision into a Bill. The Committee unanimously, as I understand it, put in the provision and it is now being asked to contradict that decision.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

On the contrary, the Committee is now being asked to improve on the decision which we took a few minutes ago.

Noble Lords


Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The second misapprehension is that raised by the noble Lord, Lord Beloff, who seemed to think that negotiations would be prolonged if there was the prospect of 1990 being the edge of the cliff, so to speak. My experience would have been the absolute contrary. I should have thought that the prospect of execution of the existing proceedings in 1990 without any reprieve would concentrate wonderfully the minds of both the teachers and the employers and that we would be much more likely to get agreement on that basis.

It is necessary to make it clear that the Labour Government which will be in office at that time will certainly riot seek to renew such legislation by affirmative instrument or by new legislation but will see to it with all despatch that the control of the negotiation of teachers' pay and conditions is returned to the teachers and to their employers.

Lord Ritchie of Dundee

I do not pretend to know the answer to the difficulty that the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, has brought to our notice; but I do know that the eyes of those in the education world are on us. I think that this is the moment to give them a clear message of something that will reassure them. In that I am in total agreement with the noble Lords, Lord Houghton and Lord Alexander, who said that they will be reassured only by knowing that there is a final and definite cut-off date. If, unfortunately, no negotiating machinery has been decided upon by that time, the Alliance Government, which by then will be directing affairs, will no doubt introduce new legislation to give another year in which a settlement may be reached.

Lord Henderson of Brompton

I shall not address myself to the merits of the matter. The kind of arguments that I would have advanced have been advanced by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, and others. As to the procedural point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, I have to say that I agree with him very largely, though not entirely. If Amendment No. 62 were put into the Bill, it would override Amendment No. 60 and consequential amendments would have to be made for the next stage. I do not think it is desirable to have two not entirely compatible amendments made to the Bill at the same stage. The sensible course would be to come back at Report stage with Amendment No. 62 and take the opinion of the House then. For that reason, I ask leave to withdraw Amendment No. 62 without prejudice to its being raised again on Report.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

6.15 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 62A:

Page 3, line 46, at end insert— ("( ) In each calendar year before the making of any order under subsection (2) the Advisory Committee shall invite representations from such organisations of teachers, employers, parents and churches involved in the provision of education as it may consider appropriate, as to the continuation of the Act for a subsequent period").

The noble Lord said: I shall leave an appropriate time for the Committee to empty. The Committee has agreed to a change in the procedures for the continuation of the Act after 1990 and it has agreed that it should now be by affirmative resolution. What it has not dealt with is the issue of how the Government should be advised on whether it is necessary for a continuation to be made. Amendment No. 62A provides the possibility for the advisory committee—the interim advisory committee as we must now call it—to seek representations on the question of whether the procedures should be continued before making the extension order.

The amendment lays down that the advisory committee, shall invite representations from such organisations of teachers, employers, parents and churches involved … as it may consider appropriate, as to the continuation of the Act for a subsequent period".

The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has indicated that he will return at Report stage to the issue of further continuation. I certainly do not want to reopen that debate; but if we accept that the Committee has reached a decision at the present time about continuation, it does not seem unreasonable that the discussion which must take place in public about the issue of whether or not the legislation should be continued should take place in the best possible conditions with the best possible advice from those concerned with education—teachers, employers and so on. This amendment would make that possible.

I hope that the Government will not find it in any way inconsistent with the moves which they have made towards strengthening the interim nature of the legislation or with their intentions behind the legislation but will see it simply as an expansion of the opportunity for good decision-making. I beg to move.

Lord Belstead

I well understand what the noble Lord is saying, but I think it is an inappropriate role for the advisory committee. I put it to the Committee that it is not for the advisory committee to decide whether it and the Act ought to continue for a further period. That must be a matter for the Secretary of State to put to Parliament for decision. The various bodies should surely therefore be addressing their representations to my right honourable friend, and no doubt they will do so without any need for a formal provision to that effect in the Bill. With respect to the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, to put the advisory committee in the amendment would not be appropriate.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

That intervention is helpful and soundly based. The conclusion one must draw therefore is that the Government would not resist the idea of the Secretary of State seeking representations from these bodies, or such of these bodies as he thinks fit, before making a decision about the extension of the Act. Is that what is in the mind of the noble Lord?

Lord Belstead

I have to confess that that was not in my mind.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

If it was not in his mind, the force of his argument is somewhat diminished, but it raises the possibility of a more appropriate amendment being put forward at a later stage. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 62B:

Page 3, line 46, at end insert— ("( ) In each calendar year after the making of any order under subsection (2) the Advisory Committee shall, after consultation with such organisations of teachers, employers, parents and churches involved in the provision of education, as it considers appropriate and publish a report on the operation of the Act since the date of Royal Assent, or since the making of an order under subsection (2) as appropriate").

The noble Lord said: This amendment again puts an obligation on the advisory committee, but I think the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, will agree that in this case it is a more appropriate obligation. As he has explained, the advisory committee will have been responsible for advising the Secretary of State as to the pay and conditions settlement for 1988 and 1989. It is proposed in the amendment that the advisory committee, which under the very limited terms of reference allowed to it by the Bill will have been considering the matters referred to it by the Secretary of State and making reports on these individual matters to the Secretary of State, shall also publish an annual report, on the operation of the Act since the date of Royal Assent".

The obligation to produce an annual report is laid on many advisory committees—indeed, I would venture to say, on most advisory committees. The Printed Paper Office of your Lordships' House receives one or two of these annual reports every week of the year. There is nothing unusual about that. It is a valuable addition to the public consultation process. It provides a valuable discipline for an advisory committee to set on one side the individual matters that it is considering on the reference of the Secretary of State and to consider how they all fit together and the way progress is being made towards what we all wish for—a return to satisfactory long-term permanent negotiating procedures.

I believe that the amendment does not suffer from the objections raised against the preceding amendment. I hope that the Government will feel that, even if not in this form, it is a useful and modest contribution to public awareness of the issues that need to be considered by the general public and by the education world. I hope that the amendment will find favour with the Government. I beg to move.

Lord Belstead

In the event that Parliament agrees to extend the life of the Act and so of the advisory committee beyond 1990, the work of the advisory committee would continue to be much the same as before. It should devote its time to examining such questions relating to teachers' pay and conditions of employment as are put before it. I do not think that it would be appropriate for the committee to spend its time compiling and publishing a report on the operation of the Act. The committee's successive reports on matters referred to it are in any case bound to contain such remarks as it wishes to make on the operation of the Act. It is important to bear that in mind. It is mainly for that final reason that I should prefer not to lay extra bureaucracy on this advisory committee if—and that hypothesis is very much an 1r—the Act extends beyond 1990.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I am disappointed to hear that reply. I do not think that the publication of an annual report is a significant extension of bureaucracy, as the noble Lord describes it. It is, I should have thought, a minimal requirement for making sure that the public is aware of the reason for the extension and the experience of what were intended to be interim provisions carrying on for more than three years—a most undesirable situation. We hope that the noble Lord is right in saying that this is unlikely, but we are talking about a period three years away. At this stage it may be better if I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

[Amendment No. 62C not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 62D: After Clause 5, insert the following new clause:

("Rate Support Grant

The Secretary of State shall secure that that part of the block grant which is for the remuneration of teachers shall automatically he paid to local education authorities and that any increase due in full as part of the Rate Support Grant Settlement shall also be paid.").

The noble Lord said: This is in a sense a probing amendment. I appreciate that, with the local government financial provisions legislation going through another place at present, the situation on rate support grant is in a state of flux. I appreciate also that the Secretary of State for Education and Science has published his proposals for education support grant in 1987–88.

The proposal in the amendment is that the Secretary of State shall secure that that part of the block grant for the remuneration of teachers shall automatically be paid to the local education authorities and that it shall be due in full as part of the rate support grant settlement. The purpose here is to deal with a worry that has been expressed often by those concerned in education, not least by the Department of Education and Science, successive Secretaries of State and, indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Alexander. The worry is that Secretaries of State for Education, although the provision for education support grant comes from their departmental budget, do not have absolute control on whether it is spent on education.

A number of noble Lords on the Conservative Benches have expressed their concern about this and have been worried that improvements in the education support grant might not reach the education service. I am by no means convinced that we have found in a short time and in a few words the solution to what is after all a fundamental and long-lasting problem of the financing of education.

I hope that the Government will feel that whatever words are necessary can be found and that it would be appropriate to introduce them into the Bill to ensure that money from government for the education service reaches the education service. I beg to move.

Lord Elton

The noble Lord has given a clear exposition of his amendment and its intended effect. I was in some doubt when I read it whether it could be that effect he was seeking. I am well aware of the campaign that his party was recently waging against what it saw as the centralisation of the power of government. It is a central part of the constitutional resistance to the centralising power of government that the block grant given to local authorities should be available to those authorities to spend as they wish. The jargon phrase used to describe the process is that the money is not "hypothecated". In other words, it is all put into a bucket and, when the bucket has reached the determined level, it is handed to the local authorities and they then decide what will come out of rates and what will come out of the block grant, and are free to decide the priorities within their budgets.

The noble Lord is asking that this particular amount of money within the bucket should be available for one purpose only. It happens to be a rather large proportion of the money in the bucket.

The noble Lord is asking us to take away from local authorities their power to determine how they spend their money and give it to the Secretary of State for Education and Science.

There are many other reasons for resisting the amendment, but I ask the noble Lord whether he will want to press it when he realises that it runs counter to the policy of his party.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

It is better if I respond before the Minister replies.

The noble Lord, Lord Elton, has much more experience of local authority legislation than I have. He is, of course, correct in his interpretation. He is correct in saying that I will not wish to press it, but not quite for the reasons that he suggests.

It will not have escaped the noble Lord that, if the Bill goes through without significant amendment, we shall end up with a situation in which local education authorities have no power whatsoever to control either the amount or the distribution of teachers' pay, quite apart from their lack of power to control teachers' conditions of service.

The question which must then be raised and which the Government must face is: if that is the case, and if the local authorities have lost power to control teachers' pay, why should they be obliged to raise money from the ratepayer as opposed to money from the taxpayer for that purpose? The logical conclusion of the Bill, if it goes through unamended, is that all teachers' pay should be paid for centrally. The amendment is a halfway house designed to establish the Government's attitude towards the matter.

I wanted to make it clear that we have a crisis of taxation without representation before us in the nature of the Bill. I wanted to make sure that the Government recognised this and were forced to comment on the fact.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

I did not follow the noble Lord. He said that the Bill precludes local authorities from settling teachers' pay, but the amendment is trying to ensure that they can. The amendment is about individual local authorities; it is about the block grant to individual local authorities being paid—or am I misunderstanding it? However, individual local authorities cannot fix teachers' pay at present. It is fixed collectively in negotiations. Is not this amendment about individual local authorities?

6.30 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Clearly it is the individual local authorities who raise the rates but through their associations they take part in the settlement on the level and distribution of teachers' pay. It is that part in the national settlement of teachers' pay which is being taken away in this Bill and which leaves the Government open to the charge of forcing local authorities to raise taxes for a purpose over which they have no responsibility. I am not suggesting any solution at this stage, but I am saying that that issue must be faced.

Lord Elton

I do not want to extend the debate on the theology of this matter but I should point out that the present situation is not so different from what is proposed in the Bill as the noble Lord thinks. I may be wrong because I have not been involved in negotiations on teachers' pay but I have seen the concordat from which I quoted yesterday and which makes clear that local authorities agree to be bound by the decision of the Secretary of State on the total amount if that should be necessary. Therefore they are boxed in on that side.

There is also the Burnham document, a very large tome which sets out the rates of pay which are to be applied. That has the force of a statutory instrument, so they are boxed in on that side. It is already the case that in certain circumstances local authorities have to implement a set of remuneration regulations over which they do not have control.

Lord Belstead

The real intention, as I understood it when the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, started speaking, was to ensure that the Government should meet their part of the teachers' pay settlement. As regards that point, the Government certainly are not unwilling to share the cost of a satisfactory agreement. However, I do not think that this new clause is the way to go about ensuring that.

I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Elton for pointing out that the difficulty with this amendment is that it does not recognise that the block grant is an unhypothecated grant paid in support of all local authority services and that it is not possible to identify a particular element as being in support of a specific function. Nor is it right to provide that taxpayers' money should be made available automatically for the remuneration of teachers when major matters affecting the pay bill—not least the number of teachers employed—are outside the Government's control.

I have said all that because the amendment refers to the remuneration of teachers automatically being paid to local education authorities; in other words, the amendment is talking about the amount of money which is transferred or paid over. My noble friend Lord Elton gives the answer to that: you cannot hypothecate in that way. I believe I am right in saying that the normal process is that the Government decide for each financial year the level of spending they think is appropriate for local authorities and the amount of block grant which should be made available in support of those services.

I can be a little more forthcoming in that respect. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment will continue to take into account all relevant factors, including the remuneration of teachers, in deciding on total provision and on block grant in the normal way. Indeed, the Government have already proposed that an additional block grant of £56 million should be made available for this year because there is just the period between 1st January and 1st April pay settlement date which has to be covered in that way; and £200 million for the next year, April to April, for a satisfactory settlement.

Therefore I hope that by putting that on the record it shows, as I said at the beginning, that the Government are by no means unwilling to share the cost of a satisfactory settlement. I am afraid that does not mean that I can accept the amendment.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The amendment was clearly defective, as has been pointed out, but it was necessary to put something down in order to secure the statement which the Minister has made and for which we are all grateful. It is important that everybody should know that if a settlement is imposed under the conditions of this Bill the Government will ensure that they not only pay their share of the settlement—and we have an assurance on that—but also that the ratepayers' share of the settlement will be recognised as legitimate expenditure by local authorities and that it will not affect their grant-related expenditure assessment or contribute in any way to the rate-capping process.

The assurances are therefore welcome, particularly because there have been too many instances of government putting duties on local authorities and then penalising them for exercising those duties. I am glad to learn that that is not the case and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 6 [Interpretation]:

The Deputy Chairman of Committees

In calling Amendment No. 63 I should advise the Committee that if it is agreed I cannot call Amendment No. 63A.

[Amendment No. 63 not moved.]

Baroness Hooper moved Amendment No. 63A: Page 4, line 2, after ("the") insert ("Interim").

The noble Baroness said: This amendment is consequential on Amendment No. 6, which changed the title of the advisory committee established under Clause 2 of the Bill to include the word "interim". The full title is therefore: The Interim Advisory Committee on School Teachers' Pay and Conditions".

As I indicated last night when accepting the earlier amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie, this amendment is needed to include the word "interim" in the full definition of the term "advisory committee" in the various references to it throughout the Bill. I beg to move.

Lord Renton

We all welcome this amendment very much indeed. I am going to make a purely technical drafting point which will be of no interest to my noble friend who is responding but which I hope will be of great interest to all who are deeply involved, especially parliamentary counsel, in the drafting of Bills.

This is a good interpretation clause. It would have assisted the reading of the Bill if it had been in Clause 1 instead of towards the end of the Bill. In our statutory instruments we always put the definitions of words to be used, and interpretation clauses, at the beginning. If it is right to do that with statutory instruments, why is it wrong to do it in Bills? I cannot ask my noble friend to give an answer to that rhetorical question but I hope that somebody, somewhere, will take it on board.

Lord Elton

Before my noble friend does not answer that, may I say that I take the opposite view? I have for years been looking for the interpretation clause in Bills and I now know that you find it at the end. If my noble friend has his way I will never find it.

Lord Ritchie of Dundee

I thank the Minister for her words and for the little dent that we have made in this Bill. It was stated in the press yesterday—I do not remember which newspaper—that we had made no dent, but I consider that the word "interim" is a tiny dent and I am hoping that today we have made another. It is quite difficult because underneath the velvet cloak there is a concrete wall. However, I thank the Minister.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

We also thank the Minister for giving effect to the concession that was made yesterday. I have only one question. It is clear that the Government are determined to retain the power to carry on these so-called interim procedures beyond 1990. They are determined to retain those powers because they do not have any confidence in their ability to achieve what is necessary by 1990. I assume that when they continue the procedures after 1990 they will take the word "interim" out of the title of the advisory committee.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 6, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 7 [Short title, &c.]:

Lord Henderson of Brompton moved Amendment No. 64. Page 4, line 26, after ("Conditions") insert ("(Temporary Provisions)").

The noble Lord said: I can deal briefly with this amendment. It is simply to insert the phrase "(Temporary Provisions)" in the Short Title of the Bill. The reason I ask the Committee to agree to this amendment is because, first, there is no doubt that the provisions in the Bill are temporary. They are expressed to be so in the Long Title. The Secretary of State said in another place that it was his intention that they should be temporary. Therefore I submit that it should be made abundantly clear in the Short Title that this is a Bill of temporary provisions. When the Bill is referred to in the future, the Short Title will be the natural handle by which it is grasped and it will never be forgotten that it is of a temporary nature.

I do not need to elaborate on the reasons any further except to point out that this has become a common form in temporary provisions Bills, and I very much hope that that practice will be followed in this case. I beg to move.

Baroness Hooper

I am glad that the noble Lord feels that it is clear from the Bill that these are temporary provisions. The Long Title of course goes to clarify that point. In order to make a general point in relation to Short Titles I should like to quote from the famous case of Vacher and Sons Limited v. The London Society of Compositors in 1913, which, it may be recalled, established the scope of protection given to trade unions by the Trade Disputes Act 1906. Lord Moulton said: The [long] title of an Act is undoubtedly part of the Act itself, and it is legitimate to use it for the purpose of interpreting the Act as a whole and ascertaining its scope. This is not the case with the short title … That is a title given to the Act solely for the purpose of facility of reference. If I may use the phrase, it is a statutory nickname to obviate the necessity of always referring to the Act under its full and descriptive title. It is not legitimate, in my opinion, to use it for the purpose of ascertaining the scope of the Act. Its object is identification and not description". This Act will be perfectly well identified by the title: Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act 1987. If one wishes to ascertain the purpose of the Act, the Long Title makes it quite clear: it is an Act, to make temporary provision with respect to the remuneration and other conditions of employment of school teachers". However, the purpose of a Short Title is ease of reference. If that purpose is to be served, a Short Title should be short, and "Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act 1987" is quite long enough. I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Henderson of Brompton

I do not think I do. I must say this comes to me as rather a shock. I feel rather like King Lear who had his possessions taken away from him by his daughters, and said: "O, reason not the need". They were so obviously being mean, and I cannot help thinking that the noble Baroness, advised by parliamentary counsel, is being rather mean on this occasion. I did not suggest that the Short Title could be used as an aid in interpretation, so it is useless to put up that argument against the arguments that I proposed. I merely said that it should be put in so that anyone who referred to this Act by its handle—that is what I cared to call it and not its nickname—at once would be reminded of the fact that it was temporary. People will not look at the Long Title but they will refer to the Short Title, which I should have thought was a very good reason for including these words.

Incidentally, speaking from recollection, on the last occasion on which there was a temporary provisions Bill—and that was only three years ago—the words "temporary provisions" were put into the Bill on a free vote in the Standing Committee in the House of Commons. It was Mr. Enoch Powell who proposed the Motion, which was agreed, and the words were not taken out by the House of Lords. I should have thought that there was a fairly respectable precedent for this and that it might be followed with some grace by the noble Baroness.

Baroness Hooper

I apologise for any lack of grace, but my understanding is that it is only in very exceptional cases that a qualification such as "temporary provisions" is incorporated. Combined with the suggestion that Short Titles should really be short, I think that there is sufficient case for the Government in this matter.

Lord Henderson of Brompton

I feel that I should press this amendment.

On Question, amendment negatived.

[Amendment No. 65 not moved.]

Clause 7 agreed to.

Schedule 1 [Constitution and Proceedings of Advisory Committee]:

[Amendment No. 66 not moved.]

6.45 p.m.

Lord Kilmarnock moved Amendment No. 67: Page 5, leave out lines 17 and 18.

The noble Lord said: I think that the two lines that I seek to delete, namely lines 17 and 18, are among the most extraordinary to appear in the Bill. The Committee has been told that there is no anomaly in the unilateral selection of genuinely independent advisers by the Secretary of State and that has been the burden of the Government's position on the matter every time that we have discussed it.

However, in proportion as his choice falls upon genuinely independent people with genuinely relevant knowledge, as it should, so the more likely it is that they may advance views contrary to his. Not content, therefore, with the standard disqualifications of bankruptcy, mental or physical illness or absenteeism, he seeks to write for himself a completely blank cheque in order to get rid of anyone who may cause him a little trouble. Of course, if he appoints only "yes-men" he will receive only "yes" for an answer, in which case this provision is unnecessary. If he nerves himself to appoint people who may from time to time tell him what he does not want to hear or who submit minority reports or something of that nature, he hedges himself against any such threat by writing into the Bill that by invoking nothing more than his own opinion he can get rid of any actual or potential dissident at the drop of a hat.

These two lines in the Bill also accord very oddly with Mr. Dunn's statement in the House of Commons: The committee must be composed on people who can look objectively at the problems of the teaching profession, without fear of recall, censure or penalty".

I repeat those words—"without fear of recall, censure or penalty". That means attracting and appointing independent people of standing to the advisory committee". [Official Report, Commons, 10/12/86; col. 564.].

That ends the quotation from the Under-Secretary's speech in the other place. Surely no one of any standing or anyone with even a modicum of self-respect could agree to serve under the conditions of the schedule as written, and Mr. Dunn's perfectly proper concern about getting good people will simply not be met.

Therefore the body will not command the confidence of the public or the respect of the profession. I am sure that that is not what the Government want. I suggest that they must recognise that the removal of these words is an essential precondition to putting into place a proper interim body.

I recognise that this schedule is an unusual one and I have been trying to check on the procedures for the removal of people from other independent boards. It has not been easy. Apparently the Office of Manpower Economics and the bodies that it was set up to service were not established under statute though there may be regulations in existence which govern their detailed operation. The BMA says it believes that members of the doctors' and dentists' body and of the nurses' body are appointed for a fixed term but it does not really know what happens in extremis. I have also spoken to the Office of Manpower Economics, which does not know how people are removed and to the public appointments unit at No. 10 Downing Street (because in theory the Prime Minister appoints everyone), which says that people are usually removed by mutual agreement if removal becomes necessary, for example, because of a conflict of interests.

It is clear that we are extremely worried by the catch-all nature of these lines in this Bill. They are bound to have the effect of a threat to toe the line held over the committee. I do not want to anticipate what the noble Baroness or the noble Lord will say. However, I suggest to the Government that if the Secretary of State says that he needs a general power to remove the people, he ought at least to give his reasons.

Another possible route down which the Secretary of State might go would be to rely upon the terms of appointment under paragraph 1(2) of the schedule to specify on what conditions someone should vacate office. Everyone would then know exactly what is going on and where they stand. There would be no question of unspoken threats to their continued existence. But I must suggest to the Government that as drafted the Bill is extremely—I was going to say inadequate, but the word I am seeking is a great deal stronger. If the Government want to get reputable people with genuine knowledge of, and interest in, education onto this body, I cannot see how they will conceivably do so while these two lines stand part of the schedule. I beg to move.

Lord Elton

I am a little surprised that the noble Lord was so unsuccessful in his search for precedents because they are liberally strewn around the statute book. When I saw the amendment of the noble Lord the words rang a bell; I realised that I had seen them before. If these words cause the noble Lord anxiety, and frighten people away from giving service, the more controversial the legislation in which they are contained, the more they are a cause for anxiety. I am therefore surprised that the noble Lord does not recall during the debate on the Bill which became the Local Government Act 1985—in which he and his Front Bench were actively engaged—that Schedule 13 was not challenged at any stage in the Committee. I read in Schedule 13(2)(3): The Secretary of State may remove a member for office if that member (d) is in the opinion of the Secretary of State otherwise unable or unfit to discharge the functions of a member". Those are the very words that occur in that Act. They were agreed by the noble Lord and his friends. The schedule was the subject of scrutiny and some considerable discussion at Report stage but again those words were left untouched. I was responsible for implementation of that Bill until 1st April the following year. I had no difficulty whatever in getting good men and true to do exactly the kind of job that these men will be asked to do to dispose of large amounts of value to local authorities. In fact, they had to make the decision and carry it out, whereas these people will merely advise.

I hope that the noble Lord will be reassured that experience in the field does not show that his anxiety has cause.

Baroness Hooper

I would add my comment that there is nothing sinister or inadequate in this provision of Schedule 1 which states that the Secretary of State may remove a member from office if that member is, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, unable or unfit to discharge the functions of a member. Contrary to the experience of the noble Lord, Lord Kilmarnock, and bearing out the case quoted by my noble friend Lord Elton, such provision is standard form in statutory arrangements for committees. It appears in the Employment and Training Act 1973 in relation to the Manpower Services Commission. It appears in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which was passed by a Labour Government, in relation to the Health and Safety Commission. Commissions such as the MSC have carried out controversial tasks without any suggestion that the power to remove members was being abused.

In this case this provision is needed to deal with situations in which, for instance, a member of the advisory committee was convicted of a criminal offence. Clearly it would not be desirable for such a member to continue to serve on the committee. But the amendment, if accepted, would make it impossible for the Secretary of State to remove him. I am sure that is not the result which the noble Lords intended.

In any case there will be safeguards on the use of this power. The Secretary of State would have to have evidence on which he could properly base an opinion that a member was unable or unfit to perform his duties. If he made an unreasonable decision it could be challenged by way of judicial review in the courts. That should ensure that the power is properly used. I ask the Committee to reject this amendment.

Lord Kilmarnock

I confess that I am surprised that statute law embodies these instances which the noble Lord, Lord Elton, and the noble Baroness adduced. I had forgotten Schedule 13 of the Local Government Act.

In this Act it seems that confidence-building measures are rather important. We are talking about what will shortly become an Act which will have great political impact on the education world. I should have thought that the more confidence that can be ensured on the committee the better; and that there was a case here for not necessarily going down the road that the noble Lord, Lord Elton, has indicated.

On the point raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Hooper, obviously a criminal offence would in my view be a disqualification, and could easily be added to the list of disqualifications already shown in the Bill. I should feel much happier if the Government would agree to write in some provision, for example, that the Secretary of State must at least give his reasons in writing, which shall be published, for the removal of anybody from this extremely unusual type of body.

I shall obviously give way to what has been said. I may come back at the next stage of the Bill with an amendment on these lines. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Earl Cathcart)

In calling Amendment No. 68, I should advise the Committee that if it is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 69.

Lord Ritchie of Dundee moved Amendment No. 68:

Page 5, line 20, leave out sub-paragraph (1) and insert— ("(1) The Committee shall elect one of its number to serve as chairman and one of its number to serve as deputy chairman.").

The noble Lord said: If the idea contained in the provision about which the noble Lord, Lord Kilmarnock, has been talking seemed to the noble Lord extraordinary—and indeed to me—the ideas which this amendment seeks to change seem to me even more extraordinary.

It is surely an entirely gratuitous piece of authoritarianism. We all hope that when the advisory committee is appointed it will consist of the great and the good, the wise of men and women—I think "distinguished" was the word that the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter used—at least equal to the Secretary of State in wisdom, knowledge and integrity. How is it conceivable that they then need the services of the Secretary of State to tell them which of them is to preside and which is to be deputy chairman?

I should like an explanation of this measure. It seems to me to be the height of arrogance and absurdity reached nowhere else in the Bill. There is something very headmasterly about the measure. The headmaster appoints his school council. He then does not trust them to pursue matters in the way that he would like. He therefore appoints his favourite boy to be chairman and his next favourite boy to be deputy chairman. He then feels that matters can be left to themselves with a little more confidence.

I beg the Government to think again about this provision and to produce an alternative which is a little more reasonable, or at least give me the reasons for the measure. I beg to move.

Lord Beloff

The noble Lord, Lord Ritchie, is trying to make an exception for this advisory committee. In relation to the educational world, the University Grants Committee, which is an advisory committee, has always had its chairman and other members appointed because the duties of a chairman may be different from the duties of other members of the committee who may have particular interests. Being a chairman is not everyone's cup of tea, but some people are very good at it.

I believe that this situation is also true of the advisory board to the research councils. The chairman is nominated. I cannot see why we should depart on this occasion from a precedent which exists within the educational world.

7 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I think it is right that I should intervene because, as has been pointed out, if this amendment is carried, my Amendment No. 69 will fall. Despite what the noble Lord, Lord Beloff, said, I did not think that the noble Lord was being particularly radical or adventurous in his proposal. I thought that it was not much to ask that a committee which already suffers the indignity of being appointed entirely by the Secretary of State—but much more important, the indignity of reporting to the Secretary of State who may ignore, change or accept its conclusions at will—should have some little gesture of independence and be able to appoint its own chairman.

I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Beloff, that there are plenty of precedents for a chairman being appointed separately. Indeed, there are examples of a chairman being appointed in advance of a committee in order that he may participate in the selection of the other members of the committee. If it were a more reasonable committee, I should find the noble Lord's arguments quite reasonable. However, I do not think that his arguments apply against our Amendment No. 69, which allows the Secretary of state to appoint the chairman of the committee, but says, in a modest, humble way: "What is wrong with the committee itself appointing a deputy chairman from among its number?".

I hope that at any rate that amendment will find favour with the Secretary of State if he wants to improve in any sense the prospects of the advisory committee being a self-respecting and effective body.

Baroness Hooper

I must say, as in the previous case, that it would be very odd and unusual indeed for the appointment of the chairman to be the responsibility of the members of the interim advisory committee itself. It is standard practice for such a sensitive decision to rest with the Secretary of State. Governments of different parties have followed this practice when appointing the chairmen of advisory bodies. In addition to the cases quoted by my noble friend Lord Beloff, I point out, for example, that successive Secretaries of State have appointed the chairmen of the University Grants Committee and the Advisory Board for the Research Councils. Other examples are the Business and Technician Education Council and the Secondary Examinations Council. None of the chairmen of those bodies is accused of political bias. I cannot see any government giving up the power to appoint the chairmen of such important bodies.

As regards the deputy chairman, if the chairman was indisposed at a crucial time, heavy responsibility would fall on his deputy. Therefore, the same considerations apply. For that reason the Government think that there is a strong case for the deputy chairman also to be appointed by the Secretary of State. Indeed, as the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, has suggested, it would not be unusual—and I believe that I said in the course of the debate yesterday that it was quite probable—for the chairman of this particular committee to be appointed in advance of the other members.

We believe that the role of the advisory committee is very important. It is therefore important that the Secretary of State should be able to choose the people who are considered to be the most suitable to carry out the committee's important and delicate tasks. Therefore, we cannot accept this amendment, or indeed Amendment No. 69.

Lord Ritchie of Dundee

I have listened to what has been said and I suppose that I must bow to the superior knowledge that has been shown. I must admit that I had not taken that sufficiently into account. However, I think that there is a difference between the committee about which we are talking and the committees that have been referred to by the noble Baroness and the noble Lord, Lord Beloff: the research committee and the University Grants Committee. There has never been, so far as I know, any suggestion that they would be politically manipulated. The unfortunate point about this committee is that there has been much suggestion of that, not merely in your Lordships' House but in the other place. There has been considerable suggestion from the educational world as well as local government that this committee will simply consist of the puppets of the Secretary of State. Therefore, this is a small gesture which would give them a little independence and something of the dignity which we feel the committee may lack. "Self-respect" was the word which the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, used, and that is a word which I thought of in that connection. It is important that they should have self-respect. It seems to me that such a gesture would, in the circumstances, be appropriate. However, I do not feel that I can press the matter at this moment and I have no alternative but to beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 69 to 71 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 72: Page 6, line 21, at end insert—

("Secretariat of the Committee

6. The secretariat of the Advisory Committee shall be provided by an agency independent of the Department of Education and Science.").

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment I hasten to say that it is not my intention in any way to question the secretarial capacities of the Department of Education and Science. I am well aware that it has provided a secretariat for many distinguished independent bodies over the years and that it has done so with first-class efficiency, and with independence and integrity.

The purpose of the amendment is to make an attempt to distance this very exceptional body—the interim advisory committee on teachers' pay and conditions—to some extent from its all-powerful master the Secretary of State. It is against the power of the Secretary of State and not the secretarial capacity of the Department of Education and Science that this amendment is addressed.

It has been said many times, and I shall not repeat it, that there is virtually no way—other than in the goodwill of the Secretary of State and in the precedents which arise from other advisory committees—in which this advisory committee has any real independence. From its establishment; from its constitution; from its terms of reference; from the matters referred to it; from the way in which it proceeds with its business; and from the way it reports and what happens to its reports, the Secretary of State has absolute power over the advisory committee.

A wise Secretary of State will not exercise that absolute power, and any body of independent-minded men and women which is appointed to these tasks will attempt to achieve independence. However, in order to do so it must have access to independent secretarial help. The members must feel confident as they proceed with their deliberations that they are not simply performing a function which is prescribed to them not only in terms of reference but also in detailed day-to-day consideration and from meeting to meeting. It is not a great deal to demand.

I believe that there are precedents for an independent secretariat. Indeed, the committee itself could establish its own secretariat if it required; or it could be provided, for example, in particular by the Office of Manpower Economics, which does an excellent job on behalf of a number of negotiating committees. It is not much more than a gesture for the Government to agree to this amendment. There is adequate precedent for it. I believe that it would be valuable in establishing what the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie, and I wish to call the self-respect of the advisory committee. I beg to move.

Lord Renton

With respect to the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, and I understand his motives, I should not have thought that this administrative material was a fit subject for legislation. I believe that we let an awful lot of purely administrative matter creep into out statutes, but I do not think that it is wise. I do not see why we should legislate on a matter such as this. If the Government have it in mind that there should be an independent agency, they can perfectly well say so. If they think that it should not be an independent agency, they can explain why not.

The noble Lord will have achieved a purpose by moving his amendment in order to get a statement from the Government; but I do not think that he should seriously consider that his amendment should be added to the Bill.

Baroness Hooper

The Government have not yet decided who should provide the secretariat for the advisory committee, so I feel sure that the comments made by Members of the Committee this evening will be taken into account.

I should like to emphasise that it would be a mistake for anybody to imagine that a secretariat which included people from the Department of Education and Science would in any way compromise that committee's independence. Some examples have already been quoted and I should like to quote the example of the Advisory Board for the Research Councils, which has a secretariat drawn from the department. That does not compromise that body's independence. To take another example, the secretariat of the Main Committee in Scotland was seconded from the Scottish Office. That committee was entirely independent and highly successful in paving the way to a resolution of the teachers' dispute in Scotland.

I feel confident in giving an assurance to the Committee that any officials who may become servants of the advisory committee will serve that committee faithfully. The expertise of members of the Department of Education and Science could well be valuable to the committee in its work. It would be foolish and quite unnecessary to exclude them from the secretariat. I ask the Committee to reject this amendment.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Once again the noble Baroness has given me an opportunity to express my admiration for the work of the Department of Education and Science and my confidence in their integrity and objectivity. However, that is not to say that the Department of Education and Science is necessarily the right department of state to provide a secretariat for a committee which is to consider industrial relations matters. For this reason I suggested that the Office of Manpower Economics, for example, would provide a much more suitable independent secretariat for the committee than the Department of Education and Science.

I learn with interest that the Government have not yet made up their mind. I hope that they will bear in mind the points which have been raised. I take full cognisance of the points raised by the noble Lord, Lord Renton, and the undesirability of putting detail of this sort on the statute book if it can possibly be avoided. I think the best course in the circumstances is for me to beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 73 not moved.]

Schedules 1 and 2 agreed to.

In the Title:

Lord Beloff moved Amendment No. 74: Line 3, after ("teachers") insert ("and as to certain arrangements for settling the remuneration and other conditions of employment of teachers in further education").

The noble Lord said: In the absence of the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, and since this is a consequential amendment to Amendment No. 54, which the Committee accepted earlier today and which was in our joint names, on behalf of the noble Baroness, I beg to move this amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Title, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with amendments.

House adjourned at fifteen minutes past seven o'clock.