§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N)
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what was the gain to the Treasury since the Irish Teachers' Pension Act 1879 was passed owing to the retiring gratuities being thrown on the pension fund, and what did such gratuities amount to in the then preceding 18 years; (2) what was the loss to the teachers in the last 22 years owing to the commission on school books, c., previously enjoyed by them, being stopped by the Treasury; and (3) is it the case that teachers are now more numerous and more highly classed than in 1879?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
As the hon. and learned Member has put these questions to me rather than to the Minister more directly concerned, I will endeavour to answer them from such materials as are at my disposal. (1) The gratuities referred to amounted, on the average of the nine years 1871–80, to £6,823 per annum. I have not the figures for earlier years. For the 16 years 1880–96 they averaged £938 per annum. So the saving referred to may be taken at £6,000 per annum. It was partly in consideration of this past saving that I agreed to ask Parliament to vote an 1453 annual sum in aid of the pension fund, which sum for the present year is £18,000. (2) I presume this question to refer to a system introduced in 1863, and abolished, with the concurrence of all the Departments concerned, in 1876, whereby a commission was allowed to teachers on the value of school books sold by them. I have no information as to the amount of such commission during the 12 or 13 years for which it lasted, but it appears to have been £3,500 in the last year, 1875–76. Any loss to the teachers by its abolition was far more than made up by increases to their salaries about the same time. (3) I believe that the numbers of teachers have sensibly increased since 1879, and I find that their average incomes have increased by more than 30 per cent., entirely from public funds.