§ 8. Mr. K. Robinson
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is now in a position to make a statement on the subject of university teachers' salaries.
§ 19. Mr. Rankin
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is now prepared to make a statement on the readjustment of the salaries of university teachers.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. R. A. Butler)
Academic salaries in the universities were last reviewed in 1949, and I am satisfied that a further review is necessary to enable the universities to maintain their standards of recruitment. I have considered recommendations made by the University Grants Committee, after consultation with the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals, and I propose to ask Parliament to provide the additional funds necessary to enable the universities, as from 1st October, 1954, to bring into effect new rates and scales of salary for full-time staff. I will, with permission, circulate the details in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The increase in the recurrent grant to universities required to give effect to the new rates is estimated at about £2,250,000 a year.
§ Mr. Robinson
While welcoming the Chancellor's statement, and assuring him that we shall read the details in the OFFICIAL REPORT with great care, may I ask him if he does not agree that these negotiations have been going on far too long—over two years? Does he not agree that this is due to the absence of any proper negotiating machinery? Would he be willing to receive a deputation of hon. Members from both sides of the House to discuss the entire question with him?
§ Mr. Butler
I do not think there has been undue delay. I know there has been anxiety, and I am aware that the point raised by the hon. Member is fairly widely held. If anyone has any constructive view to put to me on this matter without prejudice to the existing provision for consultation, I shall certainly be glad to receive the hon. Member and anyone he likes to bring with him.
§ Mr. Elliot
While welcoming very much the statement of my right hon. Friend, may I ask him if he would be willing to consider some sort of standing body by which any review could be considered, because these intermittent negotiations are really very difficult, and do not come to fruition until a good deal of the damage which we fear has already taken place?
§ Mr. Butler
One cannot speak too highly, as I am sure Members on both sides of the House will agree, of the work of the University Grants Committee, and I should not like any language to be used that criticised it; but I have indicated that this is a matter on which thought is necessary, and, therefore, I should be glad to hear of any constructive ideas.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
While supporting in general the present system so far as the University Grants Committee is concerned, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that we on this side of the House would welcome inquiry into this matter? Can he give us meanwhile any idea of the percentage increase of salaries he has now made?
§ Mr. Butler
I would rather not go into individual figures until the right hon. Gentleman has studied the list I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT. If after that any hon. Member wishes to ask any further Questions, I shall do my best to answer them.
§ Following are the details: