§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
I beg to move, in page 24, line 22, to leave out "subparagraph" and to insert "sub-paragraphs."
§ The Chairman
This Amendment might go with the Amendment in the name of the same Joint Under-Secretary of State, in page 25, line 12, at the end to insert a new subsection (11).
§ Sir D. Eccles
On a point of order. The Amendment seeks to do the same thing as a new Clause standing in my name. Would it be convenient if we took the new Clause with my hon. Friend's Amendment? It does the same kind of thing, reckoning service of value to teachers.
§ Miss Herbison
It looks as if the Minister will make the first speech on this matter, but the Amendment that is 1490 first on the Order Paper is in the name of the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland. I ask that the Joint Under-Secretary be allowed to deal with this matter in the first instance, since it was discussed pretty fully in the Scottish Standing Committee. I ask it before we get agreement on the suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. M. Stewart
I was not sure whether the Joint Under-Secretary was going to rise, but I want to put a point about the procedure in the concurrent discussion of these Amendments with the proposed new Clause. There is a complication about it. It was agreed that the Amendments standing in the name of the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland and the proposed new Clause in the Minister's name should be discussed together, because they deal with the same matter and that would be helpful. I ask your guidance, Sir Charles, on two points. There is down for consideration at a later stage a proposed new Clause in the names of my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), of some of my hon. Friends and of myself, dealing with this matter also. It would be a great help if you could tell us whether that new Clause is likely to be called.
§ The Chairman
It is not for me to say, because it is a matter for the Speaker, but I can tell the hon. Gentleman in the strictest confidence that as the proposed new Clause would increase the charge it is out of order.
§ Mr. M. Stewart
I am obliged to you, Sir Charles, for that confidential information. I can only hope that it may be in order, when we are discussing the Amendments and the new Clause in the name of the Minister, to make comparisons between this new Clause and the one which, in happier circumstances, my hon. and right hon. Friends and I would have like to move.
The other point to which I should like to draw your attention, Sir Charles, is one of some importance. There was also to be considered a new Clause at the bottom of page 2179, in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for 1491 South Shields, concerning National Service, which reads:(1) Where any person serves a term of whole-time service in the regular forces in pursuance of the National Service Act, 1948, and subsequently becomes employed in contributory service, the period of such service shall be treated as if it were a period of contributory service.(2) No contributions shall be payable by or in respect of any such person under section nine of the principal Act.The Minister's new Clause and the Scottish Amendment which we are about to discuss also made reference to National Service, but explicitly prescribe that National Service shall not be regarded as employment of value to the teacher within the terms of the Minister's new Clause. If, Sir Charles, you are able again to tell us confidentially whether the new Clause on National Service is likely to be discussed, it will be of great help to us in our present discussion. If it is not, I think that many of us would like to lay special stress on the fact that the Minister's proposed new Clause contains what we regard as an adverse reference to National Service.
§ The Chairman
I may say in confidence that the new Clause at the bottom of page 2179, in the name of the hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), also increases the charge and is therefore out of order.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
I think that I should make clear that the Amendment which I am now proposing is in page 24, line 22, to leave out "sub-paragraph" and to insert "sub-paragraphs."
We are also considering the Amendment on the top of page 2177, to insert subsection (11). As the Committee will have gathered, I am dealing with the same point as that which my right hon. Friend will be dealing with in his new Clause, but I am glad to respond to the invitation of the hon. Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) that it would be for her convenience and that of her hon. Friends if I began the discussion.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
That is correct, Sir Charles. The first is merely 1492 a drafting Amendment made necessary in order that we may add other subparagraphs. The hon. Lady and her hon. Friends have a somewhat similar Amendment to this which I believe comes under the Report stage, but I do not know whether I am allowed to refer to it—probably not. I think, however, that it may be right at this stage to say that what the hon. Lady and her hon. Friends seek is not exactly the same as what we want in our Amendment.
This matter was discussed by the hon. Lady and myself and other hon. Members in the Scottish Committee upstairs. The differences which we found there between their view and ours was that under their ideas late entry to the profession, which is a vague and undefined phrase. would be the only test, whereas under the Amendment which I am now moving it has to be shown that the person was gaining experience of value to him as a teacher, and the Secretary of State is given the duty of deciding whether this has been done or not.
As the Committee knows, there are four periods when we think of a man in this position. Those are service in the first war, service in the second war, National Service, and occupations of various kinds outside the teaching profession. I do not want to pursue that in great detail. In the case of the first war, when a man got some kind of exemption it was clearly defined what it should be. There cannot be many men teaching today who would be much concerned about the position at that time. There may be some, but I cannot think that there will be many.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
I was in the first war myself and I know what the age limit is. If hon. Members want details of that we can discuss it later. In the second war, the emergency period, as in the first war, defines the periods with which we are concerned. The emergency period in the last war was from 1st September, 1939, to 31st March, 1949. Under the provisions of the Education (Scotland) (War Service Superannuation) Act, 1939, teachers who left teaching for war service had their war service counted for superannuation purposes. In addition, a person who became a teacher after the war and had given war service during 1493 the period between the date on which he was admitted or accepted for admission to a training centre and the date when he completed his teaching training, could have his war service recorded.
Arrangements were made at the beginning of the war for students at universities to apply on a certain form for admission to training colleges before doing their war service. One has to recognise, because it is a fact, that some of those students left for war service without filling up the form. Scottish teachers have come to me from time to time on behalf of those men and said, "It is hard luck that they went without signing the form and so lose their rights." I have said to the teachers—and I repeat it gladly now—that the Secretary of State is prepared to consider any further evidence of acceptance of admission to training colleges, or whatever it may be, other than the particular form if that evidence can be put up and if it is reliable.
The next group of people are those in National Service. The National Service period with which we are concerned began on 1st January, 1949. The Superannuations (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1948, provides in relation to all the public services that only National Service which interrupts civilian employment can count for pension. It would not be justifiable, therefore, to place teachers in a more favourable position than other public servants.
§ Mr. W. G. Cove (Aberavon)
May I ask the Joint Under-Secretary to give instances of cases where this applies? What other services?
§ Mr. Stewart
The Civil Service, local government service and, I believe, National Health Service. The Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1948, applied to all public services.
§ Mr. Stewart
I think that the hon. Member is not quite right about that. I think that the point which he has in mind is this. In the Civil Service a number of recruits undoubtedly come in 1494 at an early age. But we must deal with comparable persons. A teacher is normally a person who goes to a university or a training college—in Scotland to a university—to become a teacher. Very often after that, he does his training, and to compare him reasonably with someone in the Civil Service one has to compare him with a man who has already done the same kind of thing—not with a man who has entered the Civil Service at seventeen, but with someone who has been through the university, and so on. If we take these comparable persons, I am correct in saying that the Act applies equally fairly to both classes.
The fourth group concerns those who come from other trades and industry into teaching, occupations providing experience of value to teachers. Under the salary Regulations, speaking for Scotland at the moment, various types of work before a person becomes a teacher can count as periods for placing the teacher higher on the salary scale than his teaching service alone would have allowed. An example is the period during which a teacher was gaining experience which in the opinion of the Secretary of State is or would likely be of value to him. We are thinking particularly of the man who has been in industry. We are very anxious to get this sort of man into our schools. There is no doubt that those who have done two or three years in industry may gain enormously by it and be of great value to us, particularly in our technical education.
It is periods such as these, which we recognise for salary purposes, that teachers want also to be recognised for pension purposes. We are prepared to accept that type of period and that, in essence, is the Amendment which I am moving. I have no doubt that that part of it will find general acceptance in the House, although it may well be that hon. Members may feel that we could have gone a little further.
§ Dr. King
I hope the Committee will give some consideration to this Amendment. I want to address my remarks to one phrase which, in both its Scottish and English aspects, says that the Secretary of State and the Minister are empowered to take note of… experience which, in the opinion of the Secretary of State "—1495 or the Minister—…is likely to be of value to him as a teacher.…I think the whole Committee will agree that these are days when we are learning the value of the mature student. Indeed, the Minister himself makes provision, rather meagre provision, for men to come late from the work bench into education. Our experience of the influx of ex-Service men into the universities at the end of the First World War, and of the impact of the emergency-trained-teacher group brought in after this war shows that education has much to gain from someone who comes into the profession after some experience of the world outside. I was going to refer to the cloistered virtue of the university, but after what my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Houghton) said a few days ago about the universities, perhaps "virtue" would be out of place.
We have to consider the supreme end, justified by our experience of the last five years, of taking men out of industry into technical education; the recruitment as teachers in technical colleges of hundreds and thousands of men who have practised their subject themselves. I am a little worried that the Minister is prepared to accept only five years of such experience for pension purposes. I hope that when he replies he will say whether it is not possible to count more than five years of previous service in industry for those coming in to teach at the technical colleges.
If it is true that experience of the world helps the teacher, if it is true that there is something in what Charles Lamb—I think it was—said, that the teacher is inclined to be a boy among men and a man among boys, and that the jump from the university to the class-room might be improved if there were an intervening period spent out in life among men—if all that is true, then it is abundantly true of the National Service man.
§ Notice taken that 40 Members were not present;
§ House counted, and 40 Members being present—
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ Dr. King
As I was saying, Mr. MacPherson, if our experience since the war has been that maturity and experi- 1496 ence of life is of value to the teaching profession, then that must be abundantly true of the two years' experience a man gets in National Service, yet we deprive the young teacher who has served his country for two years of counting those two years, although they must benefit him in his future career as a teacher. Indeed, we go even further than that, and deprive the young lads of the First World War, those who moved from the sixth form to the battlefields of France, of counting that service for pension.
The Minister's defence has been that the difference between teachers and both civil and local government servants is that, in the latter cases, it is interrupted service. It is said that they have started earning their living and because of that their careers have been interrupted by National Service and the two years count for pension. On the other hand, the teacher, in the nature of things, has not started earning his living. His career, like that of many of the learned professions, means a period in school during which he is getting no salary. Indeed, whatever maintenance grants are given, it still means a sacrifice for many parents. He then goes to college or university where he is earning no money and where, again, despite the generosity of modern grants, his continued existence at college represents a sacrifice for his famly. He then plunges from what is really his apprenticeship quite as much as is the clerk's apprenticeship in local government or the Civil Service—and an utterly unpaid apprenticeship—into National Service.
The Minister has said that we have to compare like with like. But the bulk of the Civil Service does not consist of university-trained graduates, whatever Burgess and Maclean might have been—though neither was professionally, educationally or morally representative of the Civil Service. It is literally true that the great majority of civil servants and local government officers count their National Service for pension purposes. We argue that that ought to be true in the case of teachers.
There is another angle to it. I am a feminist and have spent most of my life advocating equal pay, but unless the present position is altered then, with equal pay being achieved for women teachers, the men are going to suffer an 1497 injustice throughout their lives. The women who enter teaching go from school to college, from college to classroom and begin their teaching career. From the very first moment that career counts for pension purposes. The result is that a young man going into teaching will enter it two years behind a woman of his same age and right through his career he will be permanently handicapped because he has been doing some service for Britain—a period of National Service—and the woman has not.
I am one of the odd people who think that, as long as we have National Service, there is no reason under the sun why women should not do it as well as men. It might even be a good thing to say that if we call up young men from the ages of eighteen to twenty to do something quite uncomfortable for the country, we could equally justifiably ask the young women of this country to go into the hospitals and do a period of service in the same spirit. I do not suppose that I could carry the Committee with me on that, but certainly we ought not to let this injustice remain.
I hope it will be possible before this Bill passes for the Minister to concede what we are asking, which is that the two years in which a teacher serves his country between college and going into the class-room should be counted for his pension, whether he pays for it or not. I understand that one of our later Amendments, in which we suggest that he should not pay for it, is ruled out of order. Whether he buys it in or not may be debatable, but that he has a right to count it is irresistible. I hope that before we leave this Bill we shall do something on these lines, which I regard as merely an act of justice to the teaching profession.
§ Miss Herbison
The Joint Under-Secretary of State, in moving this Amendment, was much more subdued and placatory than he was on the occasion in the Scottish Grand Committee when we discussed a similar subject. He made some comparisons between the Amendment which he has moved and the Amendment standing in my name and the names of some of my hon. Friends. The one big difference in the first part of the Minister's Amendment is that it is laid down that, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, the teacher's previous 1498 work must have given him experience that would be of value to teaching. At the present time this applies to teachers in Scotland in placing them on the salary scale.
After my experience in the Scottish Office, I found that there were some teachers who found it most difficult indeed to accept the decision of the Secretary of State on this matter, and it is for that reason, but not only for that reason, that my hon. Friends and I much prefer our Amendment to that which the hon. Gentleman has just moved. We feel that it would have been very much better to give, as of right, to these people whom we are trying to attract to the teaching profession this chance of buying so many years of superannuated service.
I would ask both the Joint Under-Secretary and the Minister to give some further thought to this matter, because if they do not agree with what we are asking for today, both of them will find from time to time that teachers will be even more disgruntled than they are at the present moment. That is all I wish to say on the first part of the Minister's Amendment.
I want now to deal with the second part. The Minister has told us that, in discussions with the Educational Institute of Scotland, he has said that the Secretary of State would be willing to accept some other form of evidence of intention than the form which these young men were supposed to fill up before they went on their war service. It would be very difficult indeed for me to think of any other form of evidence, and the Minister has said that he agrees. It seems to me then that this promise by the Secretary of State for Scotland to the Educational Institute of Scotland has no substance whatever. In effect, since I can find no other form of evidence that could be given, since the Joint Under-Secretary agrees that it would be very difficult to find another form of evidence, it means that these teachers who have been deprived of these years in the reckoning for pension purposes will be no further forward as a result of this promise by the Secretary of State.
§ Mr. Stewart
The hon. Lady is talking about men who served in the Second World War, as I was. What I said was that I had said to the teachers that if it 1499 is possible to find other evidence, we will be very glad to look at it, but I must say that neither the teachers, ourselves nor the hon. Lady have yet been able to find any other form of evidence of intention of entering the teaching profession. Therefore, in a sense, I am agreeing with the hon. Lady.
§ Miss Herbison
That is what I feel—that we are in complete agreement about the fact that it would be impossible to find evidence, and, since that is the case, no concession whatever has been made by the Secretary of State to these very deserving teachers in Scotland.
Now, I want to come to the part of the Amendment that deals with National Service. I was not at all surprised to find that this part was included, because I remember so well what the Joint Under-Secretary said on this matter in the Scottish Standing Committee. He used these words:The State had to have evidence that a man was honestly intending to be a teacher, otherwise all kinds of crooks and fakes could come along and say 'I intended to be a teacher,' without any justification.He was talking about people who wanted to be teachers, and he went on to say:The State had to have an assurance and absolute evidence that a man intended to be a teacher. There are all kinds of people who are prepared to batten on the State.The Joint Under-Secretary went further and said:There are many evil-minded people about the world who would like to batten on the State and get money from the State. We cannot open the door to evilly-disposed people."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Standing Committee, 16th February, 1956; c. 184–5.]We must remember that all that was said in the context of these men who had served the nation as soldiers and who had ultimately decided to become teachers, and were in fact teachers.
For the life of me, I cannot understand the attitude of a Government willing to consider service in industry, provided that one can show that it is of value to teaching, and in the same Clause giving no consideration at all to the two years which these young men must do in National Service. If we were to take it merely on value to teaching, surely the two years which these young men spend in National Service, very often in places outside this country, should be of the 1500 greatest value to them when they become teachers. I should have thought that, if we were to consider the matter only from that point of view, there is everything to be said for reckoning those two years for pension purposes once the young man becomes a teacher.
The main argument that the Joint Under-Secretary gave today was that, if this principle were accepted for teachers, there would be repercussions, and it would have to apply to everyone else in the public service. I think the first paragraph of his Amendment knocks the bottom completely out of that argument. Will the Minister when he replies be able to tell us that in the Civil Service consideration is given to late entrants, provided that they can prove that the work they were doing previously was of value to them as civil servants? If that is not the case, then already in this Amendment we are making an exception in favour of the teachers, and we are doing that because of the desperate shortage of teachers. I ask the Minister and the Joint Under-Secretary to give further consideration to this point because their main argument has no substance whatever.
My final point on the question of National Service relates to the fact that under the provisions of the Bill a man may count 45 years for pension purposes. I do not know so much about the position in England, but I have tried to reckon what will be the position of an honours graduate in Scotland who decides to become a teacher. He will have to do two years' National Service. In almost every instance he will have reached the age of 70 before he can enjoy a pension based on 45 years' service. On the other hand, the woman teacher who is an honours graduate will be able to enjoy her pension at 68. The woman is not only getting equal pay, which she should have as a matter of right, but has a further advantage over her male colleague which I do not think any woman in the teaching profession would wish to have. I am sure that women teachers support us when we again ask the Government to do justice to the men for whom National Service is compulsory.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
One pleasing feature of the debate so far is that we have had a complete change of 1501 tone from the Joint Under-Secretary of State. I regret that many of my English colleagues did not have the advantage of hearing the hon. Gentleman's considered views on this matter and on the teaching profession in the Scottish Standing Committee. If they had done so, they would have realised that—
§ Mr. Ross
—that the Minister of Education would have to look to his laurels. Such was the performance of the Joint Under-Secretary that he immediately became a candidate for the Minister of Education's job, so temperate and so tactful was his language.
The first thing we have to remember in relation to the Amendment is that we are dealing with teachers. Before anyone can obtain an advantage from the Amendment, he has to be a teacher. That was what the Joint Under-Secretary forgot. If those concerned are teachers, it does not matter very much to me whether in the past they have done National Service, been employed in a certain job, or otherwise. We should apply to them all the same criteria as to whether they should have the advantage of counting for pension purposes past service outwith the teaching profession.
The Government do not do that. The Government say to the teachers, "If you came into the teaching profession from industry never having had the slightest intention of becoming a teacher until the moment of decision, we will give you this very valuable concession, but if you had the patriotic duty of doing National Service, provided you were passed A.1 to do it—if you were unfit, you could have resumed your university career and then gone to the training college and into the profession right away—you will not get the concession."
Because of the two years spent doing National Service, the male teacher will be penalised for the rest of his teaching life. He will be two years behind others of the same age who did not do National Service. Also, the other people will be able to retire with full pension rights two years before he can. As was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison), the result of denying this advantage to National Service men may well be that they will never be able to secure full pension rights. It 1502 seems to me that in order to obtain full pension rights they will have to stay in the profession until they are 69. If they are honours graduates, they will have to stay until they are 70 or 71, and probably longer.
§ Mr. Ross
There is no justification for the Government's action. The Government are meeting our demands in respect of persons who come from industry into the teaching profession, but in respect of National Service men they cling to past conditions which, as has been demonstrated by the Joint Under-Secretary, have presented difficulties in the past. In clinging to past conditions, the Government are ignoring the long continuance of National Service. It is no good talking about something that was said in 1948 when the understanding at the time that National Service was introduced was that it was to finish as soon as the emergency ended. The Joint Under-Secretary also forgets the effect of equal pay.
In his comparisons, the hon. Gentleman forgets the effect of National Service. He says that the arrangements must be the same as those for the Civil Service or some other local government service. The insistence on evidence that the young man intended to take up teaching implies that he had finished his university career and applied for a place in a training college before doing National Service. The Joint Under-Secretary served in the First World War, but it is a pity that he does not know a little more about conditions these days. Many people do their National Service before they go to the university or the training college, and others who fail in a subject at the university have perforce to break their career and do their National Service. Consequently, when they are doing their National Service they may not by that time have made up their minds whether they are to be teachers. To penalise them in the way that is proposed has no justification, and there is no logic in the Clause.
We remember what the Joint Under-Secretary said in respect of these teachers, whose case was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. Hamilton). The Joint Under-Secretary has referred to them as crooks and evilly-disposed persons. What are they doing in the teaching profession if they are like 1503 that? The hon. Gentleman should look at the position from the point of view of doing justice to people already in the profession and from the point of view of recruitment to the profession. The Government's action will represent such a disadvantage to young men that the chances are that they will prefer to enter industry rather than the teaching profession. They ought not to be denied this elementary right. There should be no penalty on patriotism, which is what the Government are insisting upon.
I am sure that the Minister of Education is thinking out a few "song and dance" remarks for us. I hope he will attempt to make up for his past misdemeanours and say, "You have convinced us. I will take the Clause back and delete the provision which prevents young men who have done National Service from getting this advantage." We welcome the advance which has been made, but we deplore the sad lack of sense which makes the Government insist upon denying justice to National Service men.
§ Mr. G. Thomas
I was astonished when I heard some of my hon. Friends who preceded me quote the language of the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland in referring to the teaching profession.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
I did not interrupt before, but my Scottish colleagues here know quite well that when those exchanges took place in Scottish Grand Committee we were all a little "het up"—[HON. MEMBERS "Oh."] May I be allowed to continue? At the following Sitting I was invited by the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) to explain or withdraw any aspersions I might unwittingly have made, and I did so. In justice to myself and to my hon. Friends, I think I should read to the Committee what I then said. This was on 21st February. I said:First, I respond immediately to his…that is, the hon. Member for South Ayrshire—inivitation that I should clarify what I said with regard to teachers. If anything I said can be interpreted as an aspersion against the teachers,…
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
May I continue? I said:I of course immediately and entirely withdraw. I did not mean that at all."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Standing Committee, 21st February, 1956; c. 197.]In justice to me the hon. Member might at least have quoted that.
§ Mr. Thomas
It may be that the hon. Gentleman has made a statement, which I understand he is explaining he withdrew, in which there was a charge against the teaching profession—
§ Mr. Ross
May I interrupt my hon. Friend to say that I did not consider that the hon. Gentleman made the statement in any great flurry of heat and excitement. The excitement started after he said it. The interruptions came as soon as he said it. The hon. Gentleman insisted on repeating it and putting it into what he probably thought was better chosen language. It is all on the record.
§ Mr. Thomas
If we look at the words of the hon. Gentleman, we see that he said:The State had to have evidence that a man was honestly intending to be a teacher, otherwise all kinds of crooks and fakes could come along and say 'I intended to be a teacher,' without any justification.The point is that they are within the profession when they make this claim. The Minister continued:The State had to have an assurance and absolute evidence that a man intended to be a teacher. There are all kinds of people who are prepared to batten on the State."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Standing Committee, 16th February, 1956; c. 184–5.]I am a fellow Celt; I am a Welshman speaking English and the hon. Gentleman is a Scotsman doing his best. It would ill become me, Sir Charles, in your presence, to be other than merciful to the Minister. I know that he must be very sorry that he said those words, but I am growing accustomed to apologies from this Department and from anyone connected with the Ministry of Education.
This Amendment which the Minister is proposing today will create a festering sore in the profession for years to come. This Amendment is going to leave all future men entrants to the teaching profession who have served in the forces with a sense of grievance and resentful indignation. The Minister knows that the 1505 National Union of Teachers has made consistent representations to him to cover the case of these teachers. The State takes these men whether they want to go or no—unless they register as conscientious objectors, in which case I gather a teacher has a privilege. The House knows my opinion on the question of conscientious objection. I am all in favour. I am not against a man exercising his right of conscience, but I do not say he ought to have privileges over the rest of the community when he does exercise that right.
§ Mr. Thomas
I beg pardon; I am grateful for the help of my hon. Friend the Member for Itchen (Dr. King).
Why should a young man who has served the nation—perhaps travelled in a way he would not have travelled and can bring to the class-room a broader vision than otherwise he might have brought—suffer all through his teaching career, or at the time when he stands in greatest need of help?
The Minister raised our hopes first with the general terms of the Motion about which he gave us prior notice. It is true that the Minister did not commit himself to give us what we ask. The objection appears to be that to do justice to the teacher would require the Government doing justice to other people as well. That is the main burden of the case against us, that civil servants and local government people would have a claim upon the State. How much would it cost to do the right thing? How much would it cost in comparison with conscription? How much would it cost in future years when the period of conscription may very well be reduced? We shall have people with varying degrees of grievance against this State.
Who believes that National Service will continue as a two-year period for the next decade? During that time if it is ended—and certainly there is enough lip-service to the fact that it is only temporary—that would reduce the cost of doing the right thing. The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have told us that they are looking forward to the day when they will be able to end conscription. That would limit the cost 1506 which the Minister has to envisage if he is to do the right thing. If it is reduced to a year, if the point of view of the official Opposition is adopted and the period reduced by a number of months, we shall have some young people who are penalised by the extent of two years and others to the extent of the newly-limited period.
It is always wiser to do the big thing. In this Bill the Minister has done enough to upset the teaching profession. He has created a more divided profession than I have ever known, more bitterness, frustration and resentment in the classroom than there has been in my lifetime. The Minister today has a chance to do the right thing on this question. If he did the right thing for these young people in the Forces, for those who have been in the Forces and those who are to serve in future, he would find the teachers would respond generously to a generous gesture.
The Minister must not expect teachers to do all the forthcoming all the time. He must not expect them to be context with his present attitude. I ask him even now at this late stage to look again at this question. There is no responsible teachers' organisation in the country which could afford, even if it so desired, to allow this matter to rest where it is. For years there will be agitation, there will be protests and this will be a matter for teachers conferences. We have been unable to discuss our Amendment owing to the technicalities of the rules of debate. If this Clause goes through unamended, I warn the Minister it will create more trouble. It is so foolish of the Government when they can see trouble on the horizon not to take steps to deal with it.
One thing which has hurt and disturbed me very much has been the absence of hon. Members from this debate today. They will be here at 10 o'clock tonight.
§ Mr. J. C. Jennings (Burton)
The hon. Member should look behind him; not many of his hon. Friends are present.
§ Mr. Thomas
I am glad to hear the voice of the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Jennings). I thought he had forgotten how to speak.
§ Mr. Jennings
The hon. Member knows very well my attitude to the Bill. It is quite unfair of him to say that I have forgotten how to speak. He knows the position quite well.
§ Mr. Thomas
I hope we will hear the hon. Member on the Amendment. Let him come forward and tell the Minister what he thinks of this proposal. The hon. Member need not sit in silence. He knows he can speak up on behalf of these young teachers and I earnestly advise him to do so. I admire his point of view on the Bill, because it is a view I share.
§ Mr. Thomas
The hon. Member has great self-restraint and self-discipline but perhaps later he will break through and let us have the benefit of his opinion. Again, I ask the Minister to look at this question and to realise that together with the widows' and orphans' scheme, it is one of the main issues concerning the profession at the present time.
§ Mr. S. O. Davies (Merthyr Tydvil)
I intervene only for a few minutes. I am sure the Minister will be interested to hear of a recent experience of mine within the House. I hope that my hon. Friends from the teaching profession will permit an upstart like myself to take up a few minutes of the time of the Committee.
A young constituent of mine who is undergoing his two years' National Service called to see me in the House six or seven weeks ago, having been drafted to Germany. He had completed one year of National Service. Incidentally, he had been accepted at one of our older universities.
During his first year of National Service, facilities were provided for him to study Russian. Incidentally, I had nothing whatever to do with putting the idea into his head that he should study that interesting and difficult language. At the end of twelve months' service he sat an examination, the results of which I have seen. He passed his examination in the Russian language at a level equal to scholarship standard. He had not taken up Russian before he joined the Forces. Now he is in Germany and I 1508 am fairly confident that he will master the German language in the same way as he has mastered Russian.
There is a strong possibility that this young man may ultimately go into the teaching profession. Is it not an absurd commentary upon the miserable disqualification that the Minister is trying to put into the Bill that this young man would be deprived of what is tantamount to two years' educational work which might be of considerable help not only to himself but, let us hope, to many other people? Should the Minister care to have the young man's address—in private, of course—I shall be pleased to give it to him.
That is one unsolicited example which has come to my notice. A considerable number of youngsters go through the secondary grammar schools and reach advanced or scholarship standard and then undergo their two years' National Service before going to the university. Surely, there is a general desire that their two years' National Service should be transformed into an educational experience as much as anything else. I hope that the Minister will pay a little attention to these experiences of one who is not a member of the teaching profession.
§ Mr. W. T. Williams (Barons Court)
I welcome as much of the Amendment as enables people who have done other forms of work to have the advantage of a five years' allowance for the purposes of their pension ultimately as teachers. I am hesitant, however, because in the latter part of the Amendment we have had an example of the rigidity and stringency of view that Ministers will take. Indeed, we have not been greatly encouraged to expect from the Department—particularly, perhaps, from the Scottish Department—any great sympathy for people who apply to the Ministry for the exercise of its discretion as to what constitutes valuable service from the viewpoint of teaching.
If the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland is to be one of the judges, it is clear that his view of teachers in general and of the teaching profession is so low that we can assume that his approach will be so stringent that few people will derive benefit from the Clause.
1509 It is clear that the Minister of Education and the Department have again gone out of their way to create a good deal of unnecessary bitterness and resentment. I have no doubt that that bitterness and resentment will be increased when it is realised—I should not think the teaching Press will have failed to notice this—that the second part of the Amendment will be pushed through by Members of the House who for the most part have not attended to listen to the merits of the discussion. The situation is a little changed at the moment, but for the greater part of our discussion upon the Amendment, apart from Members from Departments on the Front Bench, only one single Member on the Government side has listened to the debate; and only a few moments ago he declared that his view on this matter is well known and is not sympathetic to the Government.
It is not unremarkable that the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Jennings), for some peculiar reason, although the only Member in the Government party to be an active member of the teaching profession, was not on the Standing Committee which considered the Bill. I am sure that hon. Members would be delighted to hear exactly what is the view of the hon. Member. The hon. Member says that his opposition is to the Bill in general. We shall be interested to know whether his opposition is carried to the extent of being opposed to that part of the Amendment which we on this side regard as illogical, unfair and unjust.
I was saying that the teaching profession will not be encouraged to feel more generously disposed towards the Minister than they do already when it is realised that he is dependent for forcing this matter through on a great mass of supporters who have not been sufficiently interested even to be present in the Committee for a moment except when they have been called in because of a count. If the right hon. Gentleman is interested in any arguments which might influence him to change his mind, I should like to put forward one which is different from those we have already heard.
In Standing Committee it was proposed, and it was eventually incorporated in the Bill, that teachers should 1510 have the option of continuing to teach until they are 70 years of age. My hon. Friends have already made the point that in the case of male teachers that is the same choice as Mr. Hobson gave to those who wanted to ride his horses because, with the extension of the normal teaching college course to three years and with a two years' National Service, these people will need all the period until they are 70 years of age before they can qualify for a pension.
The disadvantage and unfairness of that in relation to other members of the teaching profession, particularly women and those who, for some reason or other are not called upon to do National Service, must appeal to the Minister. It is not right that people who, for reasons over which they have absolutely no control, have to forfeit two years of their lives to the services of the State, should be further penalised by being prevented from enjoying privileges which others can enjoy because they have not had to shoulder the burden of National Service.
To take advantage of young people who are not masters of their own destiny and do not control their own souls, to take them, as the Government do, from their homes and scatter them to all parts of the earth, and compel them to give two years of their lives to the service of the State, and then take this miserable advantage over them, seems so manifestly unfair that it is almost inconceivable that the Government can refuse to have second thoughts.
I should be glad if, in order to put the matter into proper focus, the Minister gave us an estimate of what it would cost if the Amendment were to include, as well as benefit to people who may do five years in industry, benefit to those who do National Service. I realise that the Minister is faced here with many imponderables, but that never frightened him earlier in the Standing Committee, when he acted actuarially. When he was was asked then about the deficit on the Account he told us that although there would be many imponderables they did not alarm him.
There are imponderables here. It is obvious that the Government's hope, if not their intention, is some time or another to abandon National Service, and that increases unfairness. It is quite obvious that if the Opposition gets its 1511 way, National Service will be reduced very quickly from two years to twelve months, and the Government have expressed their sympathy with that point of view. If that happens, not only will it increase the unfairness between those who are and those who are not doing National Service now, but it will increase the unfairness between those who are doing National Service now and those who are to be called up in the future, who may have to do not two years but twelve months and perhaps even only a nominal period.
Surely it is manifestly unfair that a young teacher should be expected at present both to sacrifice two actual years of his life in the service of the State and to be at a disadvantage compared with others in the same profession. The Minister will know that many people who go into the Services, having had some university training or having had their service deferred until the completion of their training in a training college, are often placed immediately in the Army Educational Corps. A large number of my younger friends and some of my young students have gone into the Army, since the war, holding degrees or having had some kind of academic training, and have been put in the Educational Corps. They have spent the greater part of their two years' National Service actually in teaching.
I hesitate to make too much of this, but it is a parallel illustration to that used by my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydfil (Mr. S. O. Davies) that my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) warned me was a dangerous argument, because on this analogy a man could do so much "bull "in the Army that he might become Minister of Agriculture. How can the Minister say, "I will accept as having had valuable experience people who have done five years in industry on some kind of scientific subject, and will regard that as a proper contribution to teaching experience" and then, in the same Amendment, deny that people who have actually done some teaching during their period of military service have had experience of value.
On these grounds I urge the Minister to reconsider, even at this late stage, a matter so illogical, so unfair and unjust, 1512 and to say even now that he will be prepared—and the money cannot be a great deal—to make this further sacrifice. I think that he can do it. Our Amendment is out of order, but we ask that the right hon. Gentleman should do this thing generously and not in the mean spirit now manifested.
§ Mr. Chetwynd
My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) said that he had never known the teaching profession to be so divided as it is now but, judging from speeches made in this debate, those who have chosen to speak, and they have all been my hon. Friends, have never been more united in condemning an Amendment. I welcome the intention to bring within these provisions people with wider experience of life. I believe that that will make an extremely good contribution to the teaching profession and to education as a whole. I am sure that no one will regret the widening of the scope of that part of the Amendment, but we must all agree that in the provision exempting from the benefits of the Amendment all those who are doing National Service, the Minister has shown no imagination whatsoever.
We are told by those who favour National Service that young men benefit from it and that they come out of the Army better men than they went in. Therefore, on the intrinsic value of National Service alone, we must claim that these two years of service count as much as any other two years in any other walk of life. Certainly, it must be agreed that the National Service men whom my hon. Friend the Member for Barons Court (Mr. W. T. Williams) mentioned as doing all their service in the Army Educational Corps should be qualified to benefit from the provisions of the Amendment.
The words are,…gaining experience which…is or is likely to be of value to him as a teacher…The Minister's Amendment rules these people out and gives him no discretion whatever to bring them in. Surely, men who have obtained degrees in science and have technical qualifications and have served in the technical arms of the Services, spending most of their time in giving instruction, must be brought within these provisions as people who have had experience of value to them as teachers. On those grounds alone I appeal to the Minister to reserve to himself a 1513 discretion to bring them in, if he so wishes.
One other argument is that the age of call-up is being gradually increased so that in two years' time people will be called up at the age of 21. They will have completed their National Service by the age of 23. They may then take a two or three-year course at a teachers' training college or at a university. At the end of that their age will be 25 or 26. If we add to that 45 years of pensionable service for full pension, it means that we shall be retaining people who ought to have retired many years before.
So I appeal again to the Minister to count National Service towards pension service. Another point is that a man is now at a disadvantage as compared with a woman because he starts two years after a woman to qualify for full pension. No one would cavil at the fact that equal pay is being given by degrees, but men should not be so altruistic that they are willing to let women have equal pay without claiming rights for men.
Again, a man who does two years' National Service does not qualify under this subsection, but there is nothing to bar one who takes on a three-year engagement, which is one-third longer. For instance, if a man has been engaged in work in the Royal Army Educational Corps or in a technical arm of the Services, and at the end of his three years' service decides on teaching as a career, he will be within the scope of this subsection. It is only a little thing to bring in also the people who have served for two years.
As I have said, the rigidity with which the Government have clung to this point betrays a complete lack of imagination when we are trying to overcome the present difficulties of recruitment. Without throwing much away, the Minister could drop this part of the Clause, because in the first part he retains the discretion as to whether this should be allowed or not. He is unnecessarily restricting himself by retaining it, and in view of the 100 per cent. pressure from this side of the Committee, I hope that he will accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Short
I want to put three points to the Minister which require elucidation. The Committee will recollect that about a week ago the House passed a Bill dealing with the position that arises 1514 from the decision of the Constituent Assembly about the status of Pakistan. The gist of that Measure was that Pakistan should not be treated as a foreign country.
As I see it, countries like Pakistan and India, which elect to become Republics but remain within the Commonwealth, cannot be treated as foreign countries. At the same time they cannot be regarded as part of Her Majesty's Dominions. I am wondering what would happen in the case of a teacher who went to serve in a school in India or Pakistan. This problem may well arise in South Africa at some future time, because many English teachers go there to work. We hope she will not do so, but if South Africa should elect to become a Republic but remain within the Commonwealth, what would be their position? Clearly they would not come under subsection 3 (a, i) because South Africa would not be part of Her Majesty's Dominions. So far as I can see, they do not come under subsection 3 (a, ii) because she is not a foreign country, as our own laws exclude that. Again, they are not caught up in subsection 3 (b).
My second question is a domestic one for Members of the House. I raised it once with the predecessor of the Minister. It arises under subsection 3 (b). Would that provision include Members of Parliament? Many teachers become Members of Parliament. In fact, apart from miners, there are probably more ex-teachers than representatives of any other occupation in the House. The fact remains that if they come here before they have completed the minimum thirty years' service they lose their pension rights.
When I took this point up previously, the right hon. Lady the Member for Moss Side (Dame Florence Horsbrugh) took the view that she could not agree to let ex-teacher M.P.s pay their superannuation contributions, and so qualify for those pensions, because to do so would require legislation. Can the Minister tell me, therefore, whether these people can be brought in under subsection 3 (b)? As I read it, he cannot do so.
§ Sir D. Eccles
Will the hon. Gentleman tell me to which Clause he is referring, because there is no subsection 3 (b) in my new Clause.
§ Mr. Short
I am talking about subsection (1, a) of Clause 29. I am asking the Minister of Education also if there is any part of his new Clause which would enable him to allow teacher M.P.s to pay their contributions.
My third question concerns a point raised by the hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) on the statement made by the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland. The hon. Gentleman said that he was seeking other evidence of the intentions of young people, now teachers, who had been in the Forces to come into teaching before entering the Forces. The hon. Gentleman interjected to say that he thought it did not mean much. It seems to me to mean even less than the hon. Gentleman thought, because it means that teachers who served in virtue of an enlistment notice are excluded. I am not sure of the meaning of the phrase "enlistment notice." I do not know whether it means all people called up during the war or only those who enlisted. At any rate, it seems clear that it excludes those who enlisted, and it seems to me unfair that men who enlisted in the war are excluded but that in the case of those called up he is trying to find some other evidence to prove their intention to enter the teaching profession. Could the hon. Gentleman clear up that point?
Finally, I support what has been said about the men who are doing National Service. I hope that the Minister is prepared to think again about this point, which is not a party one. Indeed I am sure that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Burton (Mr. Jennings) would support us in this matter, because there is a great deal to be said for it. A young man coming now into the teaching profession will not be able to get his maximum pension unless the Minister allows him to count his National Service.
My hon. Friend the Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Chetwynd) gave some dates, and I want to emphasise the relevant ones. The normal age of entrance to a university is 18 or 19. If a young man is to become a teacher he will normally take a three-year degree course followed by a year's diploma course, which makes four altogether. That means that he leaves the university at 22 or 23 years of age. Then he undertakes his 1516 National Service, which he finishes at the age of 24 or 25. Obviously he cannot complete the essential 45 years as a teacher unless he reaches the age of 69 or 70.
That is the position of the university graduate. Now take the case of the teacher who joins a teachers' training college. There the course at present is two years, but in the near future the period will be increased to three years. As my hon. Friend pointed out, the age of call-up is being increased. We were told some time ago, in a White Paper, that it would go up to 20 or 21, but assuming that the date of call-up is still 18, a training college student must do his National Service before he goes into a training college. He will start his National Service at 18; come out at 20 and begin teaching at 22—in the very near future at 23. If the call-up age continues to go up, it may be that he will start teaching at the age of 24, 25 or 26. Clearly, such a man cannot get in his 45 years of service before the age of 70. If the call-up age goes up to 23, he will never get in 45 years' service at the age of 70, he will only get in 44 years.
I cannot imagine any other pension scheme in which conditions of this kind obtain, and under which a person must wait until the age of 70 before he gets a maximum pension. I suggest to the Minister that it would cost little if anything were he to allow these men to count their two years of service in the Forces for pension purposes. The Minister could allow them to pay their contributions, say, in the first ten years of teaching. It would not be beyond his wit and ingenuity to work out some sensible, decent scheme to allow them to obtain their proper pension. Every speech in this part of the debate has included a plea to the Minister to do something about this matter, and I add my voice to the appeals which have been made.
§ Mr. Cove
Most of the arguments in favour of our proposals have already been advanced, but I wish to draw attention to one or two others. The fact is that the present position, for teachers and for those in the Civil Service and local government service, is absurd and anomalous. If a civil servant enters the service at an early age, before going into the Forces, his period of National Service counts, and the 1517 same applies to people in the local government service. If they have been employed, and there is a break in the employment because of National Service, that period will count. But if teachers devote time to further education or more prolonged training, though they may fit themselves educationally for higher spheres in their profession, that period does not count. What an absurd and ridiculous anomaly.
One of the main arguments against recognising this period for pension purposes is because of the repercussions in the higher ranges of the Civil Service and local government service. Why should there not be such repercussions? Why should not this silly anomaly be corrected? We may correct the position of the teachers in this Bill, and we can correct it later for the people in the higher ranges of the Civil Service and local government. Certain other periods of service should be recognised for pension purposes, if they are of value to the teachers. I am not sure whether I am correct, but I presume that in the main that would apply to teachers who have been in industry and gone to technical schools. That again would correct the anomaly caused among members of the teaching profession.
The Minister has already issued a White Paper on technology and the development of technological education, but all that effort will be in vain unless the staff in the ordinary service is well qualified and satisfied. How can we build a structure of technological education on a sufficiently sound foundation unless that is the case? We are asking the Minister to do a wise and sensible thing. I do not see why he cannot do what we suggest, and not rub teachers the wrong way again.
The curious thing is that when we argued for widows' and orphans' pensions on the lines of the Civil Service scheme, we were refused, but now the argument is used in reverse. The Government are using every specious argument to justify a position which cannot be justified. I do not say this in any platitudinous way, but in the present circumstances of the nation it is important that the vast majority of men teachers should feel satisfied. The right hon. Gentleman could contribute towards that state of affairs by agreeing to what we are asking.
§ Mr. M. Stewart
We have had a wide debate ranging over matters affecting both the Amendment relating to the position in Scotland and the proposed new Clause. We have been concerned both with the general question of making it possible to "buy in" employment of value and with the specifically important question of National Service. What I have to say, therefore, must be divided among those various considerations.
I wish first to stress the importance of some of the remarks made by the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland. At one stage the hon. Gentleman referred to men who served in the First World War. It was not clear to me how his Amendment would affect them. But since he brought them into the argument, perhaps I may mention one point which I consider worthy of further consideration, and which is exemplified by an example recently brought to my notice.
It concerns a man who now is considerably advanced in his experience in the teaching profession. He served as a pupil teacher from 1914 to 1916 and waE then accepted for a training college, Shortly after he had been so accepted. and with the full approval of the college authorities, he enlisted, and served in the First World War. He left the Army in 1919 and completed his training in the college in 1921. Now, as a result of that course of action, and as things stand at present, his contributory service is considered to have started in 1921. Had he not enlisted, and had he remained at the training college, his contributory service would have started in 1918. Surely, it is an anomaly that by the act of voluntarily enlisting in 1916, with the consent of the training college authorities, his superannuation position should be altered. Either course of action was open to him, and he chose what most people would regard as the more public-spirited course. Certainly, it was the more dangerous, uncomfortable and unattractive to him, and now he is worse off as a result.
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman may be able to consider that and similar cases. It may be a matter which could be put right by administrative action or possibly by a further expansion of this Clause when the Bill is considered in another place. But I thought it right to draw attention to that case since the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland 1519 mentioned men who served in the First World War.
I wish now to turn to the provisions in the Minister's new Clause. We see that what is to be done—I think it was inevitable—will be done by rules to be made by the Minister, which will, under Clause 21, be subject to the possibility of Prayers in and discussion in this House. The Clause specifies more or less with precision, the nature of the rules which might be made. For example, the Minister will have to consider the age of the teacher who makes application under the Clause. I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman can tell us what he has in mind about that.
Is he already thinking of a certain maximum age above which he would say to the teacher, "You have not sufficient teaching life ahead of you for me to be justified in allowing you to buy in this service; there is no time for your work to be of value, because you will not be a teacher long enough after it"? On the other hand, is he thinking of an age below which it might be said that the work in which the teacher had been engaged could not, by virtue of his comparative youth, be of value?
There is the question of the definition of employment of value to the teacher. Various other kinds of instructional work have been mentioned as obvious examples, and nobody will dispute them. Experience in industry is of value to a technical teacher, as has also been mentioned. I very much hope that when the right hon. Gentleman comes to make the rules he will not interpret the provision too narrowly. One can easily make a case for saying that almost any period spent in really hard work is of value to the teacher in his profession later on, particularly if it is what one might call an outlandish sort of occupation. The more unusual it is, the greater the extent to which it varies his experience, the more is it likely to be of value to him subsequently in the teaching profession, because—and this argument has already been adduced—one of the difficulties and problems of the teaching profession is that if one is not careful, it is liable to be a narrowing experience.
With that in mind I want to take the example given by my hon. Friend the 1520 Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) who referred to people who have added to their teaching experience by service in this House. This is an example worth considering. As the Clause stands at present, it would apply only to persons who have been politically unfortunate in that their period of service in the House had not exceeded five years. Perhaps it is particularly those who should be helped. It may well happen that somebody may leave the teaching profession on being elected a Member and then, possibly as the result of ill-considered action by the Boundary Commissioners, find in a comparatively short time that his prospects of remaining in the House had been substantially reduced.
Goodness knows, people who have not private means run enough risks in taking on service in the House. It is not unreasonable that someone who has done work of that kind should be able to claim that it was of value to him as a teacher. I am sure that experience in Standing Committee D which discussed the Bill would be valuable experience for almost any occupation, and especially for teaching a class of more than forty unruly children.
I developed this example because it is one which we know, but people who have worked in other occupations could similarly demonstrate the desirability of the benefits of the Clause being applied to their work. Another matter for consideration is whether five years is not too low a limit. One must not be unreasonable about this, and there must be some limit of time, but it is a matter for consideration whether five years is not too low a limit. I wonder whether the Minister will be able to tell us the meaning of subsection (4) of the new Clause. I have no doubt that it is one of those things which is legally necessary but perhaps he will oblige us with the necessary technical explanation.
I turn now to a matter involved in subsection (5) of the Minister's new Clause. It is on that subsection that the arguments which my hon. Friends have adduced about National Service are concentrated, and I hope at the appropriate moment to move a manuscript Amendment which I have submitted to the Chair to omit subsection (5) so that the Committee will have an opportunity of expressing its 1521 view in the Division Lobby, if the Minister does not accept the Amendment.
Much has already been said about this topic, but I want to summarise the position in which the Minister now stands regarding the Clause containing subsection (5). We are urging the Minister to regard the period spent in National Service as a period that might legitimately be regarded as of value to somebody subsequently becoming a teacher, and to enable that person to "buy in" such service—as the phrase is.
This proposal is being offered to the Minister in a form which makes it as easy as possible for him to accept it. He is not being asked, as he might have been asked if procedure had worked differently, to allow these young men to count their National Service for pension. without paying contributions. In the present form, he is being asked to do that with the persons concerned paying contributions, a not unreasonable suggestion He cannot raise objection on that score.
Then it is said that if we allow young men to count and pay contributions for their National Service if they are to be teachers, we shall inevitably be obliged so to do in respect of young men in many other occupations.
§ Mr. Kenneth Thompson (Liverpool, Walton)
On a point of order. Are we right in assuming from what has just been said that the manuscript Amendment to which the hon. Gentleman has referred will be called, and is in order? Is it not the fact that the counterpart subscriptions paid by the local authorities will be subject to grant which will therefore increase the charge on the funds, and therefore make the Amendment out of order? I do not necessarily want it to be out of order; I merely want guidance.
§ The Temporary Chairman (Major W. J. Anstruther-Gray)
The intention is to call the manuscript Amendment dealing with subsection (5).
§ Mr. M. Stewart
I am obliged to you, Major Anstruther-Gray. May I respectfully say that I always feel that matters of that kind are best decided by the Chair?
I was dealing with the argument that if we allowed these young men to buy in their National Service, when they were subsequently to be teachers, we should 1522 have to do the same for young men entering other professions. However. that issue was very well dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Lanark-shire, North (Miss Herbison). She pointed out that one cannot argue that analogy here, because in the new Clause we are introducing a principle for teachers, that of employment of value. That has not so far been attempted in other professions. It is considered by the Minister, in introducing this new Clause, that employment of value has a special relevance to the teaching profession. We can, therefore, consider what sort of things are employment of value in teaching without having to take the argument any further afield.
The Minister himself is able to avoid allowing men to buy in their National Service only by deliberately excluding it by his new Clause. If his new Clause were without subsection (5), presumably it would be within his discretion to regard National Service as employment of value. What is the purpose of subsection (5)? The addition of subsection (5) shows that in the view of the Government, once special employment of value is admitted, the same consideration might very well apply to National Service. The Government have accordingly deliberately denied that discretion to treat National Service as something which might be of value to someone who subsequently becomes a teacher.
By my Amendment to omit subsection (5) we seek to restore to the Government that discretion. No one will dispute that National Service in all cases can be, and in very many cases actually is, of value to somebody who subsequently becomes a teacher. I am not thinking merely of those young men whose National Service takes an instructional form, such as men who become sergeants in the Educational Corps or who, becoming N.C.O.s, learn the art of instruction. I may say here that one of the very best books on teaching methods which I have ever seen was a booklet issued by the War Office called "Good Instruction." A young man who applies himself to the practice of good instruction would have very considerable experience which would be of value to him as a teacher.
Of course, the general nature of Army life, if a young man chooses to make the best of it, can be of very great value 1523 to him personally and as a teacher, if that be the profession which he subsequently takes up. Inevitably we hear a great deal in the House about young men who go into National Service and do not like it. Personally, I have always had a rather soft spot for those—happily rather more numerous—who go into National Service and make the best of it. Those who do so derive experience of very considerable value. It does seem unreasonable that their chance of being even considered under the powers which the Minister is taking in this Clause should be ruled out by the unnecessary subsection (5).
The hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North pointed out that until our Amendment is accepted considerable injustice will be done between men and women, and that, of course, is particularly marked now that we are on the way towards equal pay.
I thought it was most felicitous that it should be a lady Member of the House who should have drawn the attention of the Committee to that fact and to the danger of doing injustice to the male sex. I was only sorry that there was no hon. Lady opposite to second her plea, just as I was sorry that some of the hon. Members on the other side of the Committee who so frequently draw our attention to what they regard as the benefits of National Service were not here to say a word for the National Service man during this debate.
Where are those hon. Members? At Question Time and in debates hon. Members opposite continually urge the House to realise the excellence of National Service and the importance of doing things-for the Army; there are hon. Members who face with unflinching courage the possibility of other people being drafted and sent abroad to the risks of active service.
Now that we propose to do something for these young men in after-life to save them from unequal treatment as between themselves and members of the opposite sex, where are the defenders of National Service on the other side of the Committee? That is a reasonable question. It is a question which the young men and their parents will be entitled to ask if they study the reports of this debate.
1524 We welcome the Clause and the general principle it involves, and the Scottish Amendment which goes with it. The idea of buying in periods of service of future value to the teacher is a sound one, and we are glad to see it adopted. We hope the Minister will be able—as I am sure he will—to reply to the various questions on detail which have been addressed to him by my hon. Friends and myself as to the kind of scheme that he has in mind.
We particularly ask the right hon. Gentleman to look again at this question of National Service. At this stage, we ask him to do no more than accept an Amendment to his new Clause which would at least put it within his power to say he regards National Service as service of value to somebody who is going to take up the teaching profession. Surely, that is not an unreasonable request.
While my hon. Friends will, if necessary, be prepared to press that matter to a Division, I very earnestly hope that the reply from the Minister will make it unnecessary for us to do so.
§ Sir D. Eccles
The debate has taken a long time, and I think it has been well worth-while. It has shown what an extraordinarily difficult question is this buying in of previous service.
The difficulty arises, as I think was well pointed out by the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart), over the definition of what is service of value. The hon. Member's words, as I took them down, were, "Almost any period of hard work in any occupation might be considered"—I think quite reasonably—"to add to the experience of a young man or young woman." In some sense, any job, any travel abroad, or just getting married and having a family, having one's own children and bringing them up, must come within the ordinary conception of what service of value would be. Defining the field is the real difficulty.
There is, however, one particular kind of service of value about which I do not believe there could be any dispute, namely, industrial or commercial experience previous to becoming a teacher either in a technical college or in certain posts in secondary schools. When a man or woman comes over from industry or 1525 commerce to a post of that kind, naturally the most direct way of recognising the value of the previous service is by the salary. In fact, that is done. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has wider powers than I have, as hon. Gentlemen opposite will know, to recognise such service in the salary. It is done in England and Wales also, and I have no doubt will have increasingly to be done if we are to get the staff required in the sixth forms of secondary schools and in the technical colleges. Making additions to the salary of the transferring teacher is the main way of recognising such previous service.
But of course, it is true, as was represented to us by the Association of Teachers in Technical Institutions, that the possibility of buying in to the main teachers' superannuation scheme would also be an attraction, though to nothing like the extent that added salary is. The Clause we have put down is designed to meet that class of transferring teacher, and no more.
I am fortified by the Royal Commission on the Civil Service in confining the opportunity to "buy in" to cases where the previous experience is of value in a direct and undisputed way to the kind of teaching which is to be undertaken. I am sure that hon. Gentlemen opposite will realise that the very interesting and very difficult questions relating to what "service of value" is which have been discussed with such knowledge by them were all looked at by the Royal Commission.
I should like to read two most important passages in the Report. In regard to "added years" for all civil servants, paragraph 715 says:We understand that where arrangements for added years exist in pension schemes in outside employment, they are applied in particular cases at discretion as an aid to recruitment. In our view this is right and proper and should be the principle obtaining in the Civil Service.Then we come to the recommendation:We also recommend that the power to grant added years should be used more widely as an instrument of recruitment policy though we think that its exercise should be confined to grades above the basic.…I agree with that principle, that the one clear set of cases in which it is right to offer the opportunity of "buying in" is where we need to recruit teachers having special qualifications.
1526 An hon. Member asked what happens in the rest of the Civil Service today. If he looks at page 180 of the Report he will find a table showing the type of civil servant affected. There are not very many of them. Looking quickly at it, it seems that at the time the Report was drafted it was mostly those with legal qualifications who had had the advantage of "buying in."
The Clause permits me to make Regulations. I should have liked, for the sake of recruitment, to put in the Clause something much more definite about the categories of previous experience which should be considered as qualifying for "buying in," but we have not been able to do better than subsection (1, b). We consulted the representatives of the teachers, but neither they nor my advisers could think of any tighter form of words. I am sorry about that because, as the hon. Member for Fulham said, it leaves for the Regulations a large number of rather difficult questions which we shall, of course, have to settle in discussion with the teachers.
At this point I should like to answer one or two questions raised by the hon. Gentleman. He mentioned the special case of a man who enlisted in the First World War. I shall be glad to look into it He also asked whether there would be a maximum age and whether a man who came into the scheme nearly at the end of his effective teaching life would be able to "buy in." There will have to be a maximum age, but I do not know what it will be. There will be no minimum age I imagine, because I feel that one would look at the five years previous service.
The hon. Gentleman asked about Members of Parliament. I have had a table made of the pensions position of hon. Gentlemen and hon. Ladies who were good enough to address us during the Commitee stage. They were not good enough to tell us their pension position, but I have had it set out. There are a number of hon. Gentlemen opposite who could go back to teaching if they had the misfortune to lose their seats, and they could qualify again. Interrupted teaching is allowed for. Hon. Members could "buy in" the years during which they have represented their constituencies in the House.
1527 I should not like to say, without consideration, what view would be taken of an hon. Member who had not previously been a teacher, and who had lost his seat and decided to become a teacher, but I think his experience in the House would be extremely valuable in handling oversized classes.
§ Mr. M. Stewart
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will agree that if such a person had during his service in the House been Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of Education it could hardly be maintained that his service was not of value to him as a teacher, and that if it were conceded in such a case, it would be impossible to distinguish between one hon. Member and another in such a respect.
§ Sir D. Eccles
That is an interesting point, and we shall have to consider it when we make the Regulations.
§ Mr. Short
The right hon. Gentleman referred to the person who served as a Member of Parliament before entering teaching and hinted that his service might be considered of value. Would not the Clause exclude a teacher who left the profession to serve in the House for ten years and then returned to teaching?
§ Sir D. Eccles
Such a person is already covered and does not need this provision. There are other hon. Members opposite who are in that fortunate position.
§ Sir D. Eccles
It depends upon the view that one takes of teaching. It is clear that throughout the proceedings on the Bill I have had a higher regard for the teaching profession than many hon. Gentlemen opposite have.
§ Sir D. Eccles
I shall be glad to tell the hon. Member afterwards exactly what his own position is. He is able to do something about it. If he will speak to me afterwards I will tell him what he can do if he returns to teaching in Newcastle.
The hon. Member for Fulham asked what subsection (4) meant. I will give him an example. To qualify for a breakdown pension a teacher has to serve for ten years, and the subsection means that one cannot count towards the period of ten years a period of five years spent in industry before one entered the profession. There are one or two other examples, but that is the main one.
I was well aware what the main criticism of the Clause by hon. Gentlemen opposite would be. It is "Should we not go wider, and, in particular, recognise National Service?" The principle of not recognising National Service was very fully discussed during the proceedings on the Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1948. At that time many representations were made to the Labour Government by various bodies of public servants that they ought to be allowed to count National Service. They were turned down by the Labour Government—rightly, I think, although the balance of argument is quite fine—mainly upon the ground that it was not right to give compensation for having done National Service to young men who went into one profession and not to those who went into another. I think that that must have been the main principle behind the decision.
It is very difficult to see how this proposal could be worked fairly. How could we really say that experience in National Service is an aid to recruitment? I think that we must stick to that criterion if we are to have any limit at all to what is meant by "previous service of value.'' How could we say that National Service is of greater value than a dozen other forms of previous experience? The hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) quite rightly said that it did not really matter what kind of service the new entrants 1529 had done before, whether National Service or any other kind of service, so long as it was clearly, in the hon. Member's estimation, of value for the profession of teaching. That is just the difficulty; I do not see where we could stop.
§ Mr. Ross
What I was trying to point out was that the Government were applying two different criteria; in one case there was the criterion of usefulness and in the other case, in relation to National Service, the criterion of a previous application to a training college. I was pointing out that it was wrong to apply these two different standards.
§ Sir D. Eccles
I agree that two quite separate points are involved there. At the moment. I am considering not those cases hanging over from the last war, but the question whether we could define "previous service of value" without relating it strictly to certain types of teaching in respect of which we are now short of staff. I do not think that we can. Moreover, I do not think that it would be fair to apply the rule only to new entrants; indeed, in the case of technical college teachers who already have experience, it is my present intention to apply it, although I have not discussed the rules with the teachers. I do not think that we can say to a man coming over from industry to teach engineering, at the end of this year, "You can 'buy in' five years," while saying to someone with the same experience who joined the same staff six months before, "You cannot buy in '." So this is an enormous problem. If we were to make this concession in respect of National Service men we should have to make it for all those now in the teaching profession who had done their National Service, and, I think any other public service.
That brings me to the question of cost. It makes all the difference in the world whether the employer has to pay 24 per cent.—two years at 12 per cent.—or not. If he had to do so the cost would be very great, and I could not possibly estimate it now. Under our Clause, however, if the Government did include National Service, the young man himself would have to find the contributions, and it might be thought that in those circumstances the Exchequer would not have a very large stake in the matter. I rather wish that that were the case, but I am 1530 afraid it is not so. The fact is that although the amount which a man paid up might be sufficient to meet the liabilities on the fund whilst the contribution was 6 per cent. on both sides, as soon as another salary increase was granted, up would go the benefits, and a deficiency would once again begin to appear on the account. That is the contingency for which we have provided in Clause 4.
One has only to appreciate the size of the deficiency which has to be wiped out under Clause 1 to see what a very considerable gap there is between the cost of the benefits of teachers now in service and what they have paid in up till now, together with the subscriptions of their employers. The result of that gap is precisely the very large deficiency which is the reason for the Bill. It would not be right, therefore, to say that the cost of making this concession in respect of National Service would be negligible, even if the young ex-National Service man paid up the whole 24 per cent. himself.
The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. S. O. Davies) and the hon. Member for Barons Court (Mr. W. T. Williams) gave two examples of soldiers who, while carrying out their period of National Service, had patently done some training which would help them when they became teachers. I would only say that they were lucky; there were a great many others who did not have those opportunities. I do not believe that we could found a policy simply upon the members of the Educational Corps. If we attempted to do so I believe that quite a lot would be said by people who were not in the Educational Corps.
Although I fully subscribe to the view that, in many cases, the experience of a National Service man must be of help to him when he becomes a teacher, I must point out that the same could be said of any of the other occupations from which he might come. The hon. Member for Kilmarnock said that we should not penalise patriotism; but neither should we offer a bribe for it. We should not offer compensation for having done National Service to only one section of National Service men.
§ Mr. S. O. Davies
Is not the right hon. Gentleman overlooking something which is fundamental in the life of the National 1531 Service man? He is compulsorily uprooted from his work and his associations, and, it may be, from his studies. He does not choose to be called up. He is disturbed in probably the most formative years of his life. Surely we cannot generalise from the particular case of the young man who enters the teaching profession after completing his period of National Service. The right hon. Gentleman is overlooking something which is fundamental in a young man's life.
§ Sir D. Eccles
I think that there is a misunderstanding between the hon. Member and me. I realise that these young people are uprooted from their homes, and that many of them have to go many miles overseas, but I do not think that it is fair to offer those who subsequently enter the public service, and indeed only one branch of it, a form of compensation which is not offered to the others. That was precisely the point upon which the Labour Government insisted in 1948. We have had all these discussions before.
§ Sir D. Eccles
That, of course, is so. Where National Service is an interruption, it has long been a principle that it can be included, but with the professional grades of the Civil Service—
§ Sir D. Eccles
That is a point to be argued. It is exactly the point that was argued before the Labour Government came down on the side of not singling out those who were going into the professional grades of the Civil Service and allowing them a form of compensation. I do not like to use comparisons, but I must recall that the teachers often say to me that they want professional status. People with professional status in the public service suffer the same disadvantages as teachers because, by and large, they do their National Service before they enter the public service. It is a disadvantage shared by all the professional ranks.
§ Mr. M. Stewart
Surely the right hon. Gentleman's comparisons with 1948 are 1532 invalidated by the fact that there was then no enactment involving this principle of employment of value to the teacher. We are discussing the matter now in quite a different context. We have agreed to the principle of allowing employment of value to the teacher to be brought in, and in that context we have to discuss whether National Service can in any circumstances be regarded as employment of value to the teacher.
The right hon. Gentleman is introducing a new Clause which, at any rate theoretically, would allow him to regard the fact that a man had been the father of seven children as employment of value in the teaching profession, but would not allow him—explicitly forbids him—to regard any form of National Service as employment of value. That is a quite different situation from that of 1948.
§ Sir D. Eccles
It might be said that I should have left this subsection out of the Bill and at the end simply drawn up the rules so as to provide that National Service was excluded by the Regulations. There has been so much public discussion on the point and so many people have been talking about it that I thought was better to come clean. If we are not going to use a power it is better not to take it in the Bill. That is how see legislation.
§ Mr. Ede (South Shields)
Could not the right hon. Gentleman go a little further than that? By putting in subsection (5) he admits that, but for the subsection, this matter could be excluded. The right hon. Gentleman is specifically taking away from himself the power to do a good deed.
§ Sir D. Eccles
Quite deliberately. It is so difficult a case in the minds of so many people that it is better that they should know exactly where the Government stand. It would have been perhaps more cunning to have left out subsection (5). I think it cleaner to put it in. No doubt the Committee will feel it desirable to vote on the matter in a moment or two.
We want the Clause as an aid to getting teachers with industrial, scientific and technical experience for particular jobs where they are very short today. I think hon. Members will agree that we ought to do everything we can to man-up these technical colleges and science courses, and this provision may help a little. That is 1533 why I have put the subsection down in this form. I understand the argument for bringing in the National Service men but I can only tell the Committee that the Government feel that the case is not made out.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendments made: In page 24, line 39, at the end insert:
(iv) as a teacher in any school maintained within the United Kingdom by the Government of any part of Her Majesty's Dominions outside the United Kingdom; or."—[Mr. Henderson Stewart.]
In page 25, line 12, at the end, insert:
(11) for enabling the Secretary of State on the application of a teacher who entered service after gaining experience which, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, is or is likely to be of value to him as a teacher, to approve the said experience and to intimate to the teacher the period not exceeding five years, which in respect of the said experience may be deemed a period of service; the purposes for which and the conditions (including payment of additional contributions) on which the said service may be recorded and, if the teacher intimates his agreement and undertakes to fulfil the said conditions, for the said period to be deemed a period of service and to be recorded accordingly, and for such consequential and other matters as may appear to the Secretary of State to be necessary for the carrying out of this paragraph:
Provided that a period during which the teacher was undergoing whole-time education or whole-time training for the teaching profession or apprenticeship to a profession or trade or was engaged in service by virtue of an enlistment notice or a training notice served under Part I of the National Service Act, 1948, or any work or training in pursuance of an order made or direction given under the said Part I in respect of a conditionally registered conscientious objector shall not he so approved.—[Mr. Henderson Stewart.]
§ The Temporary Chairman (Major Anstruther-Gray)
We have not yet reached the manuscript Amendment to which the hon. Gentleman refers.
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.