Education.

Part of National Expenditure. – in the House of Commons on 1st March 1922.

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Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

On the question of teachers' salaries I have only one observation to make, and I think the House will find it conclusive. The salaries which are paid to the teachers of this country to-day are, for the most part, or practically entirely, the result of engagements which have been entered into between the local authorities and the teaching staffs. These engagements subsist in the case of London until 1923, and in the case of the country at large until 1925. Accordingly, whatever view we take as to whether these salaries are too high or too low—the Geddes Committee have undoubtedly put on record their opinion that they are too high under modern conditions—and whatever be the correct point of view in regard to that, it is perfectly certain that the local authorities are under engagements with the teachers which cannot be broken without a violation of what is indeed a contract, and so far as the Government is concerned we cannot on our part, and would not, take any action which would have the effect of creating breaches of faith. It is quite certain that any Government which took part in what could fairly be regarded as the breaking of a contract and a breach of faith would set an example in this country which would be attended by serious consequences.