Teachers (Superannuation).

Oral Answers to Questions — Education. – in the House of Commons on 2nd March 1922.

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Colonel BURN:

61.

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he realises the unequal and differential treatment disclosed by the operation of the new Teachers (Superannuation) Act of 1918, inasmuch as all teachers who have retired, or who will retire, during the 20 years commencing 1st April, 1919, are teachers who have been rendered eligible under this Act for pensions ranging from three times to eight times the pension for which they contracted and were eligible under the Acts of 1898 and 1912, whilst their colleagues who were retired prior to 1st April, 1919, have been excluded from the benefits of the new Act and left to subsist on pensions under the Acts of 1898 and 1912 of about £40, average amount; and what steps does he propose to take to remove this harsh and inequitable treatment of these pioneer teachers?

Mr. LEWIS:

A suggestion that teachers who retired on pensions before the Act of 1918 became operative should have their pensions recalculated on the basis of the latter Act was considered and rejected by the House of Commons during the Debates preceding the passing of the Act. My right hon. Friend does not propose to introduce fresh legislation for the purpose suggested.

Colonel BURN:

63.

asked the President of the Board of Education what effect the passing of the Teachers (Super- annuation) Act of 1918 has had on local pension schemes under which many teachers had been for years contributing to the cost of their superannuation on retirement; how many teachers were so contributing at the time the 1918 Act was passed; and what is the total amount of the contributions returned to these teachers on their being withdrawn from the local pension schemes and transferred to the new Government scheme under which no contributions are required from them?

Mr. LEWIS:

The School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1918, gave teachers an option to continue under any local pensions scheme, to which they may have been subject, or to withdraw there-from and so become entitled to the benefits of the Act. Upon withdrawal a teacher was entitled to be recouped in respect of his past contributions under the scheme in such manner and upon such terms as might, subject to the approval of the Treasury, be agreed upon between him and the persons having the management of the scheme, or, in default of agreement, be determined by the Treasury. The number of teachers who appear to have been contributing to local pensions schemes at the commencement to the Act was about 31,000. I am unable to state the total amount of money returned to the teachers who have withdrawn. I understand that, although the terms of recoupment were submitted to and approved or determined by the Treasury in each case, that Department did not settle the sums actually returned to individual teachers.

Photo of Mr John Hills Mr John Hills , City of Durham

67.

asked the President of the Board of Education whether, in drafting the Teachers (Superannuation) Act of 1918, he was aware that teachers who had left the profession some years previously for more lucrative employment or some other advantage, thereby relinquishing in part the small benefits due to them at 65 under the 1912 Act, became eligible at the age of 60 for the much larger benefits of the 1918 Act, while teachers of over 40 years' service, and still serving in 1918, were debarred from the benefits of the 1918 Act; and, if so, what action he proposes to take to remove such inequitable treatment?

Mr. LEWIS:

The general principle of the School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1918, was that teachers should not benefit under that Act unless they had served for a prescribed period after the commencement of the Act. The exception to this principle is, that certificated teachers who, at the commencement of the Act of 1918, had acquired by length of service vested rights to pensions on retirement under the Superannuation Acts of 1898 and 1912, are pensioned under the Act of 1918 instead of under the Acts of 1898 and 1912, even though they have not served after the commencement of the Act of 1918. My right hon. Friend cannot accept the contention that either the principle or the exception to it, which I have mentioned, is inequitable.

Photo of Mr John Hills Mr John Hills , City of Durham

68.

asked the President of the Board of Education on what grounds were some teachers approaching the retiring age of 65 granted an extension of their certificate, thereby qualifying them for the benefits of the 1918 Act, while in other cases, to teachers similarly circumstanced, no extension was granted?

Mr. LEWIS:

It is provided by Section 1 (2) (a) of the Elementary School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1898, that a teacher's certificate shall expire on his attaining the age of 65 years, or if the Board, on account of his special fitness, allow his service to continue for a further limited time, then on the expiration of that time. No extension was given unless application was made, and applications in cases in which the Board were not satisfied of special fitness were refused. As regards certificated teachers who attained the age of 65 after 21st November, 1918, the provisions of Section 13 (2) of the School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1918, would apply.

Photo of Mr John Hills Mr John Hills , City of Durham

69.

asked the President of the Board of Education how many teachers who were retirable at 65 under the Acts of 1898 and 1912 have retired before reaching 65 under the 1918 Act; what was the average age at which those teachers retired; what is the gross annual amount of their pensions under the 1918 Act; and what would have been the gross annual amount of their pensions at 65 under the Acts of 1898 and 1912?

Mr. LEWIS:

The total number and amount of annual superannuation allowances awarded from the 1st April, 1919, to the 31st December, 1921, under the School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1918, to teachers who retired before the age of 65 (the great majority of whom were teachers subject to the Act of 1898) were:

£
Men1,234143,641
Women1,879145,253
3,113£288,894

The average age of these pensioners was:

Men61.9 years
Women61.6 years

It is impossible, without a disproportionate expenditure of labour, to ascertain the amount which would have been payable to these persons if their pensions had been awarded at the age of 65 under the Acts of 1898 and 1912.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I would suggest to Ministers that answers of that length should be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.