asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will temporarily revise the pension and salary arrangements for superannuated teachers in order to give a substantial financial inducement for retired teachers to continue in teaching.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will open negotiations towards adjusting the earnings and pension rights of retired teachers in such a way as to attract those willing to return to employment during the current shortage of teachers.
Surely the right hon. and learned Gentleman wants to retain more superannuated teachers in the schools and is abysmally failing to do so. Yesterday, he was anxious to clear away cobwebs in the procedure of the House and to put right an odd anomaly. Does he not appreciate that this question is full of anomalies. Will not he apply his mind to it and discuss it with several of my hon. Friends in order to get something done?
I can assure the hon. Gentleman that it has been considered and that many minds have been applied to it. I do not think that it is quite as simple as he says. Of course I will reexamine the matter yet once again, perhaps now, or at any rate if further information is available.
As he is responsible for educational standards and as this is a possible source of supply in the acute shortage which faces us over the next decade, at least for the schools, does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman recognise that he must stand up to his colleagues in the Treasury who are concerned with other branches of the public service and point out that in the interests of education something should be done?
I understand the hon. Lady's point of view, but I do not think that it is quite as simple as that. Retired teachers now normally work to about half-time without any loss of pension. One has to consider the situation of teachers who retire and go back full-time, which is the main subject. Of course it is arguable that some more would go back full-time—more than now in spite of the strong financial incentives which there already are to make them do it—but, equally, if the regulations were changed, some, perfectly properly, would resign altogether on Monday and begin again on Tuesday, and no additional teachers would thereby be provided while a certain amount of extra expenditure would be incurred.
Cannot the right hon. and learned Gentleman do something about those who have retired at a salary level which has since been exceeded by those doing; comparable work? It is one of the greatest sources of irritation that future earnings should be determined by the level of salary at the time one leaves the service. This would not apply to the persons who, as he suggested, might resign on one day and start the next. If this matter were resolved, it would very much alleviate the situation.