I have received your Address praying that on the ratification by the Government of Canada of the Convention set out in the schedule to the draft order entitled the Double Taxation Relief (Taxes on Income) (Canada) Order 1978, which draft was laid before your House, an order be made in the form of that draft.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will implement the declaration of intent made by both sides of the Scottish Teachers Salaries Committee to restore as quickly as possible the earnings of teachers which have been eroded; and if he will make a statement.
The Scottish Teachers Salaries Committee agreed in April 1978, with my representatives formally dissenting, to set up a working party to look at the structure of teachers' salaries, with particular reference to internal and external relativities. The teachers' side has now submitted a salary claim based in part on the working party's calculations. Any changes in teachers' salaries will, of course, have to be considered in the context of the Government's pay policy.
Is the Secretary of State aware that teachers' salaries are so inadequate that a fully trained primary teacher in the first year earns £51 per week, whereas a first year trainee caretaker earns £53·65 per week? Ordinary and honours graduate teachers earn £65 and £69 per week respectively, whereas police officers earn £81 per week at the age of 21, plus overtime, free uniform and mortgage allowance. Is it the Secretary of State's intention to restore the value of the Houghton award, updating the salaries in an effort to avoid regrettable industrial action which will result in further chaos in Scottish schools?
Order. I allowed the hon. Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mr. Dempsey) to state his argument rather than ask a question, but I hope that other hon. Members will not seek to follow suit.
I can only repeat that there is negotiating machinery and that it is meeting next Monday. It would be improper for me to make announcements about teachers' salaries today.
I accept that my right hon. Friend cannot negotiate teachers' salaries across the Floor of the House, but will he give an indication that an offer will be made at the meeting next Monday? The EIS alleges that no offer will be made. My right hon. Friend knows that there have been difficulties with the negotiations. Therefore, can he give us an assurance that an offer will be made?
I am afraid that my hon. Friend is asking the same question. The management side of the Scottish Teachers Salaries Committee is not the exclusive property of the Secretary of State. I have representatives there, but so do local authorities. We should leave the negotiations to the committee.
Is the Secretary of State aware that the refusal of the management side to make an offer on previous occasions has led to further serious disruption in our schools? That has been particularly damaging to students studying for examinations. Will the Secretary of State do all that he can to make sure that an offer is made at the meeting, so that we can hold out the prospect of an early settlement to the dispute?