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Volume 148: debated on Tuesday 8 November 1921

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Teachers Superannuation


asked the Secretary for Scotland whether the education authority for Scotland has in two of the cases after-mentioned refused, and in the other two cases has indicated that they are about to refuse, to pay the lump sum payable under their superannuation scheme of 1919 to retiring schoolmasters, to Duncan McNaught, J.P., LL.D., Kilmaurs Parish, Ayrshire, Thomas G. Meldrum, Kilmuir Easter, Ross-shire, John Thomson, New Spynie, Elgin, and Thomas Wilson, Roberton, Roxburgh; that these four are the four surviving parochial schoolmasters appointed, ad vitam aut culpam, prior to the Education Act of 1872, who, in the case of Mr. McNaught and Mr. Wilson recently retired, and in the other two cases are on the point of retiring, having fulfilled the duties of their offices till about the ages of 77, 76, 76, and 75 years respectively; that the ground of the said refusal is that they did not ask for leave to teach after reaching the age of 65; that in respect of their life appointments no such leave was necessary or, if necessary, they could not be expected to know of the need of such leave, it not being brought to their notice in connection with a superannuation scheme instituted many years after they each had reached the prescribed age of 65; and whether he will recall the decision or cause the education authority to recall their decision above stated?

The facts are substantially as stated in my hon. Friend's question. The refusal, however, in the two cases to which reference is made was not based solely on the ground that is indicated, but took cognisance also of the discretionary powers vested in the Department by Article 20 of the Superannuation Scheme. It did not appear to the Department to be either necessary or expedient to award benefits under that scheme to teachers who, after enjoying their full emoluments for some ten years beyond the normal limit, are now drawing from public funds superannuation allowances equal in amount to two-thirds of their full salary at retirement. I can therefore only reply to the last part of my hon. Friend's question in the negative.

Does not the hon. Gentleman see that these men saved the ratepayers' and taxpayers' money by serving until they were 75 or 77 years of age, and that he is actually penalising them for doing their duty by giving them less than other teachers who retired at 65 years of age?

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that Mr. Duncan McNaught is the greatest living authority on the important subject of the life of Robert Burns, and was it not greatly to the public advantage in Scotland that he should have gone on for this extra number of years teaching the children of Scotland? Why is he penalised?

I am fully aware that Mr. Duncan McNaught is one of the greatest authorities on Burns in Scotland.

I have no doubt that was in the mind of the Department when this was refused.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that these four teachers are survivors of the old Scottish system of education, which gained for Scotland a reputation in educational matters that even all subsequent legislation on education has not been able to destroy?

Wheat And Oats (Subsidy)


asked the Secretary for Scotland whether his attention has been directed to the uncertainty still existing in the minds of farmers in Scotland as to the payment of the £4 per acre of oats under the Corn Production Acts (Repeal) Act in cases where there has been a change of tenancy; whether it was the intention of the Government that the whole sum of £4 should be paid in respect of this year and no part in respect of the next three years; and what will be the result where a valuation in assessing the value of the way-going crop has taken no account of this payment and no mention of it was made in the submission to him?

My right hon. Friend is aware that some uncertainty exists, although Section 3 of the Corn Production Act, 1917, contains specific provisions as to the persons entitled to receive the payment referred to in cases where there has been a change of tenancy. The payment is made solely in respect of the crop of 1921. As regards the last part of the question, my right hon. Friend can only refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the statutory direction as regards assessment of compensation contained in Sub-section (1) (b) of the Section already cited.

Committee On Rating (Report)


asked the Secretary for Scotland when a report from Lord Dunedin's Committee on Rating in Scotland may be expected?

I understand that the Committee have not finished hearing evidence, and I cannot yet state when the report is likely to be completed.

France And Turkey


asked the Prime Minister whether the terms of the recent agreement between the French Government and the Turkish Nationalist Government of Angora have been communicated to His Majesty's Government; whether they will be laid upon the Table of the House; and what steps have been taken to safeguard opportunities for British enterprise and commerce in the. territories handed over to Turkish control.

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The question of the official publication of the agreement is dependent on the permission of the French Government, who are being consulted. The only territory handed over to Turkish control which would not have come under such control under the Treaty of Sevres is a strip of territory along the north Syrian frontier in which no British commercial interests appear to be involved.

Has the hon. Gentleman seen the repeated statements that very valuable exclusive concessions have been promised to French capitalists, and is the situation being watched from the point of view of English capitalists?

My hon. and gallant Friend asked me a question about a particular strip of territory, and I have confined my answer to that.

Does not my question refer to the recent agreement, and is the Government satisfied that British commercial rights are not infringd in the other parts of Turkey under the agreement?

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether he expects the answer of the French Government as to the publication of this Treaty before the rising of the House?

Is not a part of the Bagdad Railway now a part of the frontier in question, and therefore are not British commercial interests affected?