asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs when he expects a decision from the National Board for Prices and Incomes on Scottish teachers' salaries.
I understand that a report will be published shortly.
Would the hon. Gentleman give me a categoric assurance that no documents concerned with this report have been shown to the Secretary of State for Scotland or the Scottish Education Department?
I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman appreciates that, in the course of any inquiry by the National Board, there is constant discussion over many factual matters with the interested parties. This has happened on this occasion, following precedents. The independence of the Board is in no way affected.
Is it not a fact that the Prices and Incomes Board recommended 18 per cent. and this figure has been knocked down by the Government?
I cannot deny that, since the Board's report is not yet available.
Will the hon. Gentleman answer the question asked by my hon. Friend? Is it or is it not the case that a draft of this report has been shown to the Secretary of State for Scotland or his Department? Will he give us an absolutely clear answer?
I thought I had given an absolutely clear answer—that in the interests of having an effective report, within the terms of reference given to the Board, discussions have taken place between officials on both sides. No report is available and, therefore, none has been seen by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.