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Teachers (Superannuation)

Volume 928: debated on Wednesday 23 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if the Scottish teachers' superannuation scheme will require to be amended to take account of the situation of teachers and lecturers in colleges of education who may be made redundant before the age of retirement; and if he will make a statement on his intentions in the matter of redundancy and compensation payments.

No, Sir. Payments under the Redundancy Payments Act 1965 are payable by employers. Compensation payments will be made under the Crombie Code and will be reduced on account of any redundancy payments.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his reply will occasion some disappointment among the people who, in reply to advertisements only two years ago, came to our aid when we required teachers and lecturers in colleges of education? They are in a considerably exposed position, in view of the redundancy payments to be paid by the employers—the governors of various colleges. Will he have another look at this matter and take it as a matter of honour to treat them in as benevolent a way as possible?

I think that my hon. Friend must have misunderstood the position. The compensation payments under the Crombie Code are more generous than the normal redundancy payments.

Is it not ridiculous that we should be discussing redundancy payments for lecturers in colleges of education in Scotland? Does the Secretary of State accept that the people of Scotland would have more faith in the Scottish Office if it looked at ways of employing lecturers in Scottish colleges of education to make sure that Scottish education returned to the vanguard of education in Europe, where it was before the Labour Government took over?

There may be certain opportunities for extending the work of individual lecturers. I have already made it clear that there is no prospect of employing in colleges of education anything approaching the numbers that we have at present.

In relation to redundancy, what numerical estimate is the Secretary of State now working on?

How can the Secretary of State justify such a callous attitude to education and the teaching profession in Scotland when, in another act of appeasement to the Scottish NUM, he grants it an additional subsidy of £7 million a year and yet sets out to save £750,000 by closing four colleges of education?

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman is against the subsidy arrangements that I have announced. If so, I hope that he will say so explicitly. It is not my wish that any particular employees in any part of Scottish industry or the Scottish educational system should be made redundant, but the fact is that there will be a contraction in the Scottish education system. That is unavoidable. I hope to make arrangements for dealing with that situation as humanly as possble. The payments under the Crombie Code are extremely generous by normal standards and I have taken steps to see that those generous payments will apply.