asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received from voluntary colleges and the representatives of staffs of those colleges about premature retirement compensation; what funds he has made available to ensure that employees in voluntary colleges are not at a disadvantage in accepting early retirement as against employees of public sector colleges; and whether the arrangements he has made include provision for enhancement of pension during the lifetime of the person concerned and his qualifying dependants.
Officials of the Department have had a number of meetings, jointly and separately, with representatives of the Association of Voluntary Colleges and the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education at their request to discuss staff restructuring in the voluntary colleges.Subject to parliamentary approval, it is proposed to earmark resources to establish a small central fund of £250,000 to help voluntary and direct grant colleges in be financial year 1982–83 meet additional costs arising from redundancy and premature retirement compensation. Subject to the availability of resources and a review of need, it is hoped to establish a fund in 1983–84 in at least the same sum to help colleges meet similar costs arising for the first time in that year. The Department has written to colleges earlier this week to give details of the proposed allocation of the central fund in 1982–83. Copies of the letter are available in the Libraries of both Houses.Under arrangements to be embodied in regulations at present in draft, governors of voluntary colleges are able, on the same basis as local education authorities, to offer enhancement of lump sum and pension to staff who retire early on being made redundant or on the termination of their service in the furtherance of the efficient discharge of governors' functions.