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TORY SCHOOL PLANS SLAMMED BY PLAID CYMRU

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Plaid Cymru has called on the government to withdraw plans to change rules on teachers' retirement. ...
Plaid Cymru has called on the government to withdraw plans to change rules on teachers' retirement.

The call was made by Ynys Mon MP Ieuan Wyn Jones during Prime Ministers' questions in the House of Commons (at 3.20 p.m. Tuesday 14 January 1997).

Mr Jones told deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine that morale within the teaching profession had been damaged by the plans to change the rules on the early retirement scheme.

The poor local authority settlement for next year would also lead to an increase in class sizes, the MP said.

Mr Jones added:

'Is he aware that hundreds of teachers in Wales have applied to retire early this year, and some 1,000 others face redundancy as a result of local government cutbacks.

'Is this the kind of education policy the government intends to pursue in Wales in election year?'

'The Government should act decisively today to restore some of that battered morale by agreeing to extend the deadline for consultation on teachers pensions, and by increasing resources to local education authorities so that they can at least maintain existing services,' he said.

In response, Mr Heseltine claimed that there was no reason to talk of a crisis in education funding.

Following the Westminster exchanges, Mr Jones said:

'The deputy prime minister's arrogant, complacent and dismissive reply shows that he has no understanding of the crisis facing education in Wales.

Mr Heseltine clearly did not know that there is no extra money for education in Wales, still less appreciate the depth of feeling on the issue.

'If this is the course the Tories have chosen to follow, they will find they are in for a very rough ride indeed.'

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