Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

USS Reforms: Gap Widens to £21,000 on Post-92 V Redbrick Pensions

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

USS Reforms: Gap Widens to £21,000 on Post-92 V Redbrick Pensions

Article excerpt

Staff at older universities will receive up to a third less in pensions than comparable staff at post-92 institutions under proposed changes, an analysis suggests.

Retirees from newer universities already receive higher pension payouts than those who leave pre-92 universities, but that gap could soon widen even further when reforms to the Universities Superannuation Scheme take effect, new financial modelling shows.

Comparing pensions paid by the Teachers' Pension Scheme, which operates at most newer universities, with those paid under a new USS pension system suggested by Universities UK, consultants First Actuarial found that staff at older universities could be up to £21,000 a year worse off in retirement than peers at more modern institutions.

For example, a professor retiring aged 66 on a salary of £75,000 after 41 years' service under the TPS would receive about £49,000 a year in total benefits compared with only £28,389 under the UUK scheme.

Someone retiring on nearly £46,000 a year aged 68 after 43 years' service would receive almost £40,000 a year under the TPS, but only £25,481 under the UUK terms.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, which commissioned the financial modelling, said that there would be "real concerns" about the disparity in pension provision across the sector.

"The Russell Group of universities and other self-described elite institutions often boast about being the leading lights of the UK higher education sector," said Ms Hunt.

"However, if these radical changes are forced through they will be bottom of the table for staff pensions. …

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