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USS update

24 Jun 2021

Universities UK consulting further with employers after USS Trustee and Pensions Regulator respond to its proposals

Universities UK is carrying out a short second consultation with USS employers after the USS Trustee and Pensions Regulator responded to its proposals.

The proposals – which followed the first consultation with employers, including a survey of members and colleagues who are eligible to become members of the pension scheme – included no increases in member contributions or employer contributions, maintaining the scheme’s Defined Benefit /Defined Contributions hybrid on a modified basis, and addressing the high opt-out rate by giving eligible members the choice of a new lower contribution option.

USS has now priced the alternative proposals put forward by UUK and discussed this with the Pensions Regulator. While the proposals have improved the situation, USS says a strengthening of the proposed covenant measures is required to get the price down closer to the level of current contributions.

A UUK spokesperson said: “The level of support provided to the scheme needs delicate balancing as it will have other financial impacts on employers, which in turn could affect both employees and the student experience.

“It is too early to say how exactly pension benefits will change in this valuation. Several factors will influence this, including the approach taken by the USS Trustee, the support measures employers can provide, and the response of scheme members and the UCU.

"It is really important to remember that pensions built up to date are safe and can’t be changed retrospectively. Employers have made that promise and will keep it – what we are saying is that it has become much more expensive to provide that same promise in the future (for both employers and members) and perhaps it is better to change that promise.”

The 340 USS employers, which include our University, have until Monday, 5 July to respond to the second UUK consultation. Further updates will be published as soon as they are available.

You can also read Frequently Asked Questions on the USS Employers website.

Further information

For further information you can read a glossary of terms.

You can also watch a recording of our open meeting with members of the Senior Leadership Team and external pensions expert, Paul Hamilton, which included an informative presentation by Paul. We have also published a timeline and highlighted letters from Universities UK and the Russell Group.

You can see all our latest Pensions news at:

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