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Our University’s response to the most recent UUK consultation on USS

06 Jul 2021

Our response to the improved position put forward by the pension scheme

Our University has submitted its response to the most recent consultation by Universities UK (UUK) into proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), which could mean significant additional costs for members and employers.

Employers were asked by UUK for their preferences on just two options:

  1. Whether employers would accept the USS Trustee’s counter proposal and provide backing for the modified outcome which required employers to agree significant changes to improve the strength of the covenant (the backing for the scheme)– whilst UUK continues discussions with the USS Trustee to find a way that the 0.5% difference can be bridged which might be acceptable; or
  2. Oppose the counter proposal from the USS Trustee as the covenant support package proposed is not acceptable, and identify an alternative feasible approach to this valuation which would be your preference and which could command majority employer support (non-exhaustive options are set out in the consultation material, together with the likely implications).

We chose option A and welcomed the improvement in the position originally put forward by USS, albeit with revised benefits. We also agreed all the proposed changes to further strengthen the covenant.

We continue to recognise the very difficult challenges facing all USS members, employers and the Trustee.  There is an absolute need to find a long term and sustainable solution for all stakeholders and to enable members to have confidence in the scheme.

Our President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nancy Rothwell, also Chair of the Russell Group, said: “Our commitment to our staff remains unchanged. We want them to have access to an affordable and sustainable pension which will provide for their retirement. As an employer we believe that the changes proposed provide the best solution at this time. The Russell Group has also backed this approach in this most recent statement, and we are in agreement with this.

“We recognise this is a challenging situation for staff in particular and we are working hard to find a solution that will ensure they have a decent pension without ever increasing contributions.”

You can read the UUK report on the outcome of its first consultation, which included a staff survey.

Further updates will be published on StaffNet following the next Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) meeting, where the valuation and employers’ responses to both consultations will be considered, on Monday, 12 July.

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.

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