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Employers’ response to second UUK consultation on USS

15 Jul 2021

94% of USS employers, including our University, support the improved position put forward by the pension scheme

USS employers have responded to a second Universities UK (UUK) consultation into proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), which could mean significant additional costs for members and employers.

UUK asked USS employers for their preferences on just two options:

A.      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

B.      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).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).

The majority of respondents – 106 employers, representing nearly 94% of the active membership of the scheme – indicated they could support Option A above, from the consultation.

They also reiterated that the scheme stakeholders should make rapid progress in three key areas. These are:

  • To explore whether alternative scheme designs, including Conditional Indexation, could make the scheme more sustainable in the longer-term and provide better value.
  • To develop a more flexible and lower-cost option for members, to help address the opt-out rate.
  • To begin work to scope out a governance review of USS, to commence immediately post-valuation.

A UUK spokesperson said: “Employers see these work streams as vital parts of the package and there is clearly an urgency to make progress. We have already invited UCU to be involved within these work streams, and we have formally requested that the USS Trustee provides support.”

You can read our University’s response and the Russell Group statement on second UUK consultation.

A fuller and more detailed report from both of the recent UUK consultations will be shared with employers in the coming weeks, which we will publish on StaffNet.

Further information

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

You can also read a glossary of terms.

There’s also 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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