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8 Billion Hole In Uni Lecturers' Pension Scheme

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Newsnight discussing it now.

Seems that the plan is to increase student fees or for the tax-payer to bail it out - anything other than getting the actual beneficiacies to cough up a realistic contribution or to make them accept lower pensions.

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Basically pay-rises and bailouts for civil-servants while those of us dwindling private sector workers get milked even harder while fighting for a living.

Great.

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I think this sort of privatizing of universities is turning it into something like the car market. The BMWs and mercs with the cachet are doing very well. Cambridge applications are up significantly. Places that offer value (online or distance learning) like value car makers will also survive. Its the low quality/low reputation western universities that will suffer...the Luton universities, the east London universities.

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I think this sort of privatizing of universities is turning it into something like the car market. The BMWs and mercs with the cachet are doing very well. Cambridge applications are up significantly. Places that offer value (online or distance learning) like value car makers will also survive. Its the low quality/low reputation western universities that will suffer...the Luton universities, the east London universities.

I think that is off-topic. This is about their pensions. The lecturers in Oxbridge and Luton are in the same pension scheme as far as I know.

This is about uni lecturers expecting to get big fat pensions which, frankly, their pension fund cannot afford and, quite simply, none of them have paid enough in contributions to justify.

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I think that is off-topic. This is about their pensions. The lecturers in Oxbridge and Luton are in the same pension scheme as far as I know.

This is about uni lecturers expecting to get big fat pensions which, frankly, their pension fund cannot afford and, quite simply, none of them have paid enough in contributions to justify.

Hmm, thought cambridge has its own independent superannuation scheme.

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Hmm, thought cambridge has its own independent superannuation scheme.

Moving new staff to USS I think. Also depends on who the employer is, uni or college.

Now do pass the port along old chap

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Hmm, thought cambridge has its own independent superannuation scheme.

No idea. Don't care to be honest.

What I do care about is uni lecturers expecting to get pensions that most people in the private sector will not get and, worse, a pension that virtually all uni lecturers have not made anywhere near enough contributions to be entitled to.

Now there is talk of the govt bailing out the scheme so that means you and I will be paying for uni lecturers to get pensions that we ourselves will not get.

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No idea. Don't care to be honest.

What I do care about is uni lecturers expecting to get pensions that most people in the private sector will not get and, worse, a pension that virtually all uni lecturers have not made anywhere near enough contributions to be entitled to.

Now there is talk of the govt bailing out the scheme so that means you and I will be paying for uni lecturers to get pensions that we ourselves will not get.

Absolutely. I just thought that (rightly or wrongly) some funds were not in deficit (nor likely to ever be so) and not paid for by general taxation.

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Now there is talk of the govt bailing out the scheme so that means you and I will be paying for uni lecturers to get pensions that we ourselves will not get.

Specifically who from the govt said the scheme would be bailed out?

If it's not Osborne or Cameron I don't see how they have the authority???

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Absolutely. I just thought that (rightly or wrongly) some funds were not in deficit (nor likely to ever be so) and not paid for by general taxation.

From the sound of some of the early retirements doled out in the twilight days of the last govt, it doesn't surprise me if the scheme has suddenly entered deficit

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The lecturers in Oxbridge and Luton are in the same pension scheme as far as I know.

Don't think so.

The Universities Superannuation Scheme is a pension scheme in the United Kingdom with over £38 bn[1] under management. Its members include academic and academic-related staff (including senior administrative staff) in many United Kingdom universities, mainly those that were universities prior to 1992. (Staff in the post-1992 universities are mostly members of the Teachers Pension Scheme.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universities_Superannuation_Scheme

Edited by Scunnered

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I think that is off-topic. This is about their pensions. The lecturers in Oxbridge and Luton are in the same pension scheme as far as I know.

This is about uni lecturers expecting to get big fat pensions which, frankly, their pension fund cannot afford and, quite simply, none of them have paid enough in contributions to justify.

In a truly open market the likes of Oxbridge and the red bricks would probably be able to finance very acceptable non final salary pension schemes. And the likes of Luton would go bust. So this problem would not arise. Instead, we'll keep deficit spending and debt accumulation to pretend that this ain't so, for as long as possible.

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Newsnight discussing it now.

Seems that the plan is to increase student fees or for the tax-payer to bail it out - anything other than getting the actual beneficiacies to cough up a realistic contribution or to make them accept lower pensions.

Much more likely to involve further ladder pulling. i.e. the older members get to keep all their unrealistic accrued benefits while the younger/new members have to work more years, sacrifice a greater percentage of salary, and get reduced pensions on retirement. Here's how it started.

Q

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Isn't this related to the stupidly low interest rates?

I mean they haven't had a problem up until now.

All the pension funds are slowly going bust. The low interest rates are exacerbating the problem but it's more fundamental than even that.

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Basically pay-rises and bailouts for civil-servants while those of us dwindling private sector workers get milked even harder while fighting for a living.

It is not accurate to describe academics as civil servants (i.e. public sector workers), as the salary of no British university lecturer is paid entirely by the taxpayer, and in the case of many of them, none of it is. HEFCE (i.e. the taxpayer) no longer provides any subsidy for arts, humanities and social sciences undergraduate programmes: the entire cost is met from students' fees, unless an institution decides to cross-subsidise them with income from other activities (and as far as I'm aware, none has). STEM programmes receive some subsidy from both the taxpayer, and arts/humanities/social sciences students, whose courses cost a lot less than £9k per student year to run. But even STEM students still pay their £9k. On the research side, only something like a third of overall grant income comes from the UK taxpayer.

So the British universities, and their workforces, have been at least three-quarters privatised. Recent changes in working conditions have started to reflect this: academics' pay has been frozen since 2009, and the USS has changed to a defined contribution system for new entrants since around then, too. However, most of its members have been so since before then, and thus are on a defined benefit scheme.

As previoius posters have pointed out, market forces will gradually play a greater role. The major issue on the horizon in terms of industrial relations is that Universities UK want to end the national pay bargaining and universal contract system, and have individual institutions free to make their own contractual arrangements with individual academics. UCU, correctly, surmise that if this actually happens, a tiny minority of star academics (i.e. those who pull in research grant megabucks and/or are media stars, e.g. the David Starkeys and the Lisa Jardines of this world) will get to name their salary, and your grade 7 lecturer in sociology at the University of Bolton will soon find herself on £15k a year for a 50-hour week. As their membership consists of more of the latter than the former, they're fighting it and, I guess, will probably call strikes. However, if this is not allowed to go through, the better academics will leave.

Although my main reason for leaving UK academia earlier this year wasn't dissatisfaction with pay or conditions, since I did so I've earned more in three months of self-employed consultancy than I did in the previous nine months in a grade 8 job at a Russell Group university, and my PhD is not in a STEM subject! I wouldn't be as immodest as to suggest that I was one of the better academics, but I certainly would venture to suggest that as pay and conditions are squeezed further, a greater proportion of those who are employable either overseas or in other occupations will go, leaving a lower qualitty teaching and research workforce, which does not have the option to go, behind. Academics' real-terms standard of living in the UK is already starting to lag behind that in other developed countries significantly.

As for the USS I don't know what'll happen. I suspect that they'll force through a downgrading of the defined benefit package for existing members, but not enough of one to trigger meaningful strikes or legal challenges. As with all such schemes, the nuclear option is to do a Grangemouth and threaten to close it; but the minute the first scheme goes that way, everyone will stop paying into all the others and the whole house of cards will collapse.

Edited by The Ayatollah Buggeri

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Surprised that Newsnight led with this story rather than the NSA spying on its European allies scandal which potentially could be very damaging to the British government as GCHQ is suspected of involvement.

The University Lecturers pension scheme funding issue is significant but it includes estimates of future liabilities which are not payable yet so the scheme is unlikely to be folding any time soon. It is hardly breaking news One wonders if this story was deliberately being played up as a spoiler by the BBC.

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As for the USS I don't know what'll happen. I suspect that they'll force through a downgrading of the defined benefit package for existing members, but not enough of one to trigger meaningful strikes or legal challenges. As with all such schemes, the nuclear option is to do a Grangemouth and threaten to close it; but the minute the first scheme goes that way, everyone will stop paying into all the others and the whole house of cards will collapse.

Skim the pension payouts. Deflationary adjustment.

People didn't stop paying into pensions after Equitable Life reduced payouts.

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Surprised that Newsnight led with this story rather than the NSA spying on its European allies scandal which potentially could be very damaging to the British government as GCHQ is suspected of involvement.

The University Lecturers pension scheme funding issue is significant but it includes estimates of future liabilities which are not payable yet so the scheme is unlikely to be folding any time soon. It is hardly breaking news One wonders if this story was deliberately being played up as a spoiler by the BBC.

Really, you're surprised?

I'd say it's exactly the sort of white noise they'd feed to the Newsnight audience, of sheeple with letters after their name, rather than cover something like state surveillance.

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Strange that those in those in the economics departments aren't taking the lead in this and explaining the exponential function to their colleagues and tackling the poor policies of the BoE which is making the situation worse.

I wonder how many lecturers have small BTL empires with student digs?

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It is not accurate to describe academics as civil servants (i.e. public sector workers), as the salary of no British university lecturer is paid entirely by the taxpayer, and in the case of many of them, none of it is. HEFCE (i.e. the taxpayer) no longer provides any subsidy for arts, humanities and social sciences undergraduate programmes: the entire cost is met from students' fees, unless an institution decides to cross-subsidise them with income from other activities (and as far as I'm aware, none has).

Is that a further attempt to stop academic criticism of govt policy?

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Funds in deficit should just work out what level of payout is sustainable from capital, not from future contributions, and cap all payouts to pensioners to that level. If the pensioners complain tell them that they did not put in enough money to justify a larger payout.

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