Pensions reform brings first cut to teachers' pay packets

Elizabeth Buie

Scottish teachers will this month see the first cut to their pay packet as a result of pension changes by the UK government.

Teacher unions are still attempting to negotiate a better "Scottish solution" than the deal imposed south of the border through talks with the Scottish government. Their hopes lie in achieving better accrual rates and earlier retirement ages.

But Ronnie Smith, general secretary of Scotland's largest teaching union, the EIS, admitted that Scottish teachers would experience the same changes in their contribution rates as their colleagues elsewhere in the UK - and more pain is on the way.

Rises from this month will range from 0.6 per cent for those earning from pound;15,000 to pound;25,999 to 2.4 per cent for those on pound;122,000-plus.

He expressed surprise that the Scottish government had "replicated precisely" the tiered bands for contribution increases decided by the UK government since Scottish teachers have different salary scales to their colleagues south of the border.

The UK government plans to divide the increases into three tranches over the next three years - 40, 40 and 20 per cent. This month's increase marks the first 40 per cent segment.

"At least two more increases are expected and there may be more still, once they have done a valuation of the pension fund," Mr Smith warned. "Whether future contribution increases can be amended will come down to the old-fashioned money question. Westminster has told Holyrood, `You can do something more generous, but you have to find the means'," he said.

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Elizabeth Buie

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