Cheap way to treat profession

2nd July 2004 at 01:00
I was interested in your article (TES, Jobs, June 11) about changes in teachers' pensions in the Green Paper: Simplicity, security and choice: working and saving for retirement, which proposes a retirement age for teachers of 65. In 2003, only 1.8 per cent retired after reaching 65.

The proposed scheme intends to make teachers work for longer and penalise them for not doing so by reducing their pensions. It proposes to make teachers work until 65, even though, on current data, a substantial number will not be well enough to do so.

It reduces "security" in their old age, the only "choice" it offers is Hobson's choice, or an early exit from teaching to another profession, exacerbating the problems of retention. It is "simple": simply a way of reducing the cost of paying for teachers' pensions. Teachers will receive a smaller pension by leaving the scheme before 65. A teacher dying at 70 will only receive five years of pension if they work until 65, thus reducing the length of time a retired teacher can be expected to be alive claiming a full pension.

It is not "saving for retirement" rather saving on retirement. It is cheap in every sense of the word.

DP Taylor Press officer Kirklees association National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers Deighton Centre, Huddersfield

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