Union says survey shows public sector pensions are affordable and fair

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More has been paid into the Teachers’ Pension Scheme than has been taken out, says new research published today.

The study, carried out by the NUT, provides further support for the argument that public sector pensions are affordable and fair.

The NUT has calculated the total payments into and from the TPS over the period 1923 to date, using its official valuation reports and accounts.  Adjusting these figures in line with GDP growth shows that at least £46.4bn more in current prices has been paid into the TPS in contributions over the years than has been paid out in pensions.

This follows earlier reports by the National Audit Office and the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee which show that the long term costs of the TPS are already declining following earlier reforms.  The long term picture contrasts sharply with the Government’s arguments that the current imbalance between contributions and payments makes teachers’ pensions unsustainable.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “Our research proves two points.  First, funding public sector pensions is a complex area – we won’t allow our opponents simply to ignore those parts of the story that don’t suit them.  Second, it is a long term issue – policies shouldn’t be driven by short term considerations.

“There is no £46.4 billion to hand.  The fact is, however, that the government has accepted a long series of cheap loans from teachers’ pension contributions before complaining about paying the pensions promised in return.”

The agreement reached in 2006 and implemented in 2007 which resulted in all teachers paying more and new teachers working longer was intended to avoid any future problems caused by people living longer.

The government then committed to a review of the scheme every three years to see if this was working.  It is now refusing to conduct that review which we believe would give further evidence that the scheme is not only balance between incoming contributions and outgoing pensions but is moving further into a positive situation.

To place this stealth tax on teachers whilst contemplating cutting the top rates of tax on the wealthiest people and arguing against plans to tax bankers’ bonuses and to impose a small but profitable ‘Robin Hood tax’ on major financial transactions by the banks who caused this crisis is both hypocritical and unfair.


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