University position

We know how important it is for all USS members to retain an attractive pension offering at an affordable rate, and want those at Kent to understand  what the proposals mean for them. We have regularly engaged with scheme members at Kent throughout the negotiations and are determined to maintain the best possible pension for our staff while seeking to avoid unaffordable rises in both employee and employer contributions.

These proposals come at an incredibly difficult time for all involved and we fully appreciate the impact any change to benefits will have on scheme members. The proposed benefit reform maintains the hybrid Defined Benefit structure and current contribution rates for both member and employer; given the absence of viable alternatives, our view is that this is the ‘least-worst’ option.  

We all share concerns over value for money. Any delay to the implementation of an alternative benefit structure by April 2022 would result in even greater contribution increases to 38.2% for employers and 18.8% for members, imposed by USS at a time when National Insurance costs are also set to increase by 1.25%. The current employer contributions rate of 21% is at the limit of affordability for the University, with USS contributions accounting for 11.4% of our staff costs - we are also well aware of the impact contribution rises would have on scheme members too. Ultimately, our financial position means that further increases would require higher income generation or greater reduction in costs at the University 

Through UUK, we continue to press for a review of USS governance, greater transparency and improved sharing of information on future valuations and more choice for members. 

Locally, a USS sub-group will continue to meet during the 60-day consultation period whilst the proposals from the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) are consulted on with members and their representatives.  

See Jane Higham’s slides from the recent October staff webchat for more background on our position as a University. 

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