TPS contribution rates
The contribution rates for 2013-14 for members of the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS) in England and Wales have been announced.
ATL has pushed hard for the best result for our members. ATL still has major concerns over the pension contribution rates for 2013-14, especially the impact they will have on younger teachers who face student loan and tuition fee repayments.
These contribution increases were imposed upon public sector workers without negotiation, without ATL's backing and they were not included in the TPS talks.
- Read ATL's response to the Department for Education consultation on the increases.
- Read the Teachers' Superannuation Working Party response to the consultation.
- Read the government response following the consultation.
ATL has also secured agreement from the government that it will monitor opt-out rates in the scheme as a result of the contribution increases. ATL will demand the government take action if opt-out rates threaten the scheme's health.
The government has also agreed to monitor the impact of its changes on certain groups of teachers including young, disabled and part-time workers.
Problems with the new pension scheme
Now the specifics of the new scheme have been detailed in the Public Sector Pensions Bill, ATL is deeply unhappy to find the government is proposing two elements which will disadvantage our members.
The first element causing concern is how the value of pensions is increased every year. The final offer means that the value of pensions increases by CPI plus 1.6% – but the specifics of the Bill do not prevent a decrease in the value of pensions if CPI drops to minus 1.7%.
It is further proposed that if your state pension age changes during your career, all your benefits earned in the CARE scheme will be subject to the new pension age, rather than only the benefits you earn from the date of any change to your SPA. To reiterate, this will only affect benefits you earn in the new CARE scheme and will not affect the benefits you currently have in the final salary TPS scheme, which has a retirement age of 60 or 65 depending on when you joined.
Action for members
ATL has submitted strong evidence against these changes and Mary Bousted, general secretary, has written to the Public Sector Pensions Committee outlining her concerns.
We urge you to contact your MP using the template letter demanding a rethink of these damaging and unwarranted proposals.
Summary of the offer
ATL's acceptance of the final offer came after a members' poll where 91.6% of respondents supported the deal, which is significantly better than the government's original offer. ATL believes further strikes will not move the government's position - in fact the government told the unions that rejecting it could lead to the imposition of a worse scheme.
In summary, the final offer means if you're 10 years away from retirement, you will stay in the current scheme. If you're 13.5 years away, you will move to the new scheme more gradually.
Most of you will move to the new scheme in April 2015 where ATL believes the accrual rate of 1/57ths and the revaluation rate would leave some of you better off in retirement than under the current scheme and means most of you could retire with good benefits well before the state retirement age.
Thanks to campaigning by ATL independent sector members, independent school teachers will be included in the new TPS when it starts in 2015.
Negotiations in Northern Ireland are ongoing and ATL is pushing hard for the best result for members, along similar lines to the scheme negotiated for England and Wales.
Negotiations with the Scottish Government are ongoing and ATL is pushing hard for the best result for members, along similar lines to the scheme negotiated for England and Wales.
The final offer for changes to the LGPS in England and Wales has been overwhelmingly backed by ATL members who gave their views in an online poll.
Of the members who expressed an opinion, 76% ATL members in the scheme supported the offer.
For more details, see the LGPS page.