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Pensions reform

19 October 2017

​Commenting on UCU's press statement about the possibility of industrial action at universities over pension reform, Alistair Jarvis, Universities UK (UUK) Chief Executive, said:

"Challenging economic circumstances have resulted in USS having a large deficit and the cost of funding future pensions has risen to an unaffordable level.  The Pensions Regulator's view makes it clear that USS pension costs and risk have to be controlled. 

"Universities can't afford to pay more into pensions without diverting money from teaching and research, which will damage the high standards students rightly expect.  We recognise the prospect of pension scheme benefit reform will concern employees, but failure to act now risks harming our world class higher education system.  We are working with UCU to develop proposals to protect the future of USS while ensuring the scheme continues to offer attractive benefits to current and future employees."

​Notes to editors

  1. The approach to benefit reform is currently being considered with UCU through the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC), which has an independent chair.
  2. The methodology for agreeing the valuation of USS has been discussed extensively with UCU through a specific valuation discussion forum in 2016 and a further round of over 30 formal meetings with USS and UCU during the valuation process to date.
  3. Drawing comparisons between USS (for pre-92 institutions) and TPS (for post-92 institutions) is misleading.  TPS is an unfunded scheme backed by UK tax payers, not directly backed by higher education institutions through the provision of assets invested to pay benefits, as in the case of USS.  The UK Government determines both benefits and valuation assumptions for the TPS.

Key Contacts

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Senior Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK

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