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Durham University


Proposed USS changes

Proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS)

We know the long-term sustainability of pension schemes is a critical issue for our University, and for our employees (for whom we recognise that pension benefits are a very significant and important element of the remuneration package).

In drafting our response to the latest UUK consultation on proposed changes to the USS we have consulted our University Council, and carefully considered the views of Durham UCU, and the comments expressed in the 534 responses that were submitted to the recent staff survey on this issue.

In our response we:

  • Reaffirm our commitment to the continued provision of high quality pension schemes as an important part of competitive total reward packages offered to staff (see here);
  • Reaffirm our long term commitment to the USS, and confirm our support to covenant enhancing measures, including a moratorium on institutions leaving USS;
  • Reflect the views of many of our employees that all efforts should be made to maintain a hybrid Defined Benefit / Defined Contribution scheme, stressing this must be affordable for members and employers, and that the current level of contributions are at the limit of affordability for the majority of employers and members;
  • Reflect the views of many of our employees that USS should consider the introduction of a flexible alternative to address the worrying level of drop-out rates; and
  • Support an independent governance review of USS.

We strongly believe the USS should continue to provide a high quality, attractive and affordable pension scheme, but we also believe it is unrealistic to suggest that USS is sustainable in its current form. We urge all parties to come to the table in a constructive way to urgently consider realistic options to address the deficit and bring this damaging uncertainty to an end.

You can read more about the current proposals here.

We understand this is a matter of great concern for our staff. We are here to listen to those concerns and to ensure you have access to accurate and timely information.

We will continue to press for a solution that is affordable and sustainable and is best for the long-term future of our University.

Published Wednesday 2 June, 2021