In his New Year message to SSTA members, General Secretary, David Eaglesham, warned of the threat to pensions which will be faced in 2004.

“Members will already be aware of the Government's proposals to increase the pension age for teachers from 60 to 65 from 2006 for new entrants and from 2013 for existing teachers.This will have a major impact on many serving teachers, especially those aged 49 and under at present. It will also have a major impact on future recruitment of new staff which may in turn lead to a shortage of teachers and part-time education”.

“Members will also have noted that their AVC or FSAVC provisions are unlikely to be performing well; and in some cases may be performing very badly.”

“This year may also bring the potential of increased levels of contribution to the pension scheme. Longer life after retirement has contributed to increased costs to the scheme.”

“In 1981, the average life expectancy of a male teacher at age 60 was 80 years of age. By 2001 this had risen to 86 years of age. For a women teacher the equivalent figures were 84 and 88.5 years of age. The burden of this on the Scheme is very considerable and is unlikely to reduce over coming years as health standards continue to rise.”

“Members will be faced with some difficult choices as the year progresses. They will have to seek advice from professional advisers and from the Association to ensure that they are best placed to face retirement.”

“The Association has for many years run Retirement Planning Courses to give advice to members. These will again run in 2004, and are already heavily subscribed.”

“The Association will continue to advise members and will be calling on them to campaign against the Government proposals during the year.”

Further details from:David Eaglesham

General Secretary2 January 2004