You will be aware that the Association is involved in negotiations with the Scottish Government and employers in an attempt to secure the best possible future pension arrangement for all teachers. Unfortunately negotiations continue to be constrained by events elsewhere in the UK.
In a recent letter the Cabinet Secretary, Michael Russell, informed us that the upcoming Public Services Pension Bill will constrain public service scheme design and governance in Scotland. He states that from April 2015 schemes in Scotland:
- will not be permitted to vary an individual’s Normal Pension Age – with the exception of Police officers and Firefighters who must have a Normal Pension Age of 60 (to be kept under review) all other members of public service pension schemes in Scotland will have a Normal Pension Age which is equal to their State Pension Age;
- must adopt cost capping and control measures – though the detail of what appears to be a blanket UK Government policy has yet to be shared with the Scottish Government;
- will be subject to detailed scrutiny by HM Treasury before changes can be agreed -though here, too, the Chief Secretary is vague about how much the UK Government intends to interfere with the development of Scottish policy;
- will be expected to adopt as yet unspecified improvements in scheme governance and be subject to scrutiny by a regulator – showing that the UK Government is seeking to prescribe practice, as well as policy in Scotland.
- will be required to operate on a CARE basis
We continue to negotiate in the hope that a solution will be found which allows all public sector employees to benefit from the deferred salary payments, or pension, they deserve. Meetings will be held during the summer months and this office will keep members informed of any progress.
With best wishes