Teachers condemn pension reforms

Teachers' unions have reacted angrily to the Government's new pension plans, warning the consequences of this "ruthless dismantling" could be "disastrous".

Under proposals published today, a classroom teacher earning £25,700 will pay an extra £10 a month for their pension in 2012/13.



And a headteacher earning £100,000 a year will pay an additional £100.50 per month.



The Department for Education this morning launched a consultation on the proposed increases, which are for 2012/13 only.



Ministers announced plans last year to change public sector pensions, but it has proved highly controversial, with education unions warning it will leave teachers paying more, receiving less when they retire and working later.



Last month three teaching unions staged a one-day walkout, alongside civil servants, in protest at the proposals.



Responding to today's announcement, Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), warned that further action could not be ruled out.



"Beginning a formal consultation over the political recess when there will be little chance for scrutiny will be regarded, quite rightly by teachers as a cynical move," she said.



"We cannot allow this ruthless dismantling of our public sector pensions to go ahead. The consequences will be disastrous, not only for the individual, but for society as a whole, who will be left to foot the bill of yet more pensioners unable to afford to live from day to day due to inadequate pension provision."



The NUT will be working with other teaching unions and the TUC to ensure that teachers and public sector workers are not "penalised by a Government which appears to be determined to wreck havoc on a pension scheme that is sustainable, affordable and fair," Ms Blower said.



"NUT members have taken strike action before to defend their pensions and will do so again if the Government does not see sense".



Schools Minister Nick Gibb insisted the Government wanted to provide a "fair and sustainable pension for the teaching profession".



But he added: "People are living longer and this makes pensions more expensive. Lord Hutton made it clear that there needs to be a fairer balance between what employees and taxpayers contribute towards public service pensions. It is right that we ask public sector employees to pay more towards their pension to ensure they are affordable for future generations of teachers.



It is "vital" that new and low paid teachers are protected from increases, Mr Gibb said.



"We are proposing to go beyond the commitment of capping the increase for those earning less than £21,000 and extending that cap up to £26,000. This will mean 117,000 teachers seeing an increase of just 0.6% next April, and a teacher earning £25,000 will pay around an additional £10 per month after tax relief," he said.













Under the DfE's new proposals, a newly-qualified teacher earning £21,000 a year would pay an extra £126 in 2012/13 before tax relief.



After tax relief, the additional contribution is £103 for the year - around £8.50 a month.



For a classroom teacher earning £25,000 the extra contribution would be £154 for the year, or £122 a year after tax relief - £10 a month.



An experienced classroom teacher with an annual salary of £35,000 would pay an extra £420 before tax relief in 2012/13, which is reduced to £341 after tax relief, or £28 a month.



A teacher in a senior leadership post, such as a deputy head, earning £60,000 would contribute an extra £960 before tax relief, and £581 afterwards, monthly payments of £48.



And a headteacher on £100,000 a year will pay an extra £2,000 before tax relief and £1,206 afterwards - or £100.50 a month.



Overall, teachers and headteachers would be contributing between 7% and 8.4% of their salaries towards their pension in 2012/13.



Malcolm Trobe, policy director at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: "It's completely inappropriate for the Treasury to announce pension changes while it claims to be negotiating in good faith with public sector workers.



"The proposed increase in pension contributions is about plugging the hole in the deficit created by the banking crisis, it's not about making the pension scheme affordable in the long term."











Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said: "Today's proposed increases in pension contributions have nothing to do with the health of the Teachers' Pension Scheme, which ATL has repeatedly asked the Government to value.



"Should a valuation show the Teachers' Pension Scheme is unhealthy, ATL would make sure that the scheme and the future of our members are protected. In fact, ATL agreed to increased contributions after the last valuation in 2006. However, the Government has chosen not to value the scheme, despite a valuation being due in 2010.



"It's clear that the proposed contribution increases are simply a way of raising money from teachers and lecturers to go to the Treasury, not towards pensions. We don't think this tax on teachers is fair and our members have already demonstrated their strength of opposition by striking on June 30."



Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: "This is not a consultation. The Government had made up its mind a long time ago to raid the Teachers' Pension Scheme. We now have the privilege of commenting on how efficiently it plans to do so.



"It has nothing to do with the affordability or sustainability of teachers' pensions, either; it is a tax on teachers to pay for the mistakes of others. At a time of rising targets, sharper scrutiny and a two-year pay freeze, this will be seen in the profession as undermining and punishing what the Secretary of State himself has described as our best generation of teachers and leaders ever; not a great morale builder."



PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Nick Clegg on the campaign trail in Glasgow on Wednesday; he says education is his top priority
peopleNick Clegg remains optimistic despite dismal Lib Dem poll ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?