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Teachers’ pension contributions to rise again

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  • by CHRIS MARSHALL
 

MSPs have rejected calls to scrap an increase in Scottish teachers’ pension contributions - the third such rise in three years.

Labour MSP Neil Bibby put forward a motion, backed by the Educational Institute of Scotland, calling for the Scottish Government to annul changes to the Scottish Teachers’ Superannuation Scheme.

According to the EIS, the latest increase in contributions will see almost 10 per cent of a teacher’s salary going towards their pension.

Addressing the Scottish Parliament’s education committee this morning, education secretary Mike Russell said he “regretted” passing on the UK Government’s pension reforms, but had been left with no choice.

“It’s with great reluctance that we have to take this forward because it’s demanded of us by a Treasury that’s not listening,” Mr Russell said.

He said the Scottish Government was being forced to deal with an “ideological” approach to pension reform coming from south of the border.

MSPs on the committee voted seven to two against Mr Bibby’s motion.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “This latest increase is simply an austerity tax on hard-working teachers.

“It has nothing to do with pension scheme costs; it is a UK government tax raid on public sector workers which is being passed on by a Scottish Government that claims to oppose it. In the face of ongoing public sector pay restraint, this contribution hike is another cut in living standards. Scotland’s teachers deserve far better.”

In 2011, Scottish teachers walked out in a dispute over pensions - the first strike by the profession since the mid-1980s.

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