Cautious welcome to commitment of additional funding to cover increased school and college pension cuts


The UK Government announced plans last year to introduce changes to public service pension schemes from April 2019. Primarily relating to the SCAPE discount rate, the changes will bring about increased employer pension contributions from April 2019, which would place additional financial pressure on already hard-pressed public services. 

The UK Government set aside £4.7bn in the autumn Budget to help public sector organisations meet these costs in 2019-20 but it provided no detail about how this funding would be allocated, and whether any funding would be made available to Wales.

Although education is a responsibility of the Welsh Government, the changes to the employer liabilities under the Teachers’ Pension Scheme would have had a significant impact on the budget of schools and colleges in Wales – Ceredigion County Council would be looking at a funding gap of £1.7 million in their education budget.

Ben Lake MP raised the issue in the House of Commons and wrote to the Treasury calling for a commitment from the UK Government to make funds available to cover the increased pension contributions for schools and colleges in Wales.

Following pressure from the Ceredigion MP, it was confirmed last week that additional funding would be made available to public sector organisations in Wales allow them to meet the additional costs associated with these pension changes.

Ben Lake said:


“Without this additional funding, the uplift to the employer’s pension contribution rate would have placed unsustainable pressure on already strained education budgets. It has been made clear to me by schools, colleges and the local authority in recent months that there is no capacity to absorb any cost increases without having a negative impact on staffing and teaching resources, and on the education of our young people.

“Although I welcome statements from both the UK Treasury and Welsh Government that additional funding will be made available to our schools and colleges to meet higher pension costs,  I am in no doubt that greater investment in our schools and colleges is desperately needed if we are to realise our aspirations for the education and skills offered to our young people.”

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