Academic pensions

I share the many concerns that have been raised with me by university staff and students about the changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme proposed by Universities UK in November. Analysis by the actuarial consultancy First Actuarial has shown that a lecturer starting work today could be £208,000 worse off over the course of their retirement as a result of the changes.

The University and College Union announced 14 strike dates at 61 universities over the spring. I addressed one of the UCU rallies in support of the strike in Liverpool on February 23.

Our campuses have been brought to the brink of crisis. Decent pay and working conditions for those who work in education are vital. Further erosion of USS benefits could reduce the ability of universities to attract and retain staff in an increasingly competitive sector.

At the 2017 General Election, I stood on a manifesto which pledged to restore confidence in the workplace pension system and put people rather than profit at its centre, as part of a general aim to ensure security and dignity for older people in retirement.

I will continue to monitor the progress of this important issue.