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For staff


The following message was sent to all staff in the academic university on 23 February 2022.

Dear colleagues, 

Many of you will have heard about yesterday’s decision by the USS Joint Negotiating Committee to adopt proposals put forward by UUK. 

I of course regret that this decision means that from 1 April, USS members will experience cuts to their pension benefits. I am keenly aware of the frustration, disappointment and even anger that many of you are feeling. 

However, I want to reassure USS members that the University will continue to push hard for benefits to be restored on a sustainable basis as soon as possible. We must stop the downward spiral of benefits and the upward spiral in cost that has marked the USS for more than a decade now. For this to happen, UUK and UCU will need to work together on a new scheme design – most likely one that shares risk more effectively between employers and members – so that the USS trustee, and ultimately the pensions regulator, can be persuaded that materially better benefits can be provided for a reasonable level of contributions.  

With a new and appropriate scheme design, and the right investment strategy and approach to risk in place, it should be possible to return USS to being a nationally and internationally competitive pension scheme within the next valuation period, provided all parties engage immediately and energetically.

The University will continue to make every effort to explore and, if viable, deliver an alternative design, which I believe is our best hope for achieving a robust and sustainable scheme. The University’s Chief Financial Officer will update colleagues in greater detail about the implications of yesterday’s announcement shortly.


Professor Stephen J Toope