Academics face pension threat as Universities UK tries to plug £17.5bn shortfall | Business

British universities are considering cuts to the retirement benefits of academics to make up for a record £17.5 billion deficit in their pension scheme.

Universities UK, which represents 70 “old” universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, and 320 other higher education institutions, said in a blog post to its members that “difficult decisions”, including “the reform of future benefits”, would need to be taken as employers, unions and the Universities Superannuation Scheme entered negotiations about the shortfall.

The USS is Britain’s largest private sector pension scheme, with 400,000 members and £60 billion of assets, but its deficit is also the largest of any scheme. Options to plug the shortfall include changing contribution levels, the rate at which pension benefits are accrued and how retirement lump sums…

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