Your article "More staff earn £50K-plus" ( THES , September ) could be taken to imply, incorrectly, that Southampton Institute has made generous pension "top-ups" to staff taking early retirement, outside Higher Education Funding Council for England guidance.
In line with that guidance, the figures include redundancy payments and a charge levied by our two pension funds (Teachers Pensions and the Local Government Superannuation Scheme) to meet the costs of triggering pensions early.
At the institute, the early release of pensions with redundancy is mandatory for non-academic staff under the local government scheme. To maintain equity, the institute chooses to allow early triggering of pensions for academic staff. There is no question of enhancing staff pension entitlements.
One needs only to refer to the institute's small number of £50K-plus "earnings" (which includes these pension fund charges), compared with much greater numbers in many other institutions, both large and small, to see that the "big bucks", if they exist in higher education, are not located here.
Principal, Southampton Institute
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