Surplus slips away

January 6, 2006

"No move on pensions" (December 9), reports that the latest official valuation of Universities Superannuation Scheme showed a surplus of £5 billion. The realistic figure (as reported on the USS website) is a deficit of £6.568 billion, showing that USS was only 77 per cent fully funded on March 31, 2005. The £5 billion you referred to is based on a minimum funding requirement valuation, which is known to be inadequate.

The best that can be said is that the USS is less insolvent than many other final-salary schemes, including (in all likelihood) many of those for non-academic staff at UK universities.

William F. Scott
Edinburgh

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