Pension speculation

April 28, 2000

Paul Goldberg notes that whenever a USS member moves to another scheme, their USS pension entitlement is merely index-linked, leaving USS with an excess of cash (Letters, THES, April 21).

Another effect is the regressive taxation of temporary research staff. The cost to the grant-holder of employing research assistants includes a generous employer's contribution to the USS, which, given the slim chance of their retiring as lecturers, is in effect a transfer payment to that grant holder's pension fund: an "employee's contribution".

It is not clear that the Association of University Teachers, representing both employers and employed, is adequately serving both by recommending all research assistants to adopt the USS.

John E. M. Mitchell Stirling

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