MINISTERS have postponed changes to early-retirement payments for lecturers in colleges and new universities in a climbdown heralded as a campaigning triumph by teaching unions.
The proposed changes, which will pass on to employers' retirement costs now covered by the Teachers Superannuation Scheme, will take place on September 1 rather than April 1 as planned. Reductions in the employers' contribution rate to the scheme will also be deferred from April 1 until July 1 to balance savings for this year caused by the climbdown.
Following a campaign by teaching unions, as staff flocked to take early retirement before the deadline, the secretary of state, Gillian Shephard also announced a long-term review of pension arrangements, including the possibility of splitting the scheme between universities, colleges and schools.
Tony Pointon, national adviser to the Association of University and College Lecturers, said: "If the Government had done this in the first place and gone for a consultation on making a more flexible system a lot of time and money would have been saved."