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Teachers' Pensions

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to raise the age at which teachers may receive their pensions. [124431]

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what discussions he has had with the Department for Work and Pensions on raising the retirement age of teachers; [124480](2) what assessment he has made of the impact on teachers of increasing the retirement age from 60 to 65. [124481]

Following consultation on the Pensions Green Paper, which was published by the Department for Work and Pensions last December, raising the pension age for teachers and other public servants from 60 to 65 is one of the measures being taken forward. This reflects both increased life expectancy and the fact that many people want to work longer and build up their pensions.Details of how and when the changes might be introduced for new entrants to the Teachers Pension Scheme and the transitional arrangements for existing scheme members remain to be worked out. These will be considered alongside changes to improve scheme benefits, and there will be a wide-ranging review of the scheme involving full consultation with union and employer representatives. All of the issues associated with an increase in the pension age of members of the Teachers' Pension Scheme will be considered during the review. A change for new entrants is unlikely before 2006 and will be much later for existing staff.We have, nevertheless, given teachers five clear guarantees.

Serving teachers who are currently aged 50 and over will not be affected by changes to the existing pension arrangements.
Pension benefits earned before the new arrangements start will not be affected. Whatever changes are made will not affect pension benefits already earned from past service.
Teachers will still be able to retire at, before or after 60 as they do now. At retirement, pension and lump sum benefits will take account of the number of years of service the teacher has worked before and after the changes were introduced.
These changes will be talked through fully with teachers and their union representatives, as well as with employers. Unions will be part of this process and there will be a full consultation exercise before any changes are made to the Teachers' Pension Scheme.
Opportunities to introduce other benefits and flexibilities into the Scheme will be fully explored, particularly those that aid the transition from work to retirement.

We remain fully committed to the provision of a good quality pension scheme for teachers which is valued by the membership and which contributes effectively to the recruitment and retention of teachers.