HC Deb 12 November 1973 vol 864 cc39-40W
Mr. Raphael Tuck

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what were the reasons for the interval of three months between the conclusion of the negotiations for teachers' superannuation in April 1973 and the discovery that there was a 1.95 per cent. overpayment by the teachers and employers;

(2) why, out of the 1.95 per cent. over paid by teachers in superannuation contributions, her Department is offering a refund of 0.15 per cent.;

(3) since deficiency payments form part of the total cost of teachers' pensions, why the local authorities are permitted to reduce their proportion of the total cost of such pensions and thus increase the share borne by the teachers, instead of sharing the savings found possible by the Government Actuary with the teachers and employers in the ratio of their respective contributions.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

The working party completed its review of the teachers' superannuation scheme in June 1972. The Government Actuary's report for 1966–1971 was laid before Parliament on 22nd June 1973. It is simply chance that the two events occurred within a year.

The Government Actuary made final determinations entailing reductions of 0.3 per cent. in the new entrant contribution and 1 per cent. in the supplementary contribution; the remaining 0.65 per cent.—of the 1.95 per cent. quoted—was an estimated increase in the supplementary contribution which has not in the event proved necessary.

There has been no overpayment of the supplementary contribution, which will not take effect until 1st April 1974. The only overpayment has been of the 0.3 per cent. reduction in the new entrant contribution, by the employers with effect from 1st April 1973.

The supplementary contribution is payable only by the employers. Any reduction in it should therefore fall to them. The new entrant contribution is shared between teachers and employers. In accordance with the agreement reached within the working party, the regulations provide for the teachers to pay 6.75 per cent. and the employers to pay the remainder. All the 0.3 per cent. reduction in that contribution ought therefore also to fall to the employers. The employers have nevertheless offered to share the reduction equally with the teachers, so that each would pay 0.15 per cent. less. The teachers have refused this offer.