UCEA and UUK urge the HE Minister to address TPS funding shortfall as the sector’s financial concern

18 March 2024

UCEA and UUK urge the HE Minister to address TPS funding shortfall as the sector’s financial concerns intensify 

Today (Monday 18 March) UCEA* and UUK* wrote to Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP to further highlight the increasing concerns being raised by HE employers regarding the unfunded increase in employer contributions to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) from 23.68% to 28.68%** that is due to apply to English and Welsh HEIs from April 2024. The letter sets out the growing concerns regarding the sector’s financial environment and makes further requests for a review of HE participation in the TPS.

This follows extreme disappointment last autumn when the Department for Education announced that there would be no financial support from HM Treasury to help English HEIs cushion the 5 percentage point increase in the employers’ contribution rate***.
The issue has become increasingly important, not least as HEIs are facing a growing financial crisis. At a time of acute sector financial concerns, the Government has an opportunity to assist universities feeling the strain.
The letter, which has been published online**** asks for the Minister to support a review of HE participation in TPS and highlights the outstanding consultation from 2019 on HE participation in the LGPS. We will be writing to the new Minister for the LGPS on this point. Although the specifics of the schemes may differ, the principle remains that post-92 HEIs need greater control over the pension schemes they provide to their staff, now more than ever. 

*The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) represents over 170 HEIs and colleges across the UK, including around 80 that participate in the TPS in England. These are mainly the ‘post-92’ modern HEIs that collectively employ approximately 110,000 staff, educate 1.1 million students and are major employers and key contributors to economic growth within their local area. 

Universities UK harnesses the power of the UK’s universities and creates the conditions for them to thrive. We are the collective voice of 142 universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, bringing them together to pursue a common cause: thriving universities, serving society. We aim to ensure our universities can transform the lives of more individuals, drive greater growth and create flourishing places through the knowledge and skills they generate, while being globally competitive centres of research making ground-breaking discoveries. Universities UK acts on behalf of universities, represented by their heads of institution. For more detail, please contact our press office: https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/what-we-do/creating-voice-our-members/media-team 

There are approximately 58,000 active scheme members in the TPS that work in the English HE sector alone, representing around 8% of the total TPS membership. 

**The TPS (England and Wales) will see an increase from 23.68% to 28.68%. TPS (Scotland) will see an increase from 23% to 26% and TPS (Northern Ireland) from 25.1% to 29.1%. Please note that HE funding is a devolved matter.

***Public service pensions 2020 valuations: supplementary documents and Department for Education statement

****  Letter to Rt Hon Robert Halfon 18 March 2024


For further information: Please contact Andy Fryer, Head of Communications and Membership (a.fryer@ucea.ac.uk) or Marc Whittaker, Communications and Events Manager (m.whittaker@ucea.ac.uk)