The cost of public sector pensions in Scotland Prepared for the Auditor General for Scotland and the Accounts Commission


As previously stated, pensions are only part of the overall terms and conditions for staff. The charts in Exhibit 4



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27. As previously stated, pensions are only part of the overall terms and conditions for staff. The charts in Exhibit 4 are not therefore intended to compare the fairness of each pension scheme. Variations in pension received are a result of underlying differences in the type of work and careers of the members of each scheme. In particular:

• The teachers’, police and fire schemes provide for jobs where employees tend to remain in service throughout their careers. In the police and firefighters’ schemes, most officers may earn pension twice as fast after 20 years’ service, which provides a big incentive to remain in the service (and over 95 per cent do so for more than 20 years). Although this feature was withdrawn from 2006 for new entrants to the scheme, it remains for most officers who joined before then.

• Employees in the teachers’ pension scheme also have long service, with over 70 per cent of teachers having more than 20 years’ service at retirement.

• Employees in the LGPS (and the NHS and civil service schemes) tend to have a wider variety of jobs, shorter service and lower pay compared to teachers, police officers and firefighters in the other schemes. For example, 60 per cent of LGPS pensioners had worked for less than 20 years and a higher proportion of employees, particularly women, had worked part time.



28. Differences in length of service also partly account for differences in pension between men and women. In the teachers’ scheme the £9,600 average pension for recently retired women is less than the £13,700 average for men. Around half of the difference is because retired women teachers’ average length of service (24 years) was shorter than male colleagues (29 years) with the rest due to differences in salary.




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