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Chamber and committees

Education, Children and Young People Committee [Draft]

Meeting date: Wednesday, June 12, 2024


Subordinate Legislation

Teachers’ Pension Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2024 (SSI 2024/147)

The Convener (Sue Webber)

Good morning, and welcome to the 19th meeting in 2024 of the Education, Children and Young People Committee. We have apologies from Stephanie Callaghan, and our deputy convener, Ruth Maguire, is joining us online.

Item 1 is consideration of a piece of subordinate legislation under the negative procedure. Do members have any issues that they would like to raise on the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2024?

Pam Duncan-Glancy (Glasgow) (Lab)

When the University and College Union gave evidence to us last week, it noted that, because the United Kingdom Government was paying for the 5 per cent increase in employers’ contributions to the teachers pension scheme in England, additional money was likely to come to the Scottish Government through Barnett consequentials. I understand that the equivalent increase in employers’ costs in Scotland is around 3 per cent. Would it be possible for the committee to ask the Scottish Government to confirm whether it intends to pass the consequentials to the Scottish Funding Council for the scheme, and whether it will do so at 3 or 5 per cent?

Okay. Thank you, Pam. Does anyone else wish to comment?

Liam Kerr (North East Scotland) (Con)

I have a not unrelated point. If the Barnett consequentials do come up for distribution to teachers’ employers in order to meet the increase in contributions, that raises the question whether the Scottish Government is required to use the increased Barnett funding in that way or whether it is not mandated to do so. Given the current context of councils, in particular, not having the greatest of means—if I can put it that way—I would like to understand the answer to that question.

Ben Macpherson has indicated that he would like to ask a question.

Ben Macpherson (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)

Thank you, convener. In order to help with the understanding that colleagues are seeking, we should also ask the Government whether the consequentials have indeed been passed to it, in what fashion, and whether they are for one financial year or being allocated as part of a longer process. We need to have a full understanding of the situation.

Thank you. Does anyone else want to ask a question?

Michelle Thomson (Falkirk East) (SNP)

I have a brief top-up comment that follows on from my colleague Ben Macpherson’s fair point about the process of allocation. It might well be worth exploring that issue further, but I would be very surprised if it were otherwise. If the Scottish Government were mandated to flow the consequentials through in exactly the same format, that is exactly what it would have to do; after all, it would be a legal requirement. However, given that this is the education committee, there might well be a misunderstanding about how the financials flow through, the process itself and the point at which money arrives with the Scottish Government. It might be worth exploring that.

The Convener

Given that we are all seeking some understanding and confirmation, I think that it would be wise for us to write to the Scottish Government, asking it to address the points that our members have made this morning, if that is okay. As far as timelines are concerned, we can discuss the deadlines and our response before we proceed with the regulations. Are we all content with that approach?

Members indicated agreement.

That is super. Are the clerks content with that? I see that they are—good. I am just checking that they got everything down that they need.