Please send your letters to Ruth Taylor at email@example.com or send them by post to: The Reporter, Employee communications team, Room 12.72, E C Stoner Building.
All letters will be published at the editor's discretion. Please provide your full name, honorifics, and the name of your department or school. We will not as a rule publish anonymous letters (unless a name is supplied to the editor), 'round robin' letters, letters that have been published elsewhere, or letters that have also been sent to University colleagues for action. Letters may be cut (for space) and we will indicate when this has happened. If writers have asked questions, we will attempt to answer them. We may add an editor's note to correct any factual errors.
A rather obvious question, has the University pension fund evaporated yet as a result of the ongoing credit crunch? I am wondering if I might need to buff up my guitar skills in order to prepare for a retirement of busking in the Merrion Centre.
Will Crocombe, Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine
Reply: Most University staff will be a member of either the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) or the Pensions Assurance Scheme (PAS). The former is a national fund whilst the latter is administered for the University of Leeds by a board of trustees appointed in part from scheme members and in part by the University.
Both schemes maintain a diversified investment portfolio which is designed to withstand market volatilities, and both schemes take expert advice on the best way of securing long-term returns.
Obviously the current climate presents difficulties for all pension funds and both USS and PAS have recently completed a revaluation process to ensure their future viability. As a result, total contributions are likely to rise over the next 12 months – in the case of USS by 2% and in the case of PAS by 1%.
The PAS change will increase employer contributions from 17.5% to 18.5%. There is no confirmation yet as to whether the USS change will all be borne by an increase in employer contributions (currently 14.65%), or whether part will be reflected in an increase in employee contributions.
Even with these changes, the recent market uncertainties mean that both schemes will need to remain vigilant in order to maintain performance and protect benefits. We will keep staff up to date with future news from the schemes as soon as we have it.
Matthew Knight, Director of Human Resources
PEACE ON EARTH
I was at an Angel Awareness Day in Manchester and one of the speakers was Diana Cooper, author of A Little Light on Angels.
There were over 500 people present and the message was to bring peace, harmony and happiness to everyone. We can all help to create this for our family of man and the planet by having positive thoughts and by being loving and kind to each other.
Diana Cooper gave us a ‘Vision prayer for 2012’:
“I have a vision where all people are at peace, fed and housed.
Where every child is loved and educated to develop their talents.
Where the heart is more important than the head and wisdom is revered over riches.
In this world justice, equality and fairness rule.
Nature is honoured, so that the waters flow pure and clear and the air is fresh and clean.
Plants and trees are nurtured and all animals are respected and treated with kindness.
Happiness and laughter prevail.
And humans walk hand in hand with angels.
Thank you for the love, understanding, wisdom, courage and humility to do my part to spread the light.
May all the world ascend. So be it.” (Diana Cooper)
We can all contribute in our own way to bring more love, light and peace into the world.
Tom Taylor, Maintenance assets, Estate Services
PARKING … AGAIN
I am writing following the letters in issue 528 [September 2007] of the Reporter … I know I am not the only one who thinks the parking system here is dreadfully unfair.
I understand the response whereby you [ie. Professor John Fisher and Robert Sladdin] say the car parking fee doubling over the years reflects the permit holders increase, however permit holders are still enjoying drastically reduced rates, not because they work any harder than anyone else, simply because of an outdated system.
They also say that car parking should be considered ‘a facility for occasional use’ but again, how is this fair when this is not the case for permit holders? Us non-permit holders are members of staff just the same and deserve the same rights as anyone else in the University, sadly working is not an‘occasional’ thing.
Contractual hours are another feature of the allocation system, I am contracted to work 9am till 5pm but at certain points of the year, if I am not here before and after these times, some of the University’s bigger events would not take place and the University would also have some extremely dissatisfied students! This often means me walking by Hyde Park in the dark to get to where I have had to leave my car.
As one letter writer said, the only fair way
would be to scrap permits altogether and
let everyone share the cost of this facility
equally regardless of who they are and how
they have chosen to live their life. In this day
and age I think that starting everyone on an
equal footing would not be too much of an
(Edited for brevity)
Jane Trevitt, Student Administration
Earlier responses to letters about car
parking can be found online at:
‘No special perks for women’
‘Early bird catches parking worm’