THE Scottish Government has released a consultation on a proposed increase to the contribution rate for the Scottish teachers' pension scheme.

The proposed increase, which follows on from a similar increase last year, is for a further 1.2% hike, taking the contribution rate to 8.96%, on average.

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, attacked the move as "wholly unjustifiable".

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"It has nothing to do with the cost of teacher pensions, but is simply an austerity tax to raise finance for the UK Treasury," he said. "The Scottish Government claims to oppose the increase but, in meekly passing on the proposal, it has become complicit in this attack on the public sector workforce, and teachers in particular."

However, Michael Russell, the Education Secretary, blamed the UK Government. "To refuse to apply these increases would result in funding being reduced by £100 million for each and every year the increase was not applied. Our hands are tied."