UK - The UK government is to negotiate with individual schemes in an effort to implement Lord Hutton's public sector reforms, the Treasury has confirmed.

The announcement follows last month's public sector strikes, which were preceded by warnings that any increase to contribution levels would risk leading to mass opt-outs, permanently damaging local government funds.

The Treasury said that while the central discussions between union representatives and chief secretary of the Treasury Danny Alexander would continue, scheme-by-scheme talks will also begin to "further inform" the discussions.

Additionally, Alexander announced schemes would launch consultations with unfunded schemes to implement 40% of the proposed 3.2 percentage point contribution increase by April 2012.

The chief secretary said: "To deliver the first year's savings of £1.2bn through employee contribution increases, scheme-by-scheme consultations for the unfunded public service pension schemes will commence by the end of this month.

"The government remains committed to securing the full Spending Review savings of £2.3bn in 2013-14 and £2.8bn in 2014-15."

The TUC noted its success in extending the negotiation period and said individual unions were "actively considering" participation in the scheme-by-scheme negotiations.

However, the union umbrella organisation stressed that allowing the consultations to occur did not mean the reforms would be implemented.

The TUC has made clear to the government, in agreeing to continue negotiations, that "unions have not agreed to or accepted any of the government's objectives or the change in indexation from RPI to CPI".