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£13m "pension boost" for volunteers

The Government has pledged £13m towards pension contributions for public sector employees who do voluntary work abroad.

Workers such as nurses, doctors, and teachers who work in some of the world's poorest countries currently miss out on pension contributions while they are overseas.

But the Government said it has created a new fund to continue making pension contributions while public sector employees are abroad.

The move is in response to Lord Crisp's report into improving links between health services in the UK and developing countries. It is hoped the announcement will encourage more public sector workers to volunteer.

The new fund will be available to people leaving the UK between April 2008 and March 2011 for periods of between seven and 24 months.

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said: "Volunteering plays a valuable role in our society, not just in helping to reduce global poverty, but in the wealth of experience volunteers will bring back to the UK and into public service."

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, added: "Ensuring that pension contributions are paid, at no cost to the school, local authority or individual teacher, will encourage more sabbaticals and career development breaks."

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Department for International Development

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"I have always wanted to do some voluntary work abroad, but first family committments, and then caring for an elderly Mother has prevented me. However my Mother died recently and I can now think about it more seriously than ever before." - Anne Evans, HV, West Sussex

"Yes I would." - Jackie Hutchinson, Durham