Friday, June 19, 2009

UNISON NDC 09 - Saving Public Sector Pension Schemes

Conference, Vice President, John Gray, London Region, Housing Association Branch speaking in favour of of Composite B.

It is clear that if the Tories are elected at the next election they will dismantle and destroy public sector final salary schemes. In pensions as in many other things there is clear red water between the Labour Government and the Tories.

But the tory attacks on public sector pensions are based on spite and on lies. The “Big lie” is that our pensions are unaffordable. This is nonsense. Conference, as mentioned before, I was TUPE transferred from a Council to a housing association. We were able to keep our membership of the LGPS. However, if I was to give up the LGPS and join the housing association group personal pension plan it would actually cost my employer more money.

It would cost my employer 16% of my salary to join the Group scheme. At the moment it only costs my employer 13.8% to remain in the LGSP. They actually put this amount on my payslip.

Not only would it cost more up-front but they would also have to pay even more to match the “Death in Service” payment. There is also yet another additional cost they would have to pay - membership of the permanent health insurance scheme needed to replace the LGPS medical retirement provision.

The truth conference is that pensions are costly. If the Tories got rid of the public sector final salary schemes then they would have to replace it with something else that could cost them even more. It is just sheer Tory spite and Tory right wing ideological cant that are schemes are under threat.

Conference it is time to stand up for public sector schemes, stand up to Tory lies and spite and campaign to save our pensions.

Finally, conference the only way that your pensions will be safe is if a Labour government is re-elected next year. Despite our differences at this time - Remember only by Voting Labour will your pension be safe.


Anonymous said...

Just fancy that!. The largest number of "pension millionaires" is found in the National Health Service, which has 22,999, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Other public sector pension millionaires include 3,680 former civil servants and 2,658 teachers.

Almost 400 retired staff from Glasgow city council and 223 from Kent county council also have pension pots worth £1m or more.

The £1m assessment was based on analysis by Terry Arthur, a fellow of the Institute of Actuaries, who found it would cost £1m on the open market to buy a pension of £33,000 a year, net of lump sum.

The Freedom of Information request by a Sunday newspaper asked the pension trustees of almost 1,000 public sector pension schemes how many retired members were being paid more than £33,000 per year, net of lump sum.

Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, has a pension now worth £5.4m, the largest in the public sector.

He is among more than 20 civil servants and quango heads who have accumulated pensions worth £2m or more.

Three BBC board directors also feature in the top five.

John Smith, who heads BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, has accumulated a £3.1m pension pot after 18 years' service.

The cost of providing public sector pensions usually far exceeds their contributions, with civil servants paying 3.5 per cent of their salaries while police contribute nine per cent.

Final salary schemes remain common in the public sector while 80 per cent of such schemes in the private sector have been closed to new entrants.

The pension figures for almost 1,000 NHS trusts, councils, quangos and Whitehall departments also show that large numbers of staff are taking early retirement.

More than 83 per cent of council workers in Manchester, Bath and Nottingham who retired last year did so early.

Ros Altmann, a former adviser on pensions to Tony Blair, said: "The number in the public sector will rise in the years ahead, not least because pay levels have risen sharply in the public sector in recent years.

"The burden of paying these very generous pensions will fall on taxpayers for generations to come."

The Treasury said the pensions of state workers were "fully costed and fully affordable" and were an integral part of attracting high-quality s

John Gray said...

Hi Anon

I think you are missing the point. There is a case for putting a maximum cap on all pensions scheme (private and public) for very high earners. There is also a case for a cap on all salaries (by regulation in public sector and tax system in private) but that is a different question.

The average local government pension that someone receives is about £3800 per year! FS pensions have provided affordable decent pensions for the private sector for generations. It is typical of British business short termism is that they fail to see the big picture. Glad you agree that we need the state to intervene on all this.

Anonymous said...

Looing forward to the public sector having their pensions cut back to the same level as everyone else....thanks to Gordon

John Gray said...

Hi Anon

Nope - I look forward to a "beefing up" of Personal Pension Accounts following Labour's election victory next year!