Thursday, October 07, 2010

Radio 5 Live: Pre Hutton Report on Public Pensions

This morning I was picked up from home by a car at 04:20am (the joy) and taken to the BBC studios in Shepherd Bush.  I was being interviewed on the Radio 5 "Wake Up To Money" business news.  Later today (08:00am) Lord Hutton was due to publish his interim report on the future of Public Sector Pensions.

I was there as a "shop steward and member of UNISON who is in the Local Government Pension Scheme" (LGPS).

I live in East London but at this time of night/morning it only took just over 25 minutes to drive to the West End.  Young people were still in the streets walking home from parties or night clubs. 

I was looking forward to this because I hadn't been interviewed in a studio before and I welcomed any opportunity to try and counter the sheer rubbish being put out about public sector pensions.

At the BBC I was wheeled into the studio with presenters Mickey Clark and Andrew Verity at 05:30am and interviewed alongside pension consultant, Dawid Konotery-Ahulu, who was in another studio.  You can check out a "play again" recording and podcast here.  I'm not sure how long this will be available.

I thought it was quite a fair debate (even if the first question was as ever about the prospect of strike action).  I did get an opportunity to try and argue :-
  • Against the "propaganda, misconceptions and down right lies" told about public sector pensions. 
  • We should not have a race to the gutter or to the bottom in pension provision.
  • There are £100 billion of assets in the LGPS which could pay for all pensions for the next 20 years without any further contributions from anyone (not that I am suggesting that!)
  • I pay nearly £190 per month to my pension and having been contributing similar levels for nearly 20 years.
  • The most I could get out of my pension after 40 years of service is half pay and 1.5 x final salary lump sum
  • The average LGPS for women is £2800 per year.  These pensions are not gold plated.
  • In the NHS pension there is already an agreement to restrict employer contributions to 14%.
  • If you got rid of final salary schemes then you will not save any money since if you want to avoid pensioner poverty you will have to spend similar or even more on money purchase schemes.  Decent pensions costs money.
  • The real pension scandal is the 2/3 of private sector employees whose companies make no contribution whatsoever to their pensions.  Many of whom will have to rely on means tested pension benefits when they retire and this will have to be fully funded by all taxpayers.  
Afterwards I went out of the studio and soon after the next guest was sent in.  I was escorted to the reception and chatted to the researcher about pensions (ironically the BBC was supposed to be on strike over pensions yesterday). Another car took me home for 06:30 and I was able to have enough time for a quick run along Wanstead Flats in the morning fog before work.  

I'll post another time on the actual Hutton Report (when I have caught up on my zeds)


Anonymous said...

Funny really I saved into my company pension putting extra money into it, of course at the time it was Wilson in charge, then Thatcher, then Blair of course and bang my pension was in Jeopardy.

Brown had taken out I think it was £500 billion in tax the great thumping fist had found money, my pension collapsed I should be getting £150 a week, what I do get is a great big tasty £50.

But lets not pretend this is a item which has just occurred to people pensions have been in crises for donkey years, I remember Heath going on about it, then Wilson, then Thatcher Blair brown now Cameron.

But the golden plated Pension the only people which I know who have these are bankers Fanciers the top of the public sector, and of course some directors, and MP's and ministers. Hutton who might now be seen as a nice chappie working for the Tories, gets £315 a day sitting in the house of lords, he does not even need to turn up, he can get somebody to sign him in..

Does show those that mouth off the most about pension telling us the state cannot afford it are those that do not need it.


John Gray said...

Hi Robert

Long time no see.

Don't be so silly about the ending of dividend tax relief.

You should (and do) know better

Anonymous said...

Did you not know that Newham emoploys part time staff and then does not give them forms to join the pension. Look in your own corner first please.

John Gray said...

Hi anon

Of course Newham employs thousands of part time staff. Obviously I do not "know" that some of them are not apparently being given forms - so email/ring me where this is supposed to be happening.

I will act upon any such information.