Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Don't Opt Out of any Pension Scheme!

I posted here on the campaign in the Local Government Pension scheme to stop staff "opting out".  Employers are worried about the number of staff who opt out of pensions already.  If the Tory plan for a proposed 50% rises in contributions and 50% reduction in benefits goes ahead then they fear this leakage will turn into a flood.  If large numbers of staff in all public services leave their pensions schemes then the schemes themselves will be in danger of collapse.  This will be at a real huge cost to the taxpayer.

The Opting out problem is not just a public sector worry.  Today I found out that in a "decent" direct contribution (DC) scheme run by a very large respected private employer, 80% of eligible staff were not in the pension scheme!  If employees pay into the scheme then the employer would double the contribution.  Employees are indeed throwing away money by not joining here as well.

The real scandal of pensions is in the private sector where employers have been allowed to walk away from their responsibilities.  It's complicated - but ordinary workers do not trust DC schemes and this is one of the reasons why they will not save in them.

At a pension meeting of the AMNT recently I said that 50% of the FT100 companies still had Final Salary pension scheme.  Unsurprisingly, no-one believed me.  I then qualified my statement by saying that these schemes were only for its senior executives and directors.  If it is good enough for them why don't they allow the same benefits for all their workers?

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