One pension for them, another for us

Sir Humphrey, of Yes Minister fame, once said: “the public doesn’t know anything about wasting government money. We are the experts.” But he didn’t have FOI requests to think about. Every now and then since 2005, the public has glimpsed how “expertly” our cash is wasted.

Often wastage is due to incompetence but another way our political elite use public money is spending it on themselves. According to figures released to the Taxpayers Alliance, over 17,000 public sector workers have retired with pensions worth £33 000 annually. According to TPA calculations, that’s the equivalent of a £1 million pension pot in the private sector.

The Daily Telegraph reports: “four out of five private sector final salary schemes are closed to new members as companies consider them too expensive in an era of rising life expectancies. But around 5 million public sector workers still enjoy final salary pensions, many of them funded from general taxation.”

The Treasury told the Telegraph: “High-quality pension provision is a key part of the remuneration package of public servants, aimed at maintaining a high-quality public sector workforce. These pensions are fully costed and fully affordable.”

Translation: “the public sector plays by its own rules, thank you very much”. Sir Humphrey couldn’t have said it better himself. It’s only by continuing to press for government accountability that this elitist, “Yes Minister” culture can be altered.

3 Responses to “One pension for them, another for us”

  1. a says:

    Urm – what a load of daily mail cobblers.

    People in public sector pensions are mostly on low pay and make contributions to their pensions.

    To say that private sector employers ducking their obligations is a justification for public sector
    pensions being cut is very weak logic.

    And don’t conflate MPs pensions with those received by most public sector staff.

  2. Andrew says:

    Heather, this is pretty offensive actually. As your first commenter above points out, people in the public sector are mostly on pretty low pay. Having a reasonable final salary scheme is not excessive or greedy or wasteful – it’s fair compensation for long years of service on a salary which less than the private sector equivalent. The Torygraph article you link to points out that 10,500 of those 17,000 people are doctors, who will have spent their career in the NHS. Would you prefer they received less of a pension and had more of an incentive to work of the private sector instead?

    If you you think that public servants should get a smaller pension, what do you think is reasonable? What would you like to have as an annual income once you retire?

    The reason the rest of the populuace no longer have access to final salary pension schemes is less that they are ‘unaffordable’, and more to do with Tory and New Labour changes to the law regarding pensions, taxation polic and deregulation in general. If pensions are ‘unfunded’, that’s probably the fault of the politicians and their choices, isn’t it – not the public servants themselves.

    Using FOI to attack real waste is one thing, relaying a press release from a neo-con lobby group that has a broad agenda of slashing public expenditure is another.

  3. Erica Ducat says:

    Public sector pension reform is long overdue. “These pensions are fully costed and fully affordable” that makes me chuckle
    For pensions read “MP’s expenses”. For those wishing to defend the status quo you demonstrate your ignorance on the subject.

    Read this blog on Public Sector Pensions. It’s time to do our children and grandchildren a favour.

    http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/research/2008/11/new-research-pe.html

    Poster “Call me Dave” points us in the right direction.

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