Pensions - The surprise that was long known!

Posted on: 22 June 2010 by Mark O'haire

Government pension liabilities have now come to the forefront of the coalition’s thinking with the appointment of John Hutton (ex- Labour minister) to oversee a review. John Prescott has come out slagging him off – but then that’s to be expected of old ‘Two Jags’.

This review is long, long overdue and the reading will not be pretty when it finally comes out. As long ago as 1990 I’ve been aware of the massive hole in government projections, as to the true cost of providing pensions to all public service workers - everyone from the mandarins in Whitehall to the NHS nurse or policeman on the beat.

All four million workers and retirees have an expectation for  their retirement and they have all notionally paid in for these pensions. The problem is, the terms of payment are simply no longer affordable in our current and future perilous financial state. Frankly, we can no longer afford the promises that were made before.

So how will the government get around this? Well, future entrants will have to go on a new scheme and those already in the final salary scheme may be ‘locked’ out of future benefits and transferred to a money purchase pension. Whatever happens, you can be sure that the works and unions are going to have plenty to say about it!

It looks like we may be entering a new period of confrontation between government and unions. Sadly there is no alternative – the government pension is gold plated and studded with diamonds and all we can afford right now is brass!

England, Oh my England!

Has anyone been watching the World Cup - or should we call it the World Flop. So far it’s been a bit like watching paint dry with the lights out! Why is this? Well, I just don’t think the England team believe they are going to win and they’re lacking leadership from within the squad. The players have nothing to lose - they still get their big salaries from their clubs.

The opposition teams have been much, much better than in previous tournaments and actually seem to be nationalistically motivated compared to England!

There’s not much any of us can do except hope the pain and embarrassment doesn’t last much longer. Still the sunshine has arrived and Wimbledon will no doubt thrill us - shame we won’t win this either.

Trains, buses and tubes – love them or hate them!

Not that many years ago, a few of us travelled by train – they were seriously bad! Since privatisation they have improved beyond belief – and so has the cost of journeys.

More rises are on their way for the trains, buses and tubes in London. Tears for the young traveller and the commuter – but thank God for the Freedom Pass and the Senior Railcard. I wonder how long it will be before the train companies and local councils start looking into these.

Beware - you think you’ll have trouble with the unions - wait until you take on the pensioners!

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