Myth 2: civil service pensions are ‘gold plated’

The myth

Parts of the media have pushed the idea of an ‘apartheid’ between public sector pensions and private sector pensions has grown with the public sector enjoying generous pensions which are gold plated. Public sector pensions need to be reformed as a result, it is claimed.

The facts

Pensions in the civil service are far from generous and have been recently changed to a career average scheme.

  • In 2007/8 the average civil service pension was £6,500. For dependents this was £2,900.
  • Excluding high earners this average drops as low as £4,200.
  • The average civil servant accesses their pension at roughly the same time as the public at large i.e. 62/63 years of age.
  • A civil service pension of less than £1,000 per year is being received by 40,191 pensioners.
  • A gross pension of between £1000-£2000 per year is being received by a further 60,830 pensioners.
  • The average length of service for the majority of civil servants is 15 years.

The civil service is covered by a collection of several different pension schemes which have developed over the years. These are:

  • 1972 scheme (now called Classic) – As at 31 March 2008 there are 334,600 members.
  • 2002 scheme (Premium) – For new entrants from 1/10/2002. There are currently 207,720 members.
  • 2002 scheme (Classic plus) – A hybrid between Classic and Premium and only available to those staff in post 1/10/2002. This covers 17,310 members
  • 2002 scheme (Partnership scheme) – A money purchase scheme available as an alternative to premium/nuvos, from 7,000 members.
  • 2007 scheme (nuvos) – a defined benefit whole career base scheme for new entrants from 30/7/2007, 17,310 members.

Myths: Part 1Part 3Part 4Part 5

8 Comments CherryPie on May 7th 2009

8 Responses to “Media Myths About Civil & Public Services – Part 2”

  1. Another great post Cherie. Well done

  2. jameshigham says:

    Where do you find the time?

  3. I have indeed. Cherie. We could not want for a better union leader.

  4. CherryPie says:

    I agree :-) Hopefully I will be attending a meeting at the conference where he will be speaking.

  5. Gallimaufry says:

    Excellent posts about pay and pensions CherryPie. As a former PCS member I heartily agree what a thoroughly effective and decent leader Mark Serwotka is. The problem is that the media peddles the myth that all Civil Servants are like the SCS Sir Humphreys when in fact the vast majority are paid less than the average salary. It often irked me when unqualified customers at the Jobcentre turned their noses up at an apparently low salary. I had to explain that most of the AOs signing them on each fortnight were paid substantially less. How would people in the private sector like to be be stereotyped as bank chief executives?

    • CherryPie says:

      There are still two more posts about the myths to come. I wonder if the media do it so that it makes it easier to hive things off to the Private sector ;-) Yes it is very annoying when people think I am on mega bucks and I don’t think anyone would like to be linked to the bank chief executives!