Headlines about public sector pensions seem to have been appearing on a daily basis ever since the credit crunch started to bite. Attacks on pensions have been made by the Conservative Party, the Liberal Democrats and the CBI, alongside various newspaper and internet commentators.

These attacks say that public sector workers are unfairly rewarded and benefiting from “gold plated” pay and pensions. They rightly identify a growing gap between public and private sector pensions caused by the employer retreat from decent pensions in the private sector, but wrongly conclude that the answer is to level down public sector pensions. They say that public sector workers should “share the pain” and that public sector pensions should be cut to the level of the private sector. Unions defend public sector pensions but not äs a special case. We want to see everyone at work able to look forward to a decent pension when they retire.

The Attacks

“My vision over time is to move increasingly towards defined-contribution rather than final-salary schemes” for employees in the public sector. “We have got to end the apartheid in pensions.” David Cameron

“Taxpayers who are struggling to build their own personal pension will be lumbered for decades by the cost of covering public sector workers who retire years earlier on risk-free pensions.” CBI

“It is unfair for businesses and families struggling in the downturn to pay higher taxes to fund pensions that they cannot afford for themselves or their employees.” Institute of Directors

Spending on public sector pensions is “completely out of control”. Vince Cable, Treasury spokesman for the Liberal Democrats

“Gold-plated public sector pensions…are unjust, unsustainable and unfair to ordinary people, many of whom have had to postpone their own retirement or seen their private pensions reduced to nothing.” Taxpayers’ Alliance1


1 The Taxpayers’ Alliance is a pressure group that campaigns against tax and public spending. Many of its staff and founders appear to be current or former Conservative Party members.

Index – Media myths about civil and public services.

6 Comments CherryPie on Mar 1st 2010

6 Responses to “Exploding Public Sector Pensions Myths – Part 1”

  1. jameshigham says:

    Didn’t you do this series before? Is this an update or a different series?

    • CherryPie says:

      It is a continuing series James.

      The first four posts were from a PCS article:
      Myth 1 – Civil Servants are Well Paid
      Myth 2 – Civil Service Pensions are Gold Plated
      Myth 3 – Civil and Public Servants are Secure in their Jobs
      Myth 4 – Privatisation

      I followed those up with two others:

      - The proposed reform of the civil service compensation scheme
      - Exposing the myths that the civil service are paid more than the private sector

      Then with a further three articles that focused on aspects of the MoD.

      What I am posting now is a more in depth look at pensions and privatisation.

      The full index of the posts can be found here.

  2. Steve Hayes says:

    Perhaps they need to be asking what’s wrong with the private sector, instead of trying to drag the public sector down to their level.

    Hey, isn’t that the argument to Tories use, butr the other way round?

  3. Steve Hayes says:

    My wife used to work for a firm that was having cash flow problems (she’s a bookkeeper) and they wanted her to fiddle some money from the pension fund. She refused, and resigned. That sort of thing is all too comon.

    • CherryPie says:

      Your wife is obviously very ethical and did the right thing, I would always refuse too. More lately I seem to have got a bit more angry and speak out far more about such things. I am not sure that is very wise of me…