Reform public sector pensions

Would I willingly pay more for increased local services? (Courier last week). Without some fundamental reforms particularly with regard to pension provision the answer is no.

I am the grateful recipient of a small public pension, small because I only contributed for 15 years but by any standards a generous return on the very modest contributions made by me, which entitles me to an index linked pension and it is this index linking that is supported by council tax payers.

I believe this and other local authority pensions, consumes 25 per cent of current council tax revenues which is a fearsome burden for all of us. What it means is that of the £218 council tax taken out of my bank account for ten months a year, I contribute £545 a year towards my own pension.

We currently have firefighters and teachers prone to taking industrial action in response principally to changes in their pension arrangements. Whilst I do have sympathy with anyone facing a significant downgrading of their prospects, my view is that all public pensions, even now modified, are still totally unaffordable. They are still so much more generous than the self employed and those generally in company pension schemes can hope to obtain.

The only way to level the playing field would be to make the accrued pension pots of public servants subject to the vagaries of the stock market and annuity rates, that have so damaged the prospects of those not in the public sector.

Politicians have an almost impossible job to correct our badly listing ship due to decades of behaving like Alice in Wonderland and failing to address thorny problems as they have arisen. Well these problems are threatening to overwhelm us. A start could be made by adopting a market based pension for perhaps the most generous pension scheme of all, that of our Members of Parliament? Did I just see that pig fly by again?

J H Pearce Church Lane, Lighthorne

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