Evening Standard 29 April 2009 - Section
“Darling Hints At Pension Cuts In The Public Sector”
Before his expected grilling by the Treasury select committee, Mr Darling faced severe criticism of his new 50p rate for those earning more than £150,000 a year, as he answered questions at the Institute of Directors’s annual convention.
He said he had no choice because of tumbling tax revenues caused by the near-collapse of the banking sector and the recession generally.
When asked about concern among businessmen that their private pensions were being slashed while the public sector was getting generous terms, Mr Darling suggested reforms were being lined up.
He signalled that although current teachers, nurses and police would hold onto their pension deals, future employees may be a target for cuts to make the country’s books balance. “There has to be equity where people are employed in the public or private sector,” he said. “It comes down to a sense of fairness. You have also got to be fair to existing scheme members whether you are in the private or public sector — people build up an expectation — you’ve got to have regard to that.
“But as I said, looking ahead over the next few years, we have to make sure that we live within our means. You do need to take sensible decisions, whether it’s pensions or anything else. You just need to be fair when you do these things.”
Although some changes have been made to public sector pensions, any move to unveil radical reform is sure to meet angry protests from trade unions.
Demetrius to Martin Wolf of the Financial Times 27 May 2003 – Last Part
(Note RIP is Retired Idle Parasite)
HMG (the government) are not going to do much about this. Firstly if you get a tame researcher to comb out the careers of many of the Labour members of the government and the House of Commons, you will find a good many who were employed one way or another in the public sector, and who have built up their own handsome entitlements additional to their parliamentary benefits.
Look closer, and amongst their families there is a remarkable proportion also at work in the public sector. For the Tories, it is more complicated. They need to win votes and outbid the Liberal Democrats, and the RIP’s, unlike the young clubbers, are still inclined to cast a vote, and will change their mind at the shake of a subsidy. There are few politicians now without a second or third home, and with other properties in their portfolio, it all helps to push up the prices, of course.
And now there is a fourth item to enrage the RIP, it is the cost of Council Tax and the worry about the effects of the coming revaluation. The pensions element in this is barely mentioned, being lost in the welter of allegations and initiatives.
There could be worse to come, there is a fifth out there, the Kraken about to wake. It is a budget deficit and state financial imbroglio so large that the Chancellor will have to legislate to suspend the automatic inflation proofing of state pensions, and to embargo the similar provisions for public sector pensions.
Have a piece on file on this one, because people will be really excited. If the government has to sell the BBC as well, it could be all a lot more entertaining than the programmes.
Demetrius to the “Ecologist” Competition Entry January 2007
Our world is urbanised and becomes more and more dependent on very complicated means of distribution based on monetary systems and means of finance that are a chimera. This is the Grand Illusion, that all is financially the best in the best of all the monetary worlds. It is just as vulnerable as any tectonic plate, sun burst, or weather system, and is different in that it can collapse in the short period rather than the long. What could happen might be a reversion to a previous world, perhaps another nasty form of tribal warfare on our unwelcoming planet, or to bands of a few hunter gatherers striving for survival in one or other territory? The one certainty is Chaos and in that event Catastrophe may be the saving hope. If Geophysics fails to get us first, and we are left to our own devices, one major systemic financial failure might be enough to do it. The consequences will not be foreseeable, will not smell nice, and almost certainly will be contaminated. So our future will be a past, only one that is more dangerous and more difficult, because in our time we have expended already all our alms for oblivion.