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on government pension schemes

“Additionally, this is the kind of warning sign our research note last week signalled – the NHS pension scheme has a lot more active members relative to ‘pensioners in payment’ than other schemes, but that will be changing rather quickly over the years. Overall the Treasury already had to top up unfunded schemes as a whole by a huge £4 billion last year, and that number is only getting bigger. Thinking the NHS pension scheme is fine now, so therefore it doesn’t need reform, is the kind thinking that got us to where we are now. It’s simply kicking the can down the road, and it’s disingenuous to pick the only unfunded scheme with so many more active members than pensioners to paint a picture of health for the wider public sector.

“Now local government. Yes, it’s a funded scheme, with invested assets, and more coming in than paid out at present. Again, this includes massive employer contributions, which is taxpayers’ money to start with. Also, the argument that this scheme is “healthy” just defers any responsibility for paying off massive liabilities to future generations. Our paper on local government pension scheme deficits highlights how big this problem is, with over £50 billion more liabilities than assets in 2010. And it will get worse. Funded public sector schemes in countries like The Netherlands are not allowed to hold assets of less than 80 per cent of liabilities, but a quick glance at our paper shows that many local government schemes are nowhere near this. In fact, some have asset to liability ratios of less than 50 per cent. That’s not sustainable and will have to be paid off at some stage.”

Marker at abelard.org

And on public/private, with slider

"The latest Office for National Statistics data shows that the difference in average hourly earnings between employees in the public and private sectors rose to 8.2 per cent in 2011. Despite the union spin to the contrary this INCLUDES accounting for gender; age; occupation; the region that the job is located in; and factoring in qualifications.

“What that 8.2 per cent doesn’t include are the generous pension deals that the unions are doing their utmost to ensure remain untouched Our online pension slider makes clear just how much those pension deals are worth: ...”

Taxpayersalliance.com is now back in action, a useful site for endemic British government waste.

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