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It mostly covers my work as UNISON Scotland's Head of Policy and Public Affairs although views are my own. For full coverage of UNISON Scotland's policy and campaigns please visit our web site. You can also follow me on Twitter. I hope you find this blog interesting and I would welcome your comments.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


A rare experience today of commenting favourably on an article in the Daily Express!

A piece by Sarah O'Grady highlights that private pensions in Britain can be half the value of our European counterparts, because of the fees grabbed by greedy private pension providers. As a leading pension manager put it “If a typical British and a typical Dutch person save the same amount, the Dutch person ends up with 50 per cent more income in retirement. There’s no trick – the Dutch have an efficient architecture for savings and we do not.”

This story also highlights the importance of good pension schemes. Public sector workers save year in, year out for their pensions, but most private sector workers are denied this opportunity. Individuals are faced with very complex pension choices and end up with plans that charge high fees, are inefficient and underperform, leaving them not enough money to live on when they retire.

This is the real pensions apartheid that the government should be tackling instead of attacking the so-called ‘gold-plated pensions’ enjoyed by public sector workers such as social workers, nursery nurses, classroom assistants, care workers, nurses and paramedics. The real pensions scandal is how the country will afford to look after the people who have not saved, or not saved enough for their retirement and then need means-tested state benefits.

Our full response can be viewed on our website.

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