Welcome to my Blog

I was the Head of Policy and Public Affairs at UNISON Scotland until my retirement in September 2018. I now work on several policy development projects, so all views are very definitely my own. You can also follow me on Twitter. I hope you find this blog interesting and I would welcome your comments.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Pensions Fight Back

We are back on pensions today leading the fight back for public sector pension schemes in Scotland. The usual suspects churn out misleading statements about ‘gold plated’ schemes or a ‘pensions apartheid’ between the public and private sectors.

The real pensions ‘apartheid’ in Scotland is between workers and the fat cat company directors who fund the campaign groups attacking fair pensions. They are also using pensions as part of their wider campaign to get workers to pay for the financial mess their economic dogma has caused.

So today we have launched a briefing that gives our members in Scotland the positive arguments for public service pensions as well as dealing with the myths. They include:

 The average occupational pension in the UK is £8,100. The average council pension is £4,000. Meanwhile top city bosses pick up over £200,000 per year and unlike most of them, our members pay contributions.

 Without public service pensions many more retired workers would have to rely on means tested benefits including Pension Credit, a passport to further benefits.

 Scottish local government pension funds invested nearly £20bn last year, which equates to one fifth of the total Scottish GDP.

 Whilst the cost of pensions will go up in the short term so do other costs associated with an aging population like state pensions and long term care. Public service workers are paying higher contributions for their pensions that are an integral part of their pay and conditions.

The real pensions scandal is that taxpayers are being forced to pick up a massive benefits bill for private sector workers, who have had their pension schemes cut or undermined by unscrupulous employers, and that every year an estimated £10 billion of taxpayers’ money is spent subsidising the private pensions of the top 1 per cent who are paid more than £150,000 a year.
All workers are entitled to a decent pension scheme. That should be the focus for all politicians, rather than falling for the myths peddled by those responsible for our current economic woes.

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