DURING the next 30 years, Britain faces the prospect of civil war. At issue is the growing disparity between private and public pensions: a gulf that could easily set disadvantaged private sector workers against what they see - rightly or wrongly - as public employees with pensions funded by the taxpayer.And it's not just the leader writers who are concerned. Look at this letter in today's Scotsman:
Of course, there is as much chance of government action as there is of the end of taxation itself. Political parties don’t get elected by being responsible and doing the right thing, but by trying to outbid each other in buying the affection of the electorate.Mr McCulloch notes that one in four workers (sic) are now employed in the public sector and they're hardly likely to support pension justice. But that leaves the rest of us - the other 75%. I've heard some Conservatives say that they daren't antagonise the public-sector vote. But how many of them would vote Tory anyway? Surely we need some politicians willing to act on behalf of the majority who are being exploited by an army of unproductive government employees.
For starters why not sort out the scandal of early retirement? If a 55-year-old with a personal pension retires early his annual annuity will be less than it would have been at 60 because (a) he will be expected to live for more years and (b) his fund will be that much less as it will have benefited from fewer years' contributions and investment growth. Not so for some in the public sector. A 55-year-old retiring government worker may well have his share of the pension fund augmented as if he were still working to 60! Augmented, that is, by the rest of us. That should be outlawed immediately.