Government Wins Right To Cut Public Pensions

Published in Investing on 21 March 2012

Switching inflation-linking to the Consumer Prices Index could slash 15% from pension values.

The government has won a major legal challenge brought by unions trying to prevent changes to how public-sector pensions are increased in line with the rising cost of living.

Government 2, Unions 0

In the Court of Appeal, the Master of the Rolls handed down his ruling that the government had the right to switch the inflation-proofing of public-sector pensions from the Retail Prices Index (RPI, which includes mortgage interest, council tax and other housing costs) to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).

Historically, the CPI measure of inflation has lagged behind the RPI. Hence, lifting future pensions in line with the CPI means payouts will increase more slowly. For example, in the year to February 2012, the CPI increased by 3.4%, 0.3 percentage points lower than the 3.7% rise in the RPI.

In order to protect their members' pensions, six unions representing NHS workers, teachers, police, fire-fighters and other public-sector employees opposed the switch to CPI. In December, the High Court ruled in favour of the government, so these unions appealed to the Court of Appeal, which also turned down their arguments.

What's more, the Court of Appeal judges refused to give the unions permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. However, these unions can directly approach the Supreme Court for permission to appeal this latest verdict.

A £7.5 billion-a-year saving

Chancellor George Osborne first proposed the switch from RPI to CPI in his post-election Budget in June 2010. The first CPI-linked uplift came last April, when public-sector pensions rose by 3.1%, instead of the 4.6% hike in the RPI.

Thanks to this move, plus other changes to public-sector pensions, the government expects to save £7.5 billion a year by 2014/15. However, while the government today emerged the winner, millions of present and retired NHS workers, teachers, civil servants and local-government employees are the losers.

According to the unions, the CPI has historically been 1.2 percentage points lower than the RPI. As a result, they calculate that this will lower public-sector pension values by an average of 15%.

What next?

No doubt the six unions which lost their case today will appeal directly to the Supreme Court. What's more, they are likely to call yet more strikes to protest this change to inflation-proofing.

However, it is my view that the government should stand firm on these and other alterations to public-sector pensions. Without such modifications, these largely unfunded pension schemes would become increasingly less sustainable and affordable.

Finally, while most private-sector pension schemes increase pensions in line with the RPI, they remain much, much less generous than their public-sector equivalents. Nevertheless, cost-cutting companies may also decide to curb future pension payouts by following the government in moving to CPI-based uplifts.

> Get the latest on investing and the markets, direct from the desk of David Kuo. You'll also receive a special free report on '10 Steps To Making A Million' if you join The Motley Fool Collective today.

More from Cliff D'Arcy:

Share & subscribe

Comments

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual writers and are not representative of The Motley Fool. If you spot any comments that are unsuitable hit the flag to alert our moderators.

alsirat 21 Mar 2012 , 8:55am

"However, it is my view that the government should stand firm on these and other alterations to public-sector pensions. Without such modifications, these largely unfunded pension schemes would become increasingly less sustainable and affordable."

Well that's a pretty amazing statement that left my jaw on the floor. You've just ignored all of the serious research into the sustainability of public sector pensions which says just the opposite. This research proves conclusively that the long term cost of public sector pensions will be the same percentage of GDP as it has always been.

What has changed is that the Government wants to reduce that GDP percentage cost. It has the perfect excuse for doing so under the guise of fairness because private sector final salary based pensions have largely disappeared as a cost saving measure by businesses. If private sector pension provision continues to worsen as seems likely then the Government will return to reduce public sector pensions again. A race to the bottom. In 20 years time people will be scratching their heads asking why we have a got into such a financial mess of so many many pensioners on welfare benefits.

CunningCliff 21 Mar 2012 , 10:50am

Hi alsirat,

1) All unfunded and underfunded final-salary schemes, of which there are many in the public sector, are glorified Ponzi schemes.

2) As the payouts from public-sector pensions rise, taxes must follow suit. Why should I fund two pensions: my own, plus a public-sector worker's?

3) You may find this article of interest, as it shows how taxpayers pay the vast majority of public-sector pension contributions:

The secret truth behind public-sector pensions

http://www.lovemoney.com/news/savings-investments-pensions/pensions/13788/the-secret-truth-behind-public-sector-pensions

All the best,

Cliff

apprenticeDRL 21 Mar 2012 , 11:16am

To be a bit controversial the public sector pensions were always good to offset the fact that the salaries were lower than the private sector.
Recent reports now show that in many regions public sector salaries are on average 8% higher than private sector salaries. So you now have lower payed workers subsidising generous pensions for people that are on higher salaries - is this fair?

BarrenFluffit 21 Mar 2012 , 11:35am

@ApprenticeDRL. Income tax is disproportionately paid by the better off. Public sector pension scheme's vary a lot so generalisations don't work.
@Cliff: 1, You should know that the fundamentals of a ponzi scheme are very different.
2, You should fund them because you got the benefit of their labour and pensions are part of that contract.
3, Weather your paying people but deducting pension contributions or paying the contributions directly is semantics.

alsirat 21 Mar 2012 , 11:43am

Well Cliff I think you ended up confirming what I said even though your reference is to a rather superficial and deliberately emotive article.

People don't want to pay for public sector pensions any more, whipped up of course of Government propoganda, which is what I said in my posting above.

The Hutton review was really based on fairness between public sector and private sector provision. Why should the public sector have much better pensions than the private sector (and of course have the privilege of paying for them - your point)? He also thought that the public pension schemes were unfairly structured giving greater overall benefits to high flyers than those who had static careers. One sensed that he really wanted to say that the schemes were unaffordable but was stymied by recent indepth research from the National Audit Office which said that over the long term the schemes were sustainable, and no contrary to your beleifs they were not a glorified Ponzi scheme. Of course Ponzi scheme is emotive language guaranteed to whip up public opinion.

apprenticeDRL - well yes you are right and no you are wrong - averages disguise what is really going on as the Institute of Fiscal Studies has pointed out. In London public sectors workers are in a number of cases underpaid compared to their private sector counterparts but in Wales they are overpaid by around 18% (but I guess not in all cases depending on skills and local demand). Now I'm all in favour in paying the Welsh 20% less and Londoners more. Part of the reason the salaries/ benefits are higher is because of the pension provision which of course the Government is trying to reduce (and had already reduced substantially in 2006 but this is never mentioned).

goodlifer 21 Mar 2012 , 12:23pm

In1969 I voluntarily left the public sector to work in the private one.
What right have I to beef about the pension arrangements I turned my back on?

What right has anyone who chose to work in the private sector to complain about public sector pensions - largely because the private sector's made such a horlicks of its own arrangements?

Looks like the good old "politics of envy."

BarneyCowshed 21 Mar 2012 , 1:08pm

Silly Me! - I always thought I was funding my own public service pension by forgoing 6% of annual salary for 40 years.If I'd known CunningCliff was going to pay my pension I would have tried to claw the 6% back - Many thanks CC.

P.S Good Posts alsirat

richjfool 21 Mar 2012 , 1:55pm

In addition to switching to linking pensions to CPI instead of RPI, the Chancellor has just announced that the (Income Tax) Age Allowances are going to be phased out.

pontycymer 21 Mar 2012 , 3:04pm

I am unhappy with the word "unfunded' which is being waved about to give an impression that public sector pensions are free gifts to retired staff over and above what they may have earned in their productive years. In fact such pensions have never been free. For decades the workers concerned were told by their employers that their salaries were set below those of he private sector to take account of the future value of their pensions. Moreover, since their pensions were eventually tied to their earnings this had the further effect of reducing their pensions by the notional but unpaid contribution. Conservatihve governments have consistently reneged on these arrangements , justifying tem by a portrayal of the public sector as a kind of underclass that deserves to be kicked and robbed.

hectorajg 21 Mar 2012 , 3:36pm

You appear to have failed to note at all that this has cut a fairly random sample of funded private sector pensions also by a “small print lottery”, including British Airways, BT et alia:-

http://www.chessman.co.uk/news/cpi-vs-rpi
KPMG warned pension schemes’ scope to move from RPI to CPI is “a small print lottery” that hangs on precedent as well as the precise wording of each scheme’s rules.


As the government has decided to cut a huge chunk from my fully funded pension I will extract my revenge on it in my own way, in the meantime this is yet another nail in the coffin of confidence in pensions, as if one where needed!

ScottishDavie 21 Mar 2012 , 3:55pm

For some reason the comment I thought I'd posted has disappeared so at the risk of repetition, here goes again.

Cliff, thanks for giving me the final nudge to do something I've been thinking of doing for a while, namely cancelling my subscription to the Fool. The site long ago lost sight of its stated aims "to educate, amuse and enrich" and has become little more than a platform for the sale of financial products. Throw in a hefty does of right-wing anti-public sector bilge straight out of the Tory press and I've had enough.

Apart from being screwed by the RPI-CPI switch two months after I retired, I've also been hit another way. I bought roughly seven years additional pension at full cost to myself, a financial commitment which at times exceeded my mortgage payments. I did so on the clear understanding that, like the rest of my pension, it would be RPI indexed and the cost was actuarially calculated on that basis. At best I've been the victim of mis-selling although I consider I've been the victim of fraud and theft.

I'm a lawyer to trade and I could have earned twice or even three times my public sector salary if I'd gone to the bar but I suffered from a peculiar condition called public sector ethos and believed that I was performing a worthwhile job for less money but with a decent pension which, legally, is regarded as deferred income. As BarneyCowshed so rightly says, "Silly me".

wiblet 21 Mar 2012 , 4:48pm

A further example of kicking public sector pensions without a supporting arguement, just political rhetoric. Public servants pay taxes, they spend money and support local economies. Up until my recent retirement 11% of my salary went towards my pension, in addition, life expectancy for those in my former occupation is seven years below the national average. Just because some private sector workers are screwed by their employers does not mean the rest of us should be. Working on the principle of lowest possible pay outs leads to poverty, economic stagnation and civil unrest. The aim should be to raise the level of private sector pensions which could have happened if a certain government hadn't granted contribution holidays to penion funds in the early 1990s

ian3021 21 Mar 2012 , 5:09pm

There is some suggestion from the comments, that the average public sector pension is a vast sum. My public sector pension is less than my state pension. Public sector wages like all others are subject to market forces, at present in some instances they may be higher than private sector. I remember when public sector needed 36 technical officers. Only one person applied and didn't take the job offered because the private sector terms at that time were more attractive.

freshfieldmjg 21 Mar 2012 , 5:12pm

It is with great sadness that once again I see repeated the propaganda lie that public pensions are not fully funded by the employees.They are and always have been to my knowledge. I contributed to the local government scheme @7.2% for forty years and the pension fund I belong to is healthy, in profit and meeting its obligations,
However if you shout hard enough, long enough and enrol so called experts to propound your message eventually the public believe the untruths. This then leaves the door open for unscrupulous governments to heap abuse on public sector pension schemes and to make raids and amendments to the schemes to offset the errors made in the private sector. This applies in particular to the banking fiasco.
I have had my annual pension increase reduced by 1.2% and 0.6% inthe past two years, because of the change from RPI to CPI and I expect more attacks will be made with impunity on the public sector schemes in the future.
It is a great shame that the truth is being suppresed and Motley Fool allows their correspondent to participate in this scam.

Jimi97 21 Mar 2012 , 5:40pm

freshfieldmjg,

You are right - the Local Government Pension Scheme (in particular) IS fully funded. In this respect, it is different from the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme. The PCPS is not 'funded', but its members (and their employers) still pay contributions. Where does this money go? Into general Government spending.

Anyway, why would any sane Government choose to lock money up in a pension scheme? I am sure that the Chancellor has lots of good uses for capital reserves other than lining the pockets of bankers (Oh! I forgot, he does that as well!). John Hutton covered this point in his report on public-sector pensions.

susiebee3155 21 Mar 2012 , 10:40pm

I have just retired from the health service and I will not be living in luxury on the £509 pounds per month. Was it free of course not I paid 6.5% of my pay, went with out my 30 minute lunch breaks on many occassions didn't get my coffee breaks and worked late on most days. On top of that brought home work to do when I found the time. Training to keep up to date was mainly done in my own time and educational study days in my own time and I paid the costs. I worked more christmas', easters, bank holidays and childrens holiday times than I didn't. The Pension scheme that I paid into had a 2 billion surplus that the government took as a tax frree loan every year. They kept very quiet about that. The Government has consistently misled the general public about those of use who serve our communities. When our pay was lagging far behind private sector pay I didn't see the private sector complaining about our conditions of service. If the public sector are so pampered, I suggest we all stop working unsocial hours, no weekend work and certainly cut out working public holidays, then lets see who moans the most, it won't be myfamily I'll acutally get to see them

goodlifer 21 Mar 2012 , 11:57pm

A couple of questions about pensions and the private sector:

John Lewis gives its workers - sorry, partners - final salary pensions.
Why can't other companies do the same?

Fred the Shred and Adam Applegarth both get 6-figure pensions, apparently well before the ordinary retiring age.
If this is affordable, how come they can't pay decent pensions to ordinary workers?

gillianswain 22 Mar 2012 , 3:15am

I am self-employed (although I was an employee some years ago - this is a moot point anyway) and am getting towards retirement so I have started to cut down on my work (part of this is being forced on me anyway). Having worked for 46 years I have now been told via yesterdays budget that having been born after 1938 I can now look forward to having my pension allowance slashed and I will also be given just the same amount of state pension as someone who has not bothered to work at all (obviously I do not include the genuinely disabled in this). I have also saved a little all of my life and get little or nothing in interest from the bank. The government use the argument that people are living longer but this is just due to modern techniques. I don't considere being forced to work until I am 70 plus then having my last few years suffering from Alzheimers or on a life support machine actually LIVING. I know that this is not the "public" or "private" sector argument that you are discussing but this issue will affect millions of less well off pensioners who will be paying for the tax breaks of those who are much better off. Far from encouraging me to stay in work and perhaps even take on staff of my own I might as well retire completely - then at least I won't have to worry about the Chancellor or his allowances. If I had my life over or was advising a youngster nowadays I would say don't bother to work at all - you will be better thought of and won't suffer any more than someone who has. Rip off Britain again I guess.

matchmade 22 Mar 2012 , 7:59am

One of the reasons private sector pensions became unaffordable was because Gordon Brown removed dividend tax credits - a tax grab to fund increases in public spending, like extra money for the NHS, which showed some increase in output but dramatic year-on-year falls in productivity per worker. Labour threw money at the NHS and it produced some benefits but overall a very poor return on investment.

Another reason for the death of final salary private pensions was the insistence, again introduced by Labour, that so many of the assets had to be held in the form of bonds to pay current pensioners. The result is a strong imbalance between the interests of current pensioners and those of current contributors, who want to see growth and more growth, not be dragged down by the poor returns and high risks of overpriced bonds (see http://www.fool.co.uk/news/investing/2012/03/20/how-buffett-sees-the-world.aspx). This isn't an issue for public sector workers, because their pensions are funded by all that lovely free money from taxes, paid by everyone else.

The responses by people above defending public sector pensions are really disappointing for someone like me who's self-employed or has worked in the private sector. I'm afraid public sector workers tend to have a massive defensive chip on the shoulder about how worthy they are and how "underpaid" they are. In reality they are often paid more for the same job, their high-paid workers get much more generous pensions that they deserve (here I agree with Hutton that lower-paid public sector workers do not get a good deal), they take much more sick leave, and have low productivity, dragged down by all the incompetent workers that can't be fired due to overprotective unions that always criticse management and never their own members. My wife works in the NHS and it is just extraordinary the amount of waste that goes on in procurement and the uselessness of too many staff, who are basically exploiting a cushy number and do not pull their weight, take a never-ending series of "sick" days and flatly refuse to do any work that lies outside what they are used to doing (i.e. the minimum possible).

ScottishDavie 22 Mar 2012 , 9:14am

Oh please spare us the stereotypes. I don't deny that there are lazy, idle, incompetent people working in the public sector but they can be found anywhere. I agree that if you come across such a person in the public sector getting rid of them is disproportionately difficult although what that has to do with the government unilaterally tearing up contractual agreements isn't immediately obvious.

Based on personal experience I can say that the standard of customer service at NS&I (public sector) is vastly superior to that at Santander (private sector). Do I conclude that the entire staff of NS&I are wonderful and the entire staff of Santander are useless, incompetent time-servers? Of course not. My experience of 32 years in the public sector showed me that most workers are like susiebee3155. In my own case I ended up with my blood pressure registering 195/113 directly because of the stress of trying to provide an important public service with inadequate resources. I am not being "defensive" (whatever that may mean) but simply stating facts.

The most depressing feature of the whole business is the way that Tory propaganda has now become accepted fact.

CunningCliff 22 Mar 2012 , 1:35pm

Predictably, public-sector workers and pensioners are quick to castigate me for stating these three truths:

1) Most, but not all, public-sector pensions schemes are either funded or unfunded. Few are fully funded or in surplus -- and these are outweighed by the large number of public-sector schemes with 'black hole' shortfalls.

2) The contributions paid by public-sector workers are only a small fraction of those actually needed to provide final-salary pension schemes. To fully cost these schemes costs 20% to 30% of salary and not the single-digit percentages that state workers actually pay (such as BarneyCowshed's "6% a year for 40 years").

3) Thus, taxpayers contribute excessively to these schemes and, as a taxpayer, I have an absolute right to question their present and future funding.

Also, any scheme which is unfunded or under-funded and faces ever-larger claims on its capital is closer to a Ponzi scheme than a properly managed pension or insurance fund. The sole reason these deficit schemes don't collapse is they are supported by taxpayer largesse, with 24m private-sector workers paying for 5m public-sector employees to enjoy their defined-benefit schemes.

Finally, productivity in the public sector has been falling or static for years, yet government spending climbs ever higher. Thus, taxpayers should question the staffing levels, pay and performance of the public sector, too!

Cliff

CunningCliff 22 Mar 2012 , 1:58pm

Reading through these comments again, two things stand out:

1) Excessive reliance on anecdotal evidence to prove a general point, such as "I paid in x% for umpteen years", etc.

While a few public-sector schemes are fully funded (with earmarked pots and even a few surpluses), the majority are not. Indeed, many have no 'pot' at their core and, therefore, rely on general taxation (mostly paid by the 24 million working in the public sector) to meet present and future payments.

Whatever the merits of 'your' particular pension scheme, the simple fact is -- in the round and on the whole -- public-sector pensions are massively underfunded, both in terms of contributions paid and proper pots to support them.

2) Three posters accuse me of spouting "Tory propaganda". I am not, and have never been, a Conservative voter. For the record, I am a LibDem (and Vince Cable was my MP from 1997 until I left his constituency in 2008).

Just setting the record straight... :0)

Cliff

alsirat 22 Mar 2012 , 3:01pm

Well Cliff I don't think I can be accused of giving you anecdotal evidence although I didn't think much of the evidence you produced to support your case. I do think you have been influenced by Government propoganda which has been targeted at undermining public sector pensions. This is rather different from saying you are a Conservative voter. But as a LibDem you are definitely in the Government camp.

Quite a few of the big schemes as you say are unfunded with no investment to support them even though employees and employers contribute to these schemes. Pensions contributions (employer and employee) are salary sacrifice. The Government uses the contributions to pay current pensioners and if there is a surplus as there has been in all of the schemes in the past the Government trousers the money. Today's controversy has occurred because the years of trousering the surpluses is disappearing and the Government through taxation has to make up the difference. This does not mean that public sector workers are under contributing today because you have to take into account the years of surplus and how that money might have been invested. I hope you are with me so far.

So why does the Government do things in this way? Well in the early years of the schemes it was a very tempting proposition financially. But also when people gave it a serious look they decided investing the surpluses would not be an efficient use of resources for the Government and by implication the taxpayer. There are though notional funds for each scheme which pretend the surplus money was invested and which are used as the basis for actuarially valuing each scheme every 5 years to determine whether the surpluses/ investment returns are sufficient to meet liabilities ie current and future pensions.

It is interesting to look at what those notional funds are invested in as prescribed by HM Treasury. Would you believe Government gilts! - notionally of course. So if the schemes were actually invested HM Treasury would require that they are invested in Government gilts ie we are back where we started but with a lot of paper and administration in between.

Now you may say why invest in Government gilts. Why indeed. But public sector workers and pensioners covered by these schemes do not make the rules - the Government does. Perhaps you should write to Vince Cable. But then could you ever believe what a LibDem tells you - Student loans, VAT rises etc etc.

CunningCliff 22 Mar 2012 , 3:06pm

alsirat,

You are using the facts of the past to justify the current and future prospects of these schemes.

Regardless of past contributions and surpluses, most public-sector schemes are unfunded or under-funded today. What do you propose to correct this present and ongoing problem?

Once again, you've made several false and unfounded assumptions about my political beliefs. I may be fiscally conservative (small 'c'), but I am certainly not politically Conservative (capital 'C')! ;0)

All the best,

Cliff

alsirat 22 Mar 2012 , 4:59pm

Cliff you seem to ignore every thing I say. Looking back at my posts I have never said you are Conservative with a capital "C". I have talked about Government propoganda which is a bit different giving we have a Coalition. So I don't know what you are reading.

I am sorry but you can't ignore the past. People have paid for their pensions through salary sacrifice. The fact that the Government has trousered their contributions is not really their fault. They have paid for something and not unsurprisingly they want what they have bought. If one day you give your hard earned cash to buy an annuity and after taking the money the insurance company says sorry but we don't want to pay you what we agreed then you may be a tad upset.

As to paying for the pension liabilities going forward. There has been a great deal of research as to the affordability of the schemes given they are on a pay as you go basis. The research shows that the only reliable measure of affordability is the percentage of GDP they will cost in the future compared with the present day and past years. The analysis shows that we have a blip at present but the long term cost of the pension liabilities will be the same as they have always been - they will take the same percentage of GDP as they did 40 years ago, 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years when they were considered affordable. You and others including the Government are not happy with this and want to reduce the long term GDP percentage cost for these pension liabilities. Fair enough but this is not a sustainability issue as your opening post says nor an issue about the schemes being Ponzi schemes as your later posts claim. These are personal prejudices fed by Government propoganda with no evidence base - a little surprising for Motley Fool.

As you probably realise the National Insurance Fund is set up on a Pay As You Go basis - there is no fund. The NI Fund pays out State Pensions. Presumably you want to do away with those as well. Well done for you giving up your State Pension which you have paid for from your NI contributions over the decades.

fartarse2 22 Mar 2012 , 5:00pm

Oh look. The comment I wrote yesterday has been deleted on the grounds that what I mentioned had nothing to do with what was in the article... I'm sure my comment was relevant when I wrote it.

Is it me or is this article a lot shorter than it was when I read it yesterday evening? Has the article been edited?

Possak 22 Mar 2012 , 11:41pm

Cliff,

Your argument could equally well be used to challenge underfunded defined benefit pension schemes at any company in which you hold shares, along the lines of I invested in this stock to fund my retirement. Those who work there should have made comparable provisions of their own. How dare the company pay pensions that they didn't collect enough contributions to cover in preference to paying higher dividends.

Now, I can believe that many Fools, with concerns about excessive pension liabilities, would like to see that attitude taken. However, I doubt they would express it that way, as it would suggest that it is desirable, right and proper to make employees lose part of their contractual entitlement due to an error on the part of management.

Jimi97 has quite rightly pointed out that the Ponzi approach is, in this context, to the common good - to put it another way, if a government can't generate more revenue by spending money within the economy than by investing it privately, it has no business being in government.

Increasing lifespans do lead to a need for reform, but the Government is trying to reduce costs on three fronts when one would suffice and justify on grounds of fairness a reduction in the benefits of those who were told (perhaps inaccurately) that they were underpaid but with much greater security and pension provision than anyone else.

From a purely selfish point of view, also, as a private sector worker, I don't want to see the spending power of pensioners (present and future) reduced, as keeping people able to afford to spend (when they don't have the opportunity to earn more) helps keep the economy going.

Wuffle 23 Mar 2012 , 7:39am

Most MF articles generate half hearted debate, if any, because they are theoretical.
This one is about real money and is not.
Lesson for the day, people are selfish and greedy. Use this to your investing advantage.

Wuffle.

CunningCliff 23 Mar 2012 , 11:17am

fartarse2: "Oh look. The comment I wrote yesterday has been deleted on the grounds that what I mentioned had nothing to do with what was in the article... I'm sure my comment was relevant when I wrote it.

Is it me or is this article a lot shorter than it was when I read it yesterday evening? Has the article been edited?"

1) Your comment was removed because it attributed a comment to me which I did not make. Another Fool had commented on the wage gap between private and public sectors, but I did not.

2) My article has not been edited since its initial publication, so it is unchanged.

3) Is your username really appropriate for the Fool? I think not!

Cliff

CunningCliff 23 Mar 2012 , 11:19am

alsirat,

Many thanks for your feedback. You make a good case, but have yet to win me over completely!

"These are personal prejudices fed by Government propoganda with no evidence base - a little surprising for Motley Fool"

No, they are my own reasoned, fiscally conservative views based on data from many official sources, including the Hutton Report.

By the way, it's 'propaganda', not 'propoganda'.

Cliff

alsirat 23 Mar 2012 , 11:35am

Cliff to sign off on this exchange. I wasn't trying to win a battle or even change your own personal view as I know that people particularly in the private sector and especially journalists have strongly held positions. It is such a complicated subject that I try wherever possible in such a small space to put a counter view for others. My spelling/ grammar for some reason always goes haywire in these small boxes and when the posts pop up on screen the errors are all too obvious.

CunningCliff 23 Mar 2012 , 12:15pm

Hi alsirat,

It's been a pleasure trading cases with you. Despite our differences, it's great to share reasoned debate here at TMF.

Fool on!

Best wishes,

Cliff

AlysonThomson 23 Mar 2012 , 6:25pm

Public sector workers are on wages commensurate with the private sector even although very few if any of them could ever get a job in the private sector, let alone paying them the same salary so I think that taxpayers are entitled to expect them to save a bit for their retirement instead of depending on a pension paid for by them!

rjrc 27 Mar 2012 , 7:47pm

"Public sector workers are on wages commensurate with the private sector even although very few if any of them could ever get a job in the private sector"

AlysonThomson - do you have any evidence for such a sweeping generalisation? Thought not.

Join the conversation

Please take note - some tags have changed.

Line breaks are converted automatically.

You may use the following tags in your post: [b]bolded text[/b], [i]italicised text[/i]. All other tags will be removed from your post.

If you want to add a link, please ensure you type it as http://www.fool.co.uk as opposed to www.fool.co.uk.

Hello stranger

To add your own comment, please login.

Not yet registered? Register now.