Surrey's pensions apartheid

Our Surrey TPA organizer Peter Webb was quoted last week on the astonishing case of Surrey County Council’s pension shortfall, the value of the fund declining with the fall in the markets as the recession deepens.  The only problem here is that non-state sector taxpayers are not only seeing their own private pensions decline in value, but they’re facing tax rises to pay for gold-plated public sector pensions. 

Yes, if you work hard generating a bit of profit to keep the economy turning over and place some of it into the market for your retirement – congratulations, your investments have taken a thrashing.  The recession has eaten to them as the markets slumped like Gordon Brown’s face after one of his forced grins. 

The double whammy, I’m afraid, is that your taxes will have to pay for the gold plated public sector pensions that have also been hit, as the case in Surrey shows, with the council’s pension fund losing £128 million in value. 

But the point that clearly needs to be made is the disparity between the public and private sector pension provision.  It’s no longer a fact that the public sector is paid worse, as the figures from our non-job report show.  Therefore it cannot be right that one section of society finds its pensions declining whilst having to foot a tax bill to shore up the other’s pension pot.  As we say time and time again, we all have to live within our means now.  Government has to do the same.  One section of society cannot, in any theory of justice, be used to prop up – arbitrarily – another.  If you're wondering how savings can be made - just look at the pension pay offs received by council chief executives.

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