NIPSA Submission to Independent Public Service Commission

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30 July 2010

Click here to download NIPSA submission to the Independent Public Service Commission

The review is to be conducted in two stages, phase I is assessing “current provision, identifying problems and considering the objectives that should set the framework for any changes”,the interim report is due late September. Evidence was sought by the end of July, despite the detail of the Commission only being announced at the end of June.

The review is already tainted as Hutton refers to it being conducted under the backdrop for “delivering savings on public service pensions ahead of the Government’s spending reviewand also to assess “is there a case for more immediate action on public service pensions”.

Post September 2010 the intention is to move to phase II when further evidence gathering will take place on what “alternative pension provision shall look like”.

In submitting evidence to the Commission NIPSA called for an end to the attacks on public service pension provision led by the likes of the Institute of Directors and Daily Mail type stories that concentrate on the pension arrangements of a few highly paid people in public service rather than the millions of low to moderately paid public servants.

The NIPSA submission can be read in full at the NIPSA website www.nipsa.org.uk, it includes details of average public sector pensions ranging from £1,600 per year for women workers in the Local Government Pension Scheme to an average Civil Service pension of £6,500 per annum.  The submission also points out that since the major reforms of five years ago the average contribution increase is 55% from employees, whilst scheme costs over the same period have risen by 33%.

The submission also points out that:-

  • Public Sector Pension Schemes have and are addressing the impact of the demographic changes impacting upon pension costs. The basis of that reform is built upon sustainability, affordability and transparency.
  • The real pension problem in the UK is the private sector’s retreat from providing fair and reasonable occupational pensions. Over two thirds of private sector employees have no occupational pension. The picture is of course dramatically different for senior executives and the Boardroom who have unjustifiable excessive ‘rhodium plated’ pensions, many in excess of £1m per annum. The retreat from occupational pensions is at a cost to the taxpayer having to provide means-tested top-up payments, to pensioners.
  • NIPSA called on the Commission to ignore these siren calls against public sector pensions, which come from right-wing pressure groups voiced through the media controlled by them and wholly opposed to public services or by those employers who have abandoned occupational pension schemes.

NIPSA has consulted with other Public Service Trade Unions and engaged in discussions via the Council of Civil Service Unions (CCSU) and the Local Government Pension Scheme Trade Union Side to ensure that there is a united and strong campaign organised to defend public service pensions.

Further Bulletins will be issued once Hutton has released his Phase I findings in late September.

Yours sincerely

BUMPER GRAHAM

Assistant General Secretary

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