» Monday, November 28, 2005


Asked if there was any prospect of re-opening a deal on public sector pensions, the PMOS replied that people should be clear about the parameters of this discussion. Two different things should be differentiated: one was the state pension, and the other was the occupational pension. In the private sector, 40% of occupational pensions were for people who retired at 60. If the pattern of new agreements in the private sector was looked at, many of them had a situation where existing employees would still retire at 60, whilst new entrants would retire at 65. That was precisely what was proposed in the new deals which was agreed a month ago.

The impact of that new deal, given that 10% of public sector workers change jobs every year, would be that in ten years time, 70% of those working in the public sector would be under the new scheme, rather than the old one, i.e. working until they were 65, not 60. The PMOS reiterated that we reached an agreement a month ago, and the Government’s view was that it was better to stick to agreements that were reached, rather than tearing them up within a month of agreement.

Asked when the Turner report came out, did we anticipate a statement to Parliament, and if so, by whom, the PMOS replied that there would be a statement made by John Hutton. As John Hutton and others had said, the publication of the Turner report was the start, and not the end, of a proper rational debate of pensions and how we moved forward on pensions.

The Chancellor’s speech to the CBI would be calling for a national consensus on pensions, and it was important that we did everything we could to have that debate. That would mean explicitly examining the options that were set out in the Tuner report. However, as the Prime Minister had said in his recent interview, we anticipated that we would welcome the Turner report, but of course, we would have to seek a consensus on what our proposals were in the spring.

Put that if a deal was a bad deal, regardless of it being a month old, was it not better, therefore, to revoke it sooner rather than later, the PMOS said that people should look at both the experience in the private sector, and also the further deals that had been done in the private sector. The public sector deal mirrored that. Equally, people should take seriously the fact that there would be 10% turnover a year of public sector staff, and that within a decade, 70% of those in the public sector would be working for the new deal.

Asked if it was the Government’s position that there was a pensions crisis, the PMOS replied that there was a real issue because of the changes in demographics, and the dramatic switch in terms of the ratio between those in work and those who had reached a pensionable age. Therefore there was a real issue to be addressed. That was why we had set up Lord Turner’s report, why we believed that Lord Turner’s report was serious, and why we believed there should be a serious debate on that report.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Search for related news


  1. Let’s for a minute set aside the obvious nonsense of much of this series of assertions. What I find quite staggering is how completely incomprehensible and incoherent the PMOS has become.

    The PMOS deals with words all day, every day. And yet these pronouncements are as baffling as any after dinner speech by the erudite and scholarly John Prescott.

    To quote, ‘Two different things should be differentiated’,’explictly examining’ and so on. What does all of this garbage actually mean? Virtually every sentence is meaningless, ungrammatical, and pointless. Clearly the PMOS is one of the finest examples of our current education ‘system’.

    It’s not even as if this mediocrity of thought and expression can be excused on the basis of a ‘convivial’ lunch. After all, the briefing took place – reportedly – at 0800. But, then again, maybe the PMOS really has taken to starting his day with a snort or two to ease the pain and torment of another day in Hell.

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 28 Nov 2005 on 5:29 pm | Link
  2. Yup – I agree concise and coherent would be refreshing.

    Comment by Roger Huffadine — 28 Nov 2005 on 6:17 pm | Link
  3. Seems clear enough to me.

    Blair bought off the unions with this deal on civil service pensions to avoid a massive strike tarnishing his image(!) as he prepares to bow out. This is an unsustainable policy which Blair is kicking over to Brown and Brown doesn\x92t like it.

    "better to stick to agreements that were reached, rather than tearing them up within a month of agreement" (BLAIR) and:-
    "report was the start, and not the end, of a proper rational debate" (BROWN).

    PMOS half-heartedly flim-flams a fog of figures, hoping to distract the jaded press.

    This is just one on many poisoned barbs Blair is passing Brown: the energy review’s nuclear option; the council tax revaluations/rises; the extension of the retirement age; the ever deeper immersion in the Afghan aggro; judges pensions; the collapsing legal aid system; the over flowing prisons; the huge costs of renewing the nuclear deterrent; the unaffordable military kit (carriers, planes etc); rising street violence \x85.. and all this with public spending threatening to overwhelm the treasury.

    Meanwhile Blair also appears to be willing to buy further heroic biographical chapters via a final peace in Northern Ireland at all costs – including justice – and he even looks as if he might be willing to bin the CAP rebate to gain some sort of Euro accolade. Brown (and the taxpayer) is getting shafted by every line of Blair\x92s political epitaph. Brown is too weak to strike, we\x92ll pick up the tab \x85.and Brown won\x92t get elected?

    Comment by Mr Pooter — 29 Nov 2005 on 11:05 am | Link

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