» Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Put that on Sunday, journalists had been told that within 10 years, only 30% of public sectors workers would be in the old pensions scheme, and the Prime Minister had said something similar yesterday too, it was assumed therefore that we were confident with those numbers, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) said: yes. The position was that there was a turnover of 10% of public sector workers every year, and the vast majority of public sector workers within 10 years would be on the new scheme.

Put that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) said in a Parliamentary answer on November 8th that the figure would not actually be reached until 2028, the PMOS replied that we would check the figures, but that was what we understood to be the case.

Asked that was it not the case that the turnover of public sector workers was in the very junior ranks, and the high costs came from the middle and senior ranks of the career civil servants, the PMOS said that the work on this had been carried out by the DWP. What they had said was that by 2050, we would save £13 billion, therefore indicating that savings were there. The PMOS added that 40% of private sector deals were up to age 60, so this was not out of the ordinary.

Put that the 40% figure included the Post Office and the BBC, the PMOS said that the BBC did have an occupational scheme, as did others. The PMOS suggested people spoke to the DWP for precise figures.

Asked if the 10% turnover figure was only about public sector workers, and not from the economy as a whole, the PMOS said his understanding was that it was public sector workers.

Put to the PMOS that on Sunday, he had said that there was no possibility that the public sector deal of retirement at 60 would be renegotiated, but the next day, the Treasury said it actually depended on what the Turner Report recommended, the PMOS replied that what Lord Turner would be talking about was the state pension age, not occupational pensions. The issues had to be separated.

Asked if the Chancellor and the Prime Minister had talked about it, and was there now a definitive agreed line, the PMOS said the line was the same as it was on Sunday.

Asked if the deal represented an "envelope" within which there could be separate negotiations within the consultations, the PMOS replied that there were sectional negotiations, but the PMOS recommended people spoke to the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) for further details. However, Alan Johnson had set out the position this morning, as had the Prime Minister and John Hutton.

Put that the Prime Minister appeared to strongly endorse Lord Turner by saying the basic structure of the report was right, but it needed to be affordable, the PMOS said that was what the Prime Minister had said at the weekend.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Search for related news

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