Articles

Operation Logroll

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2011 by grahamharrowell

So I’ve been outed! A retired civil service gold-plated pension millionaire. Let’s set things straight then. The Downing Street Regime briefs the Daily Mail that we’re spoilt and that the average civil service pension is £20,000 a year. That means that a very few, highly paid, high ranking career civil servants who earn a reasonable living – cabinet secretaries, for example – and who work for 40 years get a great deal more than this. The clerical assistants, messengers and other folk at the bottom of the pile who keep the whole thing running earn very little and are much greater in number. There also tend to be a large number of people who stay in these lower level jobs for only part of their working life (they leave to get better wages or they are often women who take career breaks to have families) and who therefore get only a few years of pension. That’s why this average is skewed and the vast majority don’t get much.

Just before retiring I attended a meeting about financial planning for retirement. A number of the people who were there had only found out that morning that they were losing their jobs in the cuts. I never asked the questions I had prepared. All around me were people (just some of whom had amassed enough years of service to get the maximum pension) who were facing a future on half of an already modest wage. I realised that I was one of the lucky ones and kept my mouth firmly shut as I realised how many of my soon to be former colleagues were so much worse off than me. Those who are staying or can’t afford to go face working a further ten years to get the same pension then as now, as well as 5 years beyond the time they signed up for.

Listen up! Over the last 40 years every time I’ve had a pay rise my wage has been compared to that of someone doing a similar job in the private sector. Hooray! I cried when I saw what I was worth. Only I never received that money because, every time, the award was reduced to take account of the fact that my opposite number in the private sector had to make provision, out of his/her pay, for retirement either by investing in a pension scheme or by savings and because I had “job security”. When I was forking out 14% interest on my mortgage (oh yes, young reader mortgages were difficult to get, were for nowhere near the full value of the property, required a proven record of savings, a hefty deposit and were expensive in those far off days) I could at least sleep at night in the knowledge that I’d have a decent pension at the end of it all. Nobody mentioned the fact that, unlike the private sector, I didn’t get a company car, private health insurance, profit sharing, or anything else that enhances the life of those outside the civil service. All you get is a ticket for the MBE lottery. So, if you want your civil servants to pay towards their pension and to go round cutting their jobs to save cash, then you’d better be prepared to pay them more wages.

As for the Daisy May/Brodie Clark malarkey, it’s all much more complicated than it seems.

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