THIS week the Government received advice calling for public sector workers to work longer, pay more and receive less to address a £30 billion pension liability.
Lord Hutton’s review called for a scrapping of pensions based on what a public servant was being paid during the last year or their employment, replacing it with a scheme based on their average earnings. The review blames increasing costs and a dramatic rise in life expectancy for the changes and has sparked fears of summer of industrial action. Shoppers in Buckingham largely backed the review and said it was time the public sector was bought in line with the private sector.
Retired Mary Miller, 81 of Glenyswood Road said: “Work for longer, pay more and get less, that doesn’t seem fair, but why should they be treated differently to the private sector workers? But I also think they have the right to strike if they feel it is unfair.”
Retired David Pendrill, 66 of Tudor Meadow said: “I have been on a final salary pension, which was the norm, and it has been absolutely wonderful. But something has to be done. And I don’t see that a strike is going to do much good, there is a problem which as has to be resolved and a strike won’t do that. Final salary scheme are not going to last. People need to adjust to the changing circumstances.
72-year-old Chris Smith from Adstock, also retired said: “I have worked and saved hard for my own pension but below inflation interest rates on my savings means I am going to have to make cuts. I think early retirement is a thing of the past. As a country we are bankrupt and there is not a bottomless pit to pay out of.
“We’ve lived in a age when we spent more than we earned and now we are paying the price.”
Mechanic Joe Marr, 48 from the Badgers Estate said: “I think they (public sector workers) are going to have to pay more, the same as everyone in the private sector, but I think it needs to be done with care because they do valuable work.”
Samantha Reynolds, 38 from Towcester is a health and food safety advisor in the private sector and was on a final salary scheme until it was scrapped. She said: The public sector always seem to be moaning, but we have to work longer hours and don’t get half the benefits or flexibility. Just for me to work part time wasn’t easy, but I know people in the public sector who found it easier. I understand why they’re not particularly happy, but none of us are.”
Elsie Krupa, 82, retired from Grenville Road criticised Government waste and added: “I don’t think it’s fair, it’s terrible, they’ve worked hard all their life, and it’s not right and I would support a strike.”