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Pensions Update March 2011

Government will use Hutton report to raid our pensions

The long awaited report by Lord Hutton on public service pension schemes was published on 11th March. As expected he is recommending long term structural reform of the pension schemes that more than one in four Scots depend on.

The Chancellor's decision to use Lord Hutton's report as cover for 50% contribution increases has fatally undermined his recommendations.

The 375m raised from Scottish public service workers will go straight into the Treasury - not the pension schemes. This is little more than a tax on scheme members and will result in further opt-outs from the scheme, placing new burdens on welfare benefits.

This is an attack on one of our most important terms and conditions. It is vital that we are well organised at all levels. We need to build our strength to defend our pensions from branch level up, and ensure all our members understand the impact of changes to our pension schemes.

Dave PrentisGeneral Secretary, Dave Prentis, has summed up UNISON's reaction: "Whatever the Hutton report may say about fairness, the Government will use it as a Trojan horse to raid the pensions of hard working public sector workers. Pensions that our members have paid into year in year out and which are fair and affordable.

"In fact, even before the report today, the Government announced they were increasing employee contributions by 50%. There is a lot of nonsense talked about public sector pensions - they are not gold plated. The average is very low - in local government, the average is just over 4,000, falling to 2,800 for women. Asking workers to work longer for less is simply not an option.

"We want to talk to the Government about their response as a matter of urgency. But I am sending out a clear message to our 1.4 million members warning them that industrial action is now one big step closer."

Scottish Pensions Meeting

The next meeting for UNISON branches will be held on Wednesday 30 March 2011 and will focus on the final Hutton Report and the implications for both the Scottish LGPS and NHS schemes. It is expected that there will be some indication of how the UK government proposes to implement the Hutton Report in the UK budget on 23 March.


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See also...

UNISON Scotland Pensions Pages

UNISON UK Pensions Pages