Monday, 28 November 2011

Nov 30 Letter to Kent Messenger

Dear Editor,

While regretting the disruption it has caused, local Greens have welcomed this week's Day of Action and hope that government listens to the concerns of ordinary working people whose income is taking an unnecessary battering. The government's own investigation into the affordability of public sector pensions, the 'Hutton Report' stated that the cost of pensions will fall by 25% as a proportion of GDP even without the current proposed changes. This fact is one that the government are keen to side step as it doesn't fit with their ideological attacks on public services, public sector pensions and working people while avoiding taxing the bankers properly or going after corporate and private tax evaders.

On average public sector employees pay proportionally twice as much into pensions as workers in the private sector, yet the pensions they receive are low - around £4000 each year for local government employees; hardly ‘gold-plated’.

That said, private pensions are often a poor deal because of the 'fees/admin costs' levied and they expose individuals to the risks of investing in the stock market: "prices of shares can fall as well as rise". There is a clear need for a new way of ensuring that retired people have enough to live on and this cannot be achieved by taking money away from them.
Remember too, that it is the spending cuts by the government that are now preventing recovery in the wider national economy. The Tory - Lib Dem government is intent on destroying the public sector, the sector that is there to support ordinary people, and their refusal to negotiate on pensions is just the latest attack.

Stuart Jeffery
Maidstone Green Party

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