At a glance - the five main public sector schemes


With 4.6 million members, this is the largest pension scheme in the UK. It offers a defined benefit final salary scheme to all members, who receive either 1/60th or 1/80th of final salary for each year of membership with local councils themselves meeting around 20 per cent of the contributions. The number of pensions being paid has increased by nearly 30 per cent since 2000. In that time, the total bill has risen from 3.8 billion to 4.8bn. In England, the total liabilities have been valued at 159bn. The average pension is 4,052 a year, with more than a half getting 3,000 or less.


Second only to local government in size, there are nearly 3 million members. It has the largest number of members with salaries of 100,000 and the largest number of public sector pensioners receiving pensions in the top 1 per cent, where pensions amount to more than 37,000 a year. With ministers boosting spending on the NHS by 100 per cent since the turn of the millennium, pension costs have gone up. A total of 700,000 pensions are being currently paid, up from 500,000 in 2000. During that time, the annual pension bill has gone from 3.5bn to 5bn, a near 50 per cent increase. The average pension is 7,234.


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There are some 1.8 million members, with over 600,000 receiving their pension. All teachers can retire at 65, and those who have served a full career get around two-thirds of their final salary. The total cost has gone up over the last ten years from approximately 4.5bn to 6bn, with average annual payments now standing at 10,000 a year.


A total of 1.5 million people. Older employees and retired members still get the final salary scheme, but there are now new "career average" schemes being introduced. Some of the gold-plated final salary schemes which allowed officials to retire at 60 have now been closed to new members. Nonetheless, the bill for maintaining pensions has gone up from just over 2.9b to around 3.6bn over the last decade, with average payments hitting 6,199.


A total of 1 million members. Members of the scheme are able to start claiming their full pension at the age of 55. A serviceman or woman who has served 35 years can expect to get a pension worth around 50 per cent of their final pay. The MoD pays up to 37 per cent of the costs of the scheme. Average payments total 8,693 a year. It costs 3bn a year, but total liabilities are worth 121bn..