Public sector pensions don’t stack up

LAST week in The Scotsman (20 March), I read that firefighters were planning to strike over “work to 60” ­reforms, then this week (28 March) The Scotsman carried headlines proclaiming that members of the teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland, had voted overwhelmingly for industrial action over pensions.

No doubt, other public servants will issue strike threats over pension provisions in due course.

While I have a high regard for both fire service and teaching professionals, it is about time that all public servants realised just how fortunate they are to have such reasonable pensions.

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Compare their position with that of someone in the private sector, maybe self-employed, who has scrimped and saved to provide for their retirement only to find not only annuity rates depressed but a sizeable proportion of their pension pot blown away due to the incompetence of other public servants in their failure to regulate a pension provider. (I, of course, refer to the Equitable Life debacle, which has affected so many hard-working private employees.)

It was interesting to read about the firefighters’ demands that an annual pension for one of their number who retires at the age of 55 after 30 years’ service is expected to provide around £18,000 per annum, based on a final salary of £28,000.

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Now I am not an actuary, but taking the current annuity quotations, as carried in the press, a male retiring at 65 would require a pension pot in excess of £300,000 to provide the said level of pension, so I think it reasonable to assume that any person retiring at 60 or below would require a pot well above this amount.

I am sure that it would be beyond the wildest dreams of the average working person in the private sector to have such a large pension pot, and any reasonable person in public-sector employment must realise that such ­pensions simply do not “stack up” in this day and age.

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I would respectfully suggest that, if these demanding public servants had to provide their pension savings totally out of their own earned income, they might just come into the real world, and appreciate how well they have been provided for in their retirement years, and so stop this grasping for more.

Douglas Yuill

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Gardiner Road

Edinburgh