The idea to get a former Labour cabinet minister to produce a report on pensions at a time when have been brainwashed into believing that we are all teetering on the edge of a financial precipice is a stroke of genius – and Popeye has pulled no punches. There’s a public sector pension commitment of nearly £1trillion and, surprise, surprise, we can’t afford it.
Public sector pensions have been a nettle successive governments have refused to grasp. Why? Because they have convinced themselves that it would political suicide to go anywhere near the subject. They have side-stepped and danced round this issue for decades. Now it’s about to bite them – hard.
The problem is very simple. Public sector pensions are too generous and contributions too low. But there’s another fundamental issue. All public sector pension contributions are not put into a special pot and invested as they are in countries like Japan, they are absorbed and just disappear. How dumbass is that? Little wonder there is an enormous shortfall and the country’s cash flow is in a parlous state.
It is a sad reflection on the state of our politics that the only way that necessary change or change that is regarded as being potentially unpopular can be achieved, is at a time of crisis or political embarrassment. What is in the best interests of the party or the politician takes precedent over what is the best interests of the people. That has to change.