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RCN says claims that NHS pensions are 'gold-plated' is a 'myth'

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The RCN may launch a campaign to dispel the ‘urban myth’ that NHS pension schemes are excessively generous.

In February Philip Hammond, the shadow work and pensions minister, referred to ‘gold-plated’ public sector pensions in a newspaper article.

Later, on 16 April, shadow chancellor George Osborne pledged to reform public sector pensions. ‘We are not bound by the deal done between the Labour party and the unions,’ he told the Financial Times.

Although he added: ‘We don’t want to do these things in a confrontational way. If we can work with the public sector unions, then we will.’

However, the college said it would seek to prevent any attempts by the Conservative Party to dismantle the current NHS pension scheme, should it win the next general election.

RCN council member John Hill said last week: ‘I am very concerned to read articles in the press about gold-plated pension schemes of public sector workers when we know very well that it is not a gold-plated pension scheme.’

Peter Carter, RCN general secretary, added: ‘It is something we have been in touch with George Osborne about. We have got to do a major exercise in communication to dispel this myth.’

According to the latest figures available – a report published by the government actuary in December 2007 – the average male NHS worker retires on a pension worth £8,580, while the average for a woman is £3,751.

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