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'Unsustainable' nurse pensions attacked by business leaders


Business leaders have renewed their demand for a review of nurses’ and other public sector pensions, calling for a shift from “unsustainable” final salary schemes.

A report by the CBI says a more affordable system is needed if the “trillion pound burden” on the taxpayer is to be contained.

It claims there is an annual unfunded public sector black hole of £10bn, partly because staff contributions are “out of kilter” with payout levels.

The business group’s report adds that the picture is complicated because public sector pensions vary greatly in size and structure depending on the employer.

It says some, such as the local government scheme, have more transparent arrangements and are funded, unlike the civil service scheme, which is unfunded.

Public sector pension benefits are on average worth 26 per cent of salary every year, far higher than private sector norms, and the total cost will increase as people live longer, it claims.

The CBI report, Getting a Grip: the route to reform of public sector pensions, urges the next government to set up an independent commission within weeks of taking office to investigate pension costs.

It says the public sector needs to “pay its way” for pensions.

All public sector staff should be moved off guaranteed defined benefit schemes, which include final salary and career average pensions, says the report.

CBI deputy director-general John Cridland said: “Public sector workers cannot lose the pensions pot they have accrued so far, but they will have to adapt in the future. We think that, for many public sector employers, shifting to a notional defined contribution pension could be the best way forward. It would ease the burden on taxpayers and offer public sector workers a secure and sustainable pension.”

A Treasury spokesman said: “The most important measure of public sector pension affordability is the government’s ability to pay pensions as they fall due - the cost of pensions is projected to remain at under 2 per cent of GDP for the foreseeable future.”

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Philip Hammond said: “It is already widely accepted that reform is needed and we will work to achieve consensus to move forward.”


Readers' comments (32)

  • The banks have caused near ecomonic ruin and its now the fault of the public sector, but lets take advice from the CBI and its associated directors and leaders in business, who have over the years ensured their own protection of salaries and bonuses at the expense their employees

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  • I trust that if we are to lose our pension rights then the same axe will be taken to MP's benefits.

    And for the CBI to be commenting means its members have lifted their snouts from the trough just long enough to be jealous....

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  • Why are business fat cats looking at our pensions!! What right do they have, do they know the sacrifices people make to be a nurse. Not seeing your childeren every christmas, working bank/public holidays, missing family events because the ward can not give you time of due to pressure on the ward!!! We deserve a decent pension!!!

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    Well aware that the financial state this country in is most DEFINETLY NOT Caused by us public sector workers, YET AS USUAL ITS THE GRAFTERS AND JO PUBLIC THAT WILL ULTIMATELY PAY THE PRICE WELL THE FAT CATS SIP CHAMPERS!!!!

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  • Incredible -I agree-happy to give up mine if you give up yours-suspect I will find it easier to manage having done so on very little for very many years. Kirsty qualified 1981

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  • This is outrageous! I would definatly give up my pension if the CBI gave up their pension! They wouldn't work for nothing so why do they expect us to work for nothing? I have worked very hard to get to where i am today and its far from an easy job! They want to come and work along side us, and see exactly what we do do.

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  • The pension is the only 'perk' of the job, we dont get the big pay rises, christmas and other bonuses, severance pay and other perks that the private sector get. The maximum pesion on the NHS final salary scheme is a lump sum plus 1/2 your final years salary, provided that you have worked full-time for 40 years. Your final years salary may not be much if you're still a staff nurse when you retire, as Band 6 jobs are being cut in the current econic climate caused by these bankers!

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  • sorry for the typos in the last comment, I did spell bankers correctly though didn't i?

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  • im "only"a band six nurse,but sometimes im responsible for the well being of six surgical wards,if it's my turn to take the bleep.this means i may have up to 50 more junior staff to support and keeping tabs on up to 160 patients,some of whom are acutely unwell. thats over 200 people. now if i was in the private sector i would be making hundreds of thousands,instead of my barely adequate salary. how much do we deserve our pensions? every blinking penny we deserve!!

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  • why are we putting up with it and going along with it all????...iam a band 5 can only get a band 6 by taking a £500 paycut!!! been qualified 18yrs now and can not do it as iam the main earner .....and now this???....i think its time we did something and stand up for ourselves ...i strongly feel the old fashioned view that we shouldnt stike is so out dated and feel a strike is needed to show we can not be pushed around anymore....i have friends in other public service who get so much more its not fair anymore and the government think we will just take it???..why.....we should really think about striking.....the nhs is a joke now

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