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Cameron and Clegg face the audience

Nick Robinson | 17:00 UK time, Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The prime minister has admitted that the pensions of existing public-sector workers will be cut, with employees expected to pay more and get less on retirement than they expected.

David Cameron's concession came in response to a question posed by Brett O'Reilly, who works in a further education college in Stourbridge, in a BBC News programme, Britain's economy: Cameron and Clegg Face the Audience.

Nick Clegg, David Cameron, Nick Robinson and audience

O'Reilly asked the prime minister whether "existing pensions will stand? On the current terms?" He was assured that the rights he accrued so far would not be touched.

However, when I asked whether "contributions may be higher, you may get less back?" Mr Cameron replied "Yeah... what's happened in the private sector... many people's pensions have changed - no longer final salary schemes or having to put more money in... it's those things." (You can see a full transcript of the exchange below.)

David Cameron said that he wanted to start by limiting the pensions of those on the highest salaries whose pensions, he said, could be worth £60,000-£70,000 a year.

Earlier this week the government announced that the former Labour cabinet minister John Hutton would be investigating the future of public-sector pensions which Nick Clegg recently attacked in a speech as "gold-plated".

In the programme, the prime minister was also confronted by Denise, a fire-fighter from Edinburgh, who forced him to admit that the public-sector pay freeze actually meant that her pay was being cut once you took inflation into account.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg also faced questions about the impact of VAT on the poor, why they hadn't raised more from the bankers, cuts to benefits and much besides.

Seeing them finish each other's sentences may not be as much fun as watching England but it's not far off it.

You can see Britain's economy: Cameron and Clegg Face the Audience in full on the BBC News Channel at 7pm and again on BBC2 at 11.25pm

Full transcript of the exchange on public-sector pensions:

O'Reilly: "Does that mean that existing pensions will stand? On the current terms?"

Cameron: "What it means is the rights you have accrued so far of course, no-one is going to touch those. But it does mean for the future, we've got to make sure that pensions are affordable and yes you're absolutely right..."

Robinson (interrupts): "Let's just be clear what that means, let's be clear what that means."

O'Reilly: "So our pensions could essentially in the long term go down on what we've planned for?"

Cameron: For the future there may be changes to pension arrangements affecting existing employees, but the rights they've accrued so far no-one would touch those.

Robinson: Just so we're clear, if we may be, people get a prediction don't they, of what they're going to get on their pension if they carry on contributing as they are now? I think what you're saying to Brett and everybody else is... what you've so far got is safe but those contributions for the rest of his working life could be higher and you might get less back...is that right?"

Cameron: "Yeah... what's happened in private sector is many people's pensions have changed. There are no longer final salary schemes or they're having to put more money in... it's those things to make sure they're affordable. We want to have good pensions in the public sector."

Clegg: "Also in the public sector we can avoid what's happened in the private sector where those changes have been really abrupt. We can plan these things over a longer period of time so we've got plenty of warning."


Comments

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  • 1. At 5:46pm on 23 Jun 2010, JohnConstable wrote:

    The rules of the game are always different in the public sector because the Governmet is the paymaster and uniquely, the Government can always print money to pay its bills, that is a feature of a fiat currency.

    That is what they will ultimately do anyway, when the pain of cuts and tax rises becomes too much for the voters to bear.

    Meanwhile - Eng-er-lund are back from the dead!

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  • 2. At 5:47pm on 23 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    Cool heads required on public sector pensions. Easy to get it wrong.

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  • 3. At 5:50pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    Absolutely necessary as I have been saying all week

    Due to actuarial factors, and longer life expectancy this is inevitable, and it is to the shame of the previous Labour government that they did nothing about this, and the previous Conservative government as well

    31 years of nothing

    So don't blame the man who IS sorting it out

    Those on the left, with special calculators (you know, without the minus sign) will be upset, as they don't live in the real world

    They think money is available on money trees

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  • 4. At 5:53pm on 23 Jun 2010, kered wrote:

    Ah, pay more get less!

    There you have it more for less confirmed.

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  • 5. At 6:02pm on 23 Jun 2010, Jericoa wrote:

    Nick,

    i wish someone had asked them how they expect the economy to grow when there will be 20% cuts to government departments.

    have the government got a secret stash of mothballed high technology factories prepped and ready to make and sell goods the whole world will want to plug the gap between what the government will be taking out?

    Our economy was first built on consumer debt and when that crashed it is now supported on government debt. Cut that out and you are reliant on massive growth in exports and demand for our goods to generate the new money to promote growth.

    it is not realistic, not that labours proposals are any better.




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  • 6. At 6:05pm on 23 Jun 2010, Steve wrote:

    To achieve a final salary, index linked pension in the private sector of sixty to seventy thousand pounds a year would require a pension savings pot of over one point five million pounds. I'm afraid some people in public service are going to need to face some hard truths.

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  • 7. At 6:13pm on 23 Jun 2010, anthonygh wrote:

    Good stuff...let's hit the gold plated public pensions....the current average of £5000 p.a. is far too generous.....and as so many need to top up their pensions anyway with benefits (since the State isn't yet comfortable about making people live below the poverty line) it won't effect the poorer pensioners anyway.

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  • 8. At 6:13pm on 23 Jun 2010, Terry wrote:

    Does he include MPs' generous pension scheme in these cuts?

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  • 9. At 6:14pm on 23 Jun 2010, JohnL wrote:

    The pension pots schemes are just gambling - they critically depend on the day you buy your annuity just how much you get. It is patently unfair and pensions for identical contributions can vary by 25% or more.

    Final - or cumulative - salary pensions are a much fairer way of paying for retirement but we have to take into account the long-overdue fact that people are living substantially longer now.

    When the n/80ths schemes were started, leading to half pay on retirement and a nice tax-free lump sum, people expected to live for 10-15 years after paying in for 40 years and these sums add up. But if people live for 20-30 years there must be some change.

    I suspect we will move to n/90ths eventually so we expect to work 45 years or retire on 44% of final salary. Whichever way, something has to be done but it would be invidious to change the pensions for those already retired.

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  • 10. At 6:26pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    9

    Those who have already retired will obviously not be affected, neither will benefits accrued to date

    So, no big deal

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  • 11. At 6:40pm on 23 Jun 2010, Rob04 wrote:

    David Cameron and Nick Clegg also faced questions about the impact of VAT on the poor, why they hadn't raised more from the bankers, cuts to benefits and much besides.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Is this not the Nick Clegg who campaigned on worries about increases to VAT because it hits those on poorer incomes? I would ask you what he said in response to the VAT issue Nick but really I just have to listen to David to know what Nick Clegg really thinks!

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  • 12. At 6:43pm on 23 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    JC,

    "the Government can always print money to pay its bills"

    Yes indeed. And I guess there's no point having this ability unless in extremis one uses it - rather like nuclear weapons, although in that case the answer is to not have them rather than use them. In fact we've already printed money, haven't we? - in the form of the Bank's QE programme. Perhaps going forward we can do this more frequently - not so much to pay for specifics like public sector pensions (which wouldn't be appropriate, they need to be funded via some sort of State Pensions Board - as we agreed the other day) but more to just plug the gap each year (if there is a gap) between the cost of the first class public services and high quality infrastructure and decent welfare benefits which we all want to see, and the tax we're collectively prepared to cough up to pay for them. Thus the more tax we pay, the less money we'll have to print. Maybe, just maybe, such an approach will lead to greater fiscal discipline (since printing money can create more problems than it solves).

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  • 13. At 6:46pm on 23 Jun 2010, HoggyatEastlands wrote:

    I'm a public sector worker with a few more years to go until I retire. However I do think the public sector pensions are overdue for a review.

    What must be taken into account is that the public sector workers have done no wrong in this situation, we have all simply applied on the open market for jobs which exist and somebody decided they needed doing.

    I just hope that the pensions review, coupled with a pay freeze and a downsizing of government at all levels, does not leave the country with a legacy of poor quality public services. Anybody who works in the public sector is surely going to be looking for work elsewhere, and the private sector can afford to be quite choosy. This will mean public services being run by those who can't find jobs elsewhere. I'm not saying they will all be incompetent but almost by definition the skills and experience of those left are likely to be lower on average than they are now.

    I haven't been in the public sector for many years, so I would draw a modest pension of around £10k if I retired now. I am contributing 6.7% of my salary into a local government pension scheme in the hope of achieving something like £20k a year when I retire at the age of 66.

    We're not all fat cat mandarins by any stretch of the imagination

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  • 14. At 6:51pm on 23 Jun 2010, NorthLondonTory wrote:

    When will it sink in ... Final salary schemes cannot be afforded in the public sector - half a million pounds is the equivalent fund for a twenty thousand pension! ... and still unfunded ...why not close them, commute public sector future obligations into contributory standard private pensions and pay contributions as they arise. Its what the private sector have to do!

    Over the last 5 years, I have sunk £200,000 into a business which employs 10 people in the South East - which I could have put this into a pension and got tax relief too! - now I find my Pension relief for future contributions is taxed, my tax relief has gone, I get taxed on new high-rate CGT and even though I am in a high-cost South-East, everyone outside London gets help through the new NI assistance - completely unfair - if this is Britain, I'll leave, and expand the company overseas and when I sell ensure I'm outside the CGT tax net.

    (And as for Business Investor Relief - too restrictive and complex - what's wrong with a simple £5M relief for business investment in SME's without the complex rules?)

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  • 15. At 6:54pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    12

    When will the penny drop that we need to live within our means?

    I don't think it ever will, for you, you seem to think that money grows on trees

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  • 16. At 6:59pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    13

    Don't underestimate what that £10K pension is worth!!

    You would probably need a pension fund well in excess of £350K to provide this, based on current annuity rates

    The change is overdue, and for 40 years various governments have BOTTLED IT

    So Cameron has inherited the deficit and this mess as well

    Many in the public sector will sadly start to abuse the generous sickness scheme, as many of your colleagues are unable to understand that mathematics, not politics makes this change necessary

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  • 17. At 7:09pm on 23 Jun 2010, sportingpunter wrote:

    Why are people surprised that public sector pensions are being brought into line with the private sector? Labour claim this is 'unfair' but why is it fair for private sector workers to have to take all the risk and then pay for public sector workers to take no risk? Harriet Harman summed up the madness of Labour when she criticised the budget saying the private sector could not 'magically' create jobs. Harriet - that's exactky what the private sector does so, and has done for years. It's because your level of understanding of the economy is so feeble that you think only the State can do it. I can;t remember who saiud that the best thing the State can do is 'get out of the way'. Fairness means equality for all, not public sector workers being elevated to a different level of compensation.

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  • 18. At 7:15pm on 23 Jun 2010, mike9999 wrote:


    Does he think it was a great Disraeli moment for cameron when he refused to answer The Leader of the Opposition on tax credits.
    Also he mentioned that cameron was giving up his pension that he is entitled to as prime minister on tonight's bbc news, thats brilliant, but surely wouldn't`t the great Disraeli have published his whole financial records, his wealth and his future earning to show how badly losing his pension will affect him, now I think the great Disraeli would of done that don`t you?
    Otherwise it might seem an empty gesture, don`t you agree?

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  • 19. At 7:17pm on 23 Jun 2010, mrnaughty2 wrote:

    Saga 8

    But no doubt they will try their best after all they now got history (albeit a short one) on the VAT increase.

    VAT - Bad judgement which will return and haunt both parties. I can't believe the arrogance of GO who no doubt read our previous posts on this issue and then went ahead and acted against our better advice. I thought we had all agreed - Best leave alone!

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  • 20. At 7:17pm on 23 Jun 2010, LingfieldGambler wrote:

    I'm a public servant. I agree that this has to happen. The government should put all civil servants (+ Ministers & MPs) into, and reasonably quickly the Nuvos scheme. This provides defined benefit pensions - NOT a final salary pension. I believe the trade describe it as a Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) scheme. Such a move would produce considerable administrative savings also, because currently MPs and civil servants have 5 pension schemes!

    Immediately after the 2 year public sector pay freeze ends (April 2013) the government should progressively (but over no more than 3-5 years) increase employees contributions. In the current schemes the employee contributions are less 7% - 15% of the cost of the pension (dependent on which scheme) - the employer (government/taxpayer) meets 85% - 93% of the cost. In the future employer and employee should each pay 50% of the cost of the pension.

    Finally, the government should bring the Civil Service retirement age into line with the state pension retirement age - 65, shortly to rise to 66. And stop all enhanced early retirement and enhanced voluntary severance packages.

    As Mr Clegg says, there's no point giving public sector workers poor pensions. That only increases poverty among the elderly. What public servants need to do is to make a realistic contribution to their pension costs and retire at the same age as everyone else. The days of the police retiring with full pensions at 50 and other public sector workers retiring on full pensions at 60 (or even earlier) must end.

    LG

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  • 21. At 7:25pm on 23 Jun 2010, D Dortman wrote:

    6. At 6:05pm on 23 Jun 2010, Steve wrote:

    To achieve a final salary, index linked pension in the private sector of sixty to seventy thousand pounds a year would require a pension savings pot of over one point five million pounds. I'm afraid some people in public service are going to need to face some hard truths.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------




    Indeed, public pensions have been far too generous for far too long, allowing people to retire at ~50 years old in many cases with a serious incoming for life (the "life" bit being longer than they actually worked for).

    Private pensions have been destroyed recently, but 1+1 will never equal 5 so they had to be (as public pensions will have to be).

    Basically the post-war generation have lived life large and left a debt problem for the next 10 generations of their children.




    Clearly no one likes to lose £££'s, but 1+1=2 that's just how it is, and to balance the UKs books things have to give.

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  • 22. At 7:33pm on 23 Jun 2010, D Dortman wrote:

    13. At 6:46pm on 23 Jun 2010, HoggyatEastlands wrote:

    I haven't been in the public sector for many years, so I would draw a modest pension of around £10k if I retired now. I am contributing 6.7% of my salary into a local government pension scheme in the hope of achieving something like £20k a year when I retire at the age of 66.

    We're not all fat cat mandarins by any stretch of the imagination
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    The problem is to end up with a £20k a year pension working in the private sector in the number of years you infer, you'd basically have to be a fat cat mandarin.

    The difference between public and private is just now that great.

    The only thing more insane than general public sector funds are MP pension, fortunately there's only ~700 to pay through the eyes for, not 6,000,000+ of them!

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  • 23. At 7:39pm on 23 Jun 2010, Countrygirl wrote:

    I was fascinated to note that the Government has made no mention of looking into the numerous subsidies paid to farmers. Could this be due to the fact that the wealthy farming community is made up of the biggest contributors to the Tory Party and are therefore "off limits" I wonder?

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  • 24. At 7:40pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    The other change needed, is that once you draw your public sector pension, you are then not allowed to work for the government again, especially as a consultant!!

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  • 25. At 7:43pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    21

    wrote


    Clearly no one likes to lose £££'s, but 1+1=2 that's just how it is, and to balance the UKs books things have to give.


    Aaaah

    But Big Brother said 1+1=3 Winston (Thanks to George Orwell)


    Also

    Gordon Brown thought 1+1=564327612662427821774678426487474882482

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  • 26. At 7:48pm on 23 Jun 2010, TonyE1951 wrote:

    Would the public sector pension black hole be so large if the employers hand't enjoyed a contribution holiday for over 10 years?
    They didn't put that money aside in case this would happen, they gleefully spent it!
    Shame I'm not a banker who got us in this mess in the first place then I'd be able to claim the pension is part of my contract and nobody could touch it!

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  • 27. At 7:50pm on 23 Jun 2010, monic1511 wrote:

    Why did the news not highlight the part where the lady said her colleagues public sector pension will be £5K pa and her lump sum is £1K - this is the gold plated public sector pension payable after 30 years service.
    Yes the PM & DepPM were more honest in that they admitted the public sector are having a pay cut but they were in opposition when the private sector pensions were changed and they accused the then government of incompetence for not protecting the private sector employees who had their pensions forceably changed. Now they are proposing to do the same to public sector employees.

    How is a rise in VAT good for private businesses? most people are having their income cut by 2.5% as a result and therefore have less cash available to spend in private businesses.

    As for the rent restrictions - if you are going to have your housing benefit cut after 6 months on JSA you are going to accrue rent arrears as you obviously have the same income but higher bills. This means your landlord / council / housing association will then need to take legal action to recover the rent arrears - doing this costs money - more staff are needed in the housing offices to collect the rising rent arrears.

    As for DLA medicals - if there are medicals that means a private firm like ATOS has to do the medical, this is then appealable by the claimant, so the DWP then has the costs involved in looking at the decision again and if they don't change the decision the claimant takes the decision to an appeal tribunal - again appeal tribunals cost money - The panel are often paid over £100 each for a half days work. The current backlog for ESA medicals is at 8 - 12 months before you get an appeal heard due to ATOS medicals. I really don't see how this reduces costs.

    Another point was that people have to go out and get jobs - when the people who want to work are struggling to find positions, where are the employers for the long term unemployed who have no skills and no incentive to work. The minimum wage if your over 21 is £5.85, that will get you £93.60 for 16 hours, to get tax credits if you have no kids you need to do 30 hours but there aren't many 30 hour posts out there. Where are all these jobs that everyone is to apply for especially the disabled who struggle to get work in the private sector as small businesses can't provide all the aids and adaptations needed for disabled people?
    Over to you Mr Cameron & your twin Mr Clegg

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  • 28. At 7:50pm on 23 Jun 2010, John Boy wrote:

    We have just watched the budget discussion - lets assume they achieve their goal on the "benefit scroungers" where are the jobs coming from to employ these people?

    Where is the infrastructure investment in childcare to facilitate the seed change?

    We have been advocates of lifelong learning O.U. etc and after being made redundant twice invested £10.000 in "HIPS" - this government have just reversed the policy and left us without any recourse.

    How confident are the Government that they can "cut through" the "Humphrey" stranglehold to make sense of the public sector expenditure?

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  • 29. At 7:51pm on 23 Jun 2010, mrnaughty2 wrote:

    16. At 6:59pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:


    "Many in the public sector will sadly start to abuse the generous sickness scheme, as many of your colleagues are unable to understand that mathematics, not politics makes this change necessary".

    Kevin, is that what you did whilst working in the public sector?

    No, thought not!

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  • 30. At 7:54pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    23. At 7:39pm on 23 Jun 2010, Countrygirl wrote:
    I was fascinated to note that the Government has made no mention of looking into the numerous subsidies paid to farmers. Could this be due to the fact that the wealthy farming community is made up of the biggest contributors to the Tory Party and are therefore "off limits" I wonder?

    COMMON AGRICULTURAL POLICY

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  • 31. At 7:54pm on 23 Jun 2010, Upthebarns wrote:

    Well said Number 20, Lingfieldgambler.

    The private sector does not want to see public sector employees lose their jobs, nor do we wish to see pay cuts for those on less than average pay.

    But we need a recognition, and that is a financial recognition, from those public sector employees on above average salaries that they must contribute significantly more for their pensions or face them being restricted.

    As has been said many times, a private sector employee will get 3% of the value of his or her private pension pot, if they were to take out an index linked pension.

    This a £10K pension would need a pension pot of around £300K - think how difficult it is to amass such a pot over the last 15 years when investment returns have been dreadful.

    The same public sector employee faces absolutely no investment risk, they get their £10K pension irrespective of what the gilt and equity markets are doing.

    So it is inordinately difficult for someone in the private sector to amass a pot that will pay "just" £10K a year.

    The massive costs and massive inequities exist for those public sector employees and there are many (not the below average salaried, but many of the others) whose pensions are in a bracket of £25K- £40K. These would cost around £800K - £1.2M for a private sector pension pot to fund.

    And then we get into the realms of middle to senior civil servants, higher graded teachers, NHS managers, doctors etc etc etc (and yes MPs) whose pensions can range from £40K - £70/£80K.

    A private sector pension pot of £1.2M to £2.4M would be needed to fund these. These are preposterous amounts and either need to be capped immediately or need huge new contributions from the recipients.

    Remember that on average a private sector employee would need to contribute 40% of salary for 40 years to get the same index linked pension as the public sector employee on the same wage.

    So let's start by targeting all those public sector pensions above a certain level. They have either got away with it for years because MPs and civil servants benefit the most and they control the impetus for change or noone has hammered on about the huge benefits and cost of these guaranteed and risk free pensions.

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  • 32. At 7:57pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    26. At 7:48pm on 23 Jun 2010, TonyE1951 wrote:
    Would the public sector pension black hole be so large if the employers hand't enjoyed a contribution holiday for over 10 years?
    They didn't put that money aside in case this would happen, they gleefully spent it!
    Shame I'm not a banker who got us in this mess in the first place then I'd be able to claim the pension is part of my contract and nobody could touch it!

    Well, most of the public sector schemes are unfunded, so they can't take a contribution holiday, as there are no contributions made!

    NEXT....

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  • 33. At 8:03pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    27. At 7:50pm on 23 Jun 2010, monic1511 wrote:
    Why did the news not highlight the part where the lady said her colleagues public sector pension will be £5K pa and her lump sum is £1K - this is the gold plated public sector pension payable after 30 years service.

    Those numbers are incorrect....after 30 years service, if the pension was £5k then the lump sum would be£7500

    After that, I didn't bother reading the rest of your post

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  • 34. At 8:04pm on 23 Jun 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    As nothing has been done to prevent the banks and investment firms from gambling away your retirement accounts....again, it really doesn't matter what system is devised. Mainly the thrust is to get as much money in the control of these firms so they can loan money at high interest to the governments that bailed them out after the banks robbed the people. The banks own this government and many more and not one of them has the courage to protect the interest of the people...what in now called "policy" was in the past called "corruption."
    A start might be to set a repayment plan with the banks to payoff the bad loans that the government assumed. A punishment tax for the problems they have caused and a new law that states that boad of directors and CEO's and CFO's can have their personal wealth attached when this happens again. Accountability is the mother of caution. 1 in 5 of all future tax revenues will go to debt service. Only a corrupt government would accept the terms of these unethical bankers and tax their own people so that banks can invest in Asian economies. Politicians are simply hooligans working for the bankers. None of this is going to work because it is nothing more than what it was before. One day people will wake up but there may not be much left to wake up too. The Vikings had more class and did less damage...but I would suppose they were the ancesters of todays bankers.....the art of plunder lives on.

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  • 35. At 8:05pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    29. At 7:51pm on 23 Jun 2010, mrnaughty2 wrote:
    16. At 6:59pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:


    "Many in the public sector will sadly start to abuse the generous sickness scheme, as many of your colleagues are unable to understand that mathematics, not politics makes this change necessary".

    Kevin, is that what you did whilst working in the public sector?

    No, thought not!

    Certainly not, I would never do that

    Watch for the news stories on higher sickness rates amongst public sector employees......it is so obvious that it will happen

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  • 36. At 8:10pm on 23 Jun 2010, astradti wrote:

    21. At 7:25pm on 23 Jun 2010, D Dortman wrote:
    6. At 6:05pm on 23 Jun 2010, Steve wrote:

    To achieve a final salary, index linked pension in the private sector of sixty to seventy thousand pounds a year would require a pension savings pot of over one point five million pounds. I'm afraid some people in public service are going to need to face some hard truths.


    (Reply)The figure of £60 to £70K would only be payable to Doctors and Trust CEO's who have worked for 40+years in the NHS.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------




    Indeed, public pensions have been far too generous for far too long, allowing people to retire at ~50 years old in many cases with a serious incoming for life (the "life" bit being longer than they actually worked for).

    '(Reply)I don't know of anyone in the NHS who can retire on FULL pension at 50...Those with Mental Health Officer status were allowed to retire at 55 but only those who started before 1996 all those who joined after this date must work until at least 60.

    It will be interesting to see 60+ year ol;ds having to lift and move parients or in as in my old job deal with violent incidents the same goes for 60+ year old police officers chasing criminals!!!

    I have just retired from the NHS at 55 my pension is £17K a year after 28 years, the last 10 as a ward manager.'

    Private pensions have been destroyed recently, but 1+1 will never equal 5 so they had to be (as public pensions will have to be).


    Basically the post-war generation have lived life large and left a debt problem for the next 10 generations of their children.




    Clearly no one likes to lose £££'s, but 1+1=2 that's just how it is, and to balance the UKs books things have to give.

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  • 37. At 8:10pm on 23 Jun 2010, Rogerjohn wrote:

    For the majority public servants, except the highest paid, there always has been a balance between relatively low wages and a more generous pension than in the private sector. The issues we face today are: longer and increasing life spans, too low retirement ages, too much legislation resulting in the need for too many civil servants. teachers and lecturers must be seen to be a distinctly different and more essential category of public servant, in that they carry out an irreplaceable service to society and to industry and commerce. a 25% reduction in this area of public service would be a major disservice to society at large and should be opposed. Our universities and schools must be protected in this time of financial difficulties. However, the teacher's and lecturer's unions should recognise the need for them to accept older retirement ages and higher payments into their pension funds.

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  • 38. At 8:25pm on 23 Jun 2010, pietr8 wrote:

    "US President Barack Obama sacked General Stanley McChrystal after he made critical comments about his administration in a magazine interview."
    Not relevant to this blog but:
    (a) It's a sign of a weak President more interested in protecting his reputation than keeping a man who is capable and who they chose in the first place. McChrystal's mistake wasn't military whereas Obama's definitely is. Obama should have called in McChrystal, had a bloody good row with him and then told him to "Get out there and get it sorted."
    (b) It puts some of our men directly at more risk as they're under US command.

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  • 39. At 8:35pm on 23 Jun 2010, craigmarlpool wrote:

    Kevinb @ practically all the posts.

    Kevin.

    I have something to admit.I thought Cameron was very good today...I could'nt see his lips moving at all when Clegg was talking...how does he do it ?

    Another thing...I notice you post every day,all day...how much does Conservative Central Office pay you...?

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  • 40. At 8:43pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    38

    I was pleased when Obama was elected, yet this, on top of the way he has handled the BP affair, has meant that I have lost all faith in him

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  • 41. At 8:51pm on 23 Jun 2010, Isabella1962 wrote:

    I think it was crigeworthy watching dumb and dumber today on
    tv do they really think raising vat and cutting benefits is going to create
    jobs anyone can see we are heading straight back to the 90s I can't beleive
    what's going on and it's obvious they will keep blaming
    labour for everything I know the country was in a mess financially
    but I think labour had a better plan. Also people on dvla are constantly
    being assessed on their ability to work this is not something new

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  • 42. At 8:53pm on 23 Jun 2010, stanblogger wrote:

    Financing public sector pensions is not a serious problem because they are usually at least partially unfunded. Pensioners are paid using contributions from current employees and employers, or in the case of some non-contributory government schemes by the government, who is the employer anyway. Any increase in costs due to longer life expectancy can easily be dealt with by increasing contributions from current employers and/or employees, who are be those likely to enjoy their pensions for longer.

    Because nowadays even the largest private firms cannot guarantee indefinite existence, their pensions have to be funded and funds can be lost, through employers granting themselves contribution holidays, taxes and collapsing stock markets. This is the problem - not public sector pensions. Instead of tackling this problem by, for example, setting up an adequate national scheme, the coalition government is seeking to bring public pensions down to the level of private ones.

    The prospect of a decent pension is one of the few things that attract young people into vital, but difficult and underpaid public service jobs like teaching and social work. If this incentive were removed, better wages and salaries would be required to recruit the people needed and costs would go up not down.

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  • 43. At 9:00pm on 23 Jun 2010, mrnaughty2 wrote:

    35 Kevin

    Try not to be to judgementalat 35.

    Interesting though. Private Pensions fraud - companies started raiding pension funds.

    This was followed by the financial services mis-selling of pensions.

    Any financial advisor will take a large fee to make sure your O.K. in your old age.

    I for one am pleased that the public sector have been saved from the misery caused by these so-called financial experts to many individuals in the private sector.

    Yes I do have a small pensions but in the main have other securities (wouldn't trust a financial investor as far as I could throw them).

    More importantly the idea of retirement is quite disturbing. I rather like the idea of meeting my maker still wearing my working boots.

    As I will working till I drop, won't be needing to take my State Pension so I'm more than willing to give this up to someone than is in need of it more than I - Someone like Sir Fred Goodwin perhaps.

    BTW = Good to see England progress and even better to know that we are still providing Wayne and Coleen with child benefit. It was obviously playing on his mind but now it's been cleared up, a much improved performance all round.

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  • 44. At 9:03pm on 23 Jun 2010, allen thomas wrote:

    The level of hostility shown to public sector workers in some of these posts is truly shocking. Apparently we're not satisfied that most public sector workers are low paid we want to take away their modest pensions also.
    Surely if we are unhappy about (a very few) people getting large pensions then the answer is to progressively tax them in the same way as we should for people who "earn" (note the quotes) large incomes. We could use the money released by this approach to increase the pensions paid at the lower end of the spectrum (private or public sector).
    This approach treats people fairly no matter what sector they work or have worked in.

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  • 45. At 9:05pm on 23 Jun 2010, delta31 wrote:

    I'm one of the "lucky" public sector workers who it appears is being lined up to "feel the private sector's pain" so feel entitled and obliged to rant.

    Every month for the last 19 years I have paid mandatory contributions of 11% (yes, eleven percent) of my gross salary towards my pension. How many in the private sector contribute at that level? Very few.

    How many in the public sector? Very few. Some schemes are even non-contributory. Please, whether through ignorance or malice, don't make the mistake of thinking there is just one one 'public sector pension'. I also pay above average amounts of tax and national insurance. In effect 'I' pay my wages to at least the degree 'you' probably do!

    At 25 I took a drop in salary when I started this career but I didn't complain, safe (ha ha) in the knowledge that at least I would have a reasonable retirement if I stuck at a job that we really really can't avoid having somebody do.

    People call me "Lucky" because over the following 19 years I have been shot at (with real not television) bullets fired by real (not television) baddies. I have been petrol bombed. Had care in the community patients try to stab and hatchet me to death. I have given mouth to mouth and first aid to people shot, stabbed and otherwise horifically hurt as they breathed their last and died in my arms. Had cars driven at me and just plain old fashioned kicks, punches, headbutts, bites, spit and vomit inflicted on me. Up close and personal.

    The 24/7 365 shifts mean while you celebrate birthdays, christmas and new year with family and friends some of us are out there facilitating you to do it in relative peace and safety. I am regularly 'on call' and last week worked 28 hours in a day and a half, because it had to be done. My family which includes two children under three don't know when (No lets be honest here....IF) they will see me again when I go out to work.

    In a so called 'civilised' society human beings shouldn't experience what I have experienced in my 'lucky' public sector job with it's "gold plated pension". I am scarred for life. I am forced to retire at age 55/30 years service, and lets be honest again you really wouldn't want 65 year old wrecks doing what I do now, trust me on this. Believe it or not, and I don't care, but it's all true and not unique.

    You won't hear it reported but my pension scheme has already been closed and replaced by a far worse one for NEW entrants. The only fair way to do it. We all know what we are signing up for financially and plan accordingly. I genuinely feel for the private sector (my friends & family don't forget) but everyone had the option to do what I have done. Maybe I'm being overly simplistic but haven't we forgotten that it was corrupt financial institutions and nicely rewarded politicians who got us into this mess? Not people who do what I do!

    Consider all of the above and then tell me again I am not worthy of MY family's pension.

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  • 46. At 9:10pm on 23 Jun 2010, Phil wrote:

    £60000 to £70000 pension Steve? Where did this come from? The idea of teaching for 40 years to get half your salary? With behaviour in schools as it is? You HAVE to retire around 60 to maintain your health. I take two different anti depressants, one of which I have taken for ten years. Yes things will have to change, and one reform was introduced some four years ago. More will come, but lets stop the baying wolves, the jealousy, the 'if I must suffer then I want to see you suffer' mentality. Let's have a calm and rational debate, not a hate campaign led by the Mail and Telegraph. we really are becoming quite a nasty little society arent we?

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  • 47. At 9:11pm on 23 Jun 2010, Isabella1962 wrote:

    I am a lecturer in further education and already pay a fare amount every month into my pension I have 25 years industry experience 6 years of college and 3 years of UNI under my belt to be able to teach my pension is what I work for now my kids are frown I don't get any benefits what more does this government want from me blood they are a disgrace I feel I have earned what I hope to get in my pension now it is going to change

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  • 48. At 9:14pm on 23 Jun 2010, mrnaughty2 wrote:

    39 Craig

    If I may same advise to you as to Kevin (43). Please try not to be judgemental he is trying not to be tribal but very difficult when England are playing.

    And Kev at 40 I know exactly what you mean - Very pleased when the Coalition government formed but GO budget means I've lost all faith.

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  • 49. At 9:16pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    41

    wrote

    Also people on dvla are constantly
    being assessed on their ability to work this is not something new

    I think you meant dla, and NO, there is no continuous assessment, hence the introduction of medicals from 2013

    If this was already happening, it couldn't be introduced...

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  • 50. At 9:22pm on 23 Jun 2010, ARHReading wrote:

    None of this should measure much on the Richter Scale.

    As David Cameron said there have been many examples of salary freezes and higher pension contributions from employees in the private sector. By adopting similar measures in the public sector the government is starting to develop a more level playing field in the employment market.

    We can moan and groan but we're living in difficult economic times. Unless and until the Labour Party reveals a series of tax/spending measures that it would have taken to deal with the budgetary deficit there is not much to talk about.

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  • 51. At 9:25pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    45

    Ignoring the emotive stuff, which is irrelevant in the context of the subject under discussion, which is your pension, then due to the contributions that you make, you have nothing to worry about

    So why are you?

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  • 52. At 9:28pm on 23 Jun 2010, mrnaughty2 wrote:

    45 Lucky

    Good try but sorry sir Fred still gets my state pension (mine 43) but all the best to you and your family and also a word that you wouldn't have heard very often in your line of duty - Thank you!

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  • 53. At 9:29pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    43

    I am not being judgemental, I am just saying it will happen...in fact try this for size

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cambridgeshire/10374850.stm

    Financial advice is like all things in life, you have to make sure that you are getting it from the right person

    You don't actually know that Wayne Rooney claims child benefit, so maybe that comment was best not said

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  • 54. At 9:34pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    43

    Or this

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/10253034.stm

    Or this

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/aug/19/nhs-sick-leave

    My comment was that it will get worse, from here on in

    Hardly judgemental, just providing some facts, as usual

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  • 55. At 9:36pm on 23 Jun 2010, David0001 wrote:

    It will be "ok" for Clegg and Cameron - for when they are looking to retire there will be a place in the Lords, a few dozen directorships and private health care.

    These public school boys know nothing of the public sector and the dedicated work provided by thousands of workers to serve the community - often in poor working conditions and with historical low pay. Why are they not striking at their mates in the Banks who caused the problems and who continue to enjoy the fruits of their ill-gotten gains? Let's see the size of their pensions, their salaries and their bonuses. Come on boys play the game - we know you won't - so beware - especially Clegg 'cause after the next election you will be rewarded for your treachery - to working people - you will be holding a meeting of your MP's in the back of a taxi -for that is the fate of Liberals who betray their convictions to side with Tories - I am sure they taught you history at public school

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  • 56. At 9:43pm on 23 Jun 2010, Upthebarns wrote:

    45, Delta 31.

    I cant see any rational contributor denying you or your colleagues your pension. Indeed, I doubt most private sector contributors would argue with the pensions received by those in the police, army, firefighters, many in the front line of the NHS etc etc.

    Teaching is a slightly argument. Do they not think those in the private sector have to worry about job security, stresses, long hours, health issues, significantly fewer holidays etc etc, the list is endless but that is not the point.

    The real gripe is with those middle management and above civil servants, teachers, managers, local authority managers, etc etc (I know they have a different scheme, but the cost is massive) judges, doctors etc etc who often retire 5- 10 years earlier than a private sector person can and yet will receive a pension significantly in excess of the private sector one. These individuals (not army, police, fire, front line NHS etc) need to either contribute significantly more or have their pensions scaled back.

    It is not the politics of envy or creating a public/private sector split, it is that everyone (including public and private sector employees) has to pay tax to pay their pensions which cost everyone too much.

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  • 57. At 9:50pm on 23 Jun 2010, fairlyopenmind15 wrote:

    22. At 7:33pm on 23 Jun 2010, D Dortman wrote:
    13. At 6:46pm on 23 Jun 2010, HoggyatEastlands wrote:

    I haven't been in the public sector for many years, so I would draw a modest pension of around £10k if I retired now. I am contributing 6.7% of my salary into a local government pension scheme in the hope of achieving something like £20k a year when I retire at the age of 66.
    We're not all fat cat mandarins by any stretch of the imagination


    Not sure how anybody could believe that a local government position is NOT in the public sector... How is a local government pension scheme NOT in the "public sector"?

    Who do you think pays for a salary and contributes to your pension?

    The local public? But with most "Local Government" spend distributed from a Central Government fund...
    So you are in the "public sector" aren't you?

    So what is your point?

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  • 58. At 9:52pm on 23 Jun 2010, craigmarlpool wrote:

    55.

    I couldn't have put it better myself.

    Don't be fooled into thinking this budget was just about the deficit (v serious though it is)...this is about the Tories sticking the boot into the public sector and shrinking the state on ideological grounds. The deficit has given them the cover they need.

    Osbourne's cuts are way over the top. He keeps going on about Canada as an example...they consulted for about four years before making cuts, did them over a much longer time period of 14 years and had their main trading partner, the USA, in good health economically to provide private sector growth. Sweden, the other example, cut over 19 years.

    Osbourne got about every call wrong during the banking crisis...he's just done it again.

    No doubt someone will come back on this to correct details...but its the gist of what happened.



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  • 59. At 9:56pm on 23 Jun 2010, LingfieldGambler wrote:

    Why is International Development to be wholly protected from cuts?

    £7.8 billion given to dictators and corrupt regimes is a lot of money....

    Even if the overseas aid the UK gives has to be protected (I'm not convinced), DFID should be compelled to make a 25% cut in their internal running costs alongside other government departments. It's particularly disgraceful that while cuts will be made in education spending in the UK, DFID will be funding education programmes overseas.

    LG

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  • 60. At 9:56pm on 23 Jun 2010, mrnaughty2 wrote:


    Kev 53

    "Financial advice is like all things in life, you have to make sure that you are getting it from the right person"

    And that's the mistake many in the private sector made - Unfortunately they took advice from the Government of the day - Erm! not her finest hour was it.


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  • 61. At 9:57pm on 23 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    Come on, let’s think the unthinkable – no, not that (!) Osborne would never agree to that - go blue sky on pensions is what I mean. Perhaps neither final salary nor money purchase is the way to go. The FS schemes belong to the era of one career/job with steady salary progression up to retirement age. This is not the world of work we have now and we’re only going to move further from it. The MP schemes on the other hand are overly subject to the vagaries of investment returns and annuity rates etc. I’d like our brave and reforming Coalition to look at a model whereby you contribute while working (as heavily as you can afford, but flexibly, and also with some compulsion) and the money goes into a pot to be managed by a suitable government agency. Managed in steady, low risk, unspectacular fashion – this is ALL employee pensions, btw, not just public sector. You get a guarantee that your pension will equal your money back plus X% compound annual return – where X is set each year based on long term, low risk sterling yields (e.g. gilt linked). Your pension will be bigger (a) the more you put in, and (b) the longer it stays there, and (c) the higher is X. On retirement, you get exactly what you’ve been guaranteed (no more no less) ... convert to annuity at standard (= current X) rate ... and the state takes any profit or loss from the difference between the guarantee and the actual returns made. Then a safety net – a minimum below which no one can fall – to catch people who come up short. Safety net amount to be pitched nicely between too much and not enough. Such a model would create parity across the public and private sectors and (I hope) entail more a raising of the bar for the private sector than a lowering of it for the public sector.

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  • 62. At 10:00pm on 23 Jun 2010, DisgustedinDERRY wrote:

    Given that a percentage of so-called ex-service personnel are now claiming for all sorts of post conflict related illnesses. And given the fact that the British government spends billions of pounds yearly on the defence of their various illegal occupations. Does it not make sense for the British government to bring home the British army and keep its big nose out of other countries affairs.

    This would undoubtedly ensure that the British government have the money to properly look after its citizens. After all it is the citizens money which the government is spending.

    It is time the British government spent the peoples money on the people and not on the illegal invasion and occupation of other people's countries!!!

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  • 63. At 10:06pm on 23 Jun 2010, patchbruce wrote:

    Dear Nick.
    An interesting slant on all this budget stuff is figures released here in Scotland today which confirm what many here already know. That is the fact that Scotland's revenue contribution is actually 1.3£bn in surplus based on current spending levels and would be in even greater surplus should the current savings be made. In-fact Scotland has been in surplus over the last thirty years even despite the down turn. But as usual the Tories will be using money raised in Scotland to bail out the rest of the UK while telling everyone that Scotland scrounges of everyone. Its time that downright lie was put to bed forever. Nick you should go and find a copy of the G.E.R.S. report and vector it in to these budget discussions.

    As the people of Scotland begin to discover that we are in-fact a rich country which has been helping out his debt ridden big brother for years, the momentum for demands for full fiscal autonomy or independence will become unstoppable.

    I would recommend Mr Cameron to move towards FULL fiscal autonomy for Scotland as quickly as possible if he wants to maintain the Union.


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  • 64. At 10:09pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    58

    We haven't got 4 years to sort this out.....until you accept that, you will be looking for things that aren't there

    Just for you, I will clarify the banking shares

    We own 41% of Lloyds....ave buy price 63.5p....(current share price 58.7p) currently worth £16.239bn (our share)

    We own 84% of RBS........ave buy price 49.9p....(current share price 46.7p) currently worth £22.924bn(our share)

    So, in actual fact we want the banks to do well

    We can't sell the shares in one go, they will need to be sold in tranches, and we shouldn't really start selling until the price is 100p

    To get to that point, we NEED them to do well

    This means that we get our money back, as well as a profit, and also that in the meantime they will be paying the levy AND corporation tax

    We want the bankers to earn a lot, then they will pay a lot of tax

    I am as angry as anybody about HBOS and NR in particular, and I would have broken up the former, and allowed the latter to go bust

    RBS were a disgrace

    However, at some point, people need to stop and think about where we are, and what we need to happen to get out of this mess

    IF we assume that eventually we get 100p net of sales costs for our shares, then that is going to be £76.75bn in revenue over maybe the next 10 years

    So, be angry with the banks that were to blame, yet try and get past the anti-banks sentiment, as we need them to succeed big time

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  • 65. At 10:09pm on 23 Jun 2010, goranth wrote:

    The Prime Minister 'misled' the public when he said it was pay restraint or job cuts. The chancellor by cutting 25% out of whitehall budgets guarantees job cuts. In the last three years the civil service has had below inflation pay rises - a pay cut by any other terms. now the freeze makes this worse and on top of that we could lose 300,000 tax generating jobs with no private sector replacements. how will this cut the benefit bill.

    I have another question for the Prime Minister. How does cutting the budget of trading fund agencies help the deficit when the cuts will not be passed back to the treasury. Agencies such as Companies House and the Passport Office cover their costs by charging fees. they also have to make >3% efficiency saving each year and pay a dividend (£2 million in the case of companies house_ to their parent department. Any cuts in the running costs have to by law we matched by cuts in the fees. No extra money is generated to cut the deficit or the parent departments budgets. these are efficient organisations that are not funded by central taxation and cutting them will not help. So why is this idealogical axe being wielding on efficient parts of the public sector, risking their health?

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  • 66. At 10:13pm on 23 Jun 2010, TheHandsomeMan wrote:

    Millions of us are self-employed or work through agencies. We have to save for our own retirement or make our own pension provision. There is no employer contributing to our savings or pensions.

    It is time that public sector employees woke up and realised just how fortunate they are. Most can spend their monthly salary in full knowing that that will have substantial pension income to live off when they retire.

    For true fairness, there should be no employer contibutions into public sector pension schemes.

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  • 67. At 10:21pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    60. At 9:56pm on 23 Jun 2010, mrnaughty2 wrote:

    Kev 53

    "Financial advice is like all things in life, you have to make sure that you are getting it from the right person"

    And that's the mistake many in the private sector made - Unfortunately they took advice from the Government of the day - Erm! not her finest hour was it.

    To what are you referring?

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  • 68. At 10:26pm on 23 Jun 2010, mrnaughty2 wrote:

    61 Saga

    It's a terrific idea - Probably your best yet amd there's been a few. However to carry it through I fear you will need to find a much more progressive government than this and by progressive I mean not one that hijacks the word "progressive" for a budget that was anything but!

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  • 69. At 10:27pm on 23 Jun 2010, johnharris66 wrote:

    #58 Craigmarpool wrote:
    "Osbourne's cuts are way over the top. He keeps going on about Canada as an example...they consulted for about four years before making cuts, did them over a much longer time period of 14 years and had their main trading partner, the USA, in good health economically to provide private sector growth. Sweden, the other example, cut over 19 years."

    I don't agree with your first sentence at all, but the paragraph is interesting. Why do you think the cuts and tax rises are for 5 years only? By the end of the Parliament the coalition should have eliminated the structural deficit. However, by then the debt will not have been reduced at all and will have grown to nearly 1.4 trillion.

    To reduce the debt to a sustainable level (40% of GDP, one of Gordon Brown's fiscal rules) we will probably need at least another 5 years of cuts and tax rises. So this is already a project for 2-3 Parliaments.

    Sounds terrible, doesn't it? That's why Osborne is facing reality and his detractors are in denial as to the scale of the problem.

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  • 70. At 10:30pm on 23 Jun 2010, delta31 wrote:

    51 @Kevinb

    The "emotive stuff" is what I and many others in the public sector can never consider irrelevant to the debate, unlike it appears so many from the chattering classes, rather it should be considered integral.

    My example may be extreme but is by by no means unique, and the emotive stuff you refer to is oft cited in connection with our military being undervalued and under-rewarded. Society has certain s****y jobs that have to be performed by people willing to deal with things the rest of us aren't. The contract society makes with us is that we will be looked after for performing those tasks, and living with the consequences to our safety, health and sanity. I have worked in the private sector. I am sorry... there is no valid comparison between the risks and consequences with my current job.

    Additionally, because I was conscious of sounding too martyred in post 45, I omitted the more mundane consequences of doing what I do. Restrictions are placed on my social, recreational and political life to the point of having to self-censor what I write here or being unable to display an election poster in the window of my own home. Indeed, the location and suitability of my home is also subject to the approval of my employer, as is my choice of partner, who I associate with and where, the right to strike, even what I have to drink with my evening meal at certain times.

    I could go on but won't, because I went into it knowing the rules.....and the rewards that would compensate me for submitting to them. I am not greedy and accept that the balance is about right as it stands now. I'm not after more!

    Suffice to say MY pension is a massive part of that contract society makes with me to do what I do on it's behalf. You would need to pay a damned sight more in salary otherwise I can assure you.

    Oh, and we are worried because without a doubt we are an easy target about to be hammered and the consequences frighten me at least as much as the baddies I try to keep from your door!

    52 @mrnaughty2

    Wasn't 'venting' to garner praise but 'Thank you's' are indeed unusual and greatfully received.

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  • 71. At 10:32pm on 23 Jun 2010, RJWTimes wrote:

    This Government makes me quiver with rage. How can anyone takeaway money from firefighters, nurses or doctors? People who save lives and risk their own lives in the process. Sheffield will lose an unbelievable amount of business, and Clegg will lose his seat, hopefully, because of this. Time for Clegg to go and save the tax payer some money!!!

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  • 72. At 10:49pm on 23 Jun 2010, mandarin666 wrote:

    I have worked very hard for the civil service for 28 years and before you all start moaning, have found £100s million/savings for business and Government in recent years. Unlike the private sector, I didn't get a big bonus or cut of that, I did it because I enjoy doing a good job. We all recognise that pay is substantially worse than our equivalents in the private sector but job security and the pension (for which 9% of pay is hypothecated) supposedly balance that out.

    Contrary to popular myth, I cannot remember a single pay deal in the last ten years where civil servants got a decent pay deal. The effect of two consecutive pay cuts of 5% AND a cut to pension terms AND massive reductions imminent in redundancy terms (which were so generous they were agreed by that legendary socialist Mrs Thatcher thirty years ago) just before the Government makes 25% job cuts is absolutely massive. Morale was already rock-bottom and I suspect that right across the public sector any tiny remaining shreds of goodwill - on which both public and private sectors depend - have now completely gone. The next time a Minister makes a foul-up and wants me to sort it out over the weekend, he can do it himself.

    The Prime Minister cannot honestly say that the Government had no choice either. They could have lowered the 50% tax band to £100k; introduced the mansion tax; lowered the inheritance tax threshold slightly or cracked down on tax avoidance by the super-rich. None of these would have affected 98% of the population but obviously this Government would rather crucify the public sector than ask the rich to pay slightly more.

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  • 73. At 10:49pm on 23 Jun 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #16. Kevinb wrote:

    "#13 Don't underestimate what that £10K pension is worth!!

    You would probably need a pension fund well in excess of £350K to provide this, based on current annuity rates"

    You might get one at 65, male, single life, RPI indexed for a bit less perhaps £275K. for a £10k pension - (but the annuity market is currently pricing in an increase in interest rates in offering this rate of 3.6% -unlike you!)

    The point is that annuity rates reflect and are related to interest rates - so unless interest rates rise (and inflation does not rise dramatically) then pensions become less expensive to buy. Now you know where I am going with the argument don't you KevinB - your blind pursuit of maintaining (for personal reasons) derisory, almost nugatory, interest rates so devalues and under-prices money as to make annuity rates possibly fall further. This is why I see that interest rates must rise to rebalance the economy - if they don't and soon, most company and all personal pension plans will almost inevitably collapse. This is apparently what you want!!!!

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  • 74. At 10:51pm on 23 Jun 2010, muadib2 wrote:

    This is lovely, because private companies have been plundering the pension funds, failing to invest and paying directors huge bonuses the government must be nasty to Civil Servants. Very noble.

    So work for 35 years receiving below inflation payrises in good times to avoid "overheating the economy" and then take below inflation payrises in the bad times "because the country cannot afford it".

    Whats the bet it doesnt apply to MPs?

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  • 75. At 11:03pm on 23 Jun 2010, muadib2 wrote:

    Remind me: if its okay for todays Civil Servants to have a pay freeze and their pensions slashed why shouldnt the whole private sector? How about a national pay policy?

    Are we not all in this together?

    I bet the heads of the CBI are doing very nicely thanks. They cannot be expected to slum it by using a mere 4 star hotel when they next have a month in Barbados.

    This is a bunch of rich Etonians hitting out at people who do not genuflect to them. Nothing noble. Nothing constructive. Base ideology.

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  • 76. At 11:12pm on 23 Jun 2010, AS71 wrote:

    62 DisgustedinDERRY

    "Does it not make sense for the British government to bring home the British army and keep its big nose out of other countries affairs."

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    If you do not consider yourself British then maybe you should keep your "big nose" out of British tax and spend matters.

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  • 77. At 11:19pm on 23 Jun 2010, mrnaughty2 wrote:

    67 Kev

    Well lets try the 1986 Social Security Act for starters and see where we go from there.

    Sorry got to go but hope you caught hold of Newsnight tonight. The whole budget relys on Growth and specifically exports in the Private Sector and within 3 years. Big ask wouldn't you agree? Impossible would be my opinion but as an exporter what would I know.

    Regards

    Mr N.

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  • 78. At 11:24pm on 23 Jun 2010, billybigtoes wrote:

    "Many in the public sector will sadly start to abuse the generous sickness scheme, as many of your colleagues are unable to understand that mathematics, not politics makes this change necessary"

    If only you understood the mathematics and politics that make your comment intellectually redundant.

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  • 79. At 11:36pm on 23 Jun 2010, edwardsnde wrote:

    As MPs and PMs are public sector worker - will the cut pensions also apply to them?

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  • 80. At 11:42pm on 23 Jun 2010, DHA wrote:

    What the ConDems seem incapable of understanding is that the public sector is propping up this economy and has been for years. We can argue over the nature of the jobs that have been created and their usefulness, but the fact is that these people have been spending their money in the wider economy and sustaining what is left of the private sector. Take this away and the economy will go into a freefall decline.

    The reality is that the private sector has not been creating high-skilled, high paid jobs on these shores. Globalisation has enabled firms to exploit loopholes and locate abroad in China, India and Eastern Europe where they can get away with paying low wages, and import their goods at highly inflated prices. Any jobs have been low-paid service-sector. How exactly do they expect this to change? Are they seriously expecting firms to change tack and locate here? Are they also expecting China, India and Eastern Europe to stop producing and instead buy our goods? If so, they are living in cloud cuckoo land.

    Add the increases in VAT and consumption will fall and more jobs in the private sector will go.

    The mess we are in is less a reflection of Labour's mis-managaement, but more one of a realisation that the world (private sector) economy needs considerably less labour, whilst the population is expanding. The economic model is no longer fit for purpose.

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  • 81. At 11:44pm on 23 Jun 2010, Cardean wrote:

    Unless my memory serves me wrong, when I entered the public sector after fifteen years in business, I accepted a drop in income because I knew the security of the job and the pension scheme was the other side of the coin. Now, when public sector pay for any skilled or professional role is the equal of, or more than a private sector jobs, why do people in the public sector STILL expect gold-plated pensions? The last government are proud of what they did for the benefits system(see Ed Balls on Newsnight tonight for confirmation of that), yet did it by almost bankrupting the economy. The country just can't afford this any more - specially when the state pension is so derisory. When will the penny drop?

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  • 82. At 11:53pm on 23 Jun 2010, garyhughester wrote:

    For God's sake, does anyone in this country think about anyone other than themselves. Our boys are being blown up abroad and people are worried about benefits and gold plated pensions, this is how it is so postpone your next plasma or holiday and suck it up.

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  • 83. At 11:55pm on 23 Jun 2010, jonny_puma wrote:

    Why are these people moaning. Labour brought this mess upon in the lat 13 years. The new government have been in power for a short period and are having to answer questions that a previos regime put is in. Whoever is in government had to make these cuts to protect out great country. Because of the overspending by Labour we have to pay the price now. I am glad that change has happened but it's too late and to penalise the new government for these cuts are ludicrous. If nothing happened in this country then Greece springs to mind but 50% worse. I am not a high earner, but am a mortgage holder and a full taxpayer. Deal with the cuts and increases as we all have to thanks to a poor Labour goverment. Why is Gordon Brown not up there answering questions? Did everyone imagine that David Cameron & Nick Clegg were going to arrive with £100,000,000 in a treasure chest and eveything was going to be OK. Blame Labour and let this new government get on with rectifying the poor leadership of the last 13 years.

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  • 84. At 00:04am on 24 Jun 2010, AS71 wrote:

    2 and 61 saga

    "Cool heads required on public sector pensions. Easy to get it wrong."

    "I’d like our brave and reforming Coalition to look at a model whereby you contribute while working (as heavily as you can afford, but flexibly, and also with some compulsion) and the money goes into a pot to be managed by a suitable government agency."

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    You demonstrated how easy it is to get it wrong with your idea in 61.

    I don't want "some compulsion" to have my pension managed by a suitable government agency (G Brown Investment Managers anyone?), who will decide what is best for me and act accordingly. I want to choose from the market, which may be provider X , do it myself via a SIPP etc.

    It is pretty clear that most people who have final salary benefits have absolutely no idea how much they cost to provide.

    delta31 @ 41, you sound like you are a member of the 1987 Police Scheme and will be able to retire at 55 having paid 11% of salary for 30 years -this is roughly 3.5 years worth of pay to fund a pension of 66% of salary for the next 30 years or so.

    Why shouldn't you do a desk job until 65 (4.5 years of pay to fund a pension for 20 years) freeing up younger officers to fight crime on the streets rather than doing paperwork, and making your pension benefits more affordable into the bargain?

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  • 85. At 00:10am on 24 Jun 2010, This_mug_voted_tory wrote:

    Cameron has told a blatant lie in his comment that he would not touch accrued pensions. That's exactly what the Tories did yesterday linking pensions to CPI rather than RPI because it saves several billion a year.

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  • 86. At 00:12am on 24 Jun 2010, zipperty wrote:

    I do not know why there is all this wailing and gnashing of teeth about pension cuts. I was told over 30 years ago at a course run by one of the less salubrious higher education establishments that I would be lucky to get a pension. It is not so much the economic climate that necessitates the cuts ( although it does aggravate the matter), it is pure demographics - the number of people in work paying to support the population of pension age. And this comment was made before life expectancy was as high as it is now. The working population should have had this drilled into them sooner and more frequently in order to lessen expectations. It would have been kinder but less politically acceptable.

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  • 87. At 00:16am on 24 Jun 2010, Northumbrian wrote:

    @64 kevinb
    "We want the bankers to earn a lot, then they will pay a lot of tax"

    So WE pay them a lot of money, so that we get a small proportion (they can afford good tax accountants) back in tax.

    Incidentally, why does this argument only apply to bankers?

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  • 88. At 00:17am on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    rjw times @ 71

    "This Government makes me quiver with rage."

    Yes me too. They've only been in seven weeks and I've gone right off them.

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  • 89. At 00:22am on 24 Jun 2010, Nelly wrote:

    Great budget by the Conservative govt (there is no meaningful Lib Dem input).

    Even better were the cynically cherry picked 'readers reactions' on the beeb website. Great stuff.

    First off, you cut back on already squeezed Public sector budgets and claim this won't cause redundancies. Good move - unless of course you ask for real term cuts (ie total spend on a dept) that means services will suffer. This is because the govt (behind closed doors) has told depts there is no money for redundancies.

    So, they either cut back on what they can offer, or look to got down the legal battle strewn road of amending contracts.

    Let me explain how dumb that is.

    On the one hand, if you affect services, the Public loses out, and that means you as a dept become disillusioned, and like any organisation, productivity suffers. How does that help the countries recovery?

    On the other, if you end up in court finding endless legal battles over cuts to contractual agreements, ie pay and pensions, that will cost the country millions of pounds and waste everybody's time.

    Add in to that mix, the individual tribunal cases for unlawful deductions of earnings and breach of contract and it all adds up to a another colossal waste of tax payers money.

    Better still, Osbournes cronies have been laying down the law on the sites of Public sector depts. In a major common sense move, offices are being told they must leave any property privately owned and move into Crown property. Sound good so far? Well yes, part from the fact that each move costs hundreds of thousands of pounds for small depts and millions with larger. Yet private sector rents being paid add up to nowhere near that kind of cost even over a five year period......... and I thought the govt was looking to save money.

    At the same time, in a typical Tory move, depts cannot take on new Consultants for business development purposes, yet the govt is dictating that depts 'must' take on firms to consult on efficency savings.

    You couldn't make it up could you.........

    Back to the cuts. Its great fun watching the private sector 'Daily Telegraph believers' ranting on about how these cuts are a 'good thing', yet seem happy to ignore the fact that 1,000's of jobs will be lost as a result. But not in the Public sector - in the Private.

    Many companies rely on govt contracts, in particular in the current climate, to keep them afloat. Some companies, who were looking to take people on as a result of govt tenders, having seen Osbourne snatch them away, are now already looking at redundancies.......

    Add in the VAT rise (Can we believe a single word they say - well, no actually) the cuts to benefits, cuts to pay (in real terms) and all that adds up to is a cut in spending power.

    Which only affects - the Private sector.

    The economy is still very, very fragile. Many companies are teetering on the brink. That budget may well be the death of them.

    Did someone say 'double dip recession?

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  • 90. At 00:26am on 24 Jun 2010, AS71 wrote:

    75 muadib2

    "This is a bunch of rich Etonians hitting out at people who do not genuflect to them. Nothing noble. Nothing constructive. Base ideology."

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    It is an attempt to prevent the IMF being called in and as such is both noble and constructive. Whether or not it works will be seen over the coming months and years.

    I suspect that when consultation starts on the cuts, there may be more public support for cutting benefit payments rather than public services.

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  • 91. At 00:31am on 24 Jun 2010, xTunbridge wrote:

    I feel like a lone voice shouting against a storm of anti, (envious? )posters who keep screaming that public sector pensions are unfunded and that massive "pots" are required to give a 10k pension to someone who has contributed 6% plus of their earnings for 30 or 40 years.

    If one takes an average income of 10k over 40 years then the pensioner has contributed 26k and, if the employer had not taken a contribution holiday because times were good, then as much again should have gone into the FUND.

    All local authority pensions have a fund. The West Midlands fund is over 6bn pounds.

    Also PRIVATE concerns are members, organisations providing public type services and contractors to local authorites such as road repairers.

    So please stop this envious and largely innacurate bile. There are half a million Civil Servants. There are three and a half million members of the Local Govt pension FUND. The Police , Fire ,NHS etc have their own arrangemnets ALL contributory but not necessarily funded.

    Envy , like jealousy, is a destructive force.

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  • 92. At 00:36am on 24 Jun 2010, damo960 wrote:

    currently we have 2 systems to help low income families child benfit and child tax credits, why not scrap child benfit and add it child tax credits therefore cutting out a whole department saving a fortune, also scrap working tax credit and just increase the tax threashold to compensate. there is no point taking money in through tax just to give it back via tax credits your paying 2 departments to do 1 job. Also if i work i get a tax code and if my wife works she gets a tax code however if i work and she doesnt we only get my tax allowance why not merge the tax code regardless of one person working or two, therfore allowing to keep more earnings should one person want to bring our children up? also whats the point of increasing v.a.t in simple terms for example if you get £10,000 in sales you would receive £1,700 in v.a.t when you increase the cost the amount of sales would tumble so say you lose 15% making £8500 in sales you would recive only £1,700 yet you put people into poverty.

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  • 93. At 01:12am on 24 Jun 2010, GatesheadDave wrote:

    As a debauched, overpaid nurse in the NHS can I also point out the frontline staff facing a pay freeze, pension cuts etc. as well as the VAT rise will also have to cope with the coalition's "stealth" cuts. While the NHS is said to be protected from budget cuts we have got to make 20-25% "efficiency savings" over the next five years. Efficiency is good but savings on this scale cannot be made without hitting essential services, for example we are already freezing nursing and medical posts in the community while cutting back on hospital beds. The savings are being arranged by...the managers of course.
    I started nursing in 1979. Same old same old!

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  • 94. At 01:18am on 24 Jun 2010, Speak Out Sally wrote:

    It is incredible to me to hear people saying openly on the programme that they can't work more as otherwise they will lose benefits. Surely if people can actually find paid work then they should do it, no question, and actively avoid claiming state benefits. I believe in the ethos of welfare state and think contributing is my responsibility as a citizen. However it is evident to me that the system cannot carry on as it is and clearly benefits were never intended for people who are fit for work to receive as an option instead of working. Some people nowadays seem to take this view and this 'entitlement' culture has gone too far .We desperately need to rebuild the values in our society so that people feel motivated /proud to be self reliant. As a nation we need to move away from an invidious parent/ child dependency relationship with the state. Some people , for example, now seem to presume the state is responsible for supporting their children and don't even consider providing for your child financially as part of what being a parent is about. It beggars belief! I believe it is wrong to ask for help from the state when you don't need it . Furthermore the welfare state is being undermined by people who do not share these values and abuse the system. To ensure welfare support continues in the UK, benefits should become a safety net not a way of life. The system needs to be restructured to engage people actively in developing their skills and moving people out of unemployment. No one should be actually discouraged from working by the benefit system. This matter needs urgent attention as I would hate to see the welfare state losing the support of the contributors and benefits reduced or removed from people who have a genuine need for state support.

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  • 95. At 01:20am on 24 Jun 2010, sonia60 wrote:

    I wish someone had asked why the depth of these cuts is unavoidable NOW when growth is low and our European markets are also cutting back.

    As the Japanese economist on Newsnight pointed out, UK bonds are very marketable and the % interest we are paying on our debt is relatively low, if we continue to come out of recession. But if we are all frightened about losing our jobs, rising prices and salary cuts who will be buying at home or abroad?

    Credit is not wrong, its what capitalism is based on but we should take care to spread the repayment of the huge borrowing that we were forced to make to bail out the banks over as many years as possible. Big debts take longer to pay off. If we all tried to pay off our mortgages in four years we would be living on bread and water.

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  • 96. At 01:25am on 24 Jun 2010, fairlyopenmind15 wrote:

    I have just retired from the NHS at 55 my pension is £17K a year after 28 years, the last 10 as a ward manager.'
    Private pensions have been destroyed recently, but 1+1 will never equal 5 so they had to be (as public pensions will have to be).
    Basically the post-war generation have lived life large and left a debt problem for the next 10 generations of their children.

    Retired at 55 after 28 years?
    That's good deal. Where could I find it in the private sector?

    The post-war generation have lived life large... So you and me both. Except my private sector pension won't be as generous as yours.

    And I'm doubtful that anybody's debt will affect 10 generations of children - except that the realisation of appalling mismanaged government spending could live on in a collective memory...
    Let's hope so.


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  • 97. At 01:29am on 24 Jun 2010, GatesheadDave wrote:

    How anyone can think of a £5k pension after 30 years service as excessive is beyond me when huge numbers of bankers in the partly-public owned banks, let alone the others, annually receive bonuses many times this amount.

    As a nurse with 31 years service myself, I've always generally accepted that the pay's pants but the pension's ok as I also feel that I'm making a contribution to our society (even if I don't "create wealth"!) However while I don't "abuse the generous sickness scheme", dealing with an increasingly abusive public and reading the spite and ire spouted here I feel pretty sick.

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  • 98. At 01:48am on 24 Jun 2010, GatesheadDave wrote:

    81.

    A recent review revealed that while pay for unskilled manual jobs is generally better than the private sector (probably because of unionisation), for skilled or professional jobs the public sector is paid less than the private sector.

    Quote
    Raw data suggests that, when comparing percentile levels of pay, public sector pay is higher than that in the private sector at all but the highest pay levels. However this is before allowing for differences between the profile of jobs, education level and workplace characteristics. For example, compared to the private sector, men in the public sector are more likely to have higher levels of education and to work in most of the occupations associated with higher pay. They are also more likely to be in a union, which is associated with higher levels of pay.
    After controlling for those identifiable characteristics, the differences are less clear. For example, highly skilled male employees earn 5.5% less in the public sector, while unskilled public sector employees earn 7.2% more than their counterparts in the private sector.
    Low paid workers are less likely than higher paid workers to be a member of a pension scheme in both the public and private sector. However the membership rates are particularly low at low income levels in the private sector where only 20% of employees earning between £100 and £200 a week are members of a pension scheme compared with 70% in the public sector.
    (Pensions Policy Institute, ©March 2010 - ISBN 978-1-906284-12-1; Data from the Office for National Statistics -(2009) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings)

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  • 99. At 01:57am on 24 Jun 2010, GatesheadDave wrote:

    95.

    One word. Dogma.

    Who believes that in the absence of a banking crisis, an incoming Tory govt. wouldn't have had the same agenda.

    Slash and burn.

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  • 100. At 02:25am on 24 Jun 2010, JohnConstable wrote:

    Clegg and Cameron face the music but public sector pensions and a rebalancing thereof, still seems like a sideshow when you consider that in 2014/15, the National Debt will be around £1400Bn and the servicing of that debt will then consume some £66Bn, and as I suggested earlier in this thread; the Government will probably resort to inflating away the National Debt by simply printing money.

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  • 101. At 02:33am on 24 Jun 2010, Kay Douglas wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 102. At 02:40am on 24 Jun 2010, Kay Douglas wrote:

    Well done, Nick. Your a credit to your profession!

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  • 103. At 02:47am on 24 Jun 2010, Kay Douglas wrote:

    double plus good!

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  • 104. At 05:31am on 24 Jun 2010, happydadtoo wrote:

    Whether the cuts are 'fair' or not is utterly irrelevant.
    Like Climate Change' (CC), it's going to happen and there's nothing we can do.

    Unlike Brown's CC measures, which claimed CC could be prevented if we were only taxed high enough to fund windmills, the correct response is to do what life-forms always do when the environment changes:
    'Adapt and survive' - fail to adapt fast enough and extinction beckons.

    So to each and every poster and reader here there is one message - 'adapt to the new reality'. The fleet of foot will prosper.

    So - if you wait until your grade gets its P45, you'll be last in the private-sector job queue. Get your CV up to date and get searching for a new job - today!

    IF you have necessary and useful skills, you'll get yourself a new job and, quite possibly, a much better and more rewarding life, both for you and your family.

    A final thought - the happiest and most fulfilled people I have seen were those in Honduras (and elsewhere) who were on $1 a day (or less) but had a multitude of family members and friends to support them.

    Money isn't everything and it's a deception we have all accepted that has been sold to us by commercial interests and Govts for the last 60 years.

    Happiness is what counts - and that comes from having a close family.

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  • 105. At 05:41am on 24 Jun 2010, happydadtoo wrote:

    Mr Robinson - a personal message, if I may be so bold.
    The programme today was a triumph of open Govt. and was something unimaginable under Brown.

    I believe it would have been better if you had not interrupted the PM and DPM in their answers. It is a difficult tightrope for you to walk, of course, and harder still when there was no precedent for such a programme - no format or script to follow!

    I hope that such a programme will not be unique, and that, next time, you heed my advice and so allow us to hear the politicians' answers in full!

    Thank you (and your BBC colleagues) for creating the best TV of the day (and that includes some event at 15.00 - 17.00 from South Africa!

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  • 106. At 05:53am on 24 Jun 2010, Invader-Zim wrote:

    I work in the private sector in a manufacturing industry that dragged this country out of recession.
    I have not had a pay rise for 2 years and my pension scheme changed several years ago.

    The public sector is bloated; the public sector workers generally don't last five minutes if they transfer to the private sector and they think sick days can be taken like holidays.

    Nurses and teachers are excluded from the next comment - they generally do a good job and are under paid however ....
    GET REAL YOU PUBLIC SECTOR LAYABOUTS AND DO A REAL JOB FOR A CHANGE!
    Administrators and managers are just parasites, feeding on the revenue generated by the real workers in the private sector.
    You are almost as bad as the layabouts on the dole.
    Labour's legacy of debt must be paid for the sake of the Nation.

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  • 107. At 06:05am on 24 Jun 2010, Invader-Zim wrote:

    I find this almost as sickening as the claim that Bridget Philipson, the 26 year old MP, single handedly saved the Motor Industry in the North East - MPS should be careful what they publish on facebook - you never know if somebody will spill your beans.

    For Info - the Future of the Electric vehicle was never in any doubt.
    She asked a completely pointless question at PMQs.

    Public sector LABOUR MPs need to take a long hard dose of reality too.

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  • 108. At 06:08am on 24 Jun 2010, happydadtoo wrote:

    Those anoraks who have read my previous posts and rubbished them may take note of the increase in retirement age I have been predicting will be announced today.

    Personally, I think the Coalition are being too timid - a rise to 66 by 2016 is too little, too late.
    70 by 2020, say I and 75 by 2030.

    Remember - all these cuts and tax rises will STABILISE our national debt at roughly £1.4 trillion by 2014 - if things all work out as planned, which, of course, they won't!

    We then have to repay that over the next decade, up to 2025, so, as the song has it:

    You ain't seen nothin' yet!

    Many, many more, and far, far deeper cuts are on the way - the 'social' model of Govt that has been the EU's plan for 40 years or more is now dead - a new, 'small State' model is now the way forward and the fastest countries to adapt will be that which is best placed by 2030 to compete and survive in a world economy dominated by China and India (etc) and no longer by the USA/Japan.

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  • 109. At 07:01am on 24 Jun 2010, conedia wrote:

    47. At 9:11pm on 23 Jun 2010, Isabella1962 wrote:
    I am a lecturer in further education and already pay a fare amount every month .....

    -------

    Not teaching English, I hope.

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  • 110. At 07:11am on 24 Jun 2010, Cassandra wrote:

    Come on Nick - it is not hard. Try to be brave.

    The key political points underlying this budget are:

    1. This Government has chosen to attack those on benefits and the public sector rather than the bankers' who did more than anyone else to create the current mess.

    2. This budget is not fair or just and does not over the course of the parliament protect the poor and disadvantaged. No amount of spin from Clegg and Cameron can change that simple and damming truth.



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  • 111. At 07:19am on 24 Jun 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:

    4#

    So, whats new Derek? We've had that for the last thirteen years, we're used to it.

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  • 112. At 07:25am on 24 Jun 2010, happydadtoo wrote:

    #109 conedia

    Not to mention 'frown' for 'flown' and the complete absence of any punctuation:
    47. At 9:11pm on 23 Jun 2010, Isabella1962 wrote:

    I am a lecturer in further education and already pay a fare amount every month into my pension I have 25 years industry experience 6 years of college and 3 years of UNI under my belt to be able to teach my pension is what I work for now my kids are frown I don't get any benefits what more does this government want from me blood they are a disgrace I feel I have earned what I hope to get in my pension now it is going to change

    Clearly, our youngsters have no hope if that is at all typical!

    From my experience in private education, the older the job applicant, the better their English (as used in their application and CV).

    We have a 'golden rule' - since every single report we send out is checked and re-checked at least 3 times to ensure that their are grammatically perfect - we insist on perfect English.

    Any error, anywhere, in their application and it's automatically binned. My B-i-L who has just sold his multi-million pound business has the same rule throughout their entire organisation - and he's not exceptional.
    Decades of English teachers saying 'English doesn't matter, it's all about expression' were deluding themselves (to cover up their own grave shortcomings) and cruelly short-changing their pupils.

    Millions of them - everyone leaving school from around 1970 on (just as we scrapped grammar schools for comprehensivisation, and destroyed the academic competition that is so essential)

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  • 113. At 07:30am on 24 Jun 2010, happydadtoo wrote:

    #110 Cassandra
    The bankers are not to blame - they lent money to people like you and me and so we all (thought) we benefitted from their largess.

    Blame too lax lending, by all means, and blame society for being too greedy and the 'habe it all, have it NOW' society we have live din for the past 40 years.

    'Banker-bashing' is as stupid a concept as it is possible to imagine - all those (over-generous) salaries and bonuses attract 50% tax and lead to their spending money on goods and services that keep dozens of other employed and employable.

    Pure envy is all that drives those who blame bankers and all those who support anything other than a flat-rate tax regime too (and we have along way to go before common-sense makes THAT happen).

    25% VAT, 25% income tax (NI scrapped) is the goal , with 20:20 the aim 'There is no such thing as a good tax' (Churchill)
    'Keep it low, keep it simple' (Lawson)

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  • 114. At 07:37am on 24 Jun 2010, Mindclearly wrote:

    Freeze of the public sector pensions. I do not work with the public sector but this will be the second time this has occured.

    Public sector pensions need to be one rule for all

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  • 115. At 07:43am on 24 Jun 2010, cping500 wrote:

    But Nick it's the latest play by the Tories.... all the cuts were not announced in the budget and are being dribble out with softening up via friendly journalists. GO was talking about cutting OAP's perks later in the year to a FT guy yesterday.... So watch what happens as we move into the holidays. Salami tactics are the way they hope to keep the poor foolish Lib Dems on board. Its fear and fudge... I hope your colleagues are up to finding statements like this and challenging the regime to put up or shut up.

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  • 116. At 07:50am on 24 Jun 2010, recrec wrote:

    As an existing pensioner, my accrued rights were adversely affected in the budget where he linked my pension to CPI rather than RPI to save money unlike the state pension which is linked to RPI/Earnings or 2.5%.

    Would he care to explain that?

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  • 117. At 08:03am on 24 Jun 2010, sweetlucy wrote:

    What lunacy we cant employ every one at the moment why make that worse our youth is festering away on social now.not enough jobs to go round cant see logic either we keep youth on social or the older in pensions the youth cost more to be out of work than our older citizens do in pensions.This can only get worse with technology advancing to we need to look at how we can fund our soon to be redundant workforce in the future when we as a society face the future with a lot less employment available we are heading for disaster if we cant support or elderly now how are we going to support the future redundant society of the future which i think is a lot nearer than we can predict.To ignore this is fool hardy a reciepy for anarchy

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  • 118. At 08:09am on 24 Jun 2010, Up2snuff wrote:

    108. At 06:08am on 24 Jun 2010, happydadtoo wrote:
    Those anoraks who have read my previous posts and rubbished them may take note of the increase in retirement age I have been predicting will be announced today.

    Personally, I think the Coalition are being too timid - a rise to 66 by 2016 is too little, too late.
    70 by 2020, say I and 75 by 2030.


    ---------------------------------------

    Tell us how you get around the problem that people have been paying for a pension for forty something years on the implied contractural understanding that it is to be paid from the sixty-fifth birthday onwards?

    Secondly, if employers decide they have no work for their workers, whether sixty-five or not, even if you have pushed the pension age up to 105, you may still be paying out state money in benefits - unemployment benefit, income support, tax credit, etc. That really dents any potential savings.

    Thirdly, what sort of extra State resources will have to be put into an extension of working life? We are trying to reduce the size of the State not recruit more workers for Job Centres, for the NI Dept and in the Benefits agencies. Although, I suppose that would be a way around the pension at 65 problem: at 65 everyone works for the State for a year in an office job pushing paper. Pension at 65 is so easy to administer for current contributors - no change, no bureaucracy required.

    Fourthly, if our population is ageing as fast as we are told, and that their voting record is so much better than the young, the last group that a Government now want to upset are the pensioners.

    Fifthly, by all means, set an increased working life for new entrants. So tomorrow, the Government can say "Everyone starting work in and after July will pay for a State pension at age 66. Everyone starting work in and after April 2011 will pay for a State pension at age 67. Everyone starting work in and after January 2012 will pay for a pension at age 68."

    Sixthly, you could extend the State pension to any age for new entrants but it needs to be remembered that everyone is making a big assumption with a measure of forgetfulness: life expectancy (longevity) can go down as well as up.

    And finally (phew) happydadtoo, as fairness and variations in life expectancy and longevity have occupied a lot of column inches and produced a lot of heat on the Beeb site (which you may have read), you need to bear in mind that in some parts of the UK people struggle to get past age 65 while others are struggling round the golf course, twenty years older than that, trying to play a round taking less shots than their age.

    Hey! (creak) Let's (well, those who are still with us) be really (groan) careful (ache, twinge) out there, (where? what did he say?) today. (Is it Thursday? Have I had my pills yet?)

    I need some cod liver oil! Gotta loosen up and get to work. Yeehah! Bye!

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  • 119. At 08:10am on 24 Jun 2010, happydadtoo wrote:

    And yes, before someone jumps on the bandwagon and down my throat (!), there ARE some typos in my own posts!

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  • 120. At 08:11am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    73

    Oh give it a rest do...........

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  • 121. At 08:15am on 24 Jun 2010, lefty10 wrote:

    even the IFS call this budget regressive.
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2559d1e4-7f33-11df-84a3-00144feabdc0.html

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  • 122. At 08:15am on 24 Jun 2010, david wrote:

    The private sector simply isn't big enough or resiliant enough to afford to fund the public sector we have today. Many smaller, younger businesses have felt unable to expand their workforce because of the hidden financial costs and risks involved.

    If anything in the budget was "unavoidable" it was giving entrepreneaurs outside the South East a chance to give more people the opportunity to contribute to the economy by reducing NI contributions. Reduced corporation tax will help encourage re-investment but would be more effective if £10,000 could be retained tax free for re-investment or contingency as was the case under Ken Clarke's treasury.

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  • 123. At 08:15am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    71. At 10:32pm on 23 Jun 2010, RJWTimes wrote:
    This Government makes me quiver with rage. How can anyone takeaway money from firefighters, nurses or doctors? People who save lives and risk their own lives in the process. Sheffield will lose an unbelievable amount of business, and Clegg will lose his seat, hopefully, because of this. Time for Clegg to go and save the tax payer some money!!!

    Try being angry with the government that caused the mess...ie THE LABOUR GOVERNMENT

    Where IS Gordon Brown? Is 7 weeks holiday not enough

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  • 124. At 08:21am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    91. At 00:31am on 24 Jun 2010, xTunbridge wrote:
    I feel like a lone voice shouting against a storm of anti, (envious? )posters who keep screaming that public sector pensions are unfunded and that massive "pots" are required to give a 10k pension to someone who has contributed 6% plus of their earnings for 30 or 40 years.

    If one takes an average income of 10k over 40 years then the pensioner has contributed 26k and, if the employer had not taken a contribution holiday because times were good, then as much again should have gone into the FUND.

    All local authority pensions have a fund. The West Midlands fund is over 6bn pounds.

    Also PRIVATE concerns are members, organisations providing public type services and contractors to local authorites such as road repairers.

    So please stop this envious and largely innacurate bile. There are half a million Civil Servants. There are three and a half million members of the Local Govt pension FUND. The Police , Fire ,NHS etc have their own arrangemnets ALL contributory but not necessarily funded.

    Envy , like jealousy, is a destructive force.

    Many of your posts on other topics have been very much a positive contribution to the debate, even if I don't always share your view

    Sadly, on this occasion, you are just mistaken on the issue of facts, and therefore draw the wrong conclusions

    Most public sector pension funds ARE unfunded, which means that contributions are not 'stored' in a fund

    This is a fact, and I suggest you research yourself, so that you understand before posting such comments

    Massive pots ARE required to provide an equivalent pension, if you were buying one of similar value. Please follow the advice above

    As far as envy is concerned, I can only speak for myself

    I am certainly envious of NOBODY

    Frankly, all I add to the pension debate is the actuarial fact that due to the ever growing number of retirees, and longer life expectancy, the equation of current contributions= current benefits is UNSUSTAINABLE

    Simple as that

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  • 125. At 08:23am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    87. At 00:16am on 24 Jun 2010, Northumbrian wrote:
    @64 kevinb
    "We want the bankers to earn a lot, then they will pay a lot of tax"

    So WE pay them a lot of money, so that we get a small proportion (they can afford good tax accountants) back in tax.

    Incidentally, why does this argument only apply to bankers?

    Where do you get the WE from, in we pay them a lot of money?

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  • 126. At 08:23am on 24 Jun 2010, Mordred wrote:

    A couple of aspects not yet covered are the final salary arrangements for MPS (the most generous scheme in the country, subsidised by the taxpayer) which has only had minor reform and the pension arrangements for ministers. I believe that the current arrangements allow for a PM to resign office after only 1 day and then receive a full prime ministerial pension from the following day for life. Surely, these unfair and over-subsidised arrangements should be reformed on the same lines as any forthcoming public sector pension reform. And to show leadership, what about doing this in advance of the introduction of these reforms? How about asking the PM that next time, Nick?

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  • 127. At 08:25am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    78. At 11:24pm on 23 Jun 2010, billybigtoes wrote:
    "Many in the public sector will sadly start to abuse the generous sickness scheme, as many of your colleagues are unable to understand that mathematics, not politics makes this change necessary"

    If only you understood the mathematics and politics that make your comment intellectually redundant.


    Clearly big toes, small brain

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  • 128. At 08:26am on 24 Jun 2010, rogerthegoodwin wrote:

    I have often wondered why people discuss various political problems when they provide no solution.
    Perhaps your right to discuss should first be determined by whether you have another solution.
    We all know there will be cuts. There are more people of non-working age, lower GDP, more people in beaurocracy.We all agree ( I think!). Instead of simple negative criticism of what the government proposes (because required cuts (unsurprisingly) mean less money for you)...why not propose a better solution.
    I think a discussion featuring people with different solutions rather than meaningless criticisms could be of more interest.

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  • 129. At 08:26am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    79. At 11:36pm on 23 Jun 2010, edwardsnde wrote:
    As MPs and PMs are public sector worker - will the cut pensions also apply to them?

    The MPs pension scheme has to be changed, as it is currently a disgrace

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  • 130. At 08:29am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    83 wrote

    £100,000,000 in a treasure chest and eveything was going to be OK. Blame Labour and let this new government get on with rectifying the poor leadership of the last 13 years.

    Incidentally, £100,000,000 is the amount that we add to the national debt every SIX HOURS

    So, it wouldn't have lasted too long....

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  • 131. At 08:30am on 24 Jun 2010, Cassandra wrote:

    Oh HappyDadToo @110 you really are very sweet - although in my view just a little naive.

    Who do you think was pushing everyone to lend more and spending billions in advertising. I think that was the banks.

    I was not sure if you reference to bankers paying tax was being ironic. None of my bankers mates pay anywhere near 50% in tax. They can't believe that people like you let them get away with it.

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  • 132. At 08:31am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    88. At 00:17am on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:
    rjw times @ 71

    "This Government makes me quiver with rage."

    Yes me too. They've only been in seven weeks and I've gone right off them.

    You have hated them from day one, and have admitted previously that there is nothing that they can do that would ever make you do anything other than despise them

    So your post, like all recently, is just pointless

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  • 133. At 08:36am on 24 Jun 2010, RJTysoe wrote:

    Clegg and Cameron seem to forget that a 2 year pay freeze is also a pension cut in a finaly salary pension scheme.
    The NHS pension scheme has already been changed to make employees pay in more or get less. Although this change has already been made, they haven't actually asked me which of the choices I would like to take, and don't intend to for another 2 years.

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  • 134. At 08:38am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    95. At 01:20am on 24 Jun 2010, sonia60 wrote:
    I wish someone had asked why the depth of these cuts is unavoidable NOW when growth is low and our European markets are also cutting back.

    As the Japanese economist on Newsnight pointed out, UK bonds are very marketable and the % interest we are paying on our debt is relatively low, if we continue to come out of recession. But if we are all frightened about losing our jobs, rising prices and salary cuts who will be buying at home or abroad?

    Credit is not wrong, its what capitalism is based on but we should take care to spread the repayment of the huge borrowing that we were forced to make to bail out the banks over as many years as possible. Big debts take longer to pay off. If we all tried to pay off our mortgages in four years we would be living on bread and water.

    Your last point is correct, although we are not trying to pay off the mortgage (that is the national debt) we are trying to pay off the overdraft (that is the deficit)

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  • 135. At 08:43am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    99. At 01:57am on 24 Jun 2010, GatesheadDave wrote:
    95.

    One word. Dogma.

    Who believes that in the absence of a banking crisis, an incoming Tory govt. wouldn't have had the same agenda.

    Slash and burn.

    The answer to your question, is the robotic clones in the Labour Party, who immediately vent their anti-Tory feelings, whilst conveniently forgetting that it was they who voted in the Labour Governments over the previous 13 years, and it was that government, with Gordon Brown as Chancellor or PM for the entire 13 years, that has caused this mess

    Where IS Gordon Brown?

    He overspent from 2002 onwards, and if you, or any other Labour voter has the temerity to blame a seven week old government, DEALING with the issues, as opposed to the government YOU elected is beyond me

    As it happens, you are therefore indirectly more to blame than the conservative party, as without your votes, there wouldn't have been a crisis to fix

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  • 136. At 08:45am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    97. At 01:29am on 24 Jun 2010, GatesheadDave wrote:
    How anyone can think of a £5k pension after 30 years service as excessive is beyond me when huge numbers of bankers in the partly-public owned banks, let alone the others, annually receive bonuses many times this amount.

    As a nurse with 31 years service myself, I've always generally accepted that the pay's pants but the pension's ok as I also feel that I'm making a contribution to our society (even if I don't "create wealth"!) However while I don't "abuse the generous sickness scheme", dealing with an increasingly abusive public and reading the spite and ire spouted here I feel pretty sick.

    What is your pay that is pants?

    I wouldn't call £30K pants

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  • 137. At 08:45am on 24 Jun 2010, RJTysoe wrote:

    RE: HappyDadToo @113
    "The bankers are not to blame - they lent money to people like you and me and so we all (thought) we benefitted from their largess."

    You seem not to understand the banking crisis. Very little of the problem was due to UK consumer debt. It was down to US banks selling bad mortgages and US banking insurance companies overrating the value of those bad mortgages, and US brokers hiding these bad investments and selling them on to greedy bankers worldwide who thought they were going to make big profits. When those foolish investments turned into big losses the taxpayer had to bail them out.

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  • 138. At 08:46am on 24 Jun 2010, MikeS wrote:

    I understand that every year about £40billion is lost to our economy through tax evasion and tax avoidance. I didn't hear this mentioned in the budget, and I haven't heard it mentioned since. Perhaps you might ask a member of the government what steps are being taken to recoup this money. It would certainly help reduce the deficit.

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  • 139. At 08:52am on 24 Jun 2010, Cassandra wrote:

    To the ideological warriors above who say we need to protect those misunderstood bankers (because they are actually good guys) and instead attack the poor I have two questions.

    1. Do you support a globally consistent tax on banking transactions and greater regulation at a transnational level to ensure no repeat of the the 'roaring noughties'?

    2. Do you support this budget notwithstanding that the Institute of Fiscal Studies has concluded that its overall effect is regressive - it hits the poor hardest.


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  • 140. At 08:57am on 24 Jun 2010, peter artis wrote:

    Pensions of £60,000 might be received by those who earned £120,000 plus at the end of a long career in the public sector. These are rare creatures indeed to base policy on. Let's be more realistic and think of the large numbers of teachers, nurses etc. without a full 40 years (and many women won't have anything like this) who will not lead extravagent retirements. Anyone wondering who gets really (incredibly) big pensions just needs to look at the Remuneration Report for company directors of any larger company.

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  • 141. At 09:00am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    126. At 08:23am on 24 Jun 2010, Mordred wrote:
    A couple of aspects not yet covered are the final salary arrangements for MPS (the most generous scheme in the country, subsidised by the taxpayer) which has only had minor reform and the pension arrangements for ministers. I believe that the current arrangements allow for a PM to resign office after only 1 day and then receive a full prime ministerial pension from the following day for life. Surely, these unfair and over-subsidised arrangements should be reformed on the same lines as any forthcoming public sector pension reform. And to show leadership, what about doing this in advance of the introduction of these reforms? How about asking the PM that next time, Nick?

    I agree with you, and have posted such comments on the MPs scheme ad nauseum

    On this issue of the PMs entitlement, just to be fair to Cameron, he has waived in full his PM pension entitlements

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  • 142. At 09:03am on 24 Jun 2010, jim3227 wrote:

    I think both David Cameron and Nick Clegg were more open about the pain of the budget and cuts than most MPS would have been . As a Public sector Pensioner I can see many of the arguements both sides are putting up . However things are very different from the time I started work wages are now on a more even baisis and the public sector vastly oversize . I hope however the changes that will be made do not foster millitant trade union activity . Most people in the public sector are hard working sensible people who know that there has to be change and if this is to be smooth they have to be engaged in the consultation not just the millitant union leaders.

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  • 143. At 09:05am on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    mr N @ 68

    "However to carry it through I fear you will need to find a much more progressive government than this and by progressive I mean not one that hijacks the word "progressive" for a budget that was anything but!"

    Mmm. Problem for me now. With "progressive". I can't be something that George Osborne says he is - no way. The P word isn't big enough for the both of us. I'm having a think on a name change (for me) but it's difficult - am so used to being known as a Clear Thinking Progressive. Think the best thing, just for now, until I come up with something snappier, is that people refer to me as a "clear thinking clear thinker". Yes, I know - but as I say, just a temporary thing.

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  • 144. At 09:06am on 24 Jun 2010, sandyb wrote:

    Time for the private sector to wake up and realise in a recession they cannot just contiune to get a salary that increases every year. The facts are simple;-

    higher average wage in public sector
    lower productivity in public sector
    higher abscences in public sector
    chances of getting made redundant in public sector almost nil
    final salary pension in public sector.

    As a self employed person my income fell approx 30% in 2008 while it has made some recovery in 2009 and 2010, I am still below previous years. I doubt anybody in the public sector can say the same thing.

    It is time for the governemnt to go further, I would cut all public sector incomes over £30k and would stop further accrual in the final salary pension.

    it is time to SHARE THE PAIN!!!!

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  • 145. At 09:08am on 24 Jun 2010, jim3227 wrote:

    In answer to comment 126 Mordred and other about MPS

    Both Nick Clegg and David Cameron state on the show MPS pensions would be looked at as they did not feel they could look at others pensions without doing this first and David Cameron said like Gordon Brown he would not be taking the Prime Ministers pension.

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  • 146. At 09:12am on 24 Jun 2010, LeftieAgitator wrote:

    The only people in the private sector who are likely to receive a pension of £60-70,000 p.a. are the company directors, You know the people who have closed or severely reduced their employees final salary pension schemes. This after years of not paying the employers contribution to the scheme and raiding the scheme's surpluses. The director's final salary schemes have not been touched.

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  • 147. At 09:15am on 24 Jun 2010, Cicero019 wrote:

    To HoggyatEastlands: You say you are a public sector worker and haven't been working long in the public sector but will soon be able to draw on a £20,000 pension but aren't a fat cat mandarin- that is rubbish! I have been working as a manager in the public sector for 25 years and if I were to retire now my pension is worth £3995! If I continue working in the public sector for the next 15 years to get the full requisiste 40 years of paying into my pension I will still only be able to draw on a pension of £8995! Now that is hardly generous! Added to that Mr Cameron is telling me my pension will actually be less than currently predicted & I probably won't be able to draw on it till 70 or later! Current figures estimate a UK male averages 77 years before death which will give me just 7 years to 'enjoy' this fat cat pension. Any poster here who believes £8995 is a gold-plated fat cat pension needs a reality check!

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  • 148. At 09:16am on 24 Jun 2010, sircomespect wrote:

    The only bad thing about the budget was the 20% VAT rise, everything else was 'about time!'.

    Even the 20% VAT wasn't too bad. I think its a brilliant budget and targets the right areas. There is probably more that could be done for small businesses, but I gather Vince is on the case for that.

    The real problem is that those who work in the public sector forget who they owe their income, pensions and benefits to.

    Take it right back to basics, people who work and pay taxes need services, so we pay more taxes so that our government can provide those services. This money is generated by the 'private sector'.

    Those in the public sector are paying taxes on money that has been provided to them through the government by the 'private sector'.

    The 'private sector' generates the wealth of the country (including banks - muadib, get rid of them at your peril).

    Those who work in the public sector are paying a circular tax, they don't generate wealth for the country and instead pay back to the government money that was provided by the government from money generated in the private sector.

    Still with me?

    In order to attract good people to provide the services we need then the recompense needs to be attractive and reasonable. So a decent salary for the Police (Delta31) is acceptable for us in the private sector as we understand it is a tough job and the additional incentives such as pensions were ok when we in the private sector also enjoyed similar paid for schemes.

    the gulf between earnings in the public sector against those enjoyed by the average worker in the private sector has been gradually growing to the point where many of us think, why is this person getting this amount to do that job and I am only on x?

    After 13 years of profligacy by Labour who expanded the public sector by 40% using money that we as a country did not have or generate, it the right thing for us to demand changes to the way the public sector is funded, because ultimately we in the private sector are your paymasters.

    If we cannot afford to pay you a salary and a pension scheme at the levels you are used to then it means that we will lose many of the people in the areas of service provision. That is a tough decision, but one I suspect that we are prepared to make.

    For those of you in the public sector who do not like these restrictions to your pay and conditions, then I suggest you leave your job immediately and try to find work in the private sector.

    I rather think you will find it harder going, less profitable and with far fewer benefits than you enjoy now or in the future after these and hopefully future cuts to the public sector.

    So stop whingeing.

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  • 149. At 09:17am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    138. At 08:46am on 24 Jun 2010, MikeS wrote:
    I understand that every year about £40billion is lost to our economy through tax evasion and tax avoidance. I didn't hear this mentioned in the budget, and I haven't heard it mentioned since. Perhaps you might ask a member of the government what steps are being taken to recoup this money. It would certainly help reduce the deficit.

    Tax evasion is ILLEGAL tax avoidance is perfectly legitimate

    Vince Cable is dealing with this project, and there will be an answer to it, although expecting one after 7 weeks, is a bit too much!

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  • 150. At 09:20am on 24 Jun 2010, jon112uk wrote:

    Many public service staff will remember a little while back when disgraced bankers had to leave banks they had destroyed at the cost of billions to the tax payer.

    We were told that legally there was nothing could be done to stop there million pound a year pension or their multi-million pound lump sums payout. It would have been illegal to stop or cut it.

    Fred Goodwin - who cost us billions - has just bought himself a £3.5 miillon house on our money.

    Now the public school boys are telling us pensions can be cut, despite contractual agreements.

    Presumably six million people working together can afford some decent lawyers.

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  • 151. At 09:21am on 24 Jun 2010, Crowded Island wrote:

    About time too! We in the private sector are sick of losing our pension benefits, whilst being taxed to fund over generous public sector pensions.

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  • 152. At 09:25am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    140. At 08:57am on 24 Jun 2010, peter artis wrote:
    Pensions of £60,000 might be received by those who earned £120,000 plus at the end of a long career in the public sector. These are rare creatures indeed to base policy on. Let's be more realistic and think of the large numbers of teachers, nurses etc. without a full 40 years (and many women won't have anything like this) who will not lead extravagent retirements. Anyone wondering who gets really (incredibly) big pensions just needs to look at the Remuneration Report for company directors of any larger company.

    You miss the point entirely

    The Director's of large companies are not funded by taxpayer's money...don't you understand that?

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  • 153. At 09:30am on 24 Jun 2010, sircomespect wrote:

    #146 Leftieagitator

    Typical socialist response, business owners and company directors have absolutely no obligation to provide pensions for their workforce and why should they.

    Pensions were used as an incentive to attract people to work for their company, which for a period of time became the norm. Now it is back to where it should be.

    It is YOUR responsibility to make provision for your retirement - no one elses!

    The days when pensions schemes were given as part of a pay package are long gone. They were unaffordable for businesses and tied up useful money that could have been used to provide more attractive salaries.

    The problem is with lefties is they expect everything to be done for them and moan when somebody has a shinier toy than they've got. Pathetic.

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  • 154. At 09:35am on 24 Jun 2010, John Amos wrote:

    Messrs Cameron and Clegg told your viewers that public sector pension accrued rights would "of course be maintained". What they didn't say was that, despite written assurances from Philip Hammond and Steve Webb before the General Election, they intend to scap RPI index-linking for CPI index-linking, a much lower rate of increase. This is duplicitous in the extreme. See www.cspa.co.uk for full details.

    John Amos
    Civil Service Pensioners' Alliance

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  • 155. At 09:37am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    137. At 08:45am on 24 Jun 2010, RJTysoe wrote:
    RE: HappyDadToo @113
    "The bankers are not to blame - they lent money to people like you and me and so we all (thought) we benefitted from their largess."

    You seem not to understand the banking crisis. Very little of the problem was due to UK consumer debt. It was down to US banks selling bad mortgages and US banking insurance companies overrating the value of those bad mortgages, and US brokers hiding these bad investments and selling them on to greedy bankers worldwide who thought they were going to make big profits. When those foolish investments turned into big losses the taxpayer had to bail them out.

    That in itself is also wide of the mark in some aspects


    NR=Flawed business model, tried to grow too quickly, reckless, liquidity issues
    HBOS=Bad management at senior level, burned bigtime by poor commercial lending and USA
    RBS=Most of Company very sound...destroyed by USA

    NR should have been killed, or LLoyds allowed to but them (Darling blocked that)

    HBOS should have been broken up, and not sold to Lloyds by Darling in the most corrupt way possible, THAT is the only reason they needed a bail out (we now own 41% of Lloyds)

    RBS would then have been the only Bank where state intervention was required (we now own 84% of RBS)

    You may feel that as the UK Government owns 84% of RBS, at an average purchase price of 49.9p, that buying these shares is a way to make money with little risk....as they will hardly be allowed to go under.....Me, I couldn't possibly comment

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  • 156. At 09:38am on 24 Jun 2010, sircomespect wrote:

    #138 MikeS 'I understand that every year about £40billion is lost to our economy through tax evasion and tax avoidance.'

    Labour had 13 years to redress this. The problem with tax is that it is complicated. Only those with reasonable funding can afford the good accountants who can steer them through the allowances and evasions.

    none of this is illegal and is therefore NOT a tax loss because the rules of tax provision allow for it.

    bang in a flat tax of 14% against all earnings and the problem is solved.

    But instead we now have even more complicatiosn after 13 years than we have ever had before. By trying to help the poorest by giving them a tax loophole, you are also making it available to those with the intelligence to exploit it legally.

    The problem is the complication and the total lack of forethought.

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  • 157. At 09:44am on 24 Jun 2010, sircomespect wrote:

    #150 jon112uk 'Many public service staff will remember a little while back when disgraced bankers had to leave banks they had destroyed at the cost of billions to the tax payer.'

    Again a stupid and ridiculous arrangement. I agree totally with you on that. The government stepped in after 3 months and in that time not one of them had thought to say - 'We will bail out the bank, but it has to be on these conditions.....'

    Once you make a stupendous fubar like that at the very least you would think, ok heres the money, but you will have limit bonuses to this, no golden handshakes and a complete pension freeze until the money is paid back.

    Not difficult is it? Apparantly it was to the Labour government.


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  • 158. At 09:44am on 24 Jun 2010, happydadtoo wrote:

    #118. At 08:09am on 24 Jun 2010, Up2snuff wrote

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Life expectancy in the UK has risen steadily for well over a century now and shows no immediate signs of dropping, or even levelling off as new medical techniques appear to open the prospect of GREATLY extended active life-spans.

    Your life expectancy lies in your OWN hands - I (and the Govt) can take no responsibility for what YOU do with YOUR life - much is determined at conception, anyway. A higher pension age would not only make people think more carefully about what they do, but also mean the feckless would die early and so claim less - whilst paying still more tax in alcohol and tobacco.

    I've never understood why the most deprived areas of the UK consistently vote Labour at both Council and General Elections, when those (literally) controlling nearly all aspects of their lives have so obviously, and consistently, failed them.

    Madness!

    All the rest of your post (and similar criticisms of raising the pensionable age to 75 make 2 fundamental errors:
    a) There is not, nor ever was, any 'implied contract' concerning pension age - only that you're paying NI now to fund those claiming now; my EXPECTATION is that those working in 2025+ will be paying their NI to fund my pension - but I have no reason to assume that they will do so.
    b) If there are too many workers and no enough jobs, then people will emigrate, just as the idle and feckless unemployed allowed many jobs to be taken by hard-working immigrants (seeking a better life) in the UK since 1960 or so.
    That the numbers have spiralled out of control in the last decade is a direct result of over-generous welfare payments - then paid by Brown's borrowing, now paid for by cuts and tax rises.

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  • 159. At 09:58am on 24 Jun 2010, saltfordman wrote:

    Cameron and Clegg Face the Audience.
    A typical BBC audience, crammed with Labour voters who could not understand that there is no public money left, the public sector does not create wealth, private sector workers have been hit far harder than the proposals now to hit the public sector. A public sector pay freeze and an adjustment to pensions is much less painful than the job losses, short time working and pay cuts that have been endured by the private sector workers for the last 2 years.
    Robinson, by concentrating on the exchange he has highlighted seems to think he has got a scoop - that public sector pensions will fall in future. Does Robinson not think, that is exactly what is required. Why should private sector workers bear all the pain, now the Labour government shield has gone, it is time public sector workers paid their fair dues to sort out the mess created by the most incompetent Labour government which thankfully has been voted out, even on an unfair, biased allocation of people to seats.

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  • 160. At 10:01am on 24 Jun 2010, xTunbridge wrote:

    124 Kevinb

    Sorry if you find my post was unlike my usual contribution, perhaps reacting to the envious bile of many blunts my style.

    I am tired of all public sector pensions being referred to as "unfunded", I repeat the local govt schemes have massive funds, the West Midlands fund alone being 6bn plus.

    How many public sector workers are there ? There are 3.5 million in local govt funded schemes. There is no Police fund but they pay 11% of their pay into their pension.

    That the govts of all shades over the years has decided not to set up funds for its directly or indirectly employed workers is not the fault of the workers. My guess is that each govt was happy to spend the excess of contributions over payouts when the times were good. Now it is the other way round and the govt wants to punish the workers for its profligacy.

    Much is made by posters of how much it would cost to buy a similar pension on the open market. Well it would cost a lot wouldnt it! All the brokers, bankers, agents , stockbrokers, shareholders etc along the way have to have their commissions before anyone gets round to organising a pension.

    Perhaps when those referring to public sector workers as layabouts etc moderate their tone then I will again be more measured with mine.

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  • 161. At 10:07am on 24 Jun 2010, haufdeed wrote:

    156. At 09:38am on 24 Jun 2010, sircomespect wrote:

    But instead we now have even more complicatiosn after 13 years than we have ever had before. By trying to help the poorest by giving them a tax loophole, you are also making it available to those with the intelligence to exploit it legally.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    An excellent point. Brown's biggest failing as Chancellor was his constant tinkering with the tax system. I need only mention the disastrous zero rate band for Corporation Tax, which resulted in several hundred thousand totally inappropriate company formations, and of course had to be scrapped after a couple of years because it was eroding the nation's tax base. I am not a fan of Nigel Lawson in general, but by the mid 90's he had simplified the income tax system to a point where people could understand it. What a mess we have now! A plethora of complicated reliefs, all mixed in with the disastrous so called tax credit system, which is just a super complex and rebadged means tested benefits system. It would now take some sorting out, though, and I truly doubt that it ever will be. Any reform now would produce far too many "losers".

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  • 162. At 10:10am on 24 Jun 2010, Tim wrote:

    Of course, this is a double-whammy for nurses, doctors, firefighters, police, soldiers, teachers, the Highways agency. You know, all the people getting in the way of private enterprise by selfishly providing individuals and businesses in this country with infrastructure, healthcare, education and security. I'm sure private enterprise would be much better-off without roads, the rule of law, educated employees, an ever-present risk of invasion, fire, looting, etc. The implication by Osborne and Cameron that these people are deadweight angers me greatly. Disclosure: I work in the private sector, but have many friends and family in the professions highlighted above.

    But now this "deadweight" will take a real-terms pay cut over the next two years (exacerbated by the broken Tory promise regarding VAT), and then get the double-whammy of seeing their pension rights eroded. This isn't some esoteric question, it's another paycut. Naturally, the money saved will help keep the public sector cuts down, but at least let's call a spade a spade.

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  • 163. At 10:13am on 24 Jun 2010, jacko wrote:

    A couple of points
    1. If the retirement age goes up and people work longer, then where are young people supposed to find jobs?
    2. All the public sector people defending their 'rights' are just doing what anyone of us would do. The governement has to win out however on big cuts in public sector pay and pensions.

    I'm gradually coming to the conclusion that the last 20 or so years of government ( mainly Labour but Tories too) have been awarding themselves and the working public massive goodie bags of welfare, NHS spending, unfunded pensions. It is TOTALLY IMMORAL. We are leaving an enormous debt for our children and grandchildren to clear up. We are a very selfish generation.

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  • 164. At 10:20am on 24 Jun 2010, AndyC555 wrote:

    Can we compare the performance with that of Brown and Darling when they were brave enough to do the same?

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  • 165. At 10:21am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    160

    Thanks for replying.

    I agree that it is wrong to say ALL public sector schemes are unfunded, yet many are

    Please don't think that I am picking fault, yet your view of how an annuity is purchased is .....wrong

    Basically you have a lump sum of cash, and you ask an annuity provider what they would give you in return, for that cash

    There are not hordes of middle men, and in generalistic terms, it is worth shopping around, as there can be a big difference between the best and poorest rates

    So no big bags of commission on offer, I am afraid

    Hopefully, you will notice I have tried to make my points in a friendly and courteous manner

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  • 166. At 10:25am on 24 Jun 2010, AndyC555 wrote:

    "#138 MikeS 'I understand that every year about £40billion is lost to our economy through tax evasion and tax avoidance.'"

    In which case you understand nothing. Tax avoidance is legal. Tax avoidance includes things like saving in an ISA or saving for a pension.

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  • 167. At 10:29am on 24 Jun 2010, AndyC555 wrote:

    161 - Amen. We have one of the most complicated tax systems in the world and the most complicated tax system we have ever had in the UK's history. Tax professionals can hardly keep up, goodness only knows how the general public do. I wouldn't be surprised if half the counrty was paying the wrong amount of tax, either too much or too little.

    The problem with Brown, with labour in general is that they really don't inderstand business. their entire model is 'public sector'. They think everything is like that.

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  • 168. At 10:32am on 24 Jun 2010, Tim wrote:

    Can nothing at all be done to allow us all to enjoy the comments on these blogs, whilst ignoring those that we find most irritating? Finding the many valid and interesting posts is getting ever harder amidst the utter deluge of comments from the Flat Earthers that want us to go back to using seashells as money (easily identified by their reference to "fiat currency" in the opening line of their post), rabid self-publicists (easily recognised when they claim credit for an element of the professional journalist's blog, because they'd said something similar on another blog at 1:17am that morning that the journo had "plagiarised") and misanthropes with too much time on their hands (easily identified by the name Kevinb at the top of the post).

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  • 169. At 10:33am on 24 Jun 2010, SUKIMIZU1 wrote:

    The country is like a company and it is in severe overdraft with the bank or bust - whichever way you look at it. If this is the case why are we still paying gold plated pensions at full whack. My private pension was created by mine and my employers contributions and invested in a pension company which invested on the markets which fell. Result my pension almost worthless. Government employee schemes must have done the same and lost money but.... we still pay out the same pensions. ?????? so where does the shortfall come from - you and I.... two tier system in this country. All pensionsers in public sector should have their pensions reduced now. If you look around you can see the pensioners with the nice new cars and lots of holidays etc. are the ones who are getting gold plated government pensions. I am not against front line workers, like the police and fire and nursing staff getting a good fair pensions, but the non risk managerial and pen pushers do not deserve to be protected. I worked hard all my life for my pension like many others and it was lost by the city and the banks and the government's wrecklessness. But as usual as in ANIMAL FARM (Orwell) they look after their own. It is a disgrace. Clegg sat there last night looking smug - he doesnt care or need to worry nor does Cameron - they wont ever be struggling to pay their bills.... This country has a two tier two class system rich and poor.

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  • 170. At 10:36am on 24 Jun 2010, GVS wrote:

    I am worried that it took longer than 10 minutes for people to work this out. Surely any freeze when added to inflation means only one thing - a real cut. Maybe this is the real issue with the public service - too slow to get it!
    I say that lightly as unfortunately, the people that caused all this - the Labour Govt (don't let them fool you with banker greed) have got away with murder. They plundered our pensions, taxed us, spent on their friends and voters and had no moral hazard check against them with their gold plated pensions and non executive jobs awaiting them.
    By the way where is that nasty Scotsman who was at the heart of all this. If there was a suitable crime for him it would be head on a spear outside the Tower of London. It adds new meaning to Scot free for him to not be held accountable.

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  • 171. At 10:38am on 24 Jun 2010, sircomespect wrote:

    #160 xTunbridge

    Ooh that's a good point! Am I envious of the fact that public sector employees get a pension?

    OR am I annoyed that those in the public sector enjoy a publicly funded pension scheme and are moaning that it is being cut back when so many in the private sector have no arrangements at all?

    I think it is possibly a bit of both.

    I am in charge of my own destiny and my own finances, I expect nothing in the way of hand outs and when in dire straights or unemployed I find a way to get back into work either for myself or for someone else.

    I do not expect them to make provision for my advancing years but maybe I should, but then of course that would restrict my opportunities for work. So best not.

    Am I annoyed that Nurses and the Police get a pension scheme, actually, no. But they 'get' a pension scheme. There is no money to fund it, but they get it.

    So is it envy or anger? Definitely anger.

    Nurses, Fire, Ambulance and the Police do a dangerous job and should be compensated accordingly. Would a pension be the attraction to recruiting the best? I don't think so but a decent salary that they could choose to invest or spend should be sufficient.

    I would never refer to anyone working in the public sector as lazy.

    My anger is directed at the expectation that anyone within the public sector should be exempt from the bad times. Now I know that is not true of all, but on that programme last night we saw the worse of the public sector, the greedy the ignorance and the indifference to and of anyone outside of the public sector. That is why I am angry.

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  • 172. At 10:38am on 24 Jun 2010, rockRobin7 wrote:

    Kevinb...

    sagamix hasn't had a shred of credibility for months.

    He's a self confessed fully paid up member of UNITE.

    He has been a long time deficit denier.

    His 4% citizens' bond to pay off the deficit would have added to our problems with higher interest payments.

    He claims to be going off the coalition but has never offered any support to it in the first place.

    He is a life long supporter of climate change; another issue where he seems to have backed the wrong horse (see resignation of Kevin Rudd in Australia)

    And he keeps getting moderated. Although it ain't me and I would be keen to know why...

    It's a great time to be a tory...

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  • 173. At 10:41am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    162

    Tim

    There was no commitment from ANY of the three parties prior to the election not to raise VAT as they ALL knew they would have to

    As you say you want to call a spade a spade, this assertion therefore makes you a liar

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  • 174. At 10:53am on 24 Jun 2010, happydadtoo wrote:

    #163 Jacko
    Abroad. The next 20 years or so should see net EMigration as we export the young, gifted and talented to other markets, whilst the older UK citizens work to 75 and then claim a good pension (and nothing else) for a short time (that would mean around 15-20 years at present - it you make it to 75 you're likely to live a good deal longer.)

    I have no problem with that - the net IMigration of the last 50 years only came about because our benefits were too generous and so 'Benefits' became a life-style choice. Compared to starvation on a street somewhere where you're likely to be shot or die within a decade, moving to the UK is a no-brainer.

    We need to wise-up as a nation - no benefits or NHS treatment until you've paid 5 years on tax/NI contributions would solve a great deal of Society's problems by cutting both expenditure and reducing demand - and quickly, too.

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  • 175. At 10:55am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    168. At 10:32am on 24 Jun 2010, Tim wrote:
    Can nothing at all be done to allow us all to enjoy the comments on these blogs, whilst ignoring those that we find most irritating? Finding the many valid and interesting posts is getting ever harder amidst the utter deluge of comments from the Flat Earthers that want us to go back to using seashells as money (easily identified by their reference to "fiat currency" in the opening line of their post), rabid self-publicists (easily recognised when they claim credit for an element of the professional journalist's blog, because they'd said something similar on another blog at 1:17am that morning that the journo had "plagiarised") and misanthropes with too much time on their hands (easily identified by the name Kevinb at the top of the post).


    I agree

    Let's start with banning your comments

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  • 176. At 11:02am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    172

    I have never referred anything by sadamix either...no need.....it is better to let his crumbling world appear unedited in all it's public glory

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  • 177. At 11:04am on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    170

    Seriously, where IS Gordon Brown?

    He should either turn up for work, or be sacked

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  • 178. At 11:06am on 24 Jun 2010, sircomespect wrote:

    #173 Kevinb

    Was it a spade or a shovel?

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  • 179. At 11:06am on 24 Jun 2010, ANTHONY wrote:

    160 - Well said.

    Can I just pick up on another point that the public sector "Does not create wealth". Ok maybe not directly (although the dept I work for is a trading fund and we generate our own revenue and so are not a drain on the public purse) but I can assure you that indirectly it most certainly does. Protection of Intellectual property rights, encourging and protecting Innovation, Business advice and practical help for SME's I could go on. Some Public services are essential to getting the Private Sector back on its feet to dimiss us time wasting pen pushers is not only insulting but rather niavve. The services we provide to the private sector will be cut by 25% that surely will have a negative effect in the long run.

    I'm not saying that cuts do not have to be made, of course they do, likewise the penison situation needs looking at but please enough with the Private Sector V the Public Sector, we need both to be healthy and prosperous.

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  • 180. At 11:06am on 24 Jun 2010, GLACEY wrote:

    As usual, the goverment has gone for the throat. Instead of moderating the VAT rate with a small increase, of about 1 to 1.5 percentage which would of generated some extra income whilst not stamping out growth within the economy they have taken it up by 2.5 percent which doesn't really matter to the rich but hammers the low amd middle income. They say that they have altered cigarretes or alchohol. They have, via VAT. They're not only hammered cigarrets and achohol but evrything else at the same time. Apparently they have no plans to reduce this rate when the deficit is dealt with!!!!!

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  • 181. At 11:10am on 24 Jun 2010, Baz wrote:

    I really am getting fed up with private industry bods justifying their jealousy of public sector pensions by stating that they are unfair. I am a lawyer that has worked for nearly 40 years in both private and public sectors. Whilst I was in the private sector I commanded a very high salary but no pension, in the public sector my salary is about a 1/3 of that acheivable in the private sector but I have a reasonable pension. It's just a case of swings and roundabouts so stop whinging!And perleees don't assume I disagree with what the coalition is trying to achieve as I believe they are the only option.

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  • 182. At 11:13am on 24 Jun 2010, xTunbridge wrote:

    165 Kevinb

    I have never found you anything but curteous Sir.

    I bow to you knowledge on annuitys etc but I find it hard to believe that the amount offered by the in surance companies etc is not influenced by all the behind the scenes costings I referred to. If this is so then what is in it for them ? I mean they are there primarily to make a profit out our financial investments whether it be car, life, house, pension etc ?

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  • 183. At 11:23am on 24 Jun 2010, xTunbridge wrote:

    171 Sircomespect

    And I understand your anger Sir.

    What I am saying is that when people choose to become, teachers, police officers, fire officers, NHS workers etc they MUST join the pension scheme. It is compulsory. That the scheme is a govt scheme without a fund is not their fault and they have no say in how the fund is organised.

    I agree there should be a fund and it is the fault of successive govts that there isnt one.


    To blame the members of the various govt schemes for having the promised benefits of a scheme that they were forced to join seems hardly fair.

    For the govt to renege on those benefits because they have in the past squandered the compulsory contributions is even worse.

    Still its going to get worse for everybody. Compulsory NI contributions until you die without ever reaching the ever advancing SRP age by the look of it.

    But I am alive in fairly good health with food in my belly and a place to live , friends etc so it aint that bad.

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  • 184. At 11:24am on 24 Jun 2010, mandarin666 wrote:

    Re 124, 160 It is completely wrong to say that some public sector pensions are unfunded. Although no pay is actually deducted from my salary, every year a figure of 9% is factored into the pay negotiations to reflect the value of the pension. So if the Government cuts the value of the pension moving forward, or requires additional contributions to keep future payments unchanged, that is another pay cut - on top of the fact that our pay is already lower that the private sector when comparing like for like, plus two pay freezes etc.

    If you look carefully at the Red Book you will see that the only people that have got better off over the last twenty years are the top 2%. The bottom 10% got better off under Labour, but the middle 80-90% are now better off today than they were twenty years ago. I agree that the public sector is too large and that we need to cut the deficit, but surely we should be asking the top 2% to contribute first or at least in parallel with the rest of society?

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  • 185. At 11:26am on 24 Jun 2010, iwinter wrote:

    Most public sector works who aren't at the top of their payscale will still get their annual increments, which means they'll still be getting anything from £500 upto about £2000 a year increase, they just wont be getting the usual 2% to 3% or whatever on top.

    So in other words, very few will actually be suffering a real terms cut over the next 2 years, most will still be much better off with their annual increments.

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  • 186. At 11:31am on 24 Jun 2010, scarrface wrote:

    Here's an idea - why not just reverse Gordon Brown and Geoffrey Robinson's cack handed fathing about with dividend tax credit, which seemed to break final salary pensions (private and public sector) 13 years ago?
    Or, stop GAAP reporting 'losses' and black holes that are in effect best estimates and swing wildly?
    Just a thought or thoughts.

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  • 187. At 11:33am on 24 Jun 2010, AndyC555 wrote:

    "180. GLACEY wrote:
    As usual, the goverment has gone for the throat. Instead of moderating the VAT rate with a small increase, of about 1 to 1.5 percentage which would of generated some extra income whilst not stamping out growth within the economy they have taken it up by 2.5 percent which doesn't really matter to the rich but hammers the low amd middle income."

    So, what you're saying, Glacey, is that it would have been OK to put up a New Look top from £15 to £15.19 (a 1.5% increae in VAT) but putting it up to £15.32 (a 2.5% in VAT) is somehow going to stamp out growth and hammer the poor?

    Prey tell how the extra 13p achieves all that.

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  • 188. At 11:33am on 24 Jun 2010, rockRobin7 wrote:

    WhereisGordonBrown.com will shortly launch on the world wide web.

    All our national and regional authorities, both civil and military have promised their utmost support to track down the whereabouts of the ex Supreme Leader.

    His words of wisdom, not least his examplar of courage, are a tragic abscence from the political arena.

    Comrade Harman has failed to make up, with her shrill appearances, for the resounding bass reassurances of the Supreme Leader.

    So we are starting today a nationwide search for the great man. He is wanted by many, after all, for one reason or another.

    It's a great time to be a tory...

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  • 189. At 11:51am on 24 Jun 2010, getridofgordonnow wrote:

    It's about time the public sector got the same treatment as the private sector regarding pensions.

    Here in the private sector (and the real world), our pensions have been getting plundered by the government for about the last 20 years so that the public sector can keep their bloated pensions.

    In the real world, we have absolutely no guarantee that we'll even get back more than we've paid in, we could lose all of it. We could spend a whole lifetime paying in every increasing amounts of money every month and then find that we get nothing at the end.

    Cameron's still giving a lot more guarantees/money to the public sector pensions than private sector ones.

    If the public sector think they're getting a raw real they should try living in the real world where their private pension constantly gets plundered by government and has no guarantees at all, where we have to pay into it out of our own pockets, and where all the tax relief/rebate "guarantees" from the government are constantly being put in the bin.

    I gave up on my private pension in the end; the risks of the pension company losing the money and the risk of the government removing all the cash from it was simply to high to stomach. I'm going for an approach where I try to pay the mortgage off early and get a 2nd property so I can rent one out when I retire instead.

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  • 190. At 11:55am on 24 Jun 2010, Steve wrote:

    Obviously an emmotive subject. A few additional points to my post 6.

    1. I do not resent any public sector workers current pension arrangement, it was agreed as part of their package in the past. I simply point out that, going forward, this type of package is no longer affordable.

    2. The statements that 'pay is lower in the public sector compared to the private sector' generally is no longer true.

    3. To retire on a salary equivalent to minimum wage in the private sector, index linked, with a sizable lump sum, would require an invested pension pot of almost half a million pounds. To have this available to everyone in the Public sector, a pension fund of £3,000,000,000,000 would be required.

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  • 191. At 11:57am on 24 Jun 2010, JohnConstable wrote:

    OMO - no, I am not talking about a washing-powder.

    It means Open Market Option and anybody whose pension is at the point of being commuted into an annuity should look into the OMO, which might provide a better deal than your existing pension provider.

    PS. Obviously, we should go back to using sea-shells for money.

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  • 192. At 12:00pm on 24 Jun 2010, ANTHONY wrote:

    I-Winter

    With all due respect the automatic payment of annual increments has not yet been given the go ahead and is under review, I suspect that this too will be frozen. I can tell you what we do know. The pay freeze means a freeze of basic pay as well as any allowances, with the exception of full-time staff earning £21,000 or less, who will get a consolidated increase of £250 and no more.

    So I don't think "most will be better off" to be honest

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  • 193. At 12:09pm on 24 Jun 2010, sircomespect wrote:

    #179 Anthony

    You said: '....I can assure you that indirectly it most certainly does. Protection of Intellectual property rights, encourging and protecting Innovation, Business advice and practical help for SME's I could go on. '

    Oh dear. Not particularly wise bringing up the Business support services. I have personal experience with a variety of business support services run under Labour and now they should be trembling, waiting for the axe to fall.

    Practical help for SME's is laughable. business Links in particular are now nothing more than funding mechanisms. Seeking projects to run and then kill after they have run their course and they have taken their 'management fees'.

    In fact the Business support in this country is a fantastic example of how government organisations have used the easy access to money that Labour gave them to manipulate statistics and be seen to be doing something for British business.

    I have been witness to adaptation of statistics for the benefit of bureaucracy and cynical self publicity by these organisations and I have seen how, regardless of the level of intervention be it just a telephone call to say 'hello' how, that has been used to publicise the organisation and lauded as an example of what good the business support services do.

    A simple phone call counted as an 'intervention', tick, gold star, v good.

    And should that business then employ a dozen people - well, the intervention then resulted in jobs too!

    I am afraid the public services generate very little of anything in income. But that isn't the point. They should be representative and assist our businesses, but there is a spanner in the works called the European Union, which insists that no European government can provide support that will impact on the competitive nature of business or provide support that could be provided by the commercial sector and should definitely not support a company to compete against another European business. Obviously the French and Germans largely interpret this in a different way.

    So if what you say is true, then we could be in big trouble. Thankfully I know you to be wrong on this count so we are safe.

    The point here is that no one is saying that the public service does not provide value. It does and is essential.

    If it were self perpetuating then there would be no problem. But it isn't, so most of the comments on here are very valid if unpalatable to those in public service.

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  • 194. At 12:09pm on 24 Jun 2010, Crowded Island wrote:

    180. At 11:06am on 24 Jun 2010, GLACEY wrote:
    "As usual, the goverment has gone for the throat. Instead of moderating the VAT rate with a small increase, of about 1 to 1.5 percentage which would of generated some extra income whilst not stamping out growth within the economy they have taken it up by 2.5 percent "

    Just to keep things in perspective, in "socialist" Denmark and Sweden, the VAT rate is 25%.

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  • 195. At 12:09pm on 24 Jun 2010, AndyC555 wrote:

    188 "Comrade Harman has failed to make up, with her shrill appearances, for the resounding bass reassurances of the Supreme Leader."

    tut tut. Sagamix will be on you like a angry tadpole for being sexist. You have said that Harman is shrill and Brown has a low bass voice. You are clearly sexist against both men and women. You are obviously (well, obvious to saga) saying that all women are shrill and all men have a bass voice. And that all women are the current temporaray leader of the Labour party and that all men are Scottish and used to lead the Labour party (I think that's how it works, isn't it saga?)

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  • 196. At 12:14pm on 24 Jun 2010, AndyC555 wrote:

    "To blame the members of the various govt schemes for having the promised benefits of a scheme that they were forced to join seems hardly fair."

    Agreed. Not 'blaming' them, merely trying to get them to see that it cannot continue and has to stop.

    It's already becoming a left wing mantra that people were 'promised' things. Well, private sector workers were 'promised' life-long membership of a final salary scheme. Then things changed and the pension scheme changed. Final salary schemes were closed. Existing benefits remained, future benefits were changed. That's the real world. Just want to see public sector workers join the same real world.

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  • 197. At 12:16pm on 24 Jun 2010, sircomespect wrote:

    #184 Mandarin 'I agree that the public sector is too large and that we need to cut the deficit, but surely we should be asking the top 2% to contribute first or at least in parallel with the rest of society?'

    Makes sense - but they won't and we all know it.

    xTunbridge brought up the point about the public sector being forced into the pension scheme, which is a very good one.

    The banks when they dropped the pension schemes offered people an opt-out with a bonus if you chose to go into a private pension scheme and move from the company scheme. Fortunately the private scheme was a better and more affordable one than the company one offered.

    I can't see that being the case here. But it would be good to give the PS the option.

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  • 198. At 12:19pm on 24 Jun 2010, JohnConstable wrote:

    Curiously, some of our posters are requesting an appearance of one G.Brown, which reveals a lack-of-understanding as to the role of a Westmonster MP; which is actually completely undefined.

    That is, there is no set hours or amount of work that has to be performed so Brown or indeed any other MP simply need not turn up (after the initial registration) or do any work at all for the duration of this Parliament, if they so desire.

    Of course, Brown and Ed Balls do have some questions to answer as to where the £400Bn* they borrowed, between 2002/2207, actually went and whether they consider it provided value-for-money.

    On Newsnight yesterday, Balls said he was proud of their record but Paxman did not delve into the £400Bn - which I think got mostly spent on boosting the public sector to counteract a weak private sector but nobody can dispute that £400Bn is a lot of wonga, which is going to deliver one hell of a hangover.


    * National Debt roughly comprising 300Bn inherited from the previous Tory Government + £400Bn Brown/Balls 2002/2007 spending splurge + 160Bn bailing out the banks + about £60Bn in rolled up interest which brings us up-to-date.

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  • 199. At 12:27pm on 24 Jun 2010, IPGABP1 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 200. At 12:33pm on 24 Jun 2010, DisgustedinDERRY wrote:

    Given that a percentage of so-called ex-service personnel are now claiming for all sorts of post conflict related illnesses. And given the fact that the British government spends billions of pounds yearly on the defence of their various illegal occupations. Does it not make sense for the British government to bring home the British army and keep its big nose out of other countries affairs.

    This would undoubtedly ensure that the British government have the money to look after its citizens properly. After all it is the citizen's money which the government squandering on their plundering occupations.

    It is time the British government spent the people's money on the people and not on the illegal invasion and occupation of other people's countries!!!

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  • 201. At 12:36pm on 24 Jun 2010, Banishdelusion wrote:

    The question from O'Reilly shows that, whilst it has taken an age to do so, the penny is finally dropping with public sector staff that their inflated benefits can't continue.
    About time too!

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  • 202. At 12:38pm on 24 Jun 2010, dancingvalerie wrote:

    As a matter of interest does anyone know what proportion of Public sector emoployees are on target to receive and how much exactly are gold plated pensions?

    It appears there is recent pay restraint in the Private sector which is commendable though would be interested to know how much 'restraint' is being shown and for how long by the high earners/senior management in the private sector. Even taking into account their pay restraint they are still unlikely to be struggling to pay bills as many in the lower or middle income families.

    I find it worrying that many BBC posters are saying they will actually be better off as a result of the Budget!! This doesn't make sense.

    Clearly there wouldn't be as much public anger against salary restraint and many would be more reasonable if the Investment Bakers had been forced to repay their bonuses (awarded for failure) or been contrite (even though they may not solely be to blame for the mess).
    Is there a danger that more of our future generations will be more attracted into the industries where the big money is rather than what the country actually needs to make it strong again? It appears that our our (financial) services industry is a big contributor to the prosperity of the nation but will it's continuing with 'business as usual', make us more vulnerable to future catastrophes?
    I am concerned like many for the future of my children and that potentially we may be bequeathing them an even bigger problem if the Banks collapse again - they appear unable to restrain themselves. It seems a good idea to separate the traditional banking from the Casino gamblers. Why are the Conservative Govt apparently reluctant to do this?

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  • 203. At 12:39pm on 24 Jun 2010, Banishdelusion wrote:

    Spot on iwinter - they still don't live in the real world where a pay freeze means exactly that - namely that you pay stays at exactly the same rate. We need to stop this incremental drift as well!

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  • 204. At 12:51pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    kevin @ 165

    "Hopefully, you will notice I have tried to make my points in a friendly and courteous manner"

    Spoken like a man for whom being polite is so unusual it requires a big thank you. Anyway, pensions – key is to look at root and branch reform of our national pensions model (ALL pensions), not a knee jerk “politics of envy” attack on those of the public sector (xTunbridge is correct on this). If the Coalition do show an inclination for proper comprehensive reform (and if it’s the right sort of reform ... i.e. if it’s based on my ideas) then not only will I be applauding them, I’ll be prepared to serve.

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  • 205. At 12:55pm on 24 Jun 2010, AndyC555 wrote:

    "198. At 12:19pm on 24 Jun 2010, JohnConstable wrote:
    Curiously, some of our posters are requesting an appearance of one G.Brown, which reveals a lack-of-understanding as to the role of a Westmonster MP; which is actually completely undefined.

    That is, there is no set hours or amount of work that has to be performed so Brown or indeed any other MP simply need not turn up (after the initial registration) or do any work at all for the duration of this Parliament, if they so desire."

    Agreed that they need not do anything. That being so, we can judge them by what they chose to do. First non-labour budget for 13 years and Brown choses not to be in parliament to raise any issues the self-professed economic genius might think worth raising. When the budget was almost certain to include attacks on the previous regime, he chose not to be there to defend it. Chose to stay at home.

    Cameron has given up his PM pension. maybe an empty gesture as he is independently wealthy but a gesture neither Blair nor Brown seems to want to follow.

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  • 206. At 1:02pm on 24 Jun 2010, happydadtoo wrote:

    ID-S
    Life expectancy now 89 men, 90 women
    1919 - (retirement age set) 72.

    NOW will those 'poo-pooers' on here recognise that 75 is a sensible age to pay the State Pension from - AND then pay it at something as a fixed percentage of minimum wage.

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  • 207. At 1:05pm on 24 Jun 2010, HaslemereBoy wrote:

    ***********
    162. At 10:10am on 24 Jun 2010, Tim wrote:
    Of course, this is a double-whammy for nurses, doctors, firefighters, police, soldiers, teachers, the Highways agency. You know, all the people getting in the way of private enterprise by selfishly providing individuals and businesses in this country with infrastructure, healthcare, education and security. I'm sure private enterprise would be much better-off without roads, the rule of law, educated employees, an ever-present risk of invasion, fire, looting, etc. The implication by Osborne and Cameron that these people are deadweight angers me greatly.
    *************
    what are you saying Tim - that anyone who points out that public sector pension provision is no longer affordable or right is therefore questioning the worth of the jobs you mention? Let's be a little more grown up, shall we.

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  • 208. At 1:08pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    rr7 @ 172

    "He is a life long supporter of climate change"

    Que? I’ve taken some offbeat (albeit always progressive) positions in my time, Robin - this is true - but I can’t recall ever rooting for the climate to change out of all recognition and thus wreak havoc on the planet. No, you must be confusing me with someone else. With one of your wrestling group perhaps. Glad you wrote me though because I could do with your advice on something; on something I’m a bit too close to to be objective – the Labour leadership contest. I have a vote being a member of – well, head of – an affiliated organisation (the CTP party), and am not sure how to use it. Five candidates, all excellent, but who is the most excellent? Which one is going to lead the party back to power? Well not just that (since that’s a given) but which one is most likely to deliver a LANDSLIDE? In your view.

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  • 209. At 1:09pm on 24 Jun 2010, ANTHONY wrote:

    sircomespect

    I'm sorry you have obviously had a bad experience and I can only speak for my own dept which is regarded as one of the best in the world in its particular field both by the private sector and comparable public sector depts in other countries. I work for the IPO by the way. I will have to defer to your superior knowledge regarding direct business support services which obviously isn't perfect by the sounds of it and I would agree that they should be representative and assist our businesses.

    As for the IPO we do indirectly generate wealth as I said by protecting innovation and IP rights which can account for 90% of a companies worth, its importance shouldn't be under estimated. In addition we do a hell of a lot of work with SME's who's feedback has been very positive. That said I know we only play a small role in the overall scheme of things but I know u won't mind me sticking up for my dept ;)

    I'm not disagreeing that Public services need looking at massively, they do, but it rankles me when the whole of the public sector are labelled as a bunch wasters and thats not aimed at you by the way as u do seem appreciate that some Public services are needed and valued.

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  • 210. At 1:10pm on 24 Jun 2010, maidstonerichard wrote:

    I get very frustrated with this argument because it always tends to dissolve into various myths such as everyone in the public sector works in "frontline services" and everyone in the private sector works in the banks.
    The public sector has probably become too large and anyone that deals with them will tell you various roles and processes etc that are unnecessary, irrelevant and in need of reform. That is not to say that all back office staff are waste - I work in the back office of a private company.
    There are also low paid staff in the private sector, I work in construction and some of our staff are very poorly paid all though have accepted that there is a need for a temporary pay cut and the recession certainly was't their fault.
    I don't believe that there is a huge discrepancy any more between the bulk of the private sector and public sector rewards and my wife works in the NHS and I was in the army so I do some experience of this. There are certain specialist areas where that comparison is difficult to do - the Police would be an obvious example.
    Where there is a difference is in the pension security an index linked pension by definition has a reduced risk and therefore simple economics suggests that the security should come at a price.
    You will never please everyone all the time but I would like to see the end of completely unfunded pensions instead see a basic state pension that will be topped up by contributions either by employer or employee with a corresponding reduction in NI contributions. This would require and make it easier for individuals to take an interest in their own individual pension provision and would also end some of the envy, dogma and ignorance that always surrounds this argument preventing sensible discussion let alone action.
    My hunch is that the coalition will however back away from a confrontation with the Unions and we will see more inertia and spin as yet another generation is pushed further into debt.

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  • 211. At 1:13pm on 24 Jun 2010, mrnaughty2 wrote:

    143 Saga

    If I called myself a "clear thinking progressive", would I really be a "clear thinking progressive" or have I merely stolen the title from the original "clear thinking progressive".

    could not the same apply from a governmnet that says it is now the "progressive" government or indeed a chancellor that refers to a budget as "progressive".

    Perhaps you should become "clear thinking rice krispie" (bit more snappie crackle and pop). I look forward to the "New" chancellor standing up at the time of the next budget and saying this is an "Emergency, Unavoidable, rice krispie budget - and VAT is reduced back down as it is a regressive tax and hits the poorest in our society hardest!


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  • 212. At 1:17pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    You jest Andy (195) and that's fine - it's not the most terrible of sins, a bit of light sexism - makes the world go round (some worlds anyway - the ones that are a bit dodgy); but the criticisms - fish wife (she didn't sound like whatever that is), shrieking (she wasn't), like a mad missus (ditto) and "witch" (ditto) ... et al et reprehensible al ... are all bound up not in what she said, or how she said it, but with the fact she's a woman. Exactly the same performance by a male politician would not have been painted up that way. Sexist, a clear case of. Bang to rights. That one criticises men too, btw, doesn't mean one is incapable of being sexist. I'm right (and I'm guessing that deep down you know it). Please reflect.

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  • 213. At 1:29pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    66 @ 69

    The timeframe, the mix of tax rises vs spending cuts, the need to support growth and the need to kill the debt ... it’s all about balance, John, isn’t it? As regards fiscal policy, the balance between insouciance and self flagellation; as regards welfare reform – a.k.a. “making work pay”- the balance between carrot (higher minimum wage and personal allowance) and stick (cutting benefits). So do the Coalition appear to be getting the balance – the balances – right? Some may think so (there’s always some, let’s face it) but others remain deeply sceptical.

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  • 214. At 1:30pm on 24 Jun 2010, Steve wrote:

    The Budget, as I read it, seems fairly reasonable to me - even the "regressive" elements. Why? Because I think we've been far too focused on handing money from certain people (particularly single, no-child individuals or childless couples) to other groups of people. The "regressive" nature of these changes is merely a correction of that balance. (And no, I'm not a Tory, just in case you're wondering, I'm a LibDem supporter who's very happy about the coalition's policies to date).

    I do share the concerns of one or two of the posters above, however, that the overall changes are going to crush the job market for the younger generation. I have a small hope that I escaped that problem, just about, but I really do feel sorry for my friends who are leaving university in the next 12-24 months, as it looks very much like those who came before us have destroyed most of the chances they have.

    VAT rise - the drop had minimal impact on anyone I know, so I doubt the rise will either.
    Income Tax/NI changes are broadly beneficial (+£200/year) for my whole peer group.
    Child Benefit freeze - this is the only part I disagree with, I don't believe a freeze goes far enough. Payable for first child only, and not for families on £30k+.

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  • 215. At 1:34pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    Brown is giving up his PM pension, no? (although I would very much rather he took it).

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  • 216. At 1:39pm on 24 Jun 2010, I_Despise_Labour wrote:

    Reality for the public sector, I can actually visualise all the leftys frothing at their keyboards!!

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  • 217. At 1:44pm on 24 Jun 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:

    200#

    Derry, you're boring beyond measure, a jukebox playing only one tune. Wind your chuffin' neck in, will you?

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  • 218. At 1:51pm on 24 Jun 2010, RachHB wrote:

    Great! But no-one has told us 'overpaid' public sector workers what that means.....how much more will I pay and for how much less
    Most of us get paid around £30k which is great for where we live but honestly it is not vast, but I accepted the pay when I took the job, which I love.
    We pay 11% into our pensions, which is a vast amount compared to private sector pensions.
    At 55 with 30 years service I will be forced to retire, I have no choice, it was the agreement when I took the job. That is 16 years before the retirement age.
    To be able to survive I will have to get another job - which I will get excessively taxed on due to my pension.
    I have no right to strike - again I accepted this when I took the job.
    I now have a real time pay cut - which I am aware is needed as the country is drowning in debt.
    The one bonus was that when I retired I would have a decent pension......
    Oh silly me, I forgot- in the 1980's the Conservative government stripped millions out of the overflowing public sector pension pot -oops! Not such a good idea was it.

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  • 219. At 1:59pm on 24 Jun 2010, fairlyopenmind15 wrote:

    181. At 11:10am on 24 Jun 2010, Baz wrote:
    I really am getting fed up with private industry bods justifying their jealousy of public sector pensions by stating that they are unfair. I am a lawyer that has worked for nearly 40 years in both private and public sectors. Whilst I was in the private sector I commanded a very high salary but no pension, in the public sector my salary is about a 1/3 of that acheivable in the private sector but I have a reasonable pension. It's just a case of swings and roundabouts so stop whinging!And perleees don't assume I disagree with what the coalition is trying to achieve as I believe they are the only option.

    Baz,

    While you worked in the private sector, you may not have had a "company pension scheme", but you had the right to invest in a pension and obtain the tax-breaks attached to such payments.

    And I guess that - if you were earning 2 or 3 times more than in your public sector roles - you could have chosen such an investment? Of course, the performance of the investment will determine how big the pot is when you chose to retire...
    The big issue with "public sector pensions" is that many are not "funded" - so "market-dependent" - but depend on current tax-take, and nobody has a right to refuse to pay taxes...

    It would take a pretty mean-spirited person to wish poor pay and minimal pensions on any member of the population.

    The problem has been the extraordinary expansion of public employment and government's spend as a proportion of GDP.

    As a lawyer, you know the importance of words and the properly sructured use of language. But as a citizen, do you believe that the "investment" in education has delivered millions of children who can use and understand the workings of English as it should be spoke and ritt...?

    I mean, expressing yourself is well cool, init, but I was wondering if, like, it helps somebody write a contract in later life. So where exactly has the "value for money" test been applied?

    That's where I believe the questions arise about where all that borrowed money has delivered any lasting benefits...

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  • 220. At 2:15pm on 24 Jun 2010, sircomespect wrote:

    #209 ANthony

    Yes, you are absolutely right and I humble myself before you. I do not know of anyone who has anything but good things to say about the IPO.

    I do believe that the IPO is more of what we need and is fully representative of the best of government service.

    Business Support is a different kettle of fish and I have been witness to some of the damage they have done to some SME's. But you are quite right the IPO does deliver extremely good value.

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  • 221. At 2:16pm on 24 Jun 2010, fairlyopenmind15 wrote:

    200. At 12:33pm on 24 Jun 2010, DisgustedinDERRY wrote:
    Given that a percentage of so-called ex-service personnel are now claiming for all sorts of post conflict related illnesses. And given the fact that the British government spends billions of pounds yearly on the defence of their various illegal occupations. Does it not make sense for the British government to bring home the British army and keep its big nose out of other countries affairs.
    This would undoubtedly ensure that the British government have the money to look after its citizens properly. After all it is the citizen's money which the government squandering on their plundering occupations.
    It is time the British government spent the people's money on the people and not on the illegal invasion and occupation of other people's countries!!!

    Disgusted,

    Problem is that throughout history, mankind has moved about a bit. If the anthropologists have got it right, a bunch of people moved out of what we now call "Africa" over the years and populated the rest of the world.

    The French were originally Franks who drifted from "Germany", with preceding populations being pushed to the margins.

    If you pulled all the people of Irish origin back to Eire, there would hardly be standing room.

    So whose countries "belong" to anybody?

    It's hard to find a good Neanderthal man when you need one nowadays...

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  • 222. At 2:20pm on 24 Jun 2010, IPGABP1 wrote:

    One of 'Del Boy' Dave's first acts as PM was to appoint a guy to a senior ministerial position who had acquired £40,000 of taxpayers money against the 'rules of the house'relating to some sort of housing arrangement. Has that money been returned?.
    Can anyone remember when the ex members of the thuggish Bullingdon Club now residing in Downing Street were boasting about matching the then governments spending plans? it was only a short time ago.Why would they do that if the nations finances were in such a poor state? I am of course referring to a period just before the near collapse of the global financial system.It has not taken the Tories long to restore their credentials as the 'nasty party'

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  • 223. At 2:22pm on 24 Jun 2010, AGasFan wrote:

    I have a better solution,
    Work us till we are dead, oh dam they are planning to do that.
    As for the Happydadtoo and his random numbers game.
    Life expectancy
    77 men, 81 women
    But the Tories will get what they want, many people will drop out of the pension scheme as it won't be worth it. Thats the real plan.
    But hey at least i didn't vote them in :)


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  • 224. At 2:28pm on 24 Jun 2010, IPGABP1 wrote:

    I watched the programme with interest.It appeared to me as though Del Boy and Rodney were making a come back.

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  • 225. At 2:29pm on 24 Jun 2010, virtualsilverlady wrote:

    After watching the programme last night I came to the conclusion that this was just too big a subject to cram into a half hour programme.

    The time seemed to be taken up with those expecting to be better off and moaning that this was not the case.

    In which effect it was a total waste of time for this was an emergency budget to keep the country afloat. You are not meant to feel better off.

    The biggest wingerss so far are not those at the poorer end of society but the middle classes who are bemoaning the loss of their spare pocket money in the way of credits for the wealthy.

    They are the ones who've spent the money and obviouly want to pass on the debts to their children. Unbelievable!

    Despite all the warnings there are a great many people who don't seem to have registered where the country is going if nothing is sorted out.

    Perhaps the mentality follows on from the last government. There is no crisis until it hits you head on.

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  • 226. At 2:36pm on 24 Jun 2010, AndyC555 wrote:

    "215. At 1:34pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:
    Brown is giving up his PM pension, no? (although I would very much rather he took it)."

    Hilarious.

    Is that because you think he needs it or because you think he deserves it?

    Or because you hope he'll buy you a bun from the income.

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  • 227. At 2:38pm on 24 Jun 2010, JohnConstable wrote:

    Warning! - this sentence starts with 'fiat currency'.

    In 1991, £200 fiat currency pounds will today be worth £322 (using RPI).

    In 1991, £200 worth of gold will today be worth around £863.

    Currently, all that glistens is gold and those who saw the future of gold around mid-2005 must feel a golden glow today.

    Sources:

    Measuring pounds

    Gold price

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  • 228. At 2:54pm on 24 Jun 2010, xTunbridge wrote:

    196 AndyC555

    Andy my friend can you imagine it if a supplier got the contract by offering terms which made his tender the best option.

    A while later the supplier says " times are tough you will have to get real and accept a worse spec but pay the same if not more for the items I contracted to supply to you."

    There would be uproar, the courts would be filled with breach of contract cases.

    Why is it considered that to renege on a pension deal is somehow ok and not a breach of contract never mind faith?

    That pension formed part of the contract of employment it was compulsory to join, the contributions are taken direct from pay but now it is somehow ok to say, over something as precious as a pension, not a contract for widgets, oh tough you aint gonna get what you paid for ?

    This is a real tiger by the tail for the coalition.

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  • 229. At 2:57pm on 24 Jun 2010, fairlyopenmind15 wrote:

    215. At 1:34pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:
    Brown is giving up his PM pension, no? (although I would very much rather he took it).

    saga,

    If he took the pension and promised not to write any more "inspiring" books, I'm absolutely with you.

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  • 230. At 3:06pm on 24 Jun 2010, NeverRed wrote:

    #214 Steve

    Totally agree with your views,I think the budget looks reasonable although like yourself I think it should be more ambitious with child benefits removal for earners over the average wage of approx. £25K/year.

    I also think conscription should be reinstated, therebye removing all youth unemployment in a stroke.

    I would put in a guarantee that no conscript would be sent on active service during their service unless they wished to do so.

    A big advantage being the conscripts would learn discipline,teamwork and could be taught a trade/skill useful for finding work after their service.
    Conscripts could be used to assist National emergencies such as floods etc. releasing regulars for any active service commitments and many would wish to remain in the forces (Army/Navy/AirForce)boosting recruitment

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  • 231. At 3:09pm on 24 Jun 2010, rockRobin7 wrote:

    ah, yes, sagamix...the vexed question of the newlabour leadership campaign.

    Let's consider the stages of recovery and who might be on their personal journey already...or not.

    On the conventional therapy route of denial, early abstinence, maintaining abstinence and advanced recovery, I'd say all four identikit characters have yet to pass stage one - denial.

    All four of these colourless characters seem to still want to press home the notion of more spending, the wonders of state intervention, the magnificent achievements of newlabour. Not one of them has owned up to the idea that bills for hospitals, schools and the police have to be paid for. Not one of them has acknowledged that they ran us into an election with 155bn more spending than we take in taxes. Not one of them has publicly stated that taxes would rise sharply under a newlabour administration and not one of them has said where their personal axe would fall with the 55bn of spending cuts they proposed in their recent manifesto.

    Thus, the four male identikit characters are in denial and still in a deep state of contamination with their past profligacy and fecklessness.

    Diane Abbott has appealing characteristics; an intelligent woman with all the media skills required in this modern age. She opposed almost everything newlabour did under WhereisGordonBrown.com yet she remains policy-light. She's almost LibDem in her ability to carp from the sidelines without having any imaginative solutions. Diane is just past the denial stage and onto early abstinence but still in danger of relapse.

    You have a conundrum. Five candidates incapable of shaking off their pasts when the daily news will only serve to remind us of their disasterous financial legacy.

    You seem to talk as if the economic situation deteriorating would play to newlabour in the future. On the contrary, it will remind people that we have been placed in an horrific economic situation.

    May I suggest your holiday reading this year is 'The Moneymaker'. This true story about a the scottish financier John Law tells how he took his dodgy credit schemes to the French in the early 18th century where the Regent, Philippe d'Orleans, eager to impress the still too young Dauphin, adopted the credit scheme with gusto. The result was an unparallelled boom for two years followed by bust for decades. Just like newlabour he tried to solve a credit crisis with more credit. Just like newlabour it ended disasterously, France was bankrupted. He was on the run for the rest of his life trying to clear his name... which reminds me... WhereisGordonBrown.com?

    Dear Gordon Brown claims to have been a student of history but can't have paid much attention to this Edinburgh lawyer, who prior to bankrupting France had been on the run for gambling debts.

    What still amazes me is that newlabour fell for this casino banking system> Hook, line and sinker, Brown was leading the cavalry charge praising them all to the heavens every year at the Mansion House. His young acolytes haven't got a hope of distancing themselves from his errant ways. One was his 'representative on earth' and architect of neo-endogenous macro-economic growth theory, one wrote the manifesto, one was his conniving foreign secretary and the other spent the money like water for him on the NHS.

    It's over sagamix. People have long memories, as the tories discovered with Lady Thatcher. They also remember what they want to remember - in Thatcher's case the daft idea she cut spending to the NHS, while all the time it went up. In newlabour's case it's impossible to disaassociate these four with the grinning, triumphalist, superiority that was the leitmotif of the newlabour years. It all looks so smug, on reflection.

    Come over to the dark side.

    It's a great time to be a tory...

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  • 232. At 3:10pm on 24 Jun 2010, fairlyopenmind15 wrote:

    218. At 1:51pm on 24 Jun 2010, Rachael Bentley wrote:


    ...At 55 with 30 years service I will be forced to retire, I have no choice, it was the agreement when I took the job. That is 16 years before the retirement age...

    Sorry Rachael,
    Did I miss something? When was the retirement age moved to 71?


    ... Oh silly me, I forgot- in the 1980's the Conservative government stripped millions out of the overflowing public sector pension pot -oops! Not such a good idea was it.

    Rachael,
    Any chance you could point me towards a time when the "public sector pension pot" was overflowing?
    I wasn't very happy when Thatcher allowed private schemes to be either raided if they had "excess over-provision" or encouraged/permitted companies to take a "contributions holiday".
    That seemed very short-sighted and had lasting impacts.
    But "overflowing" public schemes?
    Were there some local authority schemes temporarily in massive excess?



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  • 233. At 3:12pm on 24 Jun 2010, AndyC555 wrote:

    "A Conservative MP is to donate £60,000 made from the sale of his second home to charity.

    John Baron recently sold the three-bedroom house in Billericay, Essex, for around £250,000, having bought it for £153,500 in 2000.

    He said he would give the profit, after costs and capital gains tax were deducted, to a "range" of good causes."

    Well DONE!

    What a terrific example and from a Conservative MP. I'm sure we can all applaud that. Apparently, Mr Baron said he felt it was "the right thing to do" and it's a lesson to us all. Individuals are far better at deciding what the right thing to do is than is the monolithic state that Labour tried to create. The charities that Mr Baron will donate to will benefit, rather than the money being wizzed up against a wall on a "don't stick your head into a boiling chip pan" type advert from the Government.

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  • 234. At 3:20pm on 24 Jun 2010, AndyC555 wrote:

    227 - Gold. yes. prices.

    Imagine being a buffoon and looking back at selling 400 tonnes of gold at 30 year low prices.

    Enough to make you want to sulk in Scotland rather than come to Westminster and show a pair.

    Unless you think there's nothing worth defending.....

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  • 235. At 3:22pm on 24 Jun 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 236. At 3:30pm on 24 Jun 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:

    I'll give these two one thing.

    At least they've had the guts to face an audience and take questions. You might not have got all the answers you wanted, but at least you got the chance to ask the question in the first place.

    Gordon did a significant number of his pronouncements, gurning, on You Tube. He could barely face questions in parliament, let alone the public! None of his self-aggrandizing potential successors are doing any better either.

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  • 237. At 3:44pm on 24 Jun 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:

    Hello, hello, hello, whats this....?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/6259112/BBC-presenters-set-up-companies-to-avoid-50-per-cent-tax-rate.html

    Along with sending 300 staff to the world cup and 300 to Glastonbury.... tut tut, Auntie. Boy are you lot in for a shock....

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  • 238. At 3:47pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    andy,

    "Is that because you think he needs it or because you think he deserves it?"

    Because he deserves it having done the job; a very tough and demanding job. Not the point though - point was that you (at 205) were slagging Brown off for NOT giving up his PM pension, when in fact he has. Probably what led to Cameron doing so - silly gestures both (IMO) and thus I'd rather they both took it. So just correcting you, Andrew, that's all ... you know, to prevent you making a fool of yourself by banging on about it. Don't like to see fellow posters make fools of themselves.

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  • 239. At 3:52pm on 24 Jun 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/currency/7849965/Soros-tells-Germany-to-step-up-to-its-responsibilities-or-leave-EMU.html

    Interesting....

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  • 240. At 4:12pm on 24 Jun 2010, pdavies65 wrote:

    Robin @ 231 wrote:
    What still amazes me is that newlabour fell for this casino banking system> Hook, line and sinker, Brown was leading the cavalry charge praising them all to the heavens every year at the Mansion House.


    >>

    To be fair, so did the Conservatives, who were still arguing for greater deregulation in the mortgage market just before the Northern Rock crisis broke. Does that amaze you too? Or do you have that selective memory thing?

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  • 241. At 4:16pm on 24 Jun 2010, Countlopez wrote:

    I take it that any changes to the pensions will also apply to the politicians? I'm assuming that the House and Commons AND the house of Lords, etc etc etc will also be at the receiving end of the cutbacks...because we are all in this together.

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  • 242. At 4:21pm on 24 Jun 2010, weredoomed wrote:

    3. At 5:50pm on 23 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:
    Absolutely necessary as I have been saying all week

    Due to actuarial factors, and longer life expectancy this is inevitable, and it is to the shame of the previous Labour government that they did nothing about this, and the previous Conservative government as well

    31 years of nothing

    So don't blame the man who IS sorting it out



    For some one who knows so much you are either missinformed or economical with the truth!
    Many public sector pensions were reformed under the last government, to give much lower benefits and longer accrual time however, this tory government are not really interested in the reform of public sector pensions, but there destruction. Why else is never any acknowledgment of these reforms? Like any change to anthing that lasts a lifetime it takes time for change to come to fruition, unless you just want to punish after all most of the rhetoric points to the tories treat the public sector like it is some sort of pariah.

    I do not remember any of the coalition ministers complaining the state could not afford the massive improvements to their own pension scheme during the last parliament! I accept that Mr. Cameron is now saying he will not accept his minesterial pension when he retires, neither did Mr. Brown, what of the MP's that retired recently and those sitting now, especialy those that bay for the rest of the public sector?

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  • 243. At 4:29pm on 24 Jun 2010, tonycl wrote:

    ''O'Reilly asked the prime minister whether "existing pensions will stand? On the current terms?" He was assured that the rights he accrued so far would not be touched. ''

    What a load of nonsense this is. They have just reduced the rate at which public service pensions are increased (or not) annually from being in line with RPI to following CPI. This will have the effect of depressing pensions substantially - CPI was invented to produce a lower inflation rate than RPI.

    I not that hardly anyone in the broadcast or written media has commented
    on the huge contribution that this is going to make to the'Welfare System' savings. Many of us thought that workplace pensuions wer part of our conditions of service - not a Welfare System provision .

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  • 244. At 4:34pm on 24 Jun 2010, Baz wrote:

    At 1:59pm on 24 Jun 2010, fairlyopenmind15 wrote:
    And your point is? Are you aware that over 6% of my salary in Local Government goes towards my pension. I'm reasonably confident that there are not many private sector employees willing to put that much of their salary into their pension pot ( and I know this from when I was in private industry/practice)!So then they moan when their private pension is somewhat less than they would like!

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  • 245. At 4:52pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    182. At 11:13am on 24 Jun 2010, xTunbridge wrote:
    165 Kevinb

    I have never found you anything but curteous Sir.

    I bow to you knowledge on annuitys etc but I find it hard to believe that the amount offered by the in surance companies etc is not influenced by all the behind the scenes costings I referred to. If this is so then what is in it for them ? I mean they are there primarily to make a profit out our financial investments whether it be car, life, house, pension etc ?

    Good question

    Basically an annuity is a gamble.....Statistically any of us will live to age x, if we are currently y years old

    The annuity will pay out based on this. If you don't live as long as you should statistically, you lose out (the annuity provider makes a profit)

    If you live longer than expected, you make a profit.

    It is possible to protect the annuity, and ensure that it is paid out for a fixed period, this is called a guaranteed annuity. Prior to personal/private pensions in the 1980s, there were RAC (Retirement Annuity Contracts) which were also known as deferred guaranteed annuities

    Hope that helps!!!!

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  • 246. At 4:54pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    204. At 12:51pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:
    kevin @ 165

    "Hopefully, you will notice I have tried to make my points in a friendly and courteous manner"

    Spoken like a man for whom being polite is so unusual it requires a big thank you. Anyway, pensions – key is to look at root and branch reform of our national pensions model (ALL pensions), not a knee jerk “politics of envy” attack on those of the public sector (xTunbridge is correct on this). If the Coalition do show an inclination for proper comprehensive reform (and if it’s the right sort of reform ... i.e. if it’s based on my ideas) then not only will I be applauding them, I’ll be prepared to serve.

    I treat people as they treat me...you want polite then BE POLITE

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  • 247. At 4:58pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    198. At 12:19pm on 24 Jun 2010, JohnConstable wrote:
    Curiously, some of our posters are requesting an appearance of one G.Brown, which reveals a lack-of-understanding as to the role of a Westmonster MP; which is actually completely undefined.

    Either we are thick, like you suggest, or maybe we are being ironic?

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  • 248. At 5:17pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    208. At 1:08pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:
    rr7 @ 172

    "He is a life long supporter of climate change"

    Que? I’ve taken some offbeat (albeit always progressive) positions in my time, Robin - this is true - but I can’t recall ever rooting for the climate to change out of all recognition and thus wreak havoc on the planet. No, you must be confusing me with someone else. With one of your wrestling group perhaps. Glad you wrote me though because I could do with your advice on something; on something I’m a bit too close to to be objective – the Labour leadership contest. I have a vote being a member of – well, head of – an affiliated organisation (the CTP party), and am not sure how to use it. Five candidates, all excellent, but who is the most excellent? Which one is going to lead the party back to power? Well not just that (since that’s a given) but which one is most likely to deliver a LANDSLIDE? In your view.

    Pick any one of them, they will all deliver a landslide for Mr Cameron

    Balls...biggest landslide
    E Milipede..smallest Landslide

    D Milipede...most likely

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  • 249. At 5:24pm on 24 Jun 2010, johnharris66 wrote:

    #213 sagamix wrote:
    "The timeframe, the mix of tax rises vs spending cuts, the need to support growth and the need to kill the debt ... it’s all about balance, John, isn’t it?"

    Apologies for the brief reply, but yes you are quite correct.

    There was a choice of deficit reduction trajectories, and a choice as to how the deficit should be reduced.

    I think the coalition made the right choice, given the available evidence, but there is a definite risk and it would be foolish to deny it.

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  • 250. At 5:44pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    242

    The MPs need to sort the MPs scheme out, yes

    No major changes have been made elsewhere, and you know damn well that is what I am referring to

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  • 251. At 5:52pm on 24 Jun 2010, DisgustedinDERRY wrote:

    217. Fubar_Saunders
    "Wind your chuffin' neck in, will you?"

    I have suggested a way of saving billions. You are whinging about cut backs. If the British government wound its chuffin' neck in, then billions would be saved. It is that easy. Of course people like you obviously prefer to cut hospital and education budgets, while accepting that the British government are squandering billions on the illegal occupation of foreign lands. Shame on you!!!

    221. fairlyopenmind15
    "The French were originally Franks who drifted from "Germany""

    If, according to your analogy, no land belongs to anybody, why did the British object to Hitler invading France and Hussein invading Kuwait???

    Typical Brit. If the Chinese or North Koreans invaded England, your tune would soon change!!!

    The fact still remains. The British government is squandering billions, while at the same time it is cutting billions from health, education, transport etc. Shame on you and the British government!!!

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  • 252. At 5:52pm on 24 Jun 2010, fairlyopenmind15 wrote:

    209. At 1:09pm on 24 Jun 2010, ANTHONY wrote:
    sircomespect

    ...As for the IPO we do indirectly generate wealth as I said by protecting innovation and IP rights which can account for 90% of a companies worth, its importance shouldn't be under estimated. In addition we do a hell of a lot of work with SME's who's feedback has been very positive. That said I know we only play a small role in the overall scheme of things but I know u won't mind me sticking up for my dept ;)
    I'm not disagreeing that Public services need looking at massively, they do, but it rankles me when the whole of the public sector are labelled as a bunch wasters and thats not aimed at you by the way as u do seem appreciate that some Public services are needed and valued.

    ANTHONY,

    Absolutely spot on, as far as I'm concerned.

    It's almost impossible to quantify the "positive" economic impact of many public sector activities. But some areas obvious do either support or protect activity in the "private sector" (whether that means helping people to go back to work after illness, looking after IPR or teaching children who we depend on for our future... and much more).

    It's not the obviously "worthwhile" stuff that raises any issues. (Even though Blair's administrations introduced far more PRIVATE health care companies into the NHS than even Maggie would have contemplated...)
    It's the legislative and regulatory blizzard that drags more people into "public jobs" that weren't needed before all the busy little people in Westminster and Brussels dreamed up.

    I'd be quite happy to have an MP paid a salary only to pass legislation during a two-week period each year. But every politician (and that includes the Brussels/Strasbourg migrants) would have to sign an affidavit to say they genuinely read every bit of legislation/ regulation, had considered the consequences and would be liable to some legal restitution if the outcomes were disastrous.



    We've got plenty enough laws to spread around.


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  • 253. At 5:55pm on 24 Jun 2010, JohnConstable wrote:

    Kevinb @ 247

    Hardly anybody on this forum could be thicker than me, having a life-changing glance at a teachers assessment form at my Technical SecMod School, which rated me at a pitiful 74 or so, which I believe is less than Forrest Gump.

    I did'nt feel so bad about it at the time because I thought it was out of 100 - see what I mean?

    Irony - yes - I love the stuff, especially in raw water-cress.

    Anyhow, annuities - sure you can have a guaranteed period, have some left over for her indoors, heirs and so on, but for each layer of protection, the amount being paid out is reduced - these campanies are not charities.

    Furthermore, one needs to have a rough idea when one might expire, the GAD tables currently seem to indicate around 82 years of age for both men and women.

    My personal view is that the world has become too unstable for conventional pensions thinking to pertain any longer.

    I thought that for decades and have personally made alternative arrangements, assuming the chain-smoking, boozing, crystal-meth and ummm 'exercise' with a Russian lady in a Frankfurt hotel* do not kill me first.

    * Acknowledgements to Giles Coren in The Times for that brilliant lifesytle choice.

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  • 254. At 6:01pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    "I treat people as they treat me...you want polite then BE POLITE"

    "Tit for Tat" I believe that's called, Kevin, and it's low grade. Last thing you should do if you receive tit is give back tat - all this does is escalates both sides, thus leading to a whole lot more of it (of t and t). You should follow my motto ... always treat people as you would like them to treat you. Recipe for a better world, that is.

    Anyway, back to pensions - very important issue and cool heads required. Apart from the poster at 61, not seeing too much that moves us forward.

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  • 255. At 6:04pm on 24 Jun 2010, JohnConstable wrote:

    'The MPs need to sort out the MP's {pension} scheme'.

    'The judges need to sort out the judges pension scheme'.

    'The BBC needs to sort out the Beeb employees scheme'.

    Spotted the flaw yet?

    Turkeys do not vote for Winterval and the turkeys listed above certainly know which side they are buttered.

    Yes, today is the day to mangle some metaphors.

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  • 256. At 6:04pm on 24 Jun 2010, weredoomed wrote:

    250 Kevenb

    Take a look at the link below, I think you will find that new firefighters from 2006 have to work an additional ten years to accrue a pension that is a defined pension rather than the final salary scheme previous. Even the FPS has been altered I know I took a cut in salary and my pension calculation was changed to give me and my collegues a lower pension, all be it not as serious as some in the private sector. It is disengenous to say that no public sector scheme has been reformed.
    I beleive the military have also had fairly substantial change also.

    As I said earlier, the tories are not really interested in reform of the public sector pensions, but there destruction!


    http://www.communities.gov.uk/fire/working/firefighterpensions/

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  • 257. At 6:04pm on 24 Jun 2010, fairlyopenmind15 wrote:

    244. At 4:34pm on 24 Jun 2010, Baz wrote:
    At 1:59pm on 24 Jun 2010, fairlyopenmind15 wrote:
    And your point is? Are you aware that over 6% of my salary in Local Government goes towards my pension. I'm reasonably confident that there are not many private sector employees willing to put that much of their salary into their pension pot ( and I know this from when I was in private industry/practice)!So then they moan when their private pension is somewhat less than they would like!

    Baz,

    I never worked in a private company where the minimum employee contribution was less than 7%. And most offered the option to add more (although the company wouldn't match their additional contributions).
    And most companies I've worked had a two-to-one employer/employee contribution ratio for years...
    Course, stuff has been messed up over quite a while. Thatcher didn't help. (Not anticipating tyhe fall in value of massive pension fund surpluses.) Nor did Brown who deliberately savaged the potential savings plans of private schemes.

    My point is simply that everybody has a right to put money into some form of savings that are tax-beneficial investments.

    I'm aware that some public service employees pay up to 11% of salary into pension schemes. But their "employers" don't necessarily provide matching funds. Which is why the current tax-stream is required to make up the difference between the fund value and the commitment to pay a pension.



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  • 258. At 6:06pm on 24 Jun 2010, Chevy_bass wrote:

    Hmmmm, I was under the impression this was a BBC blog, but after reading it for the last few weeks I've realised it's 'The KevinB Show'. It must be wonderful to never get anything wrong. You truly are a font (I said font!) of limitless knowledge. Thank you.

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  • 259. At 6:10pm on 24 Jun 2010, Rob04 wrote:

    #221

    So whose countries "belong" to anybody?
    -------------------------------------------------
    Best not ask the 'indigenous British' what they think of that though!

    -------------------------------------------------

    It's hard to find a good Neanderthal man when you need one nowadays...
    -------------------------------------------------

    Just stick with the moisturiser and prayer! It worked for Mrs David Davies!

    #230
    I also think conscription should be reinstated, therebye removing all youth unemployment in a stroke.

    I would put in a guarantee that no conscript would be sent on active service during their service unless they wished to do so.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Now I bet no one has suggested that to Liam Fox before and there will be lots of jobless youth around in the near future! I suggest you sign up now and set an example. Mind and tell mummy though as you'll be a bit late for tea! Love the 'guarantee' part!


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  • 260. At 6:22pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    254. At 6:01pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:
    "I treat people as they treat me...you want polite then BE POLITE"

    "Tit for Tat" I believe that's called, Kevin, and it's low grade. Last thing you should do if you receive tit is give back tat - all this does is escalates both sides, thus leading to a whole lot more of it (of t and t). You should follow my motto ... always treat people as you would like them to treat you. Recipe for a better world, that is.

    Anyway, back to pensions - very important issue and cool heads required. Apart from the poster at 61, not seeing too much that moves us forward.



    So you want everyone to be pompous with you then?

    Before or after self-congratulating?

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  • 261. At 6:32pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    253

    The compulsion to buy an annuity by 75 is going....it will be interesting to see what develops

    I moved my pension into a SIPP, so I could do it myself, and avoid charges and poor investment decisions

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  • 262. At 6:38pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    Very interesting, Robin (231), a cock eyed tour de farce of Labour’s period in office – just what I always wanted. But thank you anyway. Including for the holiday reading tip. If I’m lucky enough to have a holiday this year ... and I don’t see why the first week of August shouldn’t find me enjoying Whitstable, and vice versa, do you? ... then I’ll certainly slug my way through the stodgy sounding tome you recommend. On Labour leader though – what I asked you – I’m afraid you’ve been no help at all. Fine, I’ll make up my own mind. Probably best that way. At the moment, just to keep you abreast of my thinking, I’m hovering between the Milibands (either one will do), Balls and Abbott; I also quite like Andy Burnham.

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  • 263. At 6:39pm on 24 Jun 2010, Chevy_bass wrote:

    I really don't know what all this pension fuss is all about. When I turn 65/66 I shall get gainful employment at a popular chain of DIY superstores, directing people to spanners and stuff.
    Just Do It All!

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  • 264. At 6:39pm on 24 Jun 2010, fairlyopenmind15 wrote:

    228. At 2:54pm on 24 Jun 2010, xTunbridge wrote:
    196 AndyC555
    Andy my friend can you imagine it if a supplier got the contract by offering terms which made his tender the best option.
    A while later the supplier says " times are tough you will have to get real and accept a worse spec but pay the same if not more for the items I contracted to supply to you."
    There would be uproar, the courts would be filled with breach of contract cases.
    Why is it considered that to renege on a pension deal is somehow ok and not a breach of contract never mind faith?

    xTun,

    But it happens all the time.
    Especially with government contracts. Commercial player assumes a fixed requirement. Finds out it hasn't even been thought through at level 3 - let alone level real detail.
    That's why so many government projects have massive cost overruns. Because (like the big NHS IT stuff) the requirements are rather damp wishes written on tissue paper.
    Ever known a military procurement to come in on budget? (Take that back. Can you identify many such projects that had a reasonable chance of being delivered to an original spec?)

    Things change. Almost every big UK company had a final salary pension scheme. How many still have them open to new entrants?
    Both company and employee may be paying more than previously into a pension scheme, but they can't generate or demonstrate enough putative growth to cover future pension promises.

    Life's tough.

    Still worth laughing about though...

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  • 265. At 6:47pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 266. At 6:49pm on 24 Jun 2010, Up2snuff wrote:

    206. At 1:02pm on 24 Jun 2010, happydadtoo wrote:
    ID-S
    Life expectancy now 89 men, 90 women
    1919 - (retirement age set) 72.

    NOW will those 'poo-pooers' on here recognise that 75 is a sensible age to pay the State Pension from - AND then pay it at something as a fixed percentage of minimum wage.
    -----------------------------------------
    Well, we might if ID-S hadn't got his numbers wrong by ten years. If you look at the ONS figures the graphs show a steady rise to take average male life expectancy to 80 at present. The WHO/World Bank stats show a different graph, more shallow, but with the same current outcome.

    I was hoping ID-S would make a great comeback in the Cabinet but having 'shot himself in one foot' he compounded it with slight wounds to the other with the help of the dear old Beeb who headlined the proposed changes with the statement:- 'the elderly will be condemned to a life of poverty and ill-health unless the changes are made'. Not exactly conducive to the 'rocketing life expectancy' statement that followed from ID-S.

    He then went on to imply that the reason for making the pension slightly more unobtainable was that it produced more GDP for the nation ie Treasury. Fortunately, he added that pensions will be larger after the extra year(s) worked but his claim of 10% sounds rather large for one extra year unless it's 10% of not vey much. Perhaps Kevinb will help with a confirmation on that one.

    Looks like the DfW&P will be limping along for a while.

    Sigh. Please, let's be careful out there, today, tomorrow and on into a golden, er, maybe silver, well ... probably bronze future.

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  • 267. At 6:54pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    258. At 6:06pm on 24 Jun 2010, Chevy_bass wrote:
    Hmmmm, I was under the impression this was a BBC blog, but after reading it for the last few weeks I've realised it's 'The KevinB Show'. It must be wonderful to never get anything wrong. You truly are a font (I said font!) of limitless knowledge. Thank you.

    Stick to supporting Villa......you know, the team that never quite wins anything

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  • 268. At 6:55pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 269. At 7:00pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    256

    If you seriously think that the Conservatives want to destroy the public sector, then I am not sure how you expect me to respond?

    Of course they don't

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  • 270. At 7:00pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    "So you want everyone to be pompous with you then?

    When one shares a key aspect of one's "design for life", announces (as I do at 254) that one lives by certain standards - and goes so far as to recommend those standards to others (such as you, Kevin) who tend to fall a little short - one must NOT then rise to this sort of bargain basement provocation. I said no tat for tit (even when the tat is from a ...) and I jolly well meant it!

    Pensions is the topic, if I may gently remind you. A topic on which, as I keep stressing, a cool head is required. Is George Osborne a cool head? Not so sure he is.

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  • 271. At 7:00pm on 24 Jun 2010, StrictlyPickled wrote:

    244. Baz wrote:

    "Are you aware that over 6% of my salary in Local Government goes towards my pension. I'm reasonably confident that there are not many private sector employees willing to put that much of their salary into their pension pot ( and I know this from when I was in private industry/practice)!So then they moan when their private pension is somewhat less than they would like!"
    ==============================================

    I think your confidence is somewhat misplaced with your 6% figure.

    Personally, I used to pay 3%, then Gordy got elected, it increased to 6%, and I now pay 8% plus (significant)AVCs at my discretion. My scheme is now closed to new members, they have to join another company scheme which is 11% contributions. And my companies schemes are some of the better ones.

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  • 272. At 7:09pm on 24 Jun 2010, Up2snuff wrote:

    158. At 09:44am on 24 Jun 2010, happydadtoo wrote:
    #118. At 08:09am on 24 Jun 2010, Up2snuff wrote

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Life expectancy in the UK has risen steadily for well over a century now and shows no immediate signs of dropping, or even levelling off as new medical techniques appear to open the prospect of GREATLY extended active life-spans.

    ------------------------------------------
    Agreed. But it hasn't rocketed and there have been some very shallow periods on the graphs and a couple of downturns. The WHO/World Bank graph shows that UK average male life expectancy hasn't really changed significantly for twenty years. Fortunately AIDS/HIV has not turned out to have a big effect but only last autumn and winter, if the Mexican 'flu had mutated in a different direction, we might have had our UK LE numbers taking a bit of dip at the start of the twenty-first century.

    Actuaries who advise pension fund administrators are not surprised by these changes. They knew they were happening. Why the fuss? Oh, no-one paid any attention and took pension holidays. And the Government made it impossible for lower/middle-earners to save. They also allowed a load of dodgy private schemes and advisers into the marketplace.

    With today's slightly suspect population figures to consider, with 2.5m unemployed, I would have thought it might pay for those around 60 to 65 and in work to be encouraged to retire. Wonder what the relative numbers are for pension versus unemployment benefit?

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  • 273. At 7:13pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    Interesting link for those who mythically claim that Scotland are financially supporting England

    I post this in the interest of facts, not to be anti-Scottish

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/7851147/Independent-Scotland-4-billion-in-the-red.h

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  • 274. At 7:15pm on 24 Jun 2010, DisgustedinDERRY wrote:

    267. Kevinb
    "the team that never quite wins anything"

    Correction: The team that never quite win anything!!!

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  • 275. At 7:18pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    270

    Pompous it is then....and self-congratulatory kind of sprinkled through, with a tough of superior tone to feed your insecurities

    Nice on toast I would imagine

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  • 276. At 7:18pm on 24 Jun 2010, fairlyopenmind15 wrote:

    251. At 5:52pm on 24 Jun 2010, DisgustedinDERRY wrote:

    221. fairlyopenmind15
    "The French were originally Franks who drifted from "Germany""

    If, according to your analogy, no land belongs to anybody, why did the British object to Hitler invading France and Hussein invading Kuwait???

    Disgusted,

    I didn't say that no land belongs to anybody. Simply that there are all sorts of historical reasons why some people happen to be in one bit of land for a long time. And it's rather difficult to define how long people have to be there before it is "their own".

    I've met lots of "Irish-Americans" in New York. But can't recall coming across any Poospatuck, Mohegan or Delaware native Americans - certainly none who wanted to support the IRA.
    So whose land would New York be, I wonder?

    I rather fancy that the UK government reacted to Hitler because there were treaties with Belgium and France that required some British intervention. Those treaty things are what "nations" do - not any specific bits of a population.
    (And I sort of hope they would have fought Hitler even had that not been the case... )

    Typical Brit. If the Chinese or North Koreans invaded England, your tune would soon change!!!

    Disgusted,

    I wasn't around at the time, but the Vikings invaded Great Britain as well as Eire. Think there was some resistance at the time. And rather think that the Normans made some inroad in Ireland (just as they did in England). As you know, the Normans were the men from the North - one branch of Vikings who settled in Northern France and spraed about a bit.

    So who do you blame for the problems? The Vikings? The French? The people who happen to live on the adjacent island?


    The fact still remains. The British government is squandering billions, while at the same time it is cutting billions from health, education, transport etc. Shame on you and the British government!!!

    Disgusted,
    I can't remember voting for any war.
    Iraq was a mess (brought about by the Blessed Tony who let Adams and McGuiness loose on the political stage).
    Afghanistan has been a UN sponsored activity.
    (I think it is unwinnable, but the great historian Gordon Whatshisname didn't seemt to fight the involvement.)
    And I rather believe that there is a continuing presence from Irish forces in the arena?

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  • 277. At 7:39pm on 24 Jun 2010, mrnaughty2 wrote:

    262 Saga

    Whitstable second week of August - After I visited you at Campo Correcto I'll be pleased to have you stay with us here. Might even treat you to a fine meak at the Crab and Winkle. But only a short stay mind wouldn't want a long term coalition or anything.

    I like your idea of the Government scheme pension. Uproar in Boardrooms across the City.

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  • 278. At 7:43pm on 24 Jun 2010, Chevy_bass wrote:

    My Dearest KevinB.
    I think you'll find that in Aston Villa's illustrious duration we have been frequent winners. One of only four English winners of the European cup. That is why we are 'Pride of the Midlands'.
    More than happy to correct you on that one, especially as it shows that you are indeed human and capable of making mistakes like the rest of us mere mortals.

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  • 279. At 8:01pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 280. At 8:03pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 281. At 8:07pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    YouGov’s post-budget poll for the Sun shows a broadly positive reception. Overall 57% think Osborne made the right decisions for the country as a whole, with 23% thinking he made the wrong decisions. 42% think he made the right decisions for them, 33% the wrong ones. Overall government approval is up since before the budget, from 41% at the start of the week to 46% now. Headline voting intention stands at CON 42%, LAB 34%, LDEM 17%.

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  • 282. At 8:12pm on 24 Jun 2010, JonBW2 wrote:

    We should have known that the elderly would get a raw deal under the Lib Dems after the way they treated poor old Ming Campbell...

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  • 283. At 8:13pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    278. At 7:43pm on 24 Jun 2010, Chevy_bass wrote:
    My Dearest KevinB.
    I think you'll find that in Aston Villa's illustrious duration we have been frequent winners. One of only four English winners of the European cup. That is why we are 'Pride of the Midlands'.
    More than happy to correct you on that one, especially as it shows that you are indeed human and capable of making mistakes like the rest of us mere mortals.

    Won nothing for years, unlikely to again

    Pride of the midlands?

    An area full of rubbish teams, including AV

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  • 284. At 8:26pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    Why do the moderators allow anti British propaganda on the BBC yet they moderate out any defence of the British Army

    TAL is in itself an offensive term, unless it means Terrorists and losers?

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  • 285. At 8:29pm on 24 Jun 2010, mrnaughty2 wrote:

    Saga - Also 262

    Andy Burnham - Would be my choice (if I had a vote which I don't so it doesn't matter)but could he keep the Party United?

    Also, maybe I've missed something here but before DC/NC and co decide upon cutting the public sector pensions wouldn't they be best to spend their efforts in sorting out the equitable life mess.

    Nothing been heard on this issue since the Queens Speech at which time it was top priority!

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  • 286. At 8:35pm on 24 Jun 2010, DisgustedinDERRY wrote:

    Blah balh balh whataboutery. Avoiding the massive elephant in the room
    "Afghanistan has been a UN sponsored activity."

    Why stay in a country fighting an enemy you will never defeat???

    Was the invasion of Iraq a UN sponsored activity? No it was not. It was an illegal invasion, followed by an illegal occupation. That is state terrorism. Something Saddam Hussein was hung for!!!

    Iraq posed no clear danger to other countries, especially the USA and UK. There was no evidence of plans to invade another country or use weapons of mass destruction. According to a 2002 CIA report, Iraq posed less of a threat to the world than any other country. The invasion made it easier, not harder, for al Qaeda to recruit members. This lead to an increase in terrorism the world over. Including terrorism carried out by occupying forces.

    The invasion gave Saddam Hussein a reason to use his full arsenal of weapons against attackers and nearby countries because he would have nothing to lose. Why would the British government take that chance unless something was in it for them (oil)? No link has ever been established between Iraq and the al Qaeda network.

    An invasion led to a volatile situation in a region where international tensions were already high. An unprovoked attack by one country against another is an unnecessary and immoral act that blatantly disrespects national sovereignty and security. The massive civilian casualties likely to occur in an invasion could unite the world against the British and US governments, in a global age of interdependence in which isolation is foolish.

    The hundreds of billions of pounds required for an invasion and long-term occupation of Iraq, has resulted in the British and US economies falling into a deep recession. Indeed economies the world over in a knock on effect.

    "Regime change" is not an acceptable reason for an invasion.

    Experts in 2002 estimated that Iraq was 3 to 5 years away from developing
    even a short-range nuclear weapon that would endanger its neighbours. A pre-emptive strike would lend justification to other nations, to attack their perceived enemies. Why take that chance and cause WWIII. An invasion in defiance of the United Nations would snub the legitimacy of the only world body equipped to mediate international conflicts.

    A unilateral Iraq invasion and subsequent invasions of other countries now sanctioned by the "National Security Strategy of the United States 2002," which permits and even encourages pre-emptive strikes, would colour the British and U.S. Governments as the new terrorist Imperial occupiers. Wars and acts of terrorism precipitated by an Iraq invasion could last for decades in an endless cycle of hatred and revenge.

    So you are happy with all of the above, while at the same time you are whinging about cuts to the UK budget???

    I'm confused. Does that make you a war monger???

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  • 287. At 8:38pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    Moderately amusing, Kevin (275) - don't see why I shouldn't award you a :-) ... your first, I believe.

    Now then, enough of this jocularity. Pensions reform. The point I'm (repeatedly) making to you is that it's an issue where cool heads are required. Can you not just agree with that (?) and then we can move on. We can move on to consider whether Osborne has one. Or not.

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  • 288. At 8:39pm on 24 Jun 2010, fairlyopenmind15 wrote:

    259. At 6:10pm on 24 Jun 2010, Rob04 wrote:
    #221

    So whose countries "belong" to anybody?
    -------------------------------------------------
    Best not ask the 'indigenous British' what they think of that though!

    Rob04,
    I still find it interesting that nobody can really define what it means to be a truly indigenous Brit. Even less an "American". Such a mixture.
    Bits of land only "belong" to whoever happens to have grown up or emigrated there over time because they couldn't fight off others or weren't forced to defend it against other folk who'd like to be there.
    Disgusted talked about "the Chinese" invading the UK.
    Any idea why or how some people are called "Chinese".
    Nothing to do with blood groups. Just an expression of political machinations over centuries.

    -------------------------------------------------

    It's hard to find a good Neanderthal man when you need one nowadays...
    -------------------------------------------------

    Just stick with the moisturiser and prayer! It worked for Mrs David Davies!

    Rob04,
    Closest match I've spotted in recent years is Chelsea's Ballack. Love the forehead and jutting eyebrow ridge.

    I'm simply surprised, as Neanderthal man apparently had a cranial capacity that held a brain larger than homo sapiens.
    Can it be that this/our branch of evolution will end up with a group with smaller brain capacity (bit like Pooh - goodness, better strike that as it's probably at a level of literatural exploration than should be expected) but so focused that it can't spot real issues?

    So maybe bloggers?


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  • 289. At 8:41pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    Mr N,

    "Uproar in Boardrooms across the City."

    Yes I would imagine, but that's not the raison d'etre - just the icing on the cake.

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  • 290. At 8:46pm on 24 Jun 2010, DisgustedinDERRY wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 291. At 8:51pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 292. At 8:57pm on 24 Jun 2010, DisgustedinDERRY wrote:

    284. Kevinb
    "Terrorists and losers"

    When the British army return from Iraq in a few years, licking their collective wounds, that will be their legacy!!!

    TAL

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  • 293. At 9:03pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    286

    If you actually knew anything about the Iraq war, you would realise most, if not all on here did not want the war, and consider Tony Blair to be a war criminal

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  • 294. At 9:07pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    287

    Osborne is better than you thought he was, which is why you attack him

    That is how you cope with stuff you are wary of

    Try and belittle and 'smear'....the New Labour way

    That's why you try to do it to me

    Didn't work for New Labour, and it won't work for you

    Do you really think anyone would say we don't need someone with a cool head looking at pension reform?

    How about me saying, wouldn't you agree that we need Wayne Rooney to get his head out his backside before Sunday?

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  • 295. At 9:19pm on 24 Jun 2010, Jamie_Cardiff wrote:

    On nick cleggs pre election poster it says that the average person will lose around £389 a year on the 20% vat increase now they keep saying about how the poor are protected by adding £150 into child tax credits and someone who is on less then 8k a year are exempt from tax saving them £172 now if my calculations are correct thats £322 so the poorest and low income familes are actually losing £67 a year.
    but if you dont have a job which 3 million are not going to have by the end of the year that means that people are losing £239 a year due to the Vat increase. plus whatever these unemployment lose from child benefit freeze for 3 years..

    If the budget is fair for all why is it 13 billion got taken out of welfare with an extra 13 billion in the vat stealth tax and the banks lose just 2 billion a year, I dont have the exact figure but when money was pumped into the banking system to get the economy going again it was more then 2 billion a year and it was our money that saved them yet they can give their staff multibillion bonuses that make the levy look laughable also to point out if the bankers come into this crisis again and we double dip into a recession then how is 2 billion a year gonna insure hundreds of billions of tax payers money?

    On the other subject is unemployment, we are talking about getting people into work and adding restrictions onto the poorest in society but where are the jobs? Im unemployed at the moment and I want to work because I hate the benefit system its more hassle then it's worth for my liking but the jobs just arnt there and when your going for a position that has 70 applicants it's going to be like winning the x factor. The job centre DO NOT help people at all, it should be a "just sign here" building because For the last 3 months not one employee of the job centre has ever checked my job search. work trials, where you can ask an employer for a trial is just saying "hey free labour for a couple of weeks" doesnt guarantee a job at the end of it. They spend money on telling me how to write CV's and interview techniques which I know some people need to help them but for someone in my situation it isnt worth investing the money or time.. There is no motivational needs, you know finding a job can be demoralising and depressing... you hand in 20 to 30 CV's and dont get a response but you goto the job centre and they dont even want to try to help you they just want your signiture and you out of the building.. perhaps a little motivation to people who are signing on and something for them to keep their spirits high.. just a keep going, your doing good speech.



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  • 296. At 9:34pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    292. At 8:57pm on 24 Jun 2010, DisgustedinDERRY wrote:
    284. Kevinb
    "Terrorists and losers"

    When the British army return from Iraq in a few years, licking their collective wounds, that will be their legacy!!!

    TAL(Terrorist and loser)



    With your fine grasp of facts as usual.....errr not

    The British Army are not in Iraq

    Can you get ANYTHING right?


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  • 297. At 9:39pm on 24 Jun 2010, xTunbridge wrote:

    265 fairlyopenmind15

    Ah, variations to contract are somat else. It usually means the persons suppplying the goods and services get more.

    The variations to workers pensions usually mean they get less.

    But yes , forget how to laugh and you may as well pack it all in. That reminds me of a line in Kipling's If ? About meeting triumph and disaster and treating both imposters just the same .

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  • 298. At 9:39pm on 24 Jun 2010, fairlyopenmind15 wrote:

    286. At 8:35pm on 24 Jun 2010, DisgustedinDERRY wrote:
    Blah balh balh whataboutery. Avoiding the massive elephant in the room
    "Afghanistan has been a UN sponsored activity."

    Why stay in a country fighting an enemy you will never defeat???

    Disgusted,
    I rather thought I mentioned that many nations (including Ireland) decided they should get - and stay - involved in Afghanistan, under the UN banner. So I trust you attack the Irish Government in the same way as you attack the Westminster mob?
    Doesn't mean I think it will make any difference over the decades. "Afghanistan" is a geographically defined construct - like most nations. Like lots of nations, it's simply lines on a map. It doesn't mean that the people who live within those boundaries share either religious, cultural, ethnic or other values. But, at a certain point, you hope that they will all support a common legislative regime.
    Bit like the UK, in a way, although being an island nation is easier than being a delineated part of a big continental sprawl. At least it should be.
    You don't like being a UK citizen? Fine. Take another passport or move a few miles.
    You want to blame mainland Brits for the potato blight? Great.
    Gonna blame Anglo-Saxons for invasions by Vikings and Normans? Wonderful.

    "Was the invasion of Iraq a UN sponsored activity? No it was not. It was an illegal invasion, followed by an illegal occupation. That is state terrorism. Something Saddam Hussein was hung for!!!"

    Disgusted,
    The blessed Tony B - you know - the guy who released all sorts of killers, decided that a bunch of poorly constructed information (that rocked the BBC) represented a compelling case for a war.
    Am I my master's keeper?


    "Iraq posed no clear danger to other countries, especially the USA and UK. There was no evidence of plans to invade another country or use weapons of mass destruction. According to a 2002 CIA report, Iraq posed less of a threat to the world than any other country. The invasion made it easier, not harder, for al Qaeda to recruit members. This lead to an increase in terrorism the world over. Including terrorism carried out by occupying forces."

    So why spread a blanket blame across UK citizens?


    "The invasion gave Saddam Hussein a reason to use his full arsenal of weapons against attackers and nearby countries because he would have nothing to lose. Why would the British government take that chance unless something was in it for them (oil)? No link has ever been established between Iraq and the al Qaeda network."

    Disgusted,
    Any idea which particular UK companies benefited from a surge in Iraqi oil? Did it happen?
    And I could never work out how Saddam could or would have tolerated an off-the-wall group like al Quaeda to roam around his patch.
    I didn't like the bloke and, if the UN had said that toppling a rotten regime was OK, I'd have been all in favour.
    But they didn't. And if they'd said it once, there would have been plenty of toppled regimes since then.

    "An invasion led to a volatile situation in a region where international tensions were already high. An unprovoked attack by one country against another is an unnecessary and immoral act that blatantly disrespects national sovereignty and security. The massive civilian casualties likely to occur in an invasion could unite the world against the British and US governments, in a global age of interdependence in which isolation is foolish.
    The hundreds of billions of pounds required for an invasion and long-term occupation of Iraq, has resulted in the British and US economies falling into a deep recession. Indeed economies the world over in a knock on effect."

    Disgusted,
    Since all the parties are trying to get out of Iraq as fast as they can I don't get your point.
    And that stuff about the invasion and occupation of Iraq creating a global economic problem - which was actually created by rather stupid bankers and appalling government-level regulation - just baffles me.

    Are you trying to say that the Irish financial meltdown was a direct result of the invasion of Iraq? Rather than a massive credit-driven boom that was obvious to everybody except the politicians?



    "Regime change" is not an acceptable reason for an invasion.

    Experts in 2002 estimated that Iraq was 3 to 5 years away from developing
    even a short-range nuclear weapon that would endanger its neighbours. A pre-emptive strike would lend justification to other nations, to attack their perceived enemies. Why take that chance and cause WWIII. An invasion in defiance of the United Nations would snub the legitimacy of the only world body equipped to mediate international conflicts.

    A unilateral Iraq invasion and subsequent invasions of other countries now sanctioned by the "National Security Strategy of the United States 2002," which permits and even encourages pre-emptive strikes, would colour the British and U.S. Governments as the new terrorist Imperial occupiers. Wars and acts of terrorism precipitated by an Iraq invasion could last for decades in an endless cycle of hatred and revenge.

    So you are happy with all of the above, while at the same time you are whinging about cuts to the UK budget???

    I'm confused. Does that make you a war monger???


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  • 299. At 9:42pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    295

    If you are in Cardiff, I would have thought that there are loads of bar jobs and restaurant jobs

    May not be what you want, yet it would be a start

    There are loads in England, if you are prepared to move

    Not saying you should move, just that there are jobs

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  • 300. At 9:46pm on 24 Jun 2010, xTunbridge wrote:

    286 DinD

    Your above numbered post was well put. Your 292 was much less so Sir.

    They are soldiers who carried out their orders to the best of their ability which is all one can ask of an army. The rights and wrongs of the battle are for others to be less than proud of.

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  • 301. At 9:49pm on 24 Jun 2010, craigmarlpool wrote:

    Evening all.

    My question is one posed to old Cleggy this morning...quite a simple one which he failed to answer.

    Why should the poorest (sorry Kevin...least well off) 10% of the population be made poorer(sorry less well off)by this budget?

    Not a question on economics/mathematics,but one about equity and dare I say it social justice...(light blue touch paper.)

    Re: Midlands teams. Come on The Wolves!

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  • 302. At 9:51pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    Mr N @ 285

    I've lost touch with where we are with EL. Where are we with EL? Andy B, not unlike his C555 namesake, has a nice "regular bloke" vibe going on, which is a definite asset. On the flip side - and also like "our" Andy - he can come over a little bit frivolous. Going by the odds, which I set great store by (being a cold eyed, near professional gambler), he's got very little chance ... Burnham, I mean. Ditto Di. One or other of the Milibands is the overwhelmingly most likely outcome - most feel - but I have a strong "more than hunch but less than informed opinion" that Balls will go close. That's where my money's going (at the price) but not necessarily my vote. Still unsure about the latter - why I asked Robin, but unfortunately he saw fit to go off on one rather than help me out. Won't bother in future.

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  • 303. At 9:52pm on 24 Jun 2010, craigmarlpool wrote:

    Oh and seriously Kevin,how much does Tory Central Office pay you ?

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  • 304. At 10:08pm on 24 Jun 2010, weredoomed wrote:

    269. At 7:00pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:
    256

    If you seriously think that the Conservatives want to destroy the public sector, then I am not sure how you expect me to respond?

    Of course they don't


    I wonder do you have the honesty and humility to agree that you were wrong and that public sector pensions have indeed been reformed?
    Also therefor by implication the public sector have shared the pain!

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  • 305. At 10:09pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    kevin,

    "most, if not all on here did not want the war, and consider Tony Blair to be a war criminal"

    Think you're correct with the first part; most on here (including me) are indeed - and perhaps even were at the time - anti Iraq invasion, but the "Blair = WC" sentiment, I'd say only a minority of people in this country feel that.

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  • 306. At 10:14pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    301

    It does sound better, though, don't you think?

    Least well off, less well off...a little more dignified, and less stigma?

    You will know I don't think that the comparisons have been done very fairly as many items the less well off have to pay for from income, are provided free to the least well off

    SOunds more constructive, and less emotive, don't you think?

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  • 307. At 10:14pm on 24 Jun 2010, xTunbridge wrote:

    Mods 297,298, 299 ?????????

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  • 308. At 10:15pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    303

    Same as Wolves pay you

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  • 309. At 10:17pm on 24 Jun 2010, Kevinb wrote:

    302

    Balls...ha ha ha ha ha

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  • 310. At 10:18pm on 24 Jun 2010, AS71 wrote:

    301 craigmarlpool

    "Why should the poorest (sorry Kevin...least well off) 10% of the population be made poorer(sorry less well off)by this budget?"

    "Not a question on economics/mathematics"

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Can you demonstrate that they have been made worse off?

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  • 311. At 10:23pm on 24 Jun 2010, xTunbridge wrote:

    302 Saga

    What about Diane Abbot ? Assuming she is still in the race.

    Worth a bet surely ?

    I seem to recall that Thatcher got the job by accident, tactical voting gone wrong. Recall cries of we wanted the grocer not the grocer's daughter.

    Dint we get the 2012 olympics the same way ?

    Funny old world.

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  • 312. At 10:27pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    "Do you really think anyone would say we don't need someone with a cool head looking at pension reform?"

    I'll take that as agreement. Took a while but thank you. Anyway, excellent, so it DOES require a cool head - pensions reform. Like pulling teeth with you sometimes, it really is. So yes, a cool head is very necessary, we're finally on the same page. It's necessary, Kevin, but is it sufficient? Can a CH alone do the trick? I'm not so sure myself.

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  • 313. At 10:36pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    The poorest 10% are already in poverty - by UK standards - and should pay precisely NOTHING towards reducing the deficit. This shouldn't need saying.

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  • 314. At 10:37pm on 24 Jun 2010, craigmarlpool wrote:

    AS71 @ 310.

    IFS report. The poorest 10% would be 2.5% worse off by 2014/15.

    (This, I assume, does not include the cuts in the various public services which many of them rely on.)

    Not a large %...but if they say they are protecting "the most vunerable" I presume this means not making that group worse off.

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  • 315. At 10:39pm on 24 Jun 2010, mrnaughty2 wrote:

    Saga 302

    EL where are we at. No idea. DC said at the oprning of the Queens Debate that after 10 years of Labour sitting on the issue the coalyion would sort it out. Waving of order papers on that side of the chamber, I seem to recall. DC accussed GB of waiting for policyholders to die so he wouldn't want to be accussed of waiting for policyholders to die would he.

    Ed Balls doesn't appeal (you know why) still would have liked to have seen Hazel Blears to have had a shot (but at 39 I'm at that funny age where you should be shut away) so were left with Dave and Ed (the other one) Erm ....ip ip sky dip! Probably still no help but hold on there's Diane!

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  • 316. At 10:43pm on 24 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    xTun @ 311

    Yes she's long odds - but I reckon her actual chance of winning is even lower than those odds imply, so no bet from me. Ed Balls, however, is available (IMO) at a price which represents some value. On balance I don't think he'll win but I think he'll go close - closer than a lot of people think he will. He's a little bit implaccable.

    (watching him on QT now, actually ... let's see how he does).

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  • 317. At 10:53pm on 24 Jun 2010, Up2snuff wrote:

    Good grief! I've only been away for four hours and this thready blog post thing has gone berserk! War in Iraq and Afghanistan, early British history, Neanderthals In Our Time and other footy issues including what appears to be a new team (sponsored by Andy C555's millions?) called Party United. Are they in the Premiership? Or have you all decided during my absence to change its name back to the First Division to stop me being confused.

    Please can we return to the new Coalition Government's Budget and pension policy? Does anyone know whether the cash paid in unemployment benefit plus admin cost is greater or less than cash paid in State pension plus admin cost? And what if Income Credit/Tax Credit and Pension Support Credit thingie (whatever they are called) are factored in, does the position alter much, if at all.

    I'm off to see Steffie. Nighty night, sleep tight.

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  • 318. At 11:05pm on 24 Jun 2010, kered wrote:

    Well, a few months in and the new government is as unpopular as the last tory government and of course the lib/dems are toast.

    This right-wing nutter government has just unleashed the most severe budget this country has ever known.

    And there's more, some little urchins on this site have crawled from under the stone thinking their time had come again, well! think on urchins and do us all a favour and get back under those rocks.

    Up2snuff and fragile Kev! the dangerous double act, a bit like Kev and Perry. I wonder if the parents know what there up to on their family computer.

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  • 319. At 11:11pm on 24 Jun 2010, AS71 wrote:

    312 saga

    A cool head is necessary but not sufficient.

    This is as much an inter-generational problem as one of rich v poor or public v private.

    Should the younger generation (those aged under 45 say) be prepared to pay more and more tax over the next few decades to support an older generation (45-65 say) that has done much better economically (in aggregate) than the younger generation is likely to do?

    The load has to be spread between generations and this must involve fundamental reform of public sector pensions (the private sector has already undergone serious reform) as well as tax rises and spending / benefit cuts.

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  • 320. At 11:30pm on 24 Jun 2010, AS71 wrote:

    313 saga

    "The poorest 10% are already in poverty - by UK standards - and should pay precisely NOTHING towards reducing the deficit. This shouldn't need saying."

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    They aren't paying anything towards reducing the deficit, they are net recipients from the state.

    If the state has less money then so will its dependants.

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  • 321. At 11:46pm on 24 Jun 2010, Rob04 wrote:

    I still find it interesting that nobody can really define what it means to be a truly indigenous Brit. Even less an "American". Such a mixture.
    Bits of land only "belong" to whoever happens to have grown up or emigrated there over time because they couldn't fight off others or weren't forced to defend it against other folk who'd like to be there.
    Disgusted talked about "the Chinese" invading the UK.
    Any idea why or how some people are called "Chinese".
    Nothing to do with blood groups. Just an expression of political machinations over centuries.

    Closest match I've spotted in recent years is Chelsea's Ballack. Love the forehead and jutting eyebrow ridge.

    I'm simply surprised, as Neanderthal man apparently had a cranial capacity that held a brain larger than homo sapiens.
    Can it be that this/our branch of evolution will end up with a group with smaller brain capacity (bit like Pooh - goodness, better strike that as it's probably at a level of literatural exploration than should be expected) but so focused that it can't spot real issues?

    So maybe bloggers?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Theres always competing constructions of birth, blood and belonging. Although the German 'blood' model doesn't have much merit for me it can be appealing to some as you know. You would just have to read some of the posts on this blog around issues such as immigration, devolution or more recently Ireland to get an appreciation of the tensions around identity issues; and how people look to their political worlds to protect their 'imagined' pieces of land. Not easy issues at all..

    Cognition is about processing over capacity. It really is what you do with it that counts. Otherwise we'd possibly be ruled by elephants and whales. Now you tell that to Michael Ballack and give him some hope.



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  • 322. At 11:49pm on 24 Jun 2010, Jonathan wrote:

    If there's really a need to cut "public sector pensions", then fine, it has to be done, as long as that means MPs' pensions are treated equally and also moved to whatever new scheme they come up with.

    Bear in mind that many public sector workers receive low salaries compared to similar jobs in the private sector. Not everyone is on £120,000 a year. It's only the slightly more generous pension contributions that makes the whole salary package more on a par with private sector salaries.

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  • 323. At 00:09am on 25 Jun 2010, fairlyopenmind15 wrote:

    297. At 9:39pm on 24 Jun 2010, xTunbridge wrote:
    265 fairlyopenmind15
    Ah, variations to contract are somat else. It usually means the persons suppplying the goods and services get more.
    The variations to workers pensions usually mean they get less.
    But yes , forget how to laugh and you may as well pack it all in. That reminds me of a line in Kipling's If ? About meeting triumph and disaster and treating both imposters just the same .

    xTun,

    Sad thing is that the majority of schoolchildren wouldn't have been exposed to Kipling because he's assumed to be an "imperialist" poet.
    Loads of good stuff in his poems and other writings.
    I worked with quite a lot of Indian folk who thought that KIM was a pretty good reflection of life as it was.
    And I can't understand why the Jungle Book is seen as a nasty imperialist set of writings. Always seemed like quite a lot of fun to me. And well written.
    And who could suggest that "Gunga Din" was other than a reflection that the British (maybe Irish) soldier could recognise the quite evident fact that somebody of a different nationality could be recognised as a superior... But it's all a waste of time, isn't it?

    Kipling had a feeling for India.
    The Ballad of East and West pointed up a recognition of mutual worth between people from different races and backgrounds that simply juxtaposed humanity from different men and, in my opinion, was a great poem.

    "IF" is one of the poems that every child should be taught to learn, then understand and think about. One of the great works that joins minds. Doesn't really matter what your background is. How much you've got. It's about facing life. Maybe that's why so few modern educationalists want to include it in every single English class.


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  • 324. At 00:29am on 25 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    AS71,

    "they are net recipients from the state"

    What I'm saying is that they - the bottom 10% - those in poverty (by our UK standards) - that they receiving less should be no part of our march back to fiscal health.

    Your point about the inter generational aspects is interesting. I don't look at things that way (I look at inequality across the board) but I can see that it can throw up some insights.

    On pensions, I see the need for reform of our model - to save more, essentially, by compulsion if necessary - but a targeted drive to bring public sector pensions down to the level of the private sector, no I don't find that inspiring.

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  • 325. At 00:33am on 25 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    He (316) did well, as did the rest of the panel. Was quite a good episode.

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  • 326. At 00:39am on 25 Jun 2010, muggwhump wrote:

    @ 314

    I would like to know, in the interest of clarity, exactly how the Government is defining what they refer to as The Poorest And Most Vulnerable In Society. Its just a phrase that when you think about it can mean just about anything to anybody. By far the biggest single recipients of the welfare budget are the pensioners, that part of the welfare cake is protected so it means that 25% savings on the ENTIRE welfare budget will have to be found in the remaining cash...and thats a whole lot of pain for a whole heap of the most vulnerable in society. So its a matter of some public interest to find out the official definition of that rather vague phrase.

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  • 327. At 00:54am on 25 Jun 2010, xTunbridge wrote:

    323 fairlyopenmind15

    How did this crap come to rule our lives and those of our children ?

    Kipling is a master of prose and poetry. Yes he was of his time but his works transcend time and "If" should be an anthem alongside works such as Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory and I think it betters both of those.

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  • 328. At 01:12am on 25 Jun 2010, sagamix wrote:

    Mmm, Kipling. Great cakes, great poet.

    If you afford the stolid traffic warden the same respect as the dynamic entrepreneur.

    If you can see the surreal folly of the independent nuclear deterrent.

    If you can appreciate the enormous benefits accruing from a liberal immigration policy and an ever more integrated Europe.

    If you love the pound enough to let it go.

    If you pay your taxes on the nail with a spring in your step and a song in your heart, thinking the best of those and that on which it is spent.

    If you can do all that and more, then all the beauty of heaven and earth will be yours ... and what is more you’ll be a clear thinking progressive*, my son.

    * although not in the new "George Osborne" sense.

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  • 329. At 01:31am on 25 Jun 2010, DisgustedinDERRY wrote:

    300. xTunbridge
    "The rights and wrongs of the battle are for others to be less than proud of"

    I agree to an extent. When soldiers act like those who murdered on Bloody Sunday, they deserve all they get. That does not mean I believe all soldiers do, I'm sure most don't???

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  • 330. At 05:35am on 25 Jun 2010, ranald wrote:

    Off subject here i know but...
    I appreciate that not all DLA claimants, (i am one myself) are genuine but it has been my experience that these "health professionals" are more interested in ticking boxes than determining or even understanding the claimants condition.
    One can appeal but how many "fall through the cracks",those who are not articulate or well informed? What about them?
    I am more than happy to submit myself to another assessment in 2013 as is seemingly now required but i cannot help but be slightly sceptical about the motive behind this idea.
    Without banging on too much i believe that the majority of disabled people are very honest when claiming DLA but the scammers who have no such morals are devious enough to screw the system and spoil it for the rest of us.
    Surely this proposal will cost huge amounts to implement???

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