9 May 2012
The government’s agenda for the coming parliamentary session includes the introduction of legislation to reform public service pensions in line with the recommendations of Lord Hutton’s independent commission on public service pensions. This is the public service pensions bill that will cut public service pensions. Measures to modernise the pension system and reform the state pension will also be brought forward.
Hutton’s recommendations will mean the vast majority of public servants having to work for years longer before qualifying for a pension – paying the higher contributions all that time. Read our response to Hutton.
The pensions bill would “implement changes to public service pension provision, in line with the final proposed agreements reached with trades unions for the three largest schemes in March. It would establish a common framework across public service pension schemes”. Despite this assertion so far only the Association of Teachers and Lecturers has accepted the ‘final agreement’.
The government paper said it is "committing to ensuring that the state pension age is increased in future to take into account increases in longevity". This brings forward the increase in the state pension age to 67 between 2026 and 2028. A joint campaign – called 68 is too late, launched yesterday – involving Unite, PCS and the National Union of Teachers NUT seeks to mobilise the public against plans which could see the finishing line for access to state pensions moved ever further forward.
The union's 250,000 public sector members will strike against the government's cuts to pensions tomorrow alongside colleagues from Unite; the University and College Union; the Northern Ireland public sector union Nipsa; and Rail, Maritime and Transport members in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
Other legislation was outlined in the draft local audit bill to close the Audit Commission and “establish new arrangements for the audit of local public bodies”.
Other attacks on the public sector include provisions in the crime and courts bill to establish the National Crime Agency “to tackle the most serious and organised crime and strengthen border security”. It also outlined reforms to the courts and tribunals service to create a single county court system and single family court in England and Wales. Proposals to reform the court and tribunal service were also outlined.
Check the PCS website for further analysis in the next few days.