A Convenient Underestimate

John Hutton, the former Labour minister now chairing the government inquiry into public service pensions, has asked for the views of every concerned citizen.

Such an approach is welcome but the lack of transparency in reporting the real cost of these pensions during the tenure of Gordon Brown makes participation difficult.

After employee contributions, the official annual cost to taxpayers for teachers and the NHS is 14% of pensionable salary and 19% for the civil service – some £15bn.

However, these figures are the result on some “Enron” accounting and the true figures are probably closer to 30%, 40%, and £30bn respectively.

In addition, since MPs’ pensions are by far the most generous of the lot, it is to be hoped our political masters will volunteer to be the first to have their benefits reduced.

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