please empty your brain below


nice rant!
was wondering what the punchline would be.

At the risk of becoming deeply unpopular ...

That is an extraordinarily long list, and there are all sorts of people missing from it, and therein lies the problem. We need an extraordinarily strong private sector to pay for an extraordinarily large public sector, which we don't really have at the moment.

Well said DG.

Society of Civil & Public Servants
Branch Secretary 1980-86

The problem is that even if you accept there needs to be some cutbacks (I do), for the Tories it's a ideological imperative whatever the economic situation. So how can they make balanced, sensible and appropriate decisions? It's a bit like accepting that we need some sensible and well thought out controls on immigration, and then putting that Mr Hitler chap in charge of coming up with the policy.

Just off to picket, you nearly had be going unti your last para.....

I thought it was very generous of the chancellor to give the current ex-public sector workers a 5.2% pay increase, with the promise of at least another 710,000 of them in the near future receiving the same RPI based annual increase.

wondered for a minute if I needed to get cross with you.
Nice one!
Not on strike - not in a union and it would be regarded as a disciplinary matter if I took the day off in sympathy. All holiday is banned unless booked anough in advance.
Would love to think the govt. is rattled - all these non-militant people SO fed up.
We'll see.

It's CPI, not RPI Audrey (it's just been lowered from the higher RPI).

Anyone else notice that anyone under 52 had their working life lengthened again yesterday?

Perhaps everyone under 52 should go on strike?

sGiven the number of budgets and autumn statements between now and when I am 67, if a few months are stuck onto the retirement age at each (a trend started by the last governmnet) I doubt any of us will ever get a state pension at all.

My state pension age is now 7 years later than it was when I began work/paying tax/NI in 1978.

@Blue Witch: and I hope your life expectancy has increased by a similar amount since you began working/paying tax in 1978 ! If you are living longer and expect to receive state benefits for longer, then 'someone' is going to have to pay for that. If you get 15 years of retirement, that's 15 years longer than my paternal grandfathers, who both died within months of retiring in the 60s. I, for one, don't have a problem with working a couple of years more. I'd rather not, but it's the price I'm willing to pay for (hopefully) living longer.

One thing I have found out as a result of these strikes is that Camden council contract out their refuse collection to a private company. I phoned the council yesterday to see if our bins were to be collected today and they kindly informed me they would because it's not them that do the collecting.

So it is. CPI not RPI. I apologise.

It is common for 'rulers' to use the divide and rule principle. There is no real difference between work done within the public and private sectors for the vast majority of people. Some activities are undertaken as a 'public good' e.g. building highways/maintaining highways. Some activity is completed by private concerns - haulage firms (who need the public highways to generate their business and profits). Workers in both sectors have very little say, in fact, about their terms and conditions. If public servants have to strike to be heard, they have to strike.

If people won't notice if public sector staff go out on strike why would they be concerned?

Well said Max Roberts

Phew, saved right at the last paragraph!

The scary thing is local authority pension schemes are fully funded (unlike many private pension schemes). What needs to be asked is why are the Public Sector employees paying back the deficit out of their pension contributions instead of an universal tax on financial transactions or even by a 90% supertax for the uber-wealthy.

@Max Roberts

It's a two way street - without contracts or subsidies from the government (local or central) many private sector businesses would be unviable, or indeed non-existant. And public servants pay tax too, you know!
The public sector pension system was revised only a few years back, and employees were told the new terms were viable for decades to come. Now the Government has come back for another bite. And why? To sort out a mess made by some elements of the private sector. How many CEOs are seeing their terms of employment and conditions torn up and their pay and pensions reduced? How many MPs?

(I am not a public servant myself)

I was about to remove you from my bookmarks until I got to the end.

Are you suggesting the private sector has not doing anything at all?

@Jordan D

If that question was directed at me, no, of course not: as I said, it's a 2-way street. Taxes paid by both private and public sector employees pay for essential services: but many private sector businesses either have goverbnment contracts, or operate in sectors that recive government subsidies. Where would the public transport, defence, security, building, and contract cleaning industries be without contracts and subsidies from local and central government?

The private sector is doing a lot more than it was say 30 years ago when many essential services were still nationalised, and councils directly employed staff to run their services.
The balance between public and private varies from one country to another, and within each country over time. Neither extreme is very pretty: 100% public sector is totalitarianism; 100% private is anarchy: however much of a free marketeer you are, things like the legislature, judiciary, national defence etc need to be financed somehow.

Paul - you said, "...and I hope your life expectancy has increased by a similar amount since you began working/paying tax in 1978!"

Of course my *personal* life expectancy hasn't increased by 7 years in the past 33!!!!! That is exactly the point I was (obviously badly) making...

*Everyone* has had the goalposts of their pensions moved by successive governmnints/ employers/ pension providing companies. It's just that some (in the public sector) are more able to remonstrate/demonstrate against it than others (those in the private sector/self-employed/with private pension schemes).

And I think the fact is that very few people actually understand pensions.

You know, when I was growing up, it was predicted we would all be living the Jetsons lifestyle. Jobs would take so little time to do, we would all have so much leisure time that we would have trouble knowing what to do with ourselves. Leisure industries to help us cope with all our spare time was going to be the growth industry of the future. We were all supposed to be sharing jobs and work only a day or two a week. I am still waiting for my flying car so I can get the heck out of here. :-)

@Blue Witch: sorry, your personal life expectancy DOES increase during your lifespan, or it should do, as there are improvements in health and safety. That is why the 'average' lifespan is increasing - because more people (contributing to the average) are living longer. Of course it won't be 7 years in 33, but then - I hope - you are not going to die at 33. It might well be 7 years in 75 though.

In 1970-2 (ELT 13), a 20 year old female expected to live another 57 years (until she was 77).

In 1992 (ELT 15), an 40 year old female expected to live another 40 years (until she was 80).

The current (2007-9) life expectancy of a a female aged 65 is another 20 years.

Sources: (see page 7, where the general upwards drift in life expectancies at all ages is clear) and (see the overview tab)

Rob C: how many of the "uber-wealthy" would stay in the UK to pay a 90% supertax? It would almost certainly reduce tax revenues rather than increase them.

In any event, the top 5% of income taxpayers already pay about 40% of the tax raised, on 20% of the income. The bottom 50% of taxpayers pay 10% of the tax raised on a similar share of the income.)


A financial transactions tax would (a) not raise all that much revenut (a few tens of billions, at best, compared to 250 billion for income tax and NICs, and 80 billion for VAT) and (b) have to be universal, otherwise the business would just move somewhere else. How much chance is there of persuading the Cayman Islands or Singapore to introduce it?

Someone's *personal* lifespan is largely set by their genes, and later influenced by the choices of food, leisure pursuits, job etc that they make. And whether they contract any illnesses, and/or have any accidents, and what pharmaceutical products they choose/don't choose to take.

Statistics refer to averages. Averages do not represent individual variation.

My life expectancy is undoubtedly less than it was when I was 16.

However pensions forecasts, insurance policies etc. have to be based on the statistics, which means averages, which I think is what the original poster was driving at.

DG - you are Jeremy Clarkson.

Of course your life expectancy gets greater as you get older - someone who has already lived 70 years your chances of reaching 75 are much higher than they were when you were born - and significantly higher than for someone born yesterday. This is most obvious in populations with high infant mortality - average life expectancty at birth may be only 30, but make it through infancy and you have a good chance of living into your sixties.

By holding down pay rises for public sector workers it also saves them money on the final salary schemes, where, under other circumstances, someone retiring would see their salary rise in line with inflation and their pension would reflect that rise. So anyone retiring on a final salary scheme in the last two, or for the next two, years it has already had an effect that will last 20 years or so.

All the people saying they didn't realise until the final paragraph (and presumably didn't notice the flag at the top either) can't have read the post very carefully through the red mist. Most paragraphs are simple logical contradictions, like this one:

"As our civil servants skive off work today, costing the nation billions in lost revenue, ask yourself how little these petty bureaucrats contribute to our beleaguered economy."


Who'd have imagined this would become so topical in 2020....?

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