Tom Watson’s letter to Nick Clegg

Dear Mr Clegg,

Public Sector Pension Schemes

I was concerned to read your comments regarding public sector workers in the press. Britain’s civil servants, local government and health workers, teachers and school support staff do an excellent job, often for low pay.

Your comments continue to reinforce a negative stereotype of public sector workers and promote a sense that they are getting something they don’t deserve. It’s unfair on them and unbecoming of you.

Can you confirm that your comments on “gold-plated and unfair” pension schemes do not apply to the schemes of our Armed Forces?

Can you also confirm that all of the staff that you have recently appointed will be opting out of the civil service pension scheme in line with your opinion that it is unaffordable?

I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Watson MP.

3 Responses to “Tom Watson’s letter to Nick Clegg”

  1. FaustiesBlog says:

    “Unbecoming”?!! By what right do you, Watson, dare declare anyone’s behaviour as “unbecoming” when you, along with your bruisers tried to trash the Tories with sheer lies in the media?

    Have you NO shame?

  2. Jane says:

    This is a rather an emotional letter rather than a letter offering to look at the difficulties which face the country. The OBR report published this week states that the country faces more than double costs of public sector pensions by 2014 (from memory £4bn to £9+bn) and this will increase further after 2014.

    Some facts for Mr Watson and I say this as someone who works in the public sector.

    We have to acknowledge that public sector pensions are based on final salary and this is a rarety in the private sector these days. I know that some reforms have been made – extending retirement age etc but the IFS says these are very modest and only apply to new workers. People keep saying that the public sector pensions are lower that the private sector. However, overall the Pensions Policy Institutions reports that the average occupational pension is £8,320.

    In This is Money in January research indicates that public sector workers now earn an average 16% more that those in the private sector. The argument that the average public sector worker earns a pittance is wrong. There are low paid workeres but these exist in the private sector too. A report by PricewaterHouse Coopers in the last twelve months states that private sector workers need to contribute 37% of salary to match retirement income of a public sector worker on a similar salary.

    Some jobs carry a risk to life in both private and public sector and it is right that such people are protected in terms of pensions as they may be unfit for work at an early age. In the case of the armed services (my husband is in receipt of such a pension). This is again an emotive group and unworthy of the wider need to look at public expenditure.

    I have supported labour all of my life and need to say that I am bitterly disappointed with how things are going. I am hoping it is because we do not have a permanent leader. Somehow, no one is acknowledging the serious financial crisis the country faces – all I am getting is gumph similar to above. Why does Mr Watson not acknowledge that we cannot afford to continue with public sector pensions as they stand. Why does he not say that people on low salaries may have to pay an additional 2.5% and those who earn over £40,000 should pay an extra 10%, and higher increases sas the salary goes up further. Why do MPs just point up those on low pay to support their biased and financially unsound arguments. Don’t know about anyone else but I could name a least 50 people in my small rural county who earn a fortune. Chief Constable, NHS ChiefExec, many at the County and District Council, headteachers, etc etc. Some earn over £200,000 and pay 6% of their salary! Absolutely ludicrous.

    Sometimes it would be rather nice for MPs from all parties to acknowledge the country’s difficulties and to cooperate in dealing with them. I love this coalition government and do not care what anyone else says. Politics is about coperation for the greater good. I have just had three years of a government whose leadership felt it important to demolish the opposition, short term goals, dishonesty (cuts v investment) class etc etc. All the issues I have mentioned meant that I did not vote for the party for the first time in my life. If letters above reflect how the party continues to behave then they will not get my vote again. To assist, I consider myself to be in Social Class between A and B. Just to dispel the myth that you lost only C2 voters.

  3. michael egerton says:

    Dear Mr. Watson,
    I could answer your questions but I won’t.

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