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November 28, 2005

Pensions and politics ....

Our wonderful government has done it again. They don't like the content of the report that they commissioned from Lord Turner - one of their own supporters - so they leak a whole slew of memos to the sympathetic press trashing its contents before the report is even published. Then they rush out all the usual liars to "brief" the press on how the Commission has "exceeded its brief"! Well, given their track record thus far, I suppose we should not be in the least bit surprised. I suppose we should simply be grateful that they haven't used some attrocity committed by one or another group of terrorists somewhere to "hide bad news".

I will confess that I have a personal interest in this debate. I retire next year on a pension that will not pay my mortgage, so I will have no option but to work until I drop. One thing I am absolutely determined on, is that it will not be for the present shower of complete incompetents that I currently have to answer to. Further, I can see several battles ahead as the funds I transfered into my present pension fund, have been "revalued" by them several times - always downward. Each time I have fought them on this and each time it is resolved only to have them "lose" the resolution conveniently with all record of the funds transferred in at some future point so that I have to fight the whole damned battle again! Always with a slight loss of the ultimate benefit.

None of this is helped by the Chancellor's ongoing raid on all pension funds which is stripping some £8 billion a year from the hard pressed funds - and he still has the gall to tell us we should invest more so he can steal more. This crisis is almost entirely the result of stupid and incompetent management who did not invest the workers contributions wisely, if at all, so when the stock market went bad on them, they threw good money after bad to the point that many funds have collapsed entirely. And then Gordon Brown and his thieves decided to tax the earnings of pension funds and stripped what remained.

You will notice, just in passing, that those parasites who occupy the Palace of Westminster have got their own pensions stitched up a treat. Index linked, non-contributory and you only have to "work" 10 years to get the full two-thirds final salary benefit! The rest of us have to put in 40+ and contribute to funds that have never been invested or have been so badly managed we will be lucky to get a damned thing - but Parliament is the body that decides how much we can have and now when we can have it. I will feel a little less aggrieved about this when I see them having to take a cut in their perks and benefits, pay the full tax on it all and have to put in as many years under incompetent and ignorant managers as I have.

A reasonably simple calculation tells me that if Parliament had to accept a pay freeze for the next ten years and pay the full tax on all their earnings and the "perks" - like an allowance equal to a second salary for "expenses" - this would be equal to around £20 per pensioner and there would be no need to raise the pension age as the Chancellor is now insisting is necessary. Another simple action would be to remove the tax the Treasury has imposed on pension funds. This would inject £8 billion straight into the funds, which, if properly managed and invested would go a long way to paying proper and reasonable pensions to those who have paid into them for their working lives.

I recently made enquiries to see what I would have to invest in order to draw a two thirds final salary pension after only ten years investment. It amounted to almnost two thirds of my current take home pay. Let's see our parliamentarians and their hanger's on do that, then perhaps I will consider their fat-cat pensions to have been earned. Untill then, they can damned well keep their mouths shut about anyone having to make "sacrifices" to pay for a problem entirely of their making.

Posted by The Gray Monk at November 28, 2005 11:25 AM

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Don't sometimes you wish you would have emigrated to another country?
Politician have always raided money no matter the source. And they have always made sure their plan is different then the masses and safe.

Over here in the USA we have the same problem with Social Security. But the nice thing is you can opt out of Social Security and keep all the future money they would have taken from you . The bad thing is that most people don't find this out until they have too much money in the program. And the goeverenment won't let you take out what you have already contributed.

I had decided awhile back to plan my retirement as if I will get no money from Big Brother. So I hope to end up with Social Security filling in the 1/3 of my current pay and my personal plan filling the other 2/3's. So if Social Security fails I still will have a OK living standard.

Posted by: skipjack at December 1, 2005 10:59 AM