Thursday, 30 June 2011

Public Sector Pensions

It is strange that 2 years ago Dave Prentis of Unison called for a review of his Unison staff pension scheme because of the black hole in it.
Unison staff pay 9.1% of salary while Unison pays 25% so they must acknowledge that approximately 35% of salary is necessary to produce a reasonable pension.
Teachers are paying about 6% currently and so the 29% shortfall will be met by taxpayers. There are about 4 times as many private sector workers as public sector so that means that you and 3 of your friends or colleagues will pay for the pension of one public sector worker. As less than 40% of the private sector have pensions and more than 80% of the public sector enjoy pension benefits this also means that of the 4 people paying for the public sector pension 2 of them will not even get a pension of their own.
A teacher was quoted as saying she already paid £100 per month and if this represents 6% then the other 29% would be over £400 so you and your friends and colleagues will each pay via your taxes £100.
If you think this is fair then do nothing, but if you think that enough is enough then spread the word via email so that you galvanise the silent majority into serious thought. 

Monday, 27 June 2011

Public Sector Pension Debate

The following figures and discussion do not take into effect growth and inflation but represent a simplistic, though reasonably realistic view of the pension debate.
In order to achieve a pension of, say £20,000 it is necessary to have a pension fund of £400,000. During as 40 year working life is would be necessary to pay the equivalent to £10000 per year which would be approximately 10% of a £40,000 salary.
In the private sector, where in many cases employees have also suffered a pay freeze for 2 or 3 years, large numbers of employees have had their final salary pension schemes closed and frozen and only money purchase schemes made available.
Those who have had their final salary schemes left open have had to pay increased contributions to safeguard their final pension. In my case my contributions went from 8% to 13%.
The public sector in the past traditionally had lower wages and generous pension with low contributions (in many cases zero contributions). The lower wages argument is no longer valid.  For example any movement in national minimum wage will not affect public sector workers  as most have national agreements well in excess of the national minimum wage.
The argument that pensions should be exceptionally attractive is no longer relevant as work pressures in the private sector are much higher than they were and working longer for their pensions is not an attractive proposition.
The Public Sector can no longer rely on the private sector to safeguard their futures by paying higher taxes.
It is time the public sector workers got away from political and union rhetoric and dogma and started to think pragmatically and logically about the general situation. There is no such thing as “Government Money” – it is our money, earned by us and given to the government to look after our infrastructure and needs while we generate more money.
Yes, these current measures are unpleasant but will have to be made as we, the general public and silent majority are no longer prepared to reduce our disposable income for the public sector workers.
So come on you silent majority and make your voices heard. STAND UP AND PROTECT our FUTURES and let these who would like to blackmail us into submission that they have to contribute the same way as the rest of the British workers.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Southern Cross Care Homes

The article on the One Show this week was unfortunately too one sided. This tone of discussion can easily frighten potential staff ( already a problem given the financial difficulties ) but more importantly upset residents and their families.
The team should visit Revelstoke Lodge in Plymouth. This is a home which could well close, does not get enough funding, and probably has the barest minimum of staff.
These staff are incredibly badly paid, highly qualified and wonderful carers ( obviously not in the job for the money )
Go to this home, interview families and residents and see if it is the type of place you would want to spend your twilight years and please, please try to avoid giving such a bad impression.
Put these staff in front of the camera so the public can see the passion with which they care for their people.

Friday, 17 June 2011

HMRC versus Hartland Farmer

A north Devon farmer who mows a local football pitch for free has been fined £250 for having red diesel in the tractor he used for the work.
John Thorne has been mowing the Hartland Football Club's field for free every fortnight for a year.
His tractor was examined by customs officials earlier this week.
HM Revenue and Customs said it was illegal to use it for mowing as it was was purely for agricultural, horticultural and forestry use.
However in December 2010 the following occurred:-
FARMERS are being allowed to use red diesel in their tractors to help grit and clear snow from public roads during the extreme weather, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced.  
This suggests that HMRC does have some discretion in these matters so why did 3 people from HMRC travel over 50 miles to enforce this petty action?
The rules surrounding red diesel appear to be unique to HMRC, generally relating to the vehicle and not the use of that vehicle. The vehicle classifications do not even coincide necessarily with those of the DVLA. You can use red diesel if the tractor had been transported to the playing fields. You can use red diesel if the tractor was purely designed for grass cutting and not used for any other purpose. You can’t use red diesel if the tractor is normally used for something else but temporarily is used with a mower attachment. What utter nonsense!!!
Bournemouth Council had a similar issue in 2008 but were advised that it would cost too much to fight.  
I do not feel that the actions taken by HMRC, who are in reality public servants employed by all of us, is not a good use of our funds and individuals who embark on this type of action should be fired as I no longer want to pay the wages of time wasters such as these.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Southern Cross Care Homes

I am fearful for elderly residents of Revelstoke Lodge in Plympton who could be forced to move home due to the collapse ( restructuring ) of Southern Cross. Everyone seems to write about what the causes of the collapse are, who to blame etc, but no one seems to write about these elderly people, some in their nineties, who have made Revelstoke their home but who may now be forced to move if it is closed. Imagine your own elderly and possibly frail relatives being told they can no longer live in their home but will have to move somewhere else. Write to councillors, MP's, millionaires, philanthropists, Bill Gates - anyone who can have some influence on their future. Don't let this go - spread the word in the hope that some useful contacts may be made. Send me links to MP's, personalities, anyone you can think of who might have even the slightest influence.
Read other pages by GMB.
Come on someone - do something.
Look at the web created to create wealth for a few at the expense of many.

Maybe it is time to boycott Sainsbury's until something is done.
I am not generally a great supporte of unions but the GMB is doing an amazing job on this case.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


The lunatic fringe are at it again!!! When will people learn that there is no money left in the safe. Unions are calling for strike action against changes to the public sector pensions. What the hell do they think has been going on in the private sector. My contributions went up from 8% to 13% and they are complaining about 6% to 9%. We have had a pay freeze for 3 years also. I read a statement the the Local Government Pension scheme is not funded by the taxpayers but by underlying investments of employees and employers contributions. Where do they think the employers portion comes from and do they think the employees will not want more basic pay if forced to pay additional contributions? The rest of the public will be expected to cough up in both cases.
The public sector used to have low wages and that is why they were protected with generous pension schemes. They are no longer the lowest paid in society. Few of them would work for the wages of carers working for Southern Cross, for example, let alone do the work they have to do and almost none of those workers will get a pension at all.
Of the 6.2 million workers in the public sector it expected that .75 million will come out on strike and try to hold the country to ransom.
Are the other 23.1 million workers going to let them do this? Probably. But there will come a time when the Silent Majority will unite and rebel and there will be a backlash against those who are not prepared to be "in it together".
Spread the word, unite the Silent Majority, show you really care. No action other than send a link to this blog to ALL your friends. One day we will be able to be a force for the good.