Monday, September 26, 2005

Pensioning pensioners

A retired social worker has been jailed for seven days for refusing to pay above inflation increases in her council tax over recent years.

As a former public sector employee, would she rather have worked to 65 and reduced her future council tax bills or still retire at 60 and expect other people to fund her retirement?


Serf said...

I missed the fact that she was a state paid parasite. She should pay double what everyone else does.

Gavin Ayling said...

Apparently it costs £100 per day for prison 'accomodation', so she's costing us money too... I still say good on her, how can fixed income people be asked to pay more because Gordon Brown is incapable of managing a drinking session in a brewery?

Astolath said...

Regardless of your political viewpoint, does no-one find this whole affair distasteful? Locking up a 73-year-old woman isn't something to gloat about - more a sad reflection of our modern attitudes toward each other...

Even on a purely practical level, and despite the protestations of the authorities, she has become a martyr for the cause, so no-one's come out of this looking particularly good.

Just in passing, what's the hostility toward public sector workers all about? I work for an NDPB on a civil service contract and none of us are here for the money - I could earn much more in the private sector (and have!). The fact is that the pension scheme is one of the few rewards in the job. Being government funded, there are no bonus schemes and pay raises, we normally just about manage to scrape in just above inflation. We've got to find 10% cuts this year which will probably mean redundancies too. Add to that the fact that we part-fund our own wages through the tax we pay and none of us are exactly living the high life.

Snafu said...

Astolath, should a 73 year old woman never be imprisoned? Why have bailiffs not visited her property to seize £53 worth of assets instead?

As regards the "hostility towards public sector workers", maybe it's just envy. Public sector pensions are the gold standard of all pensions. They are index-linked, guaranteed by the UK taxpayer and not subject to the vagaries of the stockmarket like their private sector equivalents. The only risk is that there will not be enough workers to tax!! Few private sector pensioners enjoy such benefits.

I hope that the Government wins it's battle to increase the public sector retirement age to 65 despite union threats of strikes not seen in Britain since 1926.

Will the threat of increasing the retirement age by two years meet similar resistance in the private sectore? I doubt it.

Astolath said...

'...should a 73 year old woman never be imprisoned?'

That wasn't the question - we're talking about a specific case here. I just don't believe that that anyone came out of this looking very clever - even less so, those who gloated over the fact that she was put away. Very few people agree with the council tax and she stood on a point of principle - whether you agree with it is up to you. Just not sure I'd have the balls to do what she did on a similar issue of principle...

As regards the pensions thing, you're probably right - it's down to envy. As I said for most public workers, it's one of the few incentives to work in the sector. But if you work for years in a low-paid job for very little reward and nothing but misplaced contempt from the public (because you end up as a punch-bag over government policies!), then why not have a reward at the end of it? If we need to attract good people into the public sector, but aren't allowed to incentivise through big pay awards and bonuses then what else can be done? People want to do the worthy thing and stay in the sector, but when you can move into the private sector and double your pay for doing a similar job, you'd be mad not to. It's a problem we have here - we seem to be a springboard to other careers and as a result have a pretty high staff turnover. Now that the incentive of a generous pension scheme is on the way out, it's only going to lead to a bigger drain of well-qualified public sector workers.

We can't win!