As the truth about pensions has leaked out, ministers have started to panic. They have reacted with spin and bluster to try and conceal the real effects of their proposals.
Last week Channel 4 News tried comparing claims made by Treasury secretary Danny Alexander to results obtained from the government’s own online pensions calculator.
According to Alexander, a 40 year old male civil service worker with 18 years of service would need to work an extra 18 months to get the pension he was currently entitled to. But the calculator shows that even if he worked an extra four years, he’d still receive £141 less a year.
Alexander also claimed that if the 40 year old worked for an extra seven years and retired at 67, he would be £3,700 a year better off in retirement. But the calculator says the increase would be just £2,600 a year—some 30 percent less than Alexander’s claim.
The PCS has also produced research debunking government arguments. Alexander claimed in parliament that under his latest offer, “those closest to retirement should not have to face any change at all” to their pensions.
But this simply isn’t true. Those within ten years of retirement will still have to pay an extra £760 a year into their pensions.
And the “indexation change”—switching from RPI to CPI as the inflation measure for revaluing pensions—is set to cost the average PCS member £16,400 over a 20 year retirement.
No wonder Alexander is so nervous. He complained to the Guardian newspaper last Saturday that “going on strike will harden opinions on the union side and might make it harder for them to sell a deal to their members”.
Strip out the spin and Alexander’s message is for once quite clear. He knows his deal is shoddy—and that workers aren’t buying his lies.