Dishonourable pension proposals

4th July 2003 at 01:00
YOUR leader writer considers that "being reasonable people (teachers) will acknowledge that the Government has to do something to defuse the 'pensions time bomb' created by low birth rates and a huge baby-boomer generation" (TES, June 20).

I believe that it is entirely reasonable to expect that successive governments should have taken steps to plan for this eventuality. They have had 50 years' notice of the baby-boomer generation, and some decades'

notice of the very welcome reduction in birth rates. They, presumably, have access to competent actuaries.

The only thing they can claim to have had fewer years' notice of is the return to earth of an inflated stock market, although we are told elsewhere in the same edition of The TES that teachers' pensions are paid out of revenue, so that would presumably make little difference.

Over the past 30-odd years that I have been making contributions, the Government has effectively contracted with me to provide a certain level of pension in return for the contribution levels it set. If they were insufficient they had every chance to adjust them appropriately during that time. It also had the opportunity to invest the contributions, rather than treating them as current revenue. If it didn't do the maths, or get competent actuarial advice, that is not my fault. When I reach 60, and have finished paying the "added years" contributions necessary to clock up the necessary 40 years' service, I expect the Government to honour its part of the contract in full.

I do not think that an unreasonable view to take.

David Cursons 8 York Terrace, Cambridge

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