30th June 2011
Tom McPhail, head of pensions research at Hargreaves Lansdown said both sides of the current public sector pension dispute "seem to be displaying impressive levels of misunderstanding and misinformation around Lord Hutton's proposals for pension reform".
McPhail added: "In particular, it is being suggested that there is no case for reform and that the public sector schemes are sustainable in their present form. This is wrong, as the following quote from Hutton's interim report makes clear.
McPhail said he believed Hutton's proposals for public sector pensions were "fair, proportionate and necessary". However the way the government was set to implement them had undermed the unions' goodwill, but that the unions "seemed intent on escalating this dispute beyond the question of the necessary pension reforms".
Up to 750,000 public servants are expected to take part in today's strike as the coalition government faces the first industrial uprising against its austerity measures.
The Guardian website reports that a third of schools are expected to close and two-thirds of universities have cancelled lectures. It notes: "Benefits will go unpaid, court cases will be postponed, police leave has been cancelled in London and airports are bracing themselves for backlogs at immigration."
Prime Minster David Cameron has condemned the unions and Labour party although none of the four striking unions, with members in schools, colleges, universities and the civil service, is affiliated to the Labour party.
Roads in central London will shut as thousands of people march in demonstrations that will be echoed across the country. Police leave has been cancelled so officers can cover for striking police community support officers, call handlers on the 999 lines and security staff.
Although the Treasury estimates that it could save £30m from the pay forfeited by the striking teachers, business leaders warned this was hugely outbalanced by cost of thousands of parents having to take the day off.
The BBC News website reported that TUC general secretary Brendan Barber will address a rally in Exeter, saying: "The brutal truth is simply this: The burden of deficit reduction is being piled unfairly onto millions of low and medium-paid public sector workers who did nothing to cause the crash.
"Their pay has already been frozen for two years, even though inflation is higher than it has been for over a decade."
Mindful Money's resident economist Shaun Richards writes about why the UK needs public sector pension reform.
But no matter where you stand, you should probably check on your pension entitlements. If your pension is due to fall or if you are being asked to contribute more, you may wish to try and do something about it and this Telegraph article from March could prove useful.
And here This is Money has a guide if you are worried about your defined benefit pension.
Finally if you are in a private sector pension, this site is one of many to provide some helpful information.
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