Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) has said today progress on pensions has gone backwards accusing employers of continuing to walk away from their responsibilities.
Barber claims only one in four private sector employees are now members of good employer pension schemes with the trend is moving downwards and that many employers have shut salary-based schemes to new members. He also criticises Rentokil for proposing the closure its salary-based scheme altogether.
Barber says: “Directors in too many companies have been keen to tighten every belt other than their own - boardroom schemes continue to guarantee huge pay-outs. We will not build a new pensions consensus on the foundations of double standards and gross inequality.
He adds pensions will continue to top the trade union agenda in the year ahead promising to “step up our defence of existing pensions.”
Referring to the Turner Report published at the end of November Barber says while there is wide support for the basic elements of the report including a basic State pension indexed to earnings that in time becomes universal; a universal pension for the over-75s; and a national pensions saving plan with compulsory employer contributions; the TUC would have wanted the report to go further.
Moreover, Barber argues a more generous State pension will have to be paid for through the tax system stating the TUC will continue to resist raising the State pension age and that the money for a more generous State pensions should come from reducing at what he calls “the big handouts in tax reliefs” on pensions paid to higher rate taxpayers, and a bigger tax burden over time.IFAonline
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