Hard working hit by pension review

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IT is galling to note that on virtually the same day the Hutton report on pensions highlighted savage cuts in the earnings of millions that the Forbes rich list highlighted hundreds of new billionaires.

The pensions review is hitting ordinary working people in this country, and these are not ‘gold plated’, high income pensions but are of the likes of a cleaner or refuse collector who can expect an average pension of around £4,000 per year!

Similarly the pensions of workers in the health service and armed forces are not much more.

The fact is that over the last few years high earners in councils such as executive directors and chief executives have been leaving with huge pension settlements.

Why did they get out? Simple, they saw the writing on the wall and if they had been forced to stick with the minimum pensions instead of the enhanced amounts we would not have seen the headlong rush to get out of the local authority structures.

We as a country have a pitiful record in looking after pensioners and one way that was available to help pensioners out of poverty was to provide decent pensions.

Local council workers have for years had lower pay than the private sector and for years they have paid into their pension funds knowing that whilst their pay may be lower they gained through having a pension to look forward to.

I challenge anyone to go and talk to the ordinary, lower paid council workers in Northumberland who have taken their pensions and see how much they are getting.

It is not a fortune and it never has been.

Like everything else (including the Forbes list) the rich get richer while the poor can get lost.

Someone has to pay for their wealth and that someone is the ordinary people of this country.

It was also interesting to note that the bastion of ‘The Big Society’ where we are all in it together, Philip Green, has his wealth declared at £7.2bn.

I hope the people of this country see through the hype and realise that governmental services departments including the nurses, doctors, cleaners, soldiers, sailors, airmen, teachers do not milk the system but support it.

They deserve and have to have a fair deal and not the sight of people who know nothing of the plight of pensioners, ripping them off by hitting the pensions which they pay for now and have done for years gone by.

A fair deal and common sense needs to be applied and Lord Hutton needs to look at the situation in respect of pensioner poverty and come up with a solution to help tackle this rather than a cut price bargain basement slash and burn report produced to appease the government.

RONNIE CAMPBELL

Blyth Valley MP

Blyth