Friday, April 30, 2010

Son of FRS17 and the LGPS

The title of this blog post has not been approved by regular readers Sid and Doris Plain-English, but bear with me...



The Grauniad reports that an addition to FRS17 - the accountancy rules that helped to accelerate the private sector flight from proper pensions provision - is in the offing (http://m.guardian.co.uk/?id=102202&story=http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/29/pension-rules-force-final-salary-closures).



The requirement to report a snapshot of pension scheme assets and liabilities with annual accounts prompted most private employers to close defined benefit pension schemes to new entrants. A further turn of this screw may see more schemes closed altogether.



This will worsen our position as we try to defend public sector pensions from the Clegg-Cameron attack which looks so likely to start a week from now. We know that a future Government will seek to justify a straightforward cost-cutting attack upon low paid public servants in retirement as a measure bringing "fairness" as between public and private sector workers.



I think this underlines the importance of extending "admitted body" status in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) so that private sector workers can press their employers to admit them to a decent defined benefit pension scheme (the assets and liabilities of which do not need to be reported to shareholders).



Whatever the depth of the economic crisis our enormously wealthy country can afford decent pensions for working people - attacks on pensions will be political choice not economic necessity.



One contribution to the defence against these attacks is to try to open up access to the LGPS more widely to private sector workers, to offer defined benefit pensions which won't fall foul of FRS17 or its offspring.



I hope that Unison Conference will take up this proposal.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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