Monday, November 09, 2015
Exit payment cap presages further attacks on pensions?
Clause 26 of the Enterprise Bill, which imposes the "public sector exit payment cap" has emerged largely unscathed from the Bill's Committee stage in the House of Lords.
Government Ministers blithely accepted that the cap, which has been marketed as aimed at the handful of "fat cats" who are the focus of attention for the Daily Mail and the Taxpayers' Alliance, will in fact hit long serving public servants a long way from the earnings stratosphere.
The impact of the cap will be to impose reductions on the pensions of staff made redundant at (or over) 55 if the "strain payment" for paying them an unreduced pension would tip their total package over the £95,000 threshold. Such reductions would be made for life - meaning that workers forced out of employment through no fault of their own would not simply suffer the immediate consequences of their redundancy but would be impoverished for the remainder of their life.
The Government won't even be clear about the implementation date for the cap, stating only that this will be after the Bill receives Royal Assent (obviously) and that this will be next summer.
It seems the Lords were reluctant to undo a manifesto commitment - when the Bill reaches the Commons we'll need to lobby MPs so that they understand the consequences of this vindictive measure.
We'll also need to alert trade union members to this attack on our rights.
In local government the change to our pension regulations consequent upon the imposition of the cap breaches the promise of the last Government that the 2012 pensions settlement would last a generation.
This doubtless presages further attacks on public service pensions. We need to mobilise our members to prepare for action to defend our jobs and our pension rights.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.