Scottish pension hikes a crude tax on workers


Scottish pension hikes a crude tax on workers

Professional public sector workers in Scotland reacted with anger to the news that they will be covered by the UK government's plans to increase pensions contributions for public sector workers from April 2012.

This equates to an average increase in pension contributions of 3.2 per cent of salary.

Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister, confirmed today that: "In addition to the proposals to increase the level of contributions to the civil service pensions, the UK Government has made it crystal clear that if we do not implement the increase in pension contributions for everyone in the Scottish NHS, teachers, police and fire pension schemes then they will reduce the amount of money in the Scottish budget."

"The impact of that would be to reduce the Scottish budget by over £100 million in 2012-13 and by more than £550 million over the next three years. This would have an immediate, significant and detrimental impact on public services and the public sector workforce."

Prospect national secretary Anne Douglas said: "We welcome the First Minister's statement that Scottish Ministers are strongly opposed in principle to the UK Government's policy of increasing contributions.

"But while the pensions issue is a reserved matter for the UK government, public sector pay in Scotland is within the devolved powers of the Scottish administration. The First Minister could have softened the impact of the pensions increases being imposed by London by allowing civil servants and other workers a pay rise next year.

"The UK government talks about consultation, but it doesn't listen to what people are saying. It announced these contributions increases when we were in the middle of talks to look at medium and longer-term changes to pensions. This cuts right across the process. These increases are a crude tax on public sector workers dressed up as pension reform.

"The actuarial costs of these schemes are projected to fall, not increase, despite the UK Government's cynical attempt to sway public opinion by distorting statistics."