As the Public Sector strike draws nigh, a Biased BBC reader generously provides us with the sort of insight which the State Broadcaster conspicuously ignores;


If you want irrefutable evidence of the real cost of public sector pensions a public sector trade union has unwittingly provided a convincing example of the mammoth cost from its annual accounts. An example that is substantive, not speculative.

In accordance with an agreement with their staff trade union, the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA – 46,000 members) provides pension benefits for its employees comparable to those of the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS). NIPSA, has however to invest its employer contributions with insurance companies to obtain comparable superannuation benefits for its retiring staff.

In Northern Ireland, and in GB (with its Principal Civil Service Superannuation Scheme or PCSPS), civil servants who joined before 2008 contribute nothing toward their pensions which are unfunded, inflation-proofed and based on final salary. NIPSA’s employees are however, like those civil servants, required to pay a contribution of 1.5% (refundable) towards the cost of dependents’ benefits.

In its 2009 valuation, NIPSA’s actuary assessed a shortfall in its pension scheme funding of some £1.9m and recommended the employer contribution rate should be 39.3% from 2010 with a contribution of £210,000 p.a. to recover the funding shortfall. The employer rate, previously 40.8%. (see 2009 accounts) was insufficient to bring the scheme out of deficit!

Presumably other trade unions who match civil service pensions for their staff are experiencing the same shortfalls despite an employer contribution of 40% of staff salaries.

So there you have indisputable evidence-based proof: We pay at least 40% on top of a civil servant’s salary to provide them with their pensions and lump sums (3 x annual pension rate).

And they are on strike because they are being asked to pay 3% more.

In fairness it should be 35% more. “

I do hope the BBC will ensure that important fact based data like this is properly reflected in the debate and my thanks again for the contribution.