With people living longer, public sector pension reform is inevitable. The Government today set out its offer to the unions which is fair and affordable. The lowest paid and people ten years off retirement will be protected – and public sector pensions will still be among the very best available. Unfortunately the opposition refuse to back this offer. I asked the Chief Secretary today about the Government's plans;
Does the Chief Secretary agree that, as longevity is still increasing by about two years a decade and is likely to carry on doing so, we cannot stick our head in the sand or sit on the fence, as we have seen the Opposition do? All parties need to work together to reach a proper consensus, so that we can achieve a long-lasting, sustainable settlement.
Danny Alexander (Chief Secretary to the Treasury):
I think that it would be in the national interest to have a proper cross-party consensus on today's proposals. The hon. Gentleman is right to highlight the increases in longevity. By linking the normal pension age to the state pension age we can ensure that the taxpayer is protected from that in future, because as longevity increases, the state pension age can be changed. That is the right way to protect pensions, rather than the previous Government's cap and share arrangement, which would have meant complex negotiations every three years. That would have resulted in both increases in contributions and reductions in benefits every three years. By setting out this scheme now, we have one that can last for 25 years without the need for further negotiation
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