The Scandal Of Pensioner Poverty Will Get Worse Unless We Value Decent Pension Schemes Says GMB

3 Aug 2009

GMB trade union of over 611,000 members commenting on the publication of the Work & Pensions Select Committee report “Tackling Pensioner Poverty” and the TUC’s pamphlet “Exploding Public Sector Pensions Myths”.

If workers aren’t encouraged to save for retirement through pension schemes while they are earning, the taxpayer will have to pay the bill when they retire.

Welcoming the reports Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary said, “Everyone needs to be aware that unless attitudes to pensions change then worse is to come. Companies closing decent pension schemes for short term cost gains and knee-jerk attacks on public sector schemes have got to stop. If workers aren’t encouraged to save for retirement through pension schemes while they are earning, the taxpayer will have to pay the bill when they retire. Yet at every turn politicians, employers and the pensions industry are watering down schemes and dumbing down the debate. It’s scandalous that two million pensioners live in poverty and immediate action is needed. Government should increase the state pension from £95 a week to a decent level so no pensioner has to live out their life with the stress and indignity of poverty.

For example, the Local Government Pension Scheme generates tens of £billions of investment in UK industry. It is a quality scheme covering four million people yet it is under threat because of baseless scaremongering by Tory party politicians and their supporters. GMB, employers and government have worked hard together to ensure the local government scheme is and remains affordable, sustainable and an asset to both employers and members.

Everyone needs quality occupational pension schemes to encourage saving and ease the strain of pensioner poverty. Serious debate is called for, not sensationalist political point-scoring.”

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary, Public Services Section