Thousands of people across Teesside and the wider North East could end up dropping out of their pension schemes as the Tory-led Government increase employee contributions and reduce the value of pensions.
Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham says this is likely to leave many without adequate pension provision at a time when they face the biggest squeeze on living standards since the 1920s.
Such changes will impact most on women, who account for two thirds of public sector employees. Despite the myth peddled by the Tories about gold plated public sector pensions, 65 per cent of women in public sector pension schemes receive pensions below £6,000 a year (an average of £2,800 for a woman working in local government).
“We understand that tough choices need to be made both across the private and public sector. Unfortunately, there is a real danger of a race to the bottom on pensions, with the goal of maintaining already modest public sector pension schemes jeopardised by the need for short term savings.
“At a time when they are already facing pay freezes and price rises, there are real fears that dinner ladies, teachers and nurses in Stockton North and across the country will be unable to make ends meet in their retirement”
“While a balance clearly needs to be struck between employer, employee and tax-payer contributions, I just hope the government will make negotiation a priority in securing sustainable public sector pension schemes. We must make sure that public sector workers, especially those on low pay, do not disproportionately bear the brunt of a global financial crisis for which they did not cause”.