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Public sector pensions: Your views

Pension files

Millions of workers in the public sector should work longer for lower pensions, a major report has said.

Lord Hutton's independent review said linking their pensions to career average earnings, rather than final salaries, would make them "affordable".

The government has already accepted a previous recommendation of Lord Hutton that public servants should soon pay higher contributions.

Unions have condemned the latest plans and will consider strike action.

Here, BBC News website readers talk about their views on public sector pensions and Lord Hutton's proposals.

Sandra Bewley, Cumbria

I have contributed to the pension scheme on the understanding that it was a final salary scheme.

With this change I feel cheated - I could have found a better pension deal had I known that after 25 years my pension would be decimated in this way.

Every time I've signed up to a pension scheme, changes are brought in and I miss out on better deals.

But at 53 years of age my options - and time remaining to pay into any other pension scheme - don't make changing to a personal pension scheme a viable option.

I will have to work for longer than I thought to retire on the same benefits.

I have a daughter at university - what will have happen to her and other young people trying to find jobs when the older generation are still working in theirs?

I feel totally betrayed.

Brian, Suffolk

I've been a public sector worker for 23 years. Over the last ten years I've seen my pay eroded as we've been moved out of the core civil service.

I'm surprised at the claim that there is no evidence that public sector staff were paid less than staff in the private sector to offset better pensions, as I know for a fact a similar job to mine in the private sector pays about £5k more.

However, I would agree that the cost of pensions is going up and if I want a decent pension when I retire, I may have to start contributing.

We have to be realistic and at some point someone has to pay. It would be naïve of me to expect not to have to contribute more.

It means that the possibility of retiring at 55 is no longer possible, I'm looking at working past 60 if I want to enjoy the things I thought I'd have when I joined the scheme.

When I joined I thought I'd be able to retire early, but so much has changed that it would be unrealistic to expect that I could do that now.

I would caution the unions not to automatically go for strike action as a default, just because it's members might have to pay a price for the troubles our country is in, we can't expect to be treated differently in the current climate.

Steve, Bournemouth

I have worked in the NHS for over 25 years as a nurse and I have Mental Health Officer Status which means I am able to retire on a full pension. That is half my final salary.

I'm due to retire in the next six years or so at 55. As I understand it from the bits of information I've gleaned my existing pension provision is protected but if I was still contributing to the scheme it wouldn't be.

However, had I worked in an equivalent profession - as a solicitor or architect, for example - in the private sector, I would now command a higher salary and would probably have a substantially more generous pension overall, as well as greater flexibility in how I invested for my retirement.

The better pension plans offered in the public sector are one of the few incentives to recruit and retain dedicated individuals. Their demise will remove this incentive and people will be put off joining the public sector.

John Henty, Worthing

I work in the public sector and I am appalled at the constant bashing that we appear to be getting from the media, general public and government. It was not us that almost brought our country to our knees but we are the ones that are constantly being targeted for cuts to our livelihood.

I don't mind paying my bit but I also need to have some sort of enjoyment out of life.

Let me state a few facts about the "excessive" perks of my job. I earn a modest salary, far less than I can expect to get in the private sector, and over the last year I have often struggled to buy basic items for my family, items that most people take for granted.

The only pay rise that I have received in the last 10 years is an inflation rise, and that stopped more than a year ago. For the next two years I will receive a 0% pay rise.

I get no state benefits and out of my salary I am expected to contribute 7% of my gross income towards my pension. This I understand will now rise to 10%, will become an averaged contribution salary and I will also be expected to work until I'm 67.

And for what? I'm 39 and my latest pension estimate when I retire is under £4,000 per year for 40 years of service. Should I really feel guilty for getting such a pittance?

There is nothing more that I can cut back on so if this goes ahead I will be forced to leave the scheme and rely solely on my national insurance contributions.

Adrian, Suffolk

All of the media reports seem to suggest we get a good pension. In some regards this is true, but to balance the books we have to pay 11% of our monthly salary to pay for it, which is far in excess of the contributions of other public sector workers - some of whom pay nothing at all but still draw a full pension.

If the working life of a new bobby is to be extended to 60 years minimum retirement age, then the monthly contributions should be reduced accordingly.

I have been saving for years towards my pension - if that is eroded because of the actions of others, it is not acceptable.

We all accept that the country is in turmoil but the banks are still lining their pockets while others still suffer.

How can it be right for banks that are now more or less owned by the state, and still making huge losses, to be able to pay out huge bonuses to their CEOs? This leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

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