By Max Clarke
A letter written by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to Danny Alexander on public sector pensions reveals deep concerns about the government’s pension reforms.
The reforms have sparked fierce anger by public sector workers, many of whom undertook industrial action last month in protest.
The missive, leaked to the Daily Telegraph, has been seen by trades unions as a vindication of their opposition to the reforms:
“This is a letter that could have been written by any of the union negotiators,” said TUC chief, Brendan Barber. “Mr Lansley endorses almost every point the unions have made. He confirms that the government is grabbing money from public sector workers to pay down a deficit they did nothing to create, even at a time when their pay is frozen for two years and many are facing job losses.
Lansley’s controversial plans to modernise the NHS also incurred the wrath of health workers, trades unions, and many of the public, and is scarcely likely to pander to such organisations. For this reason, his opposition to the reforms will have extra resonance among the groups.
Barber continues: “Most tellingly he says the government is trying to take so much out of public sector pensions and impose so many extra costs on workers that there is a very real danger that staff will simply opt out of their pensions.
“This would have the perverse consequence of making the deficit worse, as the government will still have to pay current pensions but will get no benefit from the contributions of those who leave their schemes.'
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