By Maximilian Clarke

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) have calculated that, since 1923, £46.4bn more has been paid into their pensions than has been collected, suggesting that the current scheme is affordable and that reform is both unfairly punitive and unnecessary.

The figures for the Teachers Pension Scheme date back to 1923, adjusted for GDP growth. The union in their calculations, however, neglect the changing demography of the country that is seeing workers live far longer after retirement than they were in 1923, and has long since become economically unsustainable: since 1951, the number of people aged 65 and over has rocketed by 80%. Nevertheless, the union remains committed to November 30th’s strike despite the crippling effects on the nation's economy at a time when growth threatens to contract.

Public sector pensions currently account for nearly 1 in 3 pounds of public money spent- a staggering 13.1% of the UK’s entire national income. Yet unions remain unwilling to pay extra to support the mushrooming pension pot.

"The NUT's research proves two points,” says Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers. “First, funding public sector pensions is a complex area — we won't allow our opponents simply to ignore those parts of the story that don't suit them. Second, it is a long term issue — policies shouldn't be driven by short term considerations.

"There is no £46.4 billion to hand. The fact is, however, that the Government has accepted a long series of cheap loans from teachers’ pension contributions before complaining about paying the pensions promised in return."

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