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‘Act now to end public-sector disparity’

The disparity between public and private sector pensions must be addressed to prevent a future right-wing Government using the issue as an excuse to destroy public sector pensions, say the LibDems.

Speaking at a CentreForum and Help the Aged event, sponsored by LV=, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Danny Alexander addressed concern from the public sector about the LibDem stance on the issue.

He said: “I am worried that in the not so distant future, there will come a time when the Tories will come back to power, potentially on a right-wing ticket, and the backlash against public sector pensions could be strong.”

He renewed previous LibDem calls for an independent commission to look into the future of public sector pensions and highlighted recent research from the LibDems which showed that for every £1 a private sector worker contributes to their pension, they are in effect paying 91p in tax into a public sector worker’s retirement scheme.

Alexander told delegates at the fringe meeting that MPs should take the lead on the issue and commit to a restructure of their pension scheme first.

LV= chief executive Mike Rogers said there is a huge opportunity for the financial services industry to take advantage of changing UK demographics but that issues of liquidity, both through assets tied up in property and restrictive pension rules, need to be addressed.

Rogers said: “We must allow people to get the most they can from what they build up through their lives.”

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