Public sector foots the bill

Proposals that will see the pension contributions of 2.5 million nurses, teachers and civils servants increase by a total of £1bn next year have been condemned by unions.

The governement has said it would phase in a 3.2 percent rise in pensions contributions from April 2012. These increases represent just 40 percent of the total – meaning that the remaining 60 percent of the increase will be made in the two following years.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nurses, said: 'The government has clearly torn up the agreement that would have led to increasing affordability in public sector pensions. That agreement would have delivered long-term savings. It appears that nurses and other public servants are now bearing the brunt of a financial crisis caused by reckless risk-taking in the banking sector.

'Hardworking nurses are in the middle of a two-year pay freeze, inflation is soaring and they now face the prospect of paying more money into their pension next year for no additional benefit. This latest development is not just about contributions in 2012. It is the start of a process that will increase contributions even further and make nurses work until they are dropping on their feet. All this is likely to have a devastating impact on the morale of dedicated nurses.'

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