From City AM:
This week, fed-up Londoners will be forced to endure two more Tube strikes.
And this despite Transport for London having already offered the unions: a two per cent salary increase this year, inflation-protected rises in 2016 and 2017, a £500 bonus for all staff on Night Tube lines, £200 extra per Night Tube shift for drivers, and the freedom to decide whether or not to work Night Tube shifts at all...
Accepting these demands would require a fare rise of 6.5 per cent or an extra £152 per year for a Zone 1-6 Travelcard. Clearly, this is unacceptable.
The article includes a long list of ostensibly sensible cost saving suggestions, such as driverless trains.
But he is jumbling several quite distinct questions, for example:
1. Are London commuters prepared to pay 6.5% more on their Travelcards in exchange for a 24-hour Tube? Is it worth £3 extra a week on your Travelcard to be able to stay out as long as you like without getting stung for taxi fares home? What about people who work night shifts, this will be a boon to them. Etcetera.
2. To the extent that sensible cost savings can be made, should those be reflected in lower ticket prices or a lower subsidy from the taxpayer?
Via, MBK, a shock horror from The Sunday Times:
NEARLY two-thirds of people due to retire next year will receive about £116 a week as their new “flat rate” state pension, rather than the full payout, a Freedom of Information (FoI) request reveals today...
The reason many people’s incomes will be slashed is because they have spent time “contracted out” of the state system. Simply put, this means that they paid lower national insurance (NI) contributions during their working life, and this will be taken into account under the new scheme.
If you were in a final salary or career-average pension scheme, you will have paid a lower rate of NI in return for giving up your entitlement to the government’s earnings-related pension top-up. This top-up, called the state earnings related pension scheme (Serps) and later the state second pension (S2P), is currently added to the basic state pension.
If you were in a personal pension or defined contribution workplace scheme, you will have paid the standard rate of NI, but some of it will have been paid back into your private pension pot.
For a start, this has been known for years, and secondly, that all seems perfectly fair and reasonable to me.
Those who 'opted out' must have known that they were swapping a lower state pension in return for a higher private or employer pension. Doing otherwise would be a retrospective subsidy to the 'pensions industry'.
Monday, 24 August 2015
From City AM: