Superannuation Bill

Memorandum submitted by Nigel Cook (SU 18)

Summary:

The reduction of compensation terms proposed in the Superannuation Bill will cause me considerable financial hardship at a time when it will be especially difficult for someone of my age to find another job in an area like the North East which will be especially hard hit by reductions in public expenditure.

1. My name is Nigel Cook. I have been a civil servant in a variety of roles in a variety of settings for 35 years. I am a DFE citizen and have worked in Government Office for the North East since 1994, after a 2 year secondment to a Training and Enterprise Council.

2. I am 58 years old and so I am within 2 years of the Civil Service retirement age, but I cannot afford to stop working, and I will also now have to wait an extra year for my State pension. The Government, of course, is keen for us all to carry on working and has done away with the default retirement age. I am in good health and am looking forward to living for at least another 20 to 30 years, and so I will need to provide for myself and my wife for that period. I would like to do that by continuing to work, and thereby contribute to society and the exchequer.

3. It had been my intention to either carry on working full time or apply for partial retirement, but of course neither of those options will be open to me if and when the Government Office closes. That blow would have been softened somewhat if I were able to leave with the rights I had accrued under the existing compensation terms, but the proposals in this Bill will mean a very considerable reduction in my entitlement at a very difficult time of my life in financial terms.

4. Quite rightly much has been said about the effect of closure and the reduction of compensation terms on younger workers - those with young families and/or with recently acquired mortgages, for example. But in many ways older workers are in an equally difficult, if not worse position. A 30 year old is in a much better position to find another job than someone in their late 50s, especially at a time of significant reductions in public spending in an area like the North East, where nearly a third of jobs are in the public sector.

5. It is bad enough for someone like myself, at my age, to be faced with losing my job, but to then have the rug pulled from under my feet by drastically reducing my accrued compensation entitlement, is a dreadful way to treat someone who has provided loyal service to the public and to Governments and Ministers of all colours for the best part of forty years.

September 2010