Superannuation Bill

Memorandum submitted by Mike Bradley (SU 21)

1. I am writing to set out my views in relation to the above Bill and the adverse financial impact its contents will have on my family and me.

2. I am a married man approaching my 57th birthday. I have been a Civil Servant for some 38 years, having joined at the basic grade of Clerical Assistant in December 1971 and worked my way through the "ranks" to the level of G7 Finance and Compliance manager in the Government Office for the North East. I have over those years repeatedly been subject to below inflation pay increases on the grounds that there was a need for the public sector to show pay restraint. However, it was always argued that this should be offset against the generous pension and compensation packages that Civil Servants enjoyed.

3. The Government Office Network is currently the subject of an in-principle closure decision announced on the 22nd July this year. A final decision on closure is anticipated in or shortly before October. It is quite clear that redeployment opportunities for regionally based Government Office staff are at a premium. As a result I face the very real prospect of redundancy. Given the economic situation in the North East region, coupled with my age, the chances of finding alternative employment are clearly limited.

4. On current Civil Service Compensation terms this outcome, whilst disappointing, would not be catastrophic. As a minimum, I would be eligible for a redundancy compensation payment of 6 months salary (£22,711), a lump sum pension payment (£65,000) and an annual pension (£21,700) both payable immediately. It is on this basis that I, like the vast majority of my colleagues, have based my financial planning. However, under the proposed terms of the Superannuation Bill, my entitlement would be reduced to 15 months salary (£56,778) under voluntary redundancy and 12 months (£45,422) on a compulsory basis. Both my pension and pension lump sum would remain frozen until I reached pensionable age in three years time. As a result my overall entitlement, at the point of redundancy, would reduce from approximately £153k to either £57k or £45k; a reduction of almost two thirds.

5. Again, like many of my colleagues, I do not have redundancy mortgage protection insurance. Under the compensation payable under the new Bill, I would have insufficient funds to pay off my mortgage and insufficient income to continue to meet mortgage payments beyond the first year. Consequently, I face the prospect of losing my family home.

6. As mentioned earlier, I have worked continuously for over 38 years and have not taken a day’s sickness absence in over 20 years. During these periods I have raised two children with minimum call on state assistance. I have served governments of differing political persuasions with commitment, objectivity and a belief in a public service ethos and until now have always felt valued. My reward for this loyalty and dedication, should this Bill be passed in its current form, will be to be left feeling robbed of my job, robbed of my redundancy compensation, robbed of my pension entitlement and very likely robbed of my home.

7. This Bill therefore, as it stands, is neither fair nor equitable to me or my family; removing what I had always believed to have been rights accrued over a significant number of years. That said I am by no means alone, with significant numbers of my colleagues facing similar and in many cases an even worse financial situation.

September 2010