I came home the other day to a letter informing me that my pensions appeal had not succeeded. It is a long and boring story. I have a ‘Classic’ civil service pension that I am not allowed to pay into even though I am currently in a pensionable civil service post. They changed the rules in 2006 to stop people coming back into the old scheme because it is simply unaffordable to let people retire at age 60 on a proportion of their final salary. It is not the end of the world as the new scheme I can join isn’t that bad – but I do have to work through to 65.
I therefore have mixed feelings reading this article in the Guardian that is softening us up for the spending review on 20th October. It looks like they are going to close the Classic scheme to current employees and force them to join the Nuvos scheme. The mid career scientists that I work with every day may well discover at some point this month that they have to work for another five years.
What will the atmosphere be like when many of my mid-career colleagues discover they can’t retire in fifteen years on 40% of their final salary but will have to work twenty years and probably invest more to get the same income? I guess most people can see it coming but for some it will be shock.
One of the advantages of short term contracts is that one doesn’t find oneself in this kind of situation. The future is always uncertain with no illusion of security. Deep Buddhist message there somewhere.