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Editor's blog Friday 12th March 2010: Hey, big pensions! NAO, NAO, NAO!


I knew it was a lot of money, but even so ....

In hard figures (found here), this means:
"Total payments to more than 2 million pensioners in the UK’s four largest pay-as-you-go pension schemes (also known as unfunded schemes – where current employee and employer contributions are used to pay current pensions) were £19.3 billion in 2008-09, a real terms increase of 38 per cent since 1999-2000. This is driven by more employees retiring each year, which is a substantially more significant factor than longer lifespans.

"Employee contributions of £4.4 billion reduced the taxpayer’s share of costs to £14.9 billion in 2008-09. The employee element grew by 56 per cent in real terms since 1999-2000 because staff numbers and contribution rates have increased".

The next fifty years - projected pensionspending
The report also looked at projections of payments across all UK public sector pay-as-you-go pension schemes over the next fifty years, and found:

"Expressed in terms of constant 2008-09 prices, the Government Actuary’s Department projects total payments rising to over £79 billion a year by 2059-60. This is before allowing for income from employee contributions.

"Expressed in terms that track earnings, which rise more quickly than prices, projected payments reach £28.8 billion by 2059-60.

"However, expressed as a proportion of GDP, the projected increase is less stark, as GDP is also assumed to rise. Projected payments are estimated to reach a peak of 1.9 per cent of GDP between 2018-19 and 2033-34 then fall to 1.7 per cent by 2059-60. This compares with a rise from around 1.5 per cent to 1.7 per cent over the last decade".

Lordy. That be some chunk of change, no?

(With apologies to Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields):
Duh duh-duh-duh, duh-duh
"The minute you walked in the joint,
I could tell you were a real public servant,
A real big spender ..."