Commenting on a National Audit Office report about the Government’s reforms to public service pensions, published today, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

"The NEU broadly welcomes the NAO report on public service pensions, which largely endorses the NEU’s arguments down the years. If we as a nation want decent public services then we must be prepared to pay decent pensions to public servants. It is clear that the Government’s cuts to public service schemes have gone too far. 

"Public service pensions have always been affordable. As the NAO makes clear, the vast majority of the increase in the amount paid is due to the increase in the number of public service pensioners, which is a known demographic consequence of the baby boomer generation reaching retirement. The average pension paid in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme has actually fallen since 1999/2000 from £13,679 to £12,337 today. 

"The correct way of looking at public service pension costs is as a percentage of GDP. Public service pensions are affordable now at around 2% of GDP, but are due to fall to 1.5% of GDP by 2064/65. There is no justification for further politically motivated attacks on public service pensions. 

"In all schemes men receive higher pensions than women. Wider inequalities in the workplace feed into pension schemes, through longer average service for men and higher salaries. The pensions gap is lower in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (29%) than in the NHS and Civil Service Schemes, but it is still too high. We call on the Government to work on reducing the gender pensions gap."