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Are we really in this together on pensions?

There are four elements in the pension issue: the inescapable arithmetic that shows future funding of some public-sector schemes to be unaffordable; the fact that other public-sector schemes are fully funded; the plight of tens of thousands of workers in the private sector whose pension schemes are risible; and the ever-widening gap between the haves and have-nots.

Had the Government tackled this as a whole by clamping down on corporate excess, legislating to ensure a better deal for private-sector workers through upward convergence, and acknowledging differences between public-sector schemes, the Hutton report might have stood a chance. Everyone would then have truly 'been in it together'.

By failing to do that, while demonising "non-productive" public sector workers, they have shown that either they are incompetent, or the far-Right is winning the argument.

PATRICK COSGROVE

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