The full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are up here. Aside from the normal trackers questions in this week’s poll largely cover representation of women in politics and educational issues.

The Conservative apparently think they are struggling amongst women and there is some truth to this. Prior to Christmas the regular YouGov polls were showing the Conservatives still leading amongst women while they fell behind amongst men – this year Labour have more usually lead amongst both groups – certainly it looks at first glance as though the Tory advantage amongst women is fading. The graph below shows a two week rolling average of the Tory lead amongst men & women in the weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll.

YouGov asked about perceptions of which party best represented various groups – most followed the pattern you’d expect – the Conservatives were seen as better representing middle class people and the rich, Labour were seen as better representing the poorest, immigrants, trade unionists, pensioners, etc. For our purposes here though we were really interested in who people perceived as being closer to women – 26% think Labour is closest to women and better understands their views compared to 13% for the Conservatives… but 26% say none of the parties do and 23% don’t know (it is even more pronounced amongst women voters, 32% of whom say none of the parties understand and reflect women’s views).

The reasons for the difference are hard to pin down – other questions in this poll showed that Labour were seen as having more women in senior roles, but it’s hard to say how much difference that actally makes. In terms of actually policy there is normally little difference between men and women policy. Women normally say they are concerned at pretty much the same issues as men (the idea that women care about “soft” issues like education and health and men care about “hard” issues like defence, crime and the economy is basically nonsense), and on most policy questions there is little difference between the genders – I’ve commented about this before, specifically in regard of attitudes toward nuclear power and energy and regulating pornography, which are unusual as being issues where there is a large gender difference.

In this poll YouGov asked a quick bank of policy questions looking for gender difference. In ending child benefit for families with top rate tax payers and criticising men who abandon their children – both issues where one could reasonably have expected to find contrasting attitudes between men and women there was no significant difference. Two policy areas that did have significant differences between women and men were tightening restrictions on sexualised music videos and adverts broadcast when children might see them and equalising the pension age at 66 by 2020.

Moving onto education, 24% of people think the government have the right polices, compared to 47% who think they have the wrong policies. There is also a perception that levels of teaching are worse than 10 years ago, and a very widespread perception that behaviour is worse (this, of course, is not a sign that education standards are actually falling – cf. perceptions of crime)

On schools, 42% of people think central government has too much power over schools, 27% think local councils have too much power, 28% that teaching unions do. In contrast 38% think parents do not have enough power over schools and 41% think headteachers do not have enough power. Despite this people are almost evenly split over support for academy schools – 36% support them, 36% oppose them. For “Free schools” the split is 34% support, 40% oppose.

Finally on the teachers’ strike, 38% said they supported industrial action by teachers, with 49% opposing it. There have been various polls asking support or opposition to the teachers’ strike over the last week or so – I will try to do a round up post covering them all later on tonight.


147 Responses to “YouGov on the “women’s vote” and education”

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  1. Henry

    Just how will these small businesses compete with Tesco, Amazon, Wal Mart etc?

    It’s not red tape that gives these organisations the muscle they have. Quite the opposite. They are only held in check by regulation.

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  2. Jayblanc

    Just how will these small businesses compete with Tesco, Amazon, Wal Mart etc?

    It’s not red tape that gives these organisations the muscle they have. Quite the opposite. They are only held in check by regulation.

    Agreed that regulation should control overlarge monopolies. Unfortunately, the banking crises showed us just how poor and ineffective government regulation has become. In fact it is part of the problem.

    Small businesses do compete very strongly against these monopolies despite government, and they are thriving because they deliver. However, with a Government that will hopefully support small business rather than favouring public sector or global organisations both they, their customers and the country will benefit..

    The left compares the state sector with the global organisations and banks. I can understand why as anything compares well to the way banks work. But the two sectors really are private enterprise of small and medium firms on the one side and over large monopolies whether state or global on the other.

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  3. @ Martyn

    Any pension benefits you accrue from the present moment onwards are a matter between you and your employer – the employer can (within certain limits) cut them as easily as he can cut your pay.
    —————————–
    Precisely; & an employer can’t cut your pay unless you agree to it being cut.
    8-)

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  4. @Henry

    Actually, Politicians tend to over-fetishise “small businesses”. Often it’s even the greens and socialists who do most of it as well!

    A small business is not some how better because it’s small. Small businesses can be good for their local economy and more nimble and productive and better environmentally, they can also be parasitic to their local economy, inefficient due to lax management and cause pollution because they don’t understand their impact.

    Yes, we should, and do, support investment in small buisness to help them in growing into a stable state where they are economically viable.

    But we should not and *must not* economically incentivise poor employment standards, discrimination, low safety standards and pollution just because they’re “a small business”. If their business model is not profitable unless they can’t abuse their staff, pollute or risk making their customers sick, do we really want that business model to be successful?

    Isn’t this even going against one of the tenants of free market capitalism, by making things substantially harder for companies that grow because they were successful?

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  5. @Henry

    Here’s a thought experiment. What would be the effect of relaxing waste disposal regulations for ‘small businesses’?

    a) That large amount of the economy that are small businesses, such as fish and chip shops, start dumping their waste into the sewerage system instead of having it disposed of properly.

    b) Small firms crop up offering waste disposal services, maintaining their size to keep them below the level at which they would actually have to dispose of stuff properly.

    c) Big firms that do have proper waste disposal are incentive by profit to hand their waste over to these small firms. Or form limited size subsidiaries to handle it themselves.

    The way it works out is that you *can’t* reduce regulations for just small businesses without in essence wiping those regulations out all together. And almost all regulations are there for pretty good reasons. Look what happened last time we removed a load of ‘un-needed regulations dating back to the 1930s’.

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  6. Don’t forget that the public sector is already having a forced pay cut in the form of a two year freeze at the same time low interest rates and higher prices are devaluing money fast.

    If we finish a 2 year freeze and then suddenly have an effective 3% pay cut in the form of increased pension contributions a lot of people are going to be stretched and some forced out of a very good scheme.

    It isn’t fair and it shouldn’t happen, no matter how the media try to divide the private from the public sector.

    There needs to be staggered increases to both contributions and retirement ages stretched over a much longer time. The career average scheme has already been imposed on new entrants anyway, so long term the problem has been resolved already.

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  7. @ANTHONY WELLS
    You enquired last night after I signed off, if I had posted on this site using other names. The answer is no. I appear occasionally in the Guardian as Chouenlai and in the Spectator as Bloody Bill Brock. Finally, why do you ask?

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  8. @Henry

    Incidently, you should ask someone who’s in charge of keeping sewerage systems and drainage tunnels in towns and cities if they’d look forward to small-businesses being deregulated. The vast bulk of their problems are caused by take-aways illegally dumping used cooking oil into the drains, where it coagulates with ammonia and/or fertiliser run-off to produce large solid lumps that cause blockages. Legalise that kind of dumping by removing those ‘harsh regulations’, and we’d all have to pay for the extra sewage works needed…

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  9. @Henry – “Hopefully the Coalition will start rebuilding small and medium size businesses, neglected over the past thirteen years, rewarding hard work and success and cutting out red tape…”

    As a typical small business owner, I think this statement is not wholly accurate. The Federation of Small Businesses has been highly critical of much of coalition policy, not least the scrapping of much of the capital allowance reliefs to fund big cuts in corporation tax on large companies and other measures to benefit multinationals. The support to predominantly small businesses via enterprise agencies and Business Link has also been severaly cut. These were of great value to small businesses in particular.

    Overall, so far the coalition has demonstrated a poor understanding of the needs to the SME sector and in comparison to New Labour (who were surpisingly popular for many years in the small business sector) the record isn’t very good. Of course, this could change, but I think your post I refer to seems to misjudge what has actually happened in this sector.

    @Jayblanc – actually, cutting red tape in the waste sector in the right manner would offer a god send for all kinds of business development. This is one of my specialist areas, so indulge me while I give you a couple of examples.

    We can all agree that we don’t want to see unregulated waste disposal, but the trouble is the the myriad of over burdensome regulation in this sector is severely stifling the recycling and reuse sectors.

    Example 1 is basic recycling. because the Environment Agency classify waste according to it’s origin (eg residential, commercial, industrial etc) and not the actual waste content, local councils have to employ highly expensive recycling strategies to meet government targets which are based on domestic waste.

    The best way to recycle glass cheaply is to go to pubs and restaurants for a small number of high volume pick ups. However, councils usually exclude these in free collection services as they are ‘commerial’ and so spend vastly larger sums doing door to door collections, recycling less for more money. This is why most council recycling scheme lose money when they could be earning residents a profit.

    Example 2 involves composting regulations. I was dealing with an anaerobic digestion (AD) proposal which used a variety of farm materials and wastes (slurry, silage, vegetable trimmings etc) to generate power from methane. As the vegetables were brought from the fields into a barn for processing they were classified by the EA as food processing wastes, rather than agricultural waste as they would have been if the leeks etc had been trimmed in the open air in the harvest field.

    This classification difference meant a bespoke EA licence application was required for the whole project, adding about £10,000 to development costs. This was a small proportion of the overall budget, but is a clear sign of the nonsense that is much of the waste regulations.

    I believe in regulation, but it needs to be good regulation. Waste disposal is one example where there is enormous scope for economic development if regulations are completely re written and is perhaps a bad example for you to choose.

    PS – try building an ‘earthship’ house out of old tyres and see the mess you get into with waste regs. Many people want to do this and use hard to treat tyres as a safe building resource but are effectively prevented from doing so by silly EA regs.

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  10. @Jayblanc – regulation doesn’t prevent the pouring of fats down the sink – you will never have an EA inspector in every restaurant.

    In practise what creates the problem are charges for the disposal of oil, making such disposal a cost to business. Better regulation would enable cost effective reuse and recycling schemes to be established, reducing such costs or alternatively turning the waste oil into a saleable resource. This is when fat dumping stops.

    In fact, oil prices have already led us to this point, with the biofuel market paying restauranters for old oil. It would have happened much sooner had regulations been better.

    The trouble is that government still sees waste as ‘waste’ whereas it needs to start thinking of it in terms of ‘potential resource’ and framing regulation accordingly.

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  11. @Alec

    Entirely agreed. The current regulations could do with being rewritten to make more sense, and work together better. Altho I do think that the focus of government recycling targets on domestic use comes from the complaints of those ‘Protecting Small Businesses’. I entirely agree that government could focus on subsidising corporate recycling costs to make them as cheap or cheaper than landfill.

    But that’s a world away from the Daily Mail-esque idea of “cutting away at regulation”. For instance, the silly proposal to require two regulations to be removed for everyone one introduced. As if any clever civil servant couldn’t produce one really hard to understand esoterically phrased regulation that replaced the legislative terms of three.

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  12. @ SoCal Liberal @ Amber Star

    ““I was a finance director of a UK company when I was 35 years old; I’m now an analyst for a Nasdaq corporation.”

    Wow, that is very impressive. ”

    You’re easily impressed Socal. Neither claim can be impressive unless you know what “company” and “corporation” are being referred to.

    @ Amber

    Actually 7% is considered by my respectable IFA as generous for the private sector – do you spend your whole time rubbing shoulders with FTSE100 CEO’s or something? And how is a CEO’s pension relevant to the public sector? You don’t seem to live on the same planet as the rest of us.

    And, to answer your question – I am!

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  13. @Sergio

    You were comparing the pension of the heads of trade unions, so it seems fair to compare it to the heads of large corporations. Or do you think that the head of a trade union should have the same pension as the entry level position in a private firm?

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  14. @JB

    Was it me making that comparison, or was it the person who said:

    “Unions, from small membership contributions, can pay decent pensions – why can’t one of the biggest per capita economies in the world do the same?”

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  15. @ Sergio,

    You’re easily impressed Socal. Neither claim can be impressive unless you know what “company” and “corporation” are being referred to.
    ————————————–
    Unfortunately, I can’t say which corporation I work for because anything public which mentions its name must be cleared with the press office.

    Of course, Anthony could probably work it out from my e-mail address, if he cared to.

    And, BTW, I didn’t say it to impress; I said it because Chouenlai raised it as an issue. That said, I appreciated the positive feedback from SoCal; it’s nice when people are nice.
    :-)

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  16. @ Sergio

    You don’t seem to live on the same planet as the rest of us.
    ————————————————
    You could be right about that –

    I live on a planet where people earn their pensions as opposed to being gifted them by generous employers who like to give money away.

    I live on a planet where people’s contractual rights are enforceable via employment tribunals &/or civil courts.

    You appear to live somewhere else. ;-)

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  17. “@ANTHONY WELLS
    You enquired last night after I signed off, if I had posted on this site using other names. The answer is no. I appear occasionally in the Guardian as Chouenlai and in the Spectator as Bloody Bill Brock. Finally, why do you ask?”

    Given I can see your IP address and knew the actual answer, I wanted to see whether you’d give an honourable response…

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  18. “Given I can see your IP address and knew the actual answer…”

    Hmm

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  19. Seeing the recent falls in oil prices (which may not persist for that long) maybe we’ll see some of those delayed fuel duty increases appearing?

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  20. @Anthony W

    “Given I can see your IP address and knew the actual answer, I wanted to see whether you’d give an honourable response…”

    If the person you are addressing is who I suspect he might be then I fear that you may be in for rather a long and ultimately futile wait!

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  21. @Colin – not sure if you are still out hunting, but I’ve just seen a Hummingbird Hawk Moth. Lovely sight.

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  22. Alec
    re Humming Bird Hawk Moth

    Yes saw several this morning. Here (mid France) they are very common in the summer. They are certainly a lovely sight.

    Good post on the wast disposal issue by the way. It’s always good when someone posts from knowledge rather than making wide generalisations (which I know I can be guilty of on occasions).

    I almost entered the pension debate but again you fairly well hit the nail on the head when you surmised that Colin & Amber were arguing slightly different points & so were in effect both right.

    I started work in 1968 with a big 5 (then) bank. Low salary but safe job, non contributory 2/3rds final salary pension & cheap mortgage. Same bank now offers to 18 year olds – good salary, cr4p pension (by comparison), no job security & no cheap mortgage. A reasonable overall package in each case perhaps. Just the balance of the components has changed. But importantly, the salary has increased 2.5 times in real terms, to compensate for the demise of the other factors, so in theory plenty spare to make additional pension contributions. Problem is, there is so much more to spend you money on than there was in 1968!

    In the public sector it has happened just the same. Poor salary, good pension, safe job in 1968. Now, it’s good salary, good pension, fairly safe job – something has to give.

    Private industry has had to embrace pension reality, why would the public sector be exempt?

    The real problem comes when these issues are swept under the carpet for years to avoid confrontation and it eventually becomes a major problem when it really has to be dealt with. If only it had been dealt with 10 years ago, the pain would have been much less.

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  23. Have you looked at Home Office salary rates recently?

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  24. SoCal

    Thanks for the Lybia linkk-hope they survive to stand trial.

    Amber
    ” I am contractually entitled to all sorts of benefits & my employer cannot withdraw any of them without my agreement. It is basic contract law.”

    Yes -of course.
    But the point I was making was that the rate of pay you accepted on joining; the pension scheme you were offered membership of, the other benefits of employment you were offered when you joined ; were decided by the Company.
    You accepted them & then they became contractual-subject of course to any powers to change them which the company put in its Contracts of Employment.

    Alec

    Nice one-they are great aren’t they ?

    Saw two newly fledged Marsh Harriers today-learning to fly -with both parents-magnificent.

    Glad you got your daily dose of Doom-you must be feeling happy :-)

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  25. Here you are:

    AA London & Gatwick Start 14924 target 15701
    AO London Gatwick Sandrige 16518-18657
    EO London Gatwick and Sandridge 21073 -24789
    HEO London 26345 – 30989

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  26. On pensions, the point made by Lord Hutton and Lady eaton (Tory chair of the LA Association) is that if the government get the reforms wrong, a mass exodus from the schemes could result in higher taxpayer bills if there is a greater need for future pensioner welfare.

    This needs to be sorted out in good faith, on both sides. Calling a strike while there is no firm offer on the table and announcing what you are going to do mid negotiation suggests that neither side is being particularly sensible at this stage.

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  27. Hello Amber

    “I live on a planet where people earn their pensions as opposed to being gifted them by generous employers who like to give money away.

    I live on a planet where people’s contractual rights are enforceable via employment tribunals &/or civil courts.

    You appear to live somewhere else.”

    Would you mind explaining – because you are nice – where I said people should not earn their pensions or be able to enforce their contractual rights? Otherwise your comment’s just a load of old….. straw men.

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  28. My understanding, Alec, is that the Government (through Mr Alexander) announced what changes were going to occur and that put paid to any channce of negotiation. Basically it’s bad faith to conduct these things through the media and working up public opinion against bloated public pensions.

    I think there is plenty of negotiating room on both sides, but the bad faith comes from the Treasury.

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  29. Alec

    “Calling a strike while there is no firm offer on the table and announcing what you are going to do mid negotiation suggests that neither side is being particularly sensible at this stage”

    Hear, hear!

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  30. sergio

    My impression was that you seemed to think it was fine for the Government to unilaterally announce a change in my terms and conditions without the agreement of myself or my union. But I may have misunderstood.

    What is to stop ANY Government using the “we can no longer afford it” argument to tear up any contract? And why don’t they use it on the banks?

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  31. @RN

    “the salary has increased 2.5 times in real terms, to compensate for the demise of the other factors, so in theory plenty spare to make additional pension contributions.”

    As it happens, a 2.5x ‘real terms’ increase over 43 years equates to 2.15% per year – below the trend GDP growth rate. An increase that matched trend growth of 2.5% would be 2.9x.
    In other words, as a share of national prosperity, the value of the 18 year old starter salary is approx 14% lower than it was in 1968, on top of everything else also being worse.

    Price inflation, measured by whichever of the CPI, RPI etc you choose, reflects the increase needed simply to stand still. If the country becomes more prosperous, then for that prosperity to be shared around, over the long term, salaries/wages should match GDP, not prices.

    Poorer pension provision in the private sector is a simple extension of this – a worsening of pay and conditions for the lower paid, to support massive (and frequently unmerited) increases for those at the top.

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  32. Actually it’s exactly why the Human Rights act was devised to prevent the Government scapegoating, targetting and robbing minorities after being voted in.

    If you think about it, asking somebody who is not a member of the public service pension schemes whether it is too geneous is like asking me whether Sir Fred Godwin’s pension is too generous.

    It doesn’t mean my opinion means it is lawful to take it away.

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  33. Nick Poole

    I don’t believe I have ever said that but if anyone wants to dig out a quote I would be interested to see it.

    I don’t really understand pensions law so can’t answer your question – my vague understanding is that the employer sets up the plan and the employee should (providing his contract says so) be able to join it – but there’s nothing to stop the employer changing the provider of the plan, its level of contribution or closing it altogether, subject to the plan rules.

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  34. This is slipping from a discussion about pensions into a debate again… please desist! The site is supposed to be about discussing and measuring public opinion, not debating each others’.

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  35. @ Sergio,

    Otherwise your comment’s just a load of old….. straw men.
    ———————————————-
    I will go with Anthony’s request & simply say: You may call me Wurzel henceforth. :-)

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  36. What I was getting at Anthony is that even if opinion polls show that everybody except public sector workers thinks their pension too high, it doesn’t mean that the law wiill support that.

    The majority aren’t always right, even in a democracy.

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  37. I wondered what the key elements of the Hutton Pension Reform proposals are.

    The Following is an amalgam of quotes from a variety of newspapers :-

    It may-or may not -be of interest :-)

    “From 2015 PS pension scheme retirement date will be the state retirement age . This is due to climb to 66 for both men and women by 2020.

    Uniformed public sector workers such as the police, firemen and the armed forces are excluded from the proposal to raise the retirement age to 66. Hutton recommended a normal pension age of 60 “for those members of the uniformed services – armed forces, police and firefighters – who currently have a normal pensions age of less than 60″.

    Accrued rights will be fully protected, This means that current workers would still be able to take benefits accrued before any changes when they reach 60, if their existing scheme allows (benefits accrued after the changes will have to be taken at 65).

    Most workers will have to pay in more of their own money into their pension scheme. DA said an average 3.2 per cent contribution increase for public sector staff is to be phased in between 2012 and 2014. However, workers who earn less than £15,000 will not be asked to contribute any more. Those earning less than £18,000 will have extra contributions capped at 1.5pc.
    Higher paid workers will face bigger bills, with the best-off having to endure a 5pc rise.

    Pensionable salary will change from Final salary to Career average salary
    .
    The pension provider has to factor in inflation to ensure that the salary the worker received early in their career is up-rated to reflect today’s prices. It appears that the measure of inflation will be average earnings, and not – as expected – consumer prices. Because average earnings, as a general rule, increase faster than consumer prices, this is a far more generous measure. Indeed, if your salary throughout your career increased in line with average earnings you would be no worse off with a career average scheme.

    Those on low salaries, who never enjoy a major promotion, will barely be hit – save for the important caveat that they will have to work longer. High fliers, who rise through the ranks to end up in a top job, will lose out.

    The workers most hit would be those currently at the start of their career.

    For a public sector worker who starts on a salary of £20,000, sees their pay rise by 4.5pc a year and works for 40 years. According to Hargreaves, they will have an annual pension of £19,920 based on a career average scheme.

    This compares to just £7,960 a year that a private sector worker will get from a defined contribution scheme based on 10pc contributions.

    IFS, calculated the value of public pension accrual in 2005 was equal to 25 per cent of earnings, against a mere 8 per cent in the private sector

    At present, more than 80 per cent of public employees enjoy defined benefit pensions, while only about 35 per cent of private employees are members of employer-sponsored pension schemes. Fewer than 10 per cent of private employees are now members of any defined benefit scheme, down from about 35 per cent in 1997. Overall, in 2008-09 there were roughly 5m public employees in defined benefit pension schemes, against fewer than 2m in the private sector.

    The cost of providing public sector pensions has soared by nearly a third in the past decade.
    A total of £32 billion was paid to public sector workers drawing their pensions in 2008/09 – the equivalent of two-thirds of the cost of the basic state pension.

    The reforms are expected to save £2.8bn a year

    Hutton said “The current model of public service pension provision is clearly not tenable in the long-term. There is a clear need for reform.” ”

    .

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  38. @Robert Newark

    Are you ‘Robert in France’?

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  39. Craig

    That was my previous ‘handle’. I changed because it just seemed to encourage some to question why I was at all interested in UK politics, when I lived abroad. This despite the fact that several other, regular contributors on the site quite clearly do not live in the UK. Newark is in fact my middle Christian name.
    I have always had an interest in politics and I enjoy the debate/discussion (Anthony, what is the difference between the two?) on this site which is usually informative & good natured. Too many sites are poorly monitored & allow/encourage bad manners & language.

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  40. what I have noticed ,is that there are some people,who in
    an attempt to gain what they see as the moral high ground,retire from the site in a state of high dudgeon,only to reappear sooner or later as someone else.Is this not
    cowardly? Or perhaps a compliment to the quality of this site,that they simply cannot resist being on it!

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  41. Did anyone spot a mistake in the adding up in the You Gov tables from Sunday. Ed Miliband’s negatives seem to be 68, should have been 59?
    Cameron down, Milband up in this poll.

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  42. Nick – I’ve certainly never said the public are always right about things, public opinion is often downright wrong!

    However, this website is about public opinion, however foolish or wrongheaded it may be.

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  43. Anthony

    “public opinion is often downright wrong! ”

    And as a member of the public you are entitled to that view – whether erroneous or not. :-) :-)

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  44. Tonight’s YouGov:

    Con 37%
    Lab 42%
    L/D 10%
    Oth 11% (UKIP 4%, Nats 3%, Green 2%, BNP 1%)*

    Approval 30-55 = -25%

    *You know what Anthony’s like with his rounding.

    Tables are here:

    http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/yg-archives-pol-sun-results-270611.pdf

    If the internet has given us anything useful it is the word ‘meh’.

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  45. @ Amber Star

    “That said, I appreciated the positive feedback from SoCal; it’s nice when people are nice.”

    I apologize for being nice. :)

    Btw, you had asked me a few weeks ago about whether freedom of speech included freedom of expression as well. Thought you should know that violent video games are protected free speech. Decided this morning. Very good decision (hard to believe I find myself happy with Nino Scalia).

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-1448.ZS.html

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  46. Ann (in Wales)

    what I have noticed ,is that there are some people,who in an attempt to gain what they see as the moral high ground,retire from the site in a state of high dudgeon,only to reappear sooner or later as someone else.Is this not cowardly? Or perhaps a compliment to the quality of this site,that they simply cannot resist being on it!

    Why should anyone want to change their name? I do not use my full name and so people will not generally know who I am or where I come from. I am not being brave in retaining the same name, and I would not feel cowardly if for instance I chose to use my second name instead of my first. It does not make sense.

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