In terms of support for the strike, there is a pretty clear picture. YouGov have been asking questions on whether people support or oppose strike action for the Sun and Sunday Times quite regularly over the last year and have consistently found people more likely to oppose than support the strike. In the most recent questions the teachers strike was opposed by 49% to 41%, civil servants striking were opposed by 51% to 39%.

This has been broadly consistently since June – while it varies slightly depending upon what sort of workers you ask about and the other questions in the poll, generally speaking around 35%-40% support the strikes, 49%-55% oppose them.

It makes a little difference whether polls ask about public sector workers, civil servants, teachers, headteachers – there is marginally more support for teachers than “civil servants” – but we are talking a percentage point or two, not a vast contrast.

There was also an agree/disagree question on support for strike action in a ComRes poll for ITV this week, 38% agreed that they supported the strike action, 47% did not. There was also a TNS poll yesterday, which asked a rather strange question on whether people thought public sector workers should strike (40%) OR the government should continue with the reforms regardless (37%), which is rather tricky to interpret as it deals with both whether people should strike and whether the government should proceed.

While people are generally opposed to the strike, they are not without sympathy. While ComRes found people opposed the strike, another poll conducted slightly earlier found that 61% of people agreed that strikes were justified, and another found 48% of of people said they had sympathy with people striking against cuts (as opposed to pensions, though my suspicion is the difference is more sympathy -vs- support!).

Turning to the issue itself, people are pretty evenly divided upon the pension changes. 41% of people say they support the pension changes, compared to 44% opposed (although in this case, opinion has moved slightly in the government’s favour – in July the break was 41% support, 46% opposed, in June 37% support, 47% oppose).

Suffice to say, opposition to the pension changes is greater than support for the strikes (albeit, not by a huge amount). This shouldn’t be particular surprising – if you support the pension changes you are hardly likely to support strike action over them, yet there will undoubtedly be some people who oppose the pension changes but think strike action is unwarrented or counter-productive.


258 Responses to “Polling on the strikes”

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  1. Rob Sheffield
    “they will be on the anti-fascist barricades with a far larger number of Muslim youth (who incidentally will disallow Jewish youth from taking part).”

    If this does happen on a large scale, it will cause a backlash, and could end in racial conflict. This is always on the cards when a large alien population is imported into a country in a short period of time. Society can cope while things are going well, but if the economy tanks, people will look around for scapegoats.

    One obvious solution to the housing crisis and unemployment would be to stop immigration and deport non-British residents. Note that I am not advocating this, but giving it as a solution that will occur to some people. The argument that only migrant workers will do certain jobs does not hold water. Jobs such as cleaners etc were done before there was a large immigrant population. Either the wage for the job will rise, or the job will no longer be done.

  2. Tonight’s YouGov details:

    Con 37
    Lab 42
    Lib Dem 9
    UKIP 6
    SNP / PCY 4
    Green 2
    BNP 1
    Respect 0
    Other 0

    Approval 27 – 56 = -29

    Non-voters 26% (but Con only 14% of 2010)

    Details are here:

    http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/kpzrpo8ycn/YG-Archives-Pol-Sun-results-301111.pdf

    Something for everyone: Labour get their 5 point lead back, Tories stay on 37%, Lib Dems stick on 9% and UKIP back to 6%.

    Non-voters is an equal high since the election.

    Only one tracker – the question on who to blame for local council cuts. Those saying the government goes up 5 points to 43%. Not a high (it was 45% earlier in the year) but blame for local councils is at a low of 28% – never below 30% before.

    Nothing on the Chancellor’s statement as yet – question publication may be held over till tomorrow to give the Sun exclusivity or they may have waited till today to ask after people have absorbed the post-match analysis.

  3. Nick

    I’m with you-well played the Eagles!!

  4. @Henry – “This is the first time that someone outside the Coalition on this site has not dismissed my comments on private sector pensions as 100% rubbish.”

    The first time (to my knowledge) that you raised the subject, I said nothing other than to suggest the following page:

    h
    ttp://www.channel4.com/news/articles/business_money/factcheck%2bdid%2bgordon%2bdestroy%2bour%2bpensions/171020.html

    Come to think of it, this is not the first time I have raised the issue of misrepresenting comments from other posters with you..

  5. @ Chrislane1945

    The Bournemouth Town Centre Catholic Parish is being run brilliantly by a former anglican priest., bringing superior intellect and grasp of liturgy, but also compasionate and human.

    How fascinating! My late father was a Puseyite High Anglo-Catholic Anglican priest and between 1952-57 Vicar of St.Stephen’s in central Bournemouth – I was born there in 1956. Glad to hear of the Ordinariate doing well down there – thanks to Anglicanorum Coetibus …..I just like saying it!! Forgive me!!

    Saint Simon and Saint Vince – privately with extreme difficulty I suspect, having known one of them very well indeed once. I wish Ed would be bold and make an offer of retaining a Liberal identity but in league with Labour. It might yield good results – and Lib-Lab candidates would do better in L v Con country than straight Labour candidates – might even unseat an odd Orange Booker or two!!!

  6. Tony Dean.

    I was born in 1955, in Plymouth- David Owen land, but before him there was the fine Old Labour lady, whose name, shamefully I cant remember tonight- an expert on transport. DUNWOODY!

    I know the St Stephen’s Church here. Higher than Rome, lol as kids say apparently, as they were in Oxford when I studied History there 1975-78. (Pusey House etc)

    You are very welcome to make the journey!

    And: your idea of an offer from Ed sounds very interesting, but Ed is not the same calibre as Professor Joseph Ratzinger!

  7. @NickP

    ““An employee forbidden by the state to withdraw his labour is a slave. It really is that simple.”

    A quote from Craig Murray.”

    Setting aside what a four-star prat Craig Murray is, a worker banned from striking by law is not forbidden by the state to withdraw his labour; he can resign from his job, and so withdraw his labour, so long as he is not forbidden by the state from seeking new work.

  8. @Jolubecahoda

    “Former leader of Northampton Borough Council, Cllr David Palethorpe, who resigned his position a month or so ago has today crossed the floor and joined Labour from the Conservatives.”

    Not exactly Shaun Woodward or dear old Quentin Davies, but a senior local government Tory crossing the floor to Labour is fairly newsworthy, I would have thought. Tories straying into UKIP clutches, or drifting to Independent, or even to the Lib Dems, is far more common than a straight switch to Labour. That’s usually an anathema and it could be an interesting straw in the wind, especially if the old toxic image that the Tories acquired in the 80s returns to haunt them once again. I know nothing of this Palethorpe fellow in Northampton, and he may be a complete maverick for all I know, but the reasons he gives for his defection suggest deep seated concerns with the direction his former party is taking rather than a peevish reaction to an internal party slight. Could be something or nothing, but defections are always embarrassing for any party (ask Michael Foot and John Major) and are, potentially, morale-sapping if the trickle gathers pace.

    As for tonight’s poll, we’ve probably returned to the mean of a 4-5% Labour lead. Modest, and maybe disappointing considering the economic quagmire slowly enveloping the government, but my inclination remains, a la Professor Curtice, that this isn’t an entirely bad position for Labour to be in at this stage in the electoral cycle.

  9. Thought I would do something unusual, and get back on topic (I know, it seems odd to you lot who post more often than me), and talk of the relationship between the strikes and public opinion.

    I’m starting to suspect that the “warning of 12 hour delays” was Govt expectations management, set up to allow DC to make his “damp squib” claim, no matter how much evidence there was of the strike closing schools and council services. It may have enabled him to put a defiant line out today, but I have a feeling that the contingency efforts mean that the action of border agency staff will have delivered an effective message to the Govt.

    For me, one surprise from the news reports has been the number of parents interviewed who have said “I’ve had to take a day off, but I think the teachers have a good case” or similar.

    So, the Govt may have minimised the immediate damaging headlines, but it doesn’t look like they will be feeling terribly happy tonight about underlying impacts. The trouble is, I fear they will not have been sufficiently discomfited to mean we are closer to a resolution.

  10. Eis?
    I lost track of who asked about Scottish teaching unions but, yes, the Educational Institute of Scotland is still extremely dominant. It did occur to me as a former EIS activist that picketing in Scotland may be a bit more energetic. My wife was outside her school this morning at 7. The same was true across the city. It was just on freezing with an Aberdonian wind-chill.
    I was fortunate enough to address the rally in Aberdeen and was later congratulated for the quality of my speech … because it was short.
    BTW the EIS isn’t just a union. It is an educational institute with its own Act of Parliament, charter etc which gives it the right to award degrees which it still does. I have in the past considered submitting a dissertation for consideration.

  11. “But expect that price to have fallen into line by tomorrow.” (9.19pm)

    There you go. V Chandlers just cut the odds on Gingrich.

  12. COLIN……….Your question 6:58…..Since my answer would invite opprobrium, I’ll invoke the 5th. :-)

  13. Downing St sources have admitted tonight that we are now in a second credit crisis. All kinds of rumours swirling about European banks about to fold, the FSA has told UK banks to start preparations for the collapse of the Euro, and even Ollie Rehn has admitted they only have 10 days to save the Euro.

    We’re finally getting to the business end of the second part of the global credit crunch. If this does all topple over, yesterdays UK forecasts won’t even last a fortnight. Even without another round of crisis I still felt the OBR was being over optimistic, so I don’t think there’s much cause for joy today.

  14. BillyBob
    ‘Come to think of it, this is not the first time I have raised the issue of misrepresenting comments from other posters with you..’

    I cannot help it if you have not been reading my many discussions re GB and the pensions raid, nor that you have ignored similar discussions between Chouenlai, Colin and others. Check back on my many discussions and you will no doubt see that you are wrong to criticise me in this way.

    Colin, Chouenlai please correct me if I am wrong.

    I have never misrepresented comments. I think it is unreasonable to ask anyone to refer back days, weeks or months to cross reference to particular points, which is what you asked me to do.

    You seem to want to cast doubts on my integrity but I have at least as much integrity as you and also do not constantly make such unpleasant unfounded criticisms of others. In fact although sometimes being partisan I really try to be polite to other posters whether I agree or not.

  15. ChrisLane,

    I don’t know whether the DUNWOODY! was a strange Eureka moment…….but she never sat in Plymouth. Only the small matter of Dartmoor between……t’was Exeter. The yearning for transport (and maybe a safe seat!) must have been what drew her to Crewe, but she was a hugely respected MP………bless her, more parliamentarians like her now might quell our cynicism….the by-election following her death I seem to remember kicked off the “class-war” tactic of the previous election campaign (despite backfiring)

  16. IanAnthonyJames

    ‘Minor parties (I think we can put the LDs in that category now) chipping away at them from all angles.’

    I do not think you can as yet, as LDs still have a few MPs and MEPs, including the deputy PM, quite a few Councillors, and have been winning a few Council seats recently.

    Billybob – should (and this may be unlikely) the LDs vote recover significantly, I shall refer to the fact that a poster referred to LDs as a minor party – so in order to avoid any future misunderstanding please record this post in your ‘log of Henry’s postings’

  17. The Liberals in 2015.
    1. The Manchester demo today was a large, good-humoured affair — tho excessively policed — with a v. high proportion of female demonstrators: these were not rent-a-crowd opportunists but employed people required to work harder for shrinking rewards.
    2. The budget statement yesterday curbing public sector pay was an “incomes policy” savagely focussed on such workers, & an attempt to provoke public sector /unionized workers into further actions, thus justifying even more stringent controls on unions/strikes. For the Tories, such worker-bashing is routine: but what is in it for the Liberals? If you support this kind of thing, why not vote Tory & done with it: & as we saw in May the Lib-Dem vote outside the big cities is vulnerable to Tory depredations. The big city Lib-Dems cannot be re-elected without public/third sector voters, who have abandoned them.
    3. Liberalism has traditionally been based on what: social opportunity & “fairness”, internationalism, Europeanism, a reformed voting system, localism & decentralization: it is essentially an optimistic & reforming creed. If all they have to offer is an eternity of cuts/ falling living standards & a Little Englandism, then it is hard to see how their brand can be disentangled from the Tory one.

  18. Meanwhile,the credit crunch is back…I for one,would feel a lot more comfortable if Gordon Brown was in charge

  19. RAF
    ‘And here’s a prediction – if the LDs continue to.support real terms double digit cuts in public sector wages and mass public sector unrmployment, while the banking levy rises by 0.088% there may not be a LD party by 2017’

    I am not aware where it is stated LD policy either to support double digit cuts in public sector wages, nor support unemployment full stop. What policy document are you referring to?

    Interesting prediction re 2017 (Billybob please note, in case referred to in the future).

  20. SMUKESH………..Hilarious ! :-)

  21. @ Henry

    “I am not aware where it is stated LD policy either to support double digit cuts in public sector wages, nor support unemployment full stop. What policy document are you referring to?”

    It is not a document (yet). It was DA yesterday (well, Tuesday) on Newsnight.

  22. @ Colin

    “Very briefly:-

    Private sector.
    There has been an accelerating trend over a decade or more where Defined Benefit Schemes have been closed to new members & replaced by Defined Contribution schemes.

    Clearly-members of a DB scheme have certainty of pension outcome, & bear none of the investment risk associated with the deployment of their contributions. Members of DC schemes bear all investment risk, and the have to accept the risk of interest rates inherant in the annuity markewt they must enter with their fund.”

    Thanks. This is an area where I am blissfully ignorant (since all the jobs I’ve worked have never involved pension plans). I know a lot of different companies will offer 401k plans to their employees which seem similar to Defined Contribution Schemes. But I’m really ignorant as to how they work.

  23. @Henry – “… it is unreasonable to ask anyone to refer back days, weeks or months to cross reference to particular points, which is what you asked me to do.

    You said: “This is the first time that someone outside the Coalition on this site has not dismissed my comments on private sector pensions as 100% rubbish.”

    I took that as referencing previous posts, and I reminded you that my post (admittedly some weeks back) did no such thing as dismiss you….
    .
    And now you accuse me of “…unfounded criticisms of others.”

  24. @SMUKESH

    “Meanwhile,the credit crunch is back…I for one,would feel a lot more comfortable if Gordon Brown was in charge”

    Someone with experience? Hmm.

  25. Interesting comment from Tom Harris (MP and outsider candidate for SLab leader) in an interview with Holyrood Magazine –

    ““First of all, [we have to] redefine ourselves as the workers’ party, which we have stopped being. When I say workers’ party, I don’t mean a class thing. We were set up as the party to represent the values of working people, working being the key word. We weren’t set up as some sort of charity to help the poorest in society – the longterm unemployed, the benefit dependent, the drug addicted, the homeless.” He describes his vision as one of aspiration, where working people, who embrace the responsibilities of employment and family, turn to the Labour Party to make their lives “just a little bit easier” – “whether that’s improving childcare, or offering affordable housing as a reward for working, instead of giving it to people as a compensation for not working.”.

    He is known as a Blair loyalist, and his wording does suggest some lack of compassion for the unfortunate who haven’t managed to find work.

  26. Old Nat

    Re Tom Harris…..is this what is meant by tartan Tory?

  27. I wonder..?

    Could it be that what happens with the polls (or doesn’t happen?) will help decide whether Maude & Alexander settle with the Unions?

  28. @Robbiealive

    “what is in it for the Liberals?”

    Only stopping the country going bankrupt. You can’t go on spending a third more than your income without going the way of Greece and Italy. Note that the coalition cuts are about the same as Labour said they were going to do before the election. Whichever way the election went, cuts were coming. Labour couldn’t have made their prediced level of cuts without cutting anything that affects people. It was always going to be tough.

  29. But it doesn’t seem to working, does it?

    The banks are still running the world and taking all the money.

  30. NickP

    I suspect you are right, in that if there is a clear movement against the Govt, or clear indications of public support for the public sector workers involved in the action, Maude and Alexander _might_ be willing (at last) to move on one or more of the three key issues (3% reduction in take home pay/retire much later/get less in the pension when retired). Whether they will move far enough for there to be a settlement is another question.

    And if there isn’t such a clear movement in the polls (and I don’t expect there will be), I suspect they will try to dig their heels in.
    Whether this is rational (even from their perspective) is another question: I suspect that the costs to Govt of the strikes (disruption, contingency planning, staff re-deployed as part of those contingency plans, overall impact on the economy, etc) will mean that unless there is quite a big move in the polls in the Govts direction/against Labour, the long term effect of just the one day’s strikes will be bad for the Govt.

  31. I think a great deal will depend on what happens in the Eurozone and in the wider global economy.

    If we start seeing headlines about some countries sacking 1/2 of their public sector workers overnight, or 60% falls in income, that sort of thing, the demands of the public sector unions in the UK may come to seem a bit optimistic to the electorate.

    The unions must be praying for a solution to the EZ crisis and the impending New Credit Crunch as much as anyone is.

  32. @NickP,

    Re: cuts “working”. I never saw them as a cure for the country’s ills, more as a symptom. I accept that Osborne made some bold claims (March of the Makers, etc) about the UK economy, but for me cuts are simply about avoiding something worse, not creating something better.

    Whether the Labour party can get the electorate to see them as a “solution” that “hasn’t worked” only time will tell.

  33. @ Old Nat

    “He is known as a Blair loyalist, and his wording does suggest some lack of compassion for the unfortunate who haven’t managed to find work.”

    Maybe he was misinterpreted (or maybe it’s out of context) but what he said sounds like something that could be uttered by a Republican or a Libertarian. I had a Libertarian friend recently post on Facebook his criticism of plans to prohibit employment discrimination against the long-term unemployed. Leave it to a Libertarian to oppose something that is both fair and good public policy.

    A love of the free market, capitalism, and making money is all fine and good. But where’s the compassion for the weakest and least fortunate? Where’s the understanding that people who are successful can fall down and become the weakest and hit hard times? It’s not just about charity, it’s about common sense too. Society doesn’t benefit when it ignores and abandons its long term unemployed, its drug addicts, and its homeless. Also, shouldn’t left wing parties see themselves to represent the weakest and bottom rungs of society?

    Btw, many people who embrace the responsibilities of family and employment wind up as long term unemployed. It’s not their choice or their desire, it’s anxiety and depression inducing. But that’s what happens in economic situations like the one we all currently seem to be going through.

  34. Hmm, I think discrimination against the long term unemployed per se is unjustified, but I also think its perfectly reasonable for a potential employer to look at the reasons for that unemployment. There is a world of difference between a middleaged Sheffield steelworker in 1980s who has been laid off and can’t find a job for love nor money, despite good evidence of trying, and a mid 20s Londoner in 2002 who’s never had a job, despite the widespread availability of work, and can only give a series of half-hearted excuses as to why.

    The danger of rules to “protect” people is that they often aren’t sophisticated enough to tell one from the other.

  35. I wonder if the polls will be effected by the Iranians storming the embassy (I hope no one is hurt by that).

    Don’t worry though, you can all feel secure with the special relationship. Michelle Bachmann (R-Ignoramusville) promised today that if she is elected president, she will close down the American embassy in Iran as a response to Iran’s attack against Britain. Something that the current president has not done. :)

    (No, I’m not making that up).

    @ Neil A

    “I think a great deal will depend on what happens in the Eurozone and in the wider global economy.”

    Apparently jobs numbers in the U.S. are improving. Record Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales seem to be good indicators of economic recovery. If we’re strong, that will hopefully help European economies.

  36. KEN

    Fair enough :-)

    HENRY

    @”I have never misrepresented comment etc”

    Don’t worry about it Henry-life’s too short.
    You are the most accomodating, even handed un-misrepresenting contributor here :-)

    SOCAL

    @”This is an area where I am blissfully ignorant etc”

    So are most people-its a complicated subject-as witness the unbelievable cobblers being spouted daily on our TV News by the Public Sector strikers & their unions representatives.

    I loved the bit where Nick Robinson marched a striker into a cafe to chat to the owner -who said he works 80 hrs per week & can’t afford a pension-hilarious excercise in non-communication.

    I should have said to you last night that 90% or so of Public Sector workers have DB schemes & the vast majority of Private Sector workers now don’t.

    The reason?-cost. Some rather naughty papers here have quoted the pension conts. of the striking union leaders-all of whom have DB schemes. They average around 25% to 30% of pay .

    That’s why private sector companies are walking away from them in droves and the unfunded “gap” in Public sector costs here is rocketing.

    Just to complete the picture-IFS produced an interesting report here which states that Public Sector workers get 7.5% more than their private sector counterparts in age & job type-4.3% for men & 10.5% for women.

  37. @ Neil A

    I gotta get to bed. But um, the problem with discrimination against the long-term unemployed is that many employers will simply pair down long lists of job applications by quickly scanning through resumes and weeding out people who have been unemployed. Thus, you have many well qualified job applicants who are turned down automatically without any consideration. Those job applicants are entitled to have their applications considered (even if it means a little more work for the employer). Many of these long-term unemployed are in this position because of economic realities beyond their control.

    What compounds this problem too is that many large businesses are now using this technology to weed out job applications in general. The resume is looked at first but it’s not actually looked at. Instead, quick scan software goes through resumes and looks for words and past experiences. Those resumes without them get automatically tossed. For those long term unemployed, this can make things even more difficult. Your steel forgemaster in Sheffield can’t get a job because there’s no more steel factories. He can’t get hired to many jobs he’d otherwise qualify for because he’s been unemployed for too long. But then, even as he looks for jobs in other fields (realizing that he’s not going to be working in steel), his opportunities are limited because he’ll often not have the requisite experience for a new job. So a steel foregmaster might be qualified to take on work as a maintenance man at a convention center or as a manager of a supermarket (no, he’s not done that kind of work before but certainly he could quickly learn) but only having worked in steel, he’s eliminated right away.

  38. @ Neil A

    Btw, last night’s eviction of Occupy LA by the LAPD was a textbook crowd control operation that should be emulated by police worldwide. There was no violence whatsoever in removing a crowd of a few thousand from City Hall grounds. There were 292 arrests but no injuries reported either among police or protesters. People were allowed to leave the protest site after the dispersement order and declaration of an unlawful assembly. And police did not destroy personal property of protesters in one fell swoop. They also had a great deal of public information officers there to help communicate with protesters and with journalists.

    I’m still kind of outraged over what has occurred. I don’t know when we became Brits and decided that we valued the maintenance and well manicured state of public lawns over the First Amendment but apparently that’s all the rage now among local elected officials. Free speech and freedom to assemble are not nearly as important as a lawn. A bigger waste of police resources and taxpayer dollars by the city would be hard to find. As I predicted, all this has done is moved the protests to other parts of the city where it’s more likely to actually disturb and disrupt daily life. Still, I’m happy with the job the LAPD did. It was a model of restraint and intelligent policing.

    @ Colin

    Thanks for the explanation. If the public sector is seen as a limited employer that strives to hire the best and the brightest (with the exception of let’s say postal workers and seasonal temporary hires) and the private sector is the main provider of employment, I think having those high DB rates is okay. It’s a benefit for those who go to work for the state and give up other potentially more lucrative careers. But if the public sector is a large employer and private sector employers can’t compete with the government because they’re unable to offer benefits that a job seeker could easier get with the public sector, I could see that becoming a major issue.

  39. NICKP

    @”But it doesn’t seem to working, does it?”

    Of course it is.

    AD presided over deficits of £96bn & £157bn in his last two years as chancellor. Those to years ALONE increased UK’s total public debt by FIFTY %.

    THis weeks’s OBR report forecasts that the deficit will fall to £79bn by end parliament , and £24 bn by end 16/17.

    That’s what I call working on the Deficit. And since IFS have now unearthed the fact that 13% of UK GDP has disappeared -PERMANENTLY- from our economic capacity ( that’s £200 BN) following the collapse of the Ponzi scheme which masqueraded as the UK economy under the previous Government , one might consider that reduction some achievement……….

    ……….even though OECD have just reported that we are doing it MUCH more slowly than other countries.

    According to their recent report the reduction in deficits over the years 2011/2013 -as a % of GDP compares as follows :-
    Greece 5.4%
    POrtugal 5.1%
    Italy 3.9%
    Spain 3.6%
    FRance 3.4%
    UK 2.3%

    I realise that even this speed is too fast for Mr Balls, and one wonders if he ( or indeed anyone) ever looks at the DEBT which all these years of deficits are constructing.

    £1.5 TRillion by end 16/17-76% of GDP-have you any idea what the servicing costs of that will be?-and what damage it will do to public spending?

    …..and that’s if the EZ sorts itself out-the OBR couldn’t even guess ( or didn’t want to ) what the effect would be on UK if it doesn’t.
    The markets are up & down like a bride’s nightie-they can’t quantify the risk either & go from despair to euphoria on the flimsiest of rumours from the fiasco that is European political leadership.

    So-it Is working-but it may not be enough.

    We face a mountain of debt at best-and an unquantifyable disaster at worst.

  40. AW

    Can I request that “ponzi scheme” be added to the list of auto-moderated meaningless and partisan words and phrases?

  41. SOCAL

    @” But if the public sector is a large employer and private sector employers can’t compete with the government because they’re unable to offer benefits that a job seeker could easier get with the public sector, I could see that becoming a major issue.”

    Nail on head-as the Chinese have already told us:-)

    THe whole of the EU is trying to pay for public sectors it simply cannot afford.

    As an aside to your intelligent observation-when GO made his announcement in HoC on Tuesday , amongst the Brownesque tidal wave of stuff was one little reported comment .

    He said that they will look to have public sector pay rates reflect local conditions. DC repeated it at PMQs.

    When the unions get their heads out of pensions & around that little initiative , we will no doubt hear another set of complaints from them-but not from the businesses who , as you so rightly observe, simply cannot compete with our public sector largesse ( all funded by those evil bankers of course :-) )

    More seriously, the chasm which has grown between public & private sector will, imo, become an increasingly divisive issue in this country.

    GO & DC have made it clear that they intend to do something about it.

    Wen jiabao will be pleased ( smiling inscrutibly of course :-) )

  42. @LEFTYLAMPTON
    I am assuming that you have finally sorted out your CSA’s
    from your USSR’s and your YMCA’s. The quote you mentioned regarding the raid on company and private pensions via advanced corporation tax cost the the funds billions since 1997. This undoubtedly has had an impact on the failure and closure of many schemes. My disagreement with Amber was between the ACT issue and pension holidays. On that front, ACT has had a MUCH bigger impact than pension holidays.

    Regarding your aversion to my politics and consequent refusal to criticise the Labour party for anything, please yourself. However, the fact is Chancellor Brown did private pensions and company pensions very considerable and lasting damage in 1997. Knowing the pension timebomb which has been apparent for these 25 years, I, who never had faith in Brown could not believe or understand his thinking at that time, no one in our industry could, but the fact remains.

  43. @henry
    I have never been aware of you doing any other than pursuing your Liberal views with fair comments.

  44. @LEFTYLAMPTON
    I have another pinch of salt for your delectation. This pinch of salt was worth £150billion up to 2006, I guess £250billion by now.

    Terry Arthur, a leading fellow of the Institute of Actuaries, wrote a paper for his Institute in 2006, stating that the raid on A.C.T had a cost to pension funds of £150billion (to 2006).

    For those who don’t know it, an actuary is quite a lot like our own dear Anthony. They deal 100% with numbers. They do not, under any circumstances take sides, just mathematical facts tell the actuary what he needs to know.

    I go to the trouble to explain this, in order to avoid a professional man being accused of falseness because he may vote Tory.

    So, £150billion cost to private and company pension schemes between 1997 and 2006. I am guessing at least another £100billion since 2006. Now you may take this paltry figure with a pinch of salt because you are safe with a tax payer funded public sector jobby. For those who don’t, have a care, don’t be like a selfish Tory. £250billion, that’s a lot of working peoples pensions, me old cock sparrow.

  45. One thing that seems to trouble me is the idea that “Savers” need to be protected more than the rest of the population…

    Here’s the problems with that.

    People who take their money and put it into ‘savings’ that don’t cycle into the economy as loans to others, are slowing down the economy.

    The people who could have said “No, we won’t put money into these dangerous and unregulated debt-bundle futures, because they are a risk to the economy” were savings and pension fund managers.

    Debt-bubbles and housing-bubbles are caused by ‘savers’, putting their cash into things that are over-inflating.

    Sitting on a load of cash ‘savings’ does not make you morally superior *or* economically more productive than people with small reserves and running debts.

  46. @jayblanc

    You said “…Debt-bubbles…are caused by ‘savers’…”

    No, they’re not. Debt-bubbles are caused by borrowers and/or people lending to borrowers.

    You then said “…Sitting on a load of cash ‘savings’ does not make you morally superior *or* economically more productive than people with small reserves and running debts…”

    You are correct. People who run hot (little/no savings, propensity to borrow) are quicker and more able to prosper in times of easy credit. People who run cold (much savings, propensity to save) are slower but better able to withstand bad times. The former did better during the Brown Boom, I assume the latter will do better during the Brown Bust.

    Regards, Martyn

  47. @jayblanc
    I have never heard a correlation between high morals and high savings, so I don’t understand your point. The benefit of having a good pension pot is not only “bleedin obvious”
    but also a method of not being a damn nuisance to one and all, because you no longer work and earn.

  48. @Martyn

    “No, they’re not. Debt-bubbles are caused by borrowers and/or people lending to borrowers.”

    Really? Er… Okay, so explain to me how people can borrow from those unwilling to lend? There will always be people wanting to borrow, the control of the amount of credit out there is in the hands of those who have the money to lend.

    The debt-derivative crisis was not caused by those who borrowed, but by those who lent, and those who traded the ‘debt-bundles’.

  49. JAYBLANC

    @”The debt-derivative crisis was not caused by those who borrowed, but by those who lent, and those who traded the ‘debt-bundles’.”

    Yes & No.

    Yes- mortgage backed securities were traded widly , thus spreading the risk of impaired value inherant in them throughout the banking system.

    No-the risk crystalised because borrowers defaulted

    ………..then the asset price bubble they jointly created collapsed……….on top of all of us .

  50. @Colin

    If you lend something to someone who defaults on the loan, and it was pretty obvious they would default, the fault is not with them but with you.

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