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Reports and Briefing Notes

An assessment of the Government's reforms to public sector pensions

The public sector employers and unions have been discussing reform proposals to all major public sector pension schemes since 2002. The implementation of the final set of reforms has once again focused attention on the public sector pension schemes. This report analyses the impact of the Government’s public sector pension reforms for public sector employees, for the sustainability of the public sector schemes and for the comparison between pay and pensions in the public and private sectors.

The research was funded by the Nuffield Foundation but the views expressed are those of the authors rather than of the Foundation.


Chapter one introduces the main features of the public sector pension schemes and why the reforms are taking place.

Chapter two considers how well the reforms have increased the flexibility and attractiveness of the schemes to public sector employees and employers.

Chapter three considers the costs of the schemes to the taxpayer, after the amount contributed by members of the schemes has been deducted. It also considers the new cost sharing and cost capping agreements, which aim to share unanticipated future changes in costs between the members of the public sector pension schemes and the taxpayer.

Chapter four considers whether this is the case by comparing the reformed public sector pension schemes with hypothetical private sector pension schemes.  

Chapter five looks at whether the assumptions that good public sector pension schemes are part of a wider remuneration package are true.



Executive Summary

Executive Summary

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