It is not easy being a Londoner these days. The city, despite all its evident charms and attractions, is becoming increasingly expensive, crowded, polluted and noisy. The housing market has been disfigured thanks to a toxic combination of city bankers and large-scale immigration, not to mention a reluctance on behalf of government to build more affordable housing across the capital. Moving around town has also become nigh on impossible.
Indeed, it is this last problem which has become almost too intolerable for words. Not content with providing quite possibly the worst and almost certainly the most expensive underground service in Europe, tube workers have threatened Londoners with strikes on and off now for the best part of two years. Continue reading
‘Two nations; between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets,’
Benjamin Disraeli – Sybil or the Two Nations 1845
In 1845 Disraeli wrote about the Two Nations when describing the state of society within England and the dreadful conditions of the working classes compared to the relative prosperity of the upper and middle classes. Today we again have a case where Britain is divided between two groups, the public and the private sectors, who it would seem are as ignorant of each other’s lives as the classes described by Benjamin Disraeli in 1845. Continue reading
Public sector pensions are seen as compensation for a lifetime of hard underpaid, under-appreciated labour.
However, a recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey showed that public sector workers retire with pensions worth up to eight times that of their private sector equivalents.The anomaly is the way that pension schemes work in the public sector, which should have been blindingly obvious from the minute they were formulated, are unaffordable.
If you are lucky enough to have accumulated some money in a private pension, the pension company is legally obliged to keep reserves of cash or liquid assets in order to fund these pension schemes. They also invest in a wide portfolio of things which make a return, paying interest on your savings, and increasing the value of your pot, and thus your pension payments. Continue reading