The Telegraph gets it spectacularly wrong

Today’s Daily Telegraph has an editorial that puts forward a rather curious and at times dishonest set of arguments.

Once again it advances the argument that our defined benefit schemes are more generous than the defined contribution funds found in most of the private sector. But in a slightly surprising turn,  it then castigates defined contribution pension funds, suggesting that they are unreliable and a rip off. You might think that made a pretty good case for defending our defined benefit pensions. But instead the editorial then shifts the argument: it suggests that the only reason the public sector can stick with defined benefit schemes is because the taxpayer stands behind them. Of course, this is simply not true at the BBC: our pension scheme has its own fund (currently in deficit). So for its own rhetorical purposes the Telegraph has lumped us in with unfunded public sector pensions.

This matters for an important reason. Our pension fund is NOT in crisis (contrary to the BBC’s pronouncements). It has a deficit, and there are plenty of alternative ways that this deficit could be eliminated, without the brutal reduction in pension provision that the BBC is suggesting. Indeed, there is compelling evidence that retaining the existing benefits would cost about the same as the changes the BBC has suggested. The BBC refuses to engage with these figures (although it is my understanding that the NUJ is considering whether to get a professional analysis of the pension fund deficit).

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