We are entering the crucial phase of our negotiation with the Unions over the future of public sector pensions.
A year ago at election time there was a very real fear in Trade Union circles that the incoming Government would seek a confrontation on this issue and seek to end the defined benefit system.
In fact we, and in this case it was very much a Conservative initiative, sought to defuse the issue and appointed former Labour Secretary of State, John Hutton, to advise on the matter. It is his recommendations that are at the root of the present negotiations.
The need for retirement ages to increase along with contribution levels is the only way of paying for pensions without leaving an unacceptable bill to be picked up by the taxpayer.