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Letter: Public sector jobs

Sir: David Aaronovitch's article on public sector workers made some well balanced comments ("What's the point of spending a fortune on nurses and teachers?", 28 January).

The pay in both nursing and teaching has been distorted by the callings on the various pay scales which mean that, after their mid-forties, nurses and teachers can only earn good salaries (ie comparable with non-public services activity) by moving into "management". We thus lose some of those with the best practical skills.

David Blunkett's proposals for super-teacher scales are fine, except that they will be awarded to bright young things. The older generation of teachers will be ignored and will retire on pensions which do scant justice to their contribution.

The public service pension scheme is one respect in which all careers in the public service could be made much more attractive, at little immediate cost. The scheme should cease to base pensions on "number of years' service divided by eight" (which implies the need to work for over 53 years to draw a maximum two thirds of final salary as pension), abandoned long ago by most good employers. It should be upgraded to 70ths immediately, and perhaps 60ths over the longer term. This would greatly reduce the pressure for catching up rises.


Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands