Sunday, 4 December 2011

BBC pensions - It's what we do

For anyone who joined the BBC before 1996, the Television Tax provides a generous pension:
Example Retires at 55 after 30 years service on final salary of £60,000
30/60ths x £60,000 = £30,000 at age 60
4% reduction for early retirement at 55
You get £28,800 a year
After decades of overmanning, gold-plating, empire-building and staggering inefficiency, the vast bloated Soviet bureaucracy that is our national broadcaster has accumulated a terrifying pension liability on the most generous of terms - with some 17,000 staff in the pipeline entitled to this 'old' pension. The pension fund is forecast to be £2bn - £3bn short. With a freeze on the TV Tax and a falling payroll, the ability of current staff to pay for previous staff diminishes alarmingly. In fairness, they can't apply cuts retrospectively. Thus it's looking more and more likely that these obligations can only be met by diverting broadcasting budgets.

It may be that the only longer term option is to form a vehicle to inherit all the pension liabilities of the BBC, and sell-off most of the rest of the broadcaster to the commercial sector, retaining only World Service radio and News 24 / Parliament TV, to boost the pension fund.   


Edward Spalton said...

Other large organisations have similar problems. In a programme about German Railways a few years back, one of the German commentators said "We are not running a railway but a pension fund with a railway as a subsidiary activity".

The American car manufacturers of the rust belt got into the same problem with the health care and pension packages agreed with powerful unions in times of prosperity becoming utterly unaffordable with more efficient, lower paid competition from elsewhere. It you look at pictures of Detroit today, you can see the devastation this brought about. Compare today's Detroit with today's Hiroshima and you get to realise that top-heavy wages and benefits are more powerfully destructive than atomic weapons.

And in the upshot, the solution in the US was the same as the BBC's - to make the taxpayer/licence payer cough up.

Greg Tingey said...

Excuse me, these people (and the DB employess - and myself, breifly) paid subventions OUT OFOUR OWN SALARIES towards these pension schemes, which were thought, at the time, and in the financial circumstances then prevailing, to be entirely equitable.
NOW you want to change the rules, along with a gratuitous bit of Beeb-bashing.

I can't understand the Beeb-bashing incidentally - is it something to do with TV, since I find their radio programmes excellent .... (?)

Raedwald said...

Greg - that's the point. You can't change the rules retrospectively, i.e. for the entitlements that people have already earned - but meeting those obligations may cost the sell-off of the BBC to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

Greg Tingey: "Excuse me, these people (and the DB employess - and myself, breifly) paid subventions OUT OFOUR OWN SALARIES towards these pension schemes."

Might I suggest you take an hour or so and view the eight presentations on the above link, I think they should give you food for thought.

Elby the Beserk said...

Greg Tingey

Just don't mention the Muslims, eh?

Almost all honour attacks in the UK are in Muslim families. Not once in this article is the word "Muslim" or "Islam" or variants mentioned.

Now, had the demographic been white trash families, would the BBC have held back mentioning this.

The BBC has been poisoned by the liberal elite. The liberal elite will go to any length to appease Muslims, for reasons best known to themselves.

Budgie said...

We have the solution to the BBC problem in our own hands. We can stop paying the BBC TV tax.

I gave up watching TV decades ago because it was so biased. If I want to know what the Grauniad is thinking I turn on BBC radio.

Greg Tingey said...

Elby the Berserk:

Incidentally, two of the worst "honour" attacks were not from muslims.
One was sikh (!) and the other hindu (involving Dalit, I think)

I STILL don't understand.
And excuse me, it isn't a tax.
Owning a TV is NOT compulsory, and I don't have one - which really annoys the licence-fascists, incidentally!

And what is wrong with the "liberal elite"?
If they were not there, we would still be a Roman Catholic country, burning dissenters...
As an atheist, I hold all the believers in Big Sky Fairies in equal contempt.

John M said...

Not being funny, but with BBC daytime TV now full of back to back repeated auction & house hunting shows, and the weekend crammed with repeats of Dad's Army, is there much left in the BBC budget to divert?

BBC TV these days seems to only spend money on Eastenders, Ballroom dancing and David Attenborough.

selsey.steve said...

The BBC's pension fund is heavily invested in things "green" via the good offices of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change. The IIGCC chairman and the BBC head of pensions investment is Peter Dunscombe.

Is pension fund protection one of the reasons that the BBC keeps pushing the green agenda?

Edward Spalton said...

I recently did a quick check on present annuity rates. For a man aged 65, £100,000 of capital will buy an income for life of about £5,900 but that is not inflation-proofed. Its value will decline annually.

If you look on the biased-bbc site for 28 November, there is a report of the actual cost of securing the same pension level as civil servants. NIPSA (A Northern Ireland trade union) guarantees its own employees the same level of inflation-proofed pension as they would get in the civil service scheme. It requires a premium of 40% of salary to achieve this.

Now there are various schemes in different branches of the public service which require superannuation contributions from employee and employer but I doubt very much whether any of them total 40% of salary combined. The difference in cost must be made up by the taxpayer/licence payer.

Obviously this level of provision is not sustainable from a working population whose occuptaional pension schemes have already been raided by Gordon Brown to pay for the public service pensioners. Inflation proofing is mostly a thing of the past.

Those pensioners operating the "draw down" from their pension funds may be in for a nasty shock when the Government Actuary next reviews the permissible annual amounts. If they were previously taking the permitted maximum, they may find the actual cash amount cut back sharply, as the Actuary takes into account the poorer outlook for the economy. I know because it's just happened to me - and I am being made to pay through my tax and/or licence fee for the feather-bedded public sector.

Budgie said...

Greg Tingey said: "I STILL don't understand."

What don't you understand, dear?

And, yes, it is a tax. You are required to pay it even if you only watch Sky. Therefore it is not a payment for a service.

GT: "Owning a TV is NOT compulsory"

Who said it was?

GT: "If the "liberal elite" were not there, we would still be a Roman Catholic country, burning dissenters ..."

What? You think Henry 8th was a liberal?

The "liberal elite" may or may not buy the Grauniad, but there is no reason for me to - I can just switch on BBC radio for their perspective. It is, of course, quite another matter for a national tax to be used to subsidise the Grauniad. The "liberal elite" should pay for their own entertainment.

Greg Tingey said...

It is NOT a tx.
owning a TV is not compulsoey - I don't have one.
Anyway, what moron would WANT to watch MurdocVision?

I was thinking of Bloody Mary, actually - and those who opposed her.
Or alternativley the Yorkist Kings, who supported the Lollards.

Thornavis said...

Greg, the TV licence is in effect a consumption tax, since, if you want to own a TV you have to pay it, it's possible to avoid consumption taxes like VAT to an extent but difficult and puts constraints on your lifestyle, so yes no one has to own a TV but that's hardly a justification for the licence fee. The only reason for it is to provide public service broadcasting, I think that was always a rather dubious argument but it's one that really has no validity at all now. The only part of the BBC's output that I listen to/watch in any quantity is R3, which is being increasingly dumbed down and subject to the incestuous self praise that the BBC indulges in, I doubt I'd miss it that much if it went. As for the liberal elite, they stopped being liberal some time ago, they're just the elite now and like any elite full of bullshit, not that the kind of socially conservative world that most people here would probably prefer is any better.

Edward Spalton said...

I forget who thought of the comparison, Thornavis, but the TV licence is rather like the makers of Persil taking their profit from an annual charge on washing machines, regardless of which detergent you use.

George Orwell drew on his experiences of the BBC in the Forties for the book 1984.

The left wing takeover took quite a long time to show through but it really is so blatant now that it cannot be ignored. Why should we pay for their propaganda whether we watch it or not?

Anonymous said...

Greg Tingey: "It is NOT a t[a]x. owning a TV is not compulsoey - I don't have one."

Wonderful thanks for the tip Greg. I'll apply that logic to my motor car which I voluntarily own, but seem to be obliged to pay VAT, Vehicle excise duty, Road Tax, MOT, simply because I own the ruddy thing.

A consolation to hear these imposts are not really taxes.