The Rt Hon Tony Blair
The Prime Minister
10 Downing Street

A. citizen
100 Any Road
Typical Town


Date:   30th May 2006
 Dear Prime Minister

Civil Service and Central and Local Government Pensions

There is apparent wide spread support for the raising of the retirement age of public sector workers to those of the rest of the community.

When I was a young man we were told by the newspapers that we shouldn’t have more than a couple of children because of the World’s population becoming too great for the resources that we share. We were also told that we were living in the soon to arrive age of leisure and that we must take an interest in other activities, not just work, as our working lives are going to be shorter. This contrasts with pre and post war conditions, where people were lucky to keep in work and worked long hours. Working in the public sector has an attraction as there was (still is?) job security, and a pension even though the pay was not so attractive.

One would expect our lives and work prospects to be better after the war, as most of the damage caused by the second world war has been rectified and millions of pounds have been invested in improvements and developments of products and services and the pressure to reduce the length of the working day has led to more leisure –even though it might not seem so!

If the country is to continue to attract talented and keen personnel into the Civil Service and local and central government then I believe it would be a mistake to reduce the benefits that should rightly be earnt through a lifetime of dedication to the citizens of our country and expect those workers to work longer before drawing their pension.

If the people do not understand that it is desirable to reward the dedication, and value the knowledge, that certain groups of personnel have, then it would appear to be a fault in their education. If you disagree, and force teachers etc to work (possibly to they drop) to make working conditions poorer, then you’ll lose some of your best personnel and demoralise large sectors of the government workforce. Also, your Government will lower the esteem that many citizens have for people who work in the public sector; which will in turn lead to even more demoralisation.

The most outstanding difference, in the 21st century, between 99% of the population and the other 1% is that the other 1% could survive if not thrive without the 99% but that the 99% would not survive without the other 1%. That 1% has superior knowledge and skills, determination and experience of unestimateable value

This is of course a postulate that could be the subject of a post doctoral degree research project. The reality maybe that the figure is 0.5per cent! of the population, which could include all manner of people (plumbers, PM’s, Lords, craftsmen, sportsman/women, etc.) not necessarily those with a high technological knowledge or intellect. but our gut feeling is that we individually, really do not know very much.

I am quite sure that you do, as Prime Minister, know; not only what only a prime minister knows but also possess knowledge, skill and experience that you bring to that office. But the knowledge we have is never enough, we need those people, the one percent, and need to keep producing them, and need therefore, to look after them; as they in effect look after us.

Yours sincerely
A. Citizen

A reply from the Prime Minister's office is reprinted below

The Prime Minister has asked me to thank you for your recent letter.

Mr Blair would like to reply personally, but as you will appreciate he receives many thousands of letters each week and this is not possible.

The matter you raise is the responsibility of the Cabinet Office, therefore he has asked that your letter be forwarded to that department so that they are also aware of your views.