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Police pensions could be cut

PUBLISHED: 12:46 21 June 2010 | UPDATED: 18:05 30 June 2010

Norfolk police can spend longer drawing their pensions than they do at work, it emerged last night as the coalition government pledged to cut the soaring bill for public sector pensions.

Norfolk police can spend longer drawing their pensions than they do at work, it emerged last night as the coalition government pledged to cut the soaring bill for public sector pensions.

New figures revealed the average Norfolk officer retires at the age of 49, while average life expectancy means they can expect to live for a further 34 years after retirement.

Lord Oakeshott, the Lib Dem treasury spokesman in the Lords, who obtained the statistics, said: “No system can survive people being able to draw pensions for longer than they worked.”

Chancellor George Osborne yesterday said the “unsustainable” rise in the annual bill for so-called “gold-plated” public sector pension schemes - which is set to more than double to £9bn by 2015 - must be tackled. Norfolk police's pension bill is reported to have increased by 42pc over the last four years.

Norfolk police said cost of pensions was due to be discussed at a police authority meeting tomorrow. A spokesman said: “We are aware of the comments made by the deputy prime minister and Lord Oakeshott. It is too early in the proceedings to make any further comment.”

Tomorrow's emergency budget is expected to outline a tough package of spending cuts and tax rises to tackle the UK's £155bn deficit.

But the government said the pensions issue would be put before an independent pensions Commission headed by former work and pensions secretary Lord

Hutton.

The review is due to come up with “early steps” by September and longer-term reforms by time of the next Budget in spring 2011. Accrued rights will not be affected.

“The long-term affordability of public sector pensions is crucial

for sustainable public finances

both in the UK and internationally,” Mr Osborne said. “We must

consider options for reform that

are fair to the taxpayer and to

people who work in the public sector.”

Lord Hutton said: “Reform of public sector pensions is a huge challenge for both the public finances and the public sector work force.

“I am determined that this work should be conducted openly and transparently and that our conclusions will be underpinned with a comprehensive analysis and evidence-base.”

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