Guernsey States pension changes cannot be rushed, says minister

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Changes to the pension scheme for all public sector workers cannot be rushed, Guernsey's social security minister has said.

His comments came as deputies discussed the States 2012 accounts in which the pension liability - how much could be paid out in the future - rose to £503m.

Deputy Allister Langlois said changes to the current final salary scheme could affect about 16,000 islanders.

He said: "We are extremely aware of the severity of the issue."

The liability rose from £381m at the end of 2011.

Deputy Al Brouard said: "That has to be paid by someone at some point."

'Glare of publicity'

He said: "It's a major issue causing a significant impact on our finances, yet it seems the larger effort is put into the FTP [Financial Transformation Programme] which by comparison on our finances is of less significance although very important."

The programme aims to save £31m from the States budget by the end of 2014.

Mr Langlois said: "We are making progress, these negotiations cannot take place in the glare of publicity.

"We have about 5,000 members, we have about 3,000 current pensioners if each one of those on average has one dependent that's 16,000 direct stakeholders in this scheme.

"There's an awful lot of people whose lives and futures are directly affected by the negotiations.

"I'm not prepared to put a date on further news, but there is another meeting this month would should more it forward."

The negotiations include discussions about increasing contribution rates, a rise in the age of retirement and reducing benefits.

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