Cameron and Clegg face the audience
The prime minister has admitted that the pensions of existing public-sector workers will be cut, with employees expected to pay more and get less on retirement than they expected.
David Cameron's concession came in response to a question posed by Brett O'Reilly, who works in a further education college in Stourbridge, in a BBC News programme, Britain's economy: Cameron and Clegg Face the Audience.
O'Reilly asked the prime minister whether "existing pensions will stand? On the current terms?" He was assured that the rights he accrued so far would not be touched.
However, when I asked whether "contributions may be higher, you may get less back?" Mr Cameron replied "Yeah... what's happened in the private sector... many people's pensions have changed - no longer final salary schemes or having to put more money in... it's those things." (You can see a full transcript of the exchange below.)
David Cameron said that he wanted to start by limiting the pensions of those on the highest salaries whose pensions, he said, could be worth £60,000-£70,000 a year.
Earlier this week the government announced that the former Labour cabinet minister John Hutton would be investigating the future of public-sector pensions which Nick Clegg recently attacked in a speech as "gold-plated".
In the programme, the prime minister was also confronted by Denise, a fire-fighter from Edinburgh, who forced him to admit that the public-sector pay freeze actually meant that her pay was being cut once you took inflation into account.
David Cameron and Nick Clegg also faced questions about the impact of VAT on the poor, why they hadn't raised more from the bankers, cuts to benefits and much besides.
Seeing them finish each other's sentences may not be as much fun as watching England but it's not far off it.
You can see Britain's economy: Cameron and Clegg Face the Audience in full on the BBC News Channel at 7pm and again on BBC2 at 11.25pm
Full transcript of the exchange on public-sector pensions:
O'Reilly: "Does that mean that existing pensions will stand? On the current terms?"
Cameron: "What it means is the rights you have accrued so far of course, no-one is going to touch those. But it does mean for the future, we've got to make sure that pensions are affordable and yes you're absolutely right..."
Robinson (interrupts): "Let's just be clear what that means, let's be clear what that means."
O'Reilly: "So our pensions could essentially in the long term go down on what we've planned for?"
Cameron: For the future there may be changes to pension arrangements affecting existing employees, but the rights they've accrued so far no-one would touch those.
Robinson: Just so we're clear, if we may be, people get a prediction don't they, of what they're going to get on their pension if they carry on contributing as they are now? I think what you're saying to Brett and everybody else is... what you've so far got is safe but those contributions for the rest of his working life could be higher and you might get less back...is that right?"
Cameron: "Yeah... what's happened in private sector is many people's pensions have changed. There are no longer final salary schemes or they're having to put more money in... it's those things to make sure they're affordable. We want to have good pensions in the public sector."
Clegg: "Also in the public sector we can avoid what's happened in the private sector where those changes have been really abrupt. We can plan these things over a longer period of time so we've got plenty of warning."