(2) what recent estimate he has made of the total share of public spending which will be accounted for by public sector pensions in (a) 2035 and (b) 2045;
(3) what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of public spending on public sector pensions in each year from 1980-81 to 2050-51; on what assumptions for (a) the discount rate and (b) longevity these estimates are based; when these assumptions were last updated; and if he will make a statement.
Current estimates and future projections (over the next 50 years) of public service pensions as a share of GDP and of total public spending are available in the two Long Term Public Finance Reports published in 2004 and 2005. Comparable historic figures could not be provided without disproportionate cost.
A note by the Government Actuary’s Department and Her Majestys’ Treasury on the assumptions used for the unfunded pension projections in the LTPFR was laid in the House of Commons Library in June 2006.
(2) when the next estimate of the total public sector unfunded pension liability will be available; and if he will make a statement;
(3) what recent estimate he has made of the total unfunded public sector pensions liability; what this liability was in each year since 1990-91; on what assumptions his estimate is based; and if he will make a statement.
Total unfunded public service pension liabilities are estimated to be £530 billion at 31 March 2005. The two previous comparable estimates of this total were £460 billion at 31 March 2004, and £425 billion at 31 March 2003. The estimates for years prior to 2003 were not made on a comparable basis. Comparable information is not held on the liabilities of the funded local government pension scheme or other funded public sector schemes.
An explanation of the basis for the estimate of the total liabilities at 31 March 2005 and of the reasons for the changes from the comparable figure at 31 March 2004, which covered the assumptions used, was given in the technical note ‘Total Liability of Unfunded Public Service Occupational Pension Schemes as at 31 March 2005’ which my predecessor placed in the Library of the House on 2 March 2006.
The most recent estimate was based on figures that were published in 2004-05 resource accounts. Resource accounts are published annually and accounts for 2005-06 for most of the unfunded public service schemes are now available, but, until all of them are available, it is not yet possible to calculate a comparable total at 31 March 2006.
Sections of the Treasury responsible for public service pensions policy, long-term fiscal policy, and public expenditure forecasting undertake central analyses of the cost of public service pensions, consulting internally and taking advice from the Government Actuary’s Department as appropriate.
Other Government Departments undertake analyses of the costs of individual public service pension schemes in line with the responsibilities of Ministers towards those individual schemes.
Rounded to the nearest £0.1 billion, employee contributions to unfunded public service pension schemes were £4.5 billion and employee contributions to the funded Local Government Pension Schemes were £1.7 billion in the financial year 2004-05.
Government do not hold aggregate estimates of employee contributions in the wider public sector.