Defined Benefit  

Top civil servants given 'lavish' £1m pensions

Top civil servants given 'lavish' £1m pensions

The UK’s permanent secretaries, 23 individuals who head up UK government departments, had an average defined benefit pension worth £1.1m in 2018/19, according to research from the TaxPayers' Alliance.

The figures, released by the think tank today (December 16), showed the average pension upon retirement of these officials will be £57,717 per annum - 94 per cent more than the average gross UK salary in 2018 (£29,817).

The data was taken from the 2018/19 annual reports of UK government departments and take into account cash equivalent transfer values.

The research also showed that 15 of the departmental heads will receive a lump sum upon retirement, with an average value of £148,167.

The top civil servants with the largest annual pensions are Simon McDonald, Clare Moriarty, and Mark Sedwill, the heads of the Foreign Office, department for Exiting the European Union, and Cabinet Secretary, respectively. 

These three will have a pension of at least £85,000 to £90,000 a year.

According to Duncan Simpson, research director at the TaxPayers' Alliance, “lavish pensions for senior public servants stand out as a sumptuous perk of Whitehall life that continues to survive, despite typical taxpayers seeing their own savings squeezed”.

He added: “It seems unjust that annual pension payments for the civil service top brass will be worth almost double the average salary.

“Politicians need to put an end to the Whitehall pensions racket once and for all, by implementing real reforms that make them affordable for taxpayers who don't get gold-plated perks.”

Last year, the think tank called on the government to introduce a funded defined contribution scheme for public employees to replace their final salary plan, saying these workers retired on pensions three times larger than their private sector counterparts.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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