Accounting chiefs slam government pension reforms

Three Big Four chairman are among the names of 16 of Britain’s most prominent
business leaders in an angry letter to the prime minister over the growing
disparity between public and private sector pension provision.

The letter obtained by The Times, revealed that Nick Land, chairman
of Ernst & Young, John Connolly, senior partner and chief executive of
Deloitte and Kieran Poynter, UK chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers were among 16
business leaders accusing Tony Blair of setting ‘a poor example to the country’
by abandoning plans to raise the pension age for public sector workers from 60
to 65.

The letter, that comes after the government backed down on public-sector
pension reforms, was written by John Sunderland, president of the CBI, and
co-signed by businessmen including Martin Broughton, chairman of British
Airways, Stuart Rose, chief executive of Marks & Spencer and Richard Harvey,
group chief executive of Aviva among others.

Sunderland opened the letter by emphasising the ‘strength of feeling that
exists within the business community’. He continued that, although the letter’s
16 co-signatories alone employed more than half a million workers, ‘many more,
large and small alike, have expressed to me their deep concern’.

The CBI’s criticism comes only a week after Alan Johnson, the Trade and
Industry Secretary, caved in to union demands to protect the current terms of
the final salary pensions of three million existing public sector workers.

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