A simple country baker

10 February, 2006
Comment
Page 19 

Tony Phillips is past president of the NAMB and is (allegedly) retired from running Janes Pantry with 10 shops in Gloucestershire

Pensions – now that’s a subject to stir the heart and start the blood racing! I am in receipt of mine, so I am reasonably happy. But recently on Radio 4 I heard a trade union representative say: “My members are not prepared to work until they drop.”
Well said, sir! Except, why should we in the private sector have to work until we are 65 to pay for your members in the public sector to retire at 60?A few minor facts often seem to be overlooked. These are that pensions in the public sector are far higher, hours are often shorter, conditions usually better, holidays longer and research says that salaries are some 11% higher on a like-for-like basis than those in the private sector.Presumably, it is considered right for people in the private sector to work until they drop. In the 1950s there was a saying: “Up the workers!” And, by goodness, people in the wealth-creating sector are certainly getting it stuck right up them!Should you doubt that public sector salaries are higher, then force yourselves to buy The Guardian newspaper and read the job adverts. True, you will not even recognise half the so-called jobs advertised but, with respect to Sir Winston Churchill, never in the field of human existence has so much been paid for so little!The simple question I ask myself is when there are more people in the public sector than in the wealth-producing sector, who pays for it? Our bakers and all our staff work hard. Not as hard as I would like, because they appear to want holidays and Sundays off, but when they break this nasty habit they will all be near-perfect.We are all over-taxed, with horrendous petrol duty, income tax, and pension tax for an inadequate pension (if we live long enough to collect it). Somehow it does not seem fair that a 75-year-old baker should go to work at 2am and pay taxes for public sector workers, who have never done a useful job in their lives.This then enables them to retire at 60 on an inflated pension, which will probably be higher than the baker has ever earned. Among many stupidities, Hull’s half-witted officials have come up with the idea that the words ‘ladies’ and ‘senior citizens’ should not be used. Rather, ‘women’ and ‘older people’ are appropriate, according to a report in The Daily Mail. And we have to pay not only their inflated salaries but also their inflated early pensions!The reason our local council taxes are so high is because there are so many non-jobs created by councillors. You shouldn’t waste residents’ money by creating a bigger empire for yourself, so that you can, in turn, ask us for an even larger salary.Should all these useless positions – I refuse to call them jobs – be done away with and we were not told, our lives would go on as normal. Only our taxes would fall.This is a good lesson for business – we should look at what we are doing and ask ourselves whether we need to do it and, if not, can we reduce it a little.Remove all the bakers and the country would be in chaos. They need us more than all the young university graduates, who complete useless degrees through no fault of their own because the government is intent on getting quantity rather than quality.



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