A little knowledge is a dangerous thing or put not your trust in princes.

Prof David Bell

Prof David Bell

Commenting today on last nights (21.5.13) Scotland Tonight programme on STV. Following the papers on economics released by both Better Together and the Scottish Government in the last couple of days, the programme brought two economists to the studio to comment on five arguments provided by each side.

There is plenty I could say about the programme but I wanted to highlight one point in particular. One of the economists was Prof. David Bell, Professor of Economics, University of Stirling. I checked out his ‘short’ CV. It was four pages long, hate to think how long the full version is. You can check it out here. http://www.stir.ac.uk/media/schools/management/documents/DNFB-Short-CV-3.pdf

Lots of stuff on there as you can see. Nothing you’ll note on pensions. The good Prof should have stuck to his CV. One of the Better Together points was on pensions prompting the following from Prof Bell:-

‘’my pension is shared across the universities in the UK as a whole, so a cross border pension. The argument which is put up is that the letter of the law according to EU regulation is that these pensions have to be fully paid up as soon as they become cross border.’’

(You can check this out on the STV Player approx 7 minutes into the programme. Only available for 6 days after the prog.)

First point, slightly pedantic. A paid up pension is one which is no longer receiving contributions. What the Prof should have said was fully funded. The main point is this. The Prof is in the universities scheme which is indeed cross border in that Profs like himself across the UK are members. But it is a PUBLIC sector scheme and has zilch to do with the EU. The EU regulations apply to PRIVATE sector schemes.

So in a few seconds Prof Bell has misled himself, the viewers of Scotland Tonight and put the wind up university professors everywhere. Not a bad nights work.

I’ve tweeted the Prof to point out the error of his ways, so far without reply.

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