If you like the idea of retiring at 60 – or even 65 – with a secure, inflation-linked pension based on your final salary, find yourself a job in the public sector. That is the unfortunate message to young people from yesterday's mostly commendable Pensions Bill.
It lacked even a passing reference to these wonderful public sector pensions. They are already the envy of everyone working for private sector employers who have had to close their final salary schemes to the new generation – who will nevertheless pay the taxes to deliver more comfort and security than they can realistically expect in old age for their public sector counterparts.
There is nothing far-fetched about this. This Pensions Bill coincided with news that the Labour Party is back in hock to the unions. They provided 90 per cent of all donations to the party in the last quarter. It could hardly be otherwise now that rich men know they risk arrest if they sign an unwise cheque in the hope of a half-hour's tennis with Tony Blair. These are public sector unions, overwhelmingly.
Alan Johnson, who would rather like to be Prime Minister, sold the pass to them before last year's election. He backed off a Government proposal to raise the civil service pension age from 60 to 65. Now, come 2046, there will be no state pension until the age of 68 and you can bet that any surviving private sector pensions move out in line with it.
Make no mistake, public sector pensions at 60 are etched in political stone. Labour needs union money, just as it did in the days of "Sunny Jim" Callaghan – and David Cameron has not put a windmill on his roof to make himself the pension-pinching bogey of the entire public sector.
Nobody has worked out the tax implications of the coming transfer of wealth from one part of the working population – the productive part, if you like – to the other. But they cannot fit comfortably with exhortations to revive the culture of long-term saving. Even if prudence is somehow brought back to life as a national virtue, the Government has to reveal how it will benefit many of those who adopt it and then lose Gordon Brown's means-tested pensions as a result. The way things are going that could be half the pensioner population.
James Purnell, the pensions reform minister, no less, almost acknowledged this yesterday, remarking "where incentives are not clear-cut for certain specific groups, people need good information to help them make the decision that is right for them".
He promised to provide this. Quite how, he did not reveal. To do it in any meaningful way, Mr Purnell will need a crystal ball that tells him what generations of future Chancellors are going to do about means tests.
The proposals in this Bill to enable most women to qualify for the full state pension and to link it again to earnings rather than prices are heartily welcome. But they cannot possibly come cheap.