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Page last updated at 07:48 GMT, Friday, 17 June 2011 08:48 UK

Public pension changes 'difficult for people'


The Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has said he was sorry to hear a union suggest his pensions announcements today could be a "showstopper" for negotiations.

Mr Alexander told Today presenter John Humphrys that he was not saying anything publicly that he had not already said privately, but acknowledged increased employee contributions to public sector pensions "is going to be difficult for people".

He insisted talks on pension reform with unions were going well and would extend into next month, and said : "The point of the negotiation is to sit down and discuss with trade unions in a reasonable fashion how we take things forward."

Earlier the GMB national union secretary for public services Brian Strutton told Today: "I was convinced that the government was reconsidering its position on (contributions) and thinking it through carefully. I'm worried now that they are not. If Danny Alexander is going to say 'Actually, we've made our minds up', then that is a show-stopper."

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