UK - Disgruntled local authorities have hit out at government plans to give senior councillors access to the local government pension scheme.
The proposals have been branded “unworkable” by scheme managers who argue senior councillors should not be rewarded by LGPS entry.
South Yorkshire Pension Fund’s scheme manager John Hattersley said local authorities are uneasy about the proposals and questioned giving senior councillors access to the scheme, given their short tenure of office.
Hattersley added: “[Our] initial reaction to the regulations was that they are unworkable. There should be other ways of recognising the needs of senior councillors other than this flawed attempt to increase their pension rights.”
He added that a change in their remuneration package would have sufficed.
London Borough of Lewisham deputy pensions manager Mike Dobson agreed that the proposals are not fair and said the government should consider other methods for rewarding councillors.
The proposals will see more than 3500 senior councillors joining the £35bn scheme from October – when the legislation comes into force.
Conceding the proposals’ inevitability, Dobson said: “It is just a matter of time before this is common practice. Each London constituency will have to let a dozen or so extra people enter the scheme – regionally there will be around 40 councillors per district who are eligible.”
But the figure could be much bigger if the government decides to broaden the proposals to all councillors, according to Local Government Pension Committee pensions consultant Terry Edwards.
“If the scheme is made available to councillors, it should be made available to all councillors, not just a select few,” he added.
The deputy prime minister’s office, which is responsible for the proposals, stressed that only senior councillors who give up their permanent employment – thereby forfeiting any other occupational scheme they are eligible for – should benefit from LGPS access.
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