UK - Council finance chiefs are "thinking the unthinkable" and pushing the government to raise pension contributions for existing local authority staff, consultant Hymans Robertson claims.
The Local Government Pensions Committee (LGPC) is recommending increasing contributions for new employees from 6% to 7%.
But many local authorities believe contributions by existing members also need to rise to plug deficits.
The LGPC recommendation comes as part of a central government “stock take” of the local government pension scheme.
Hymans Robertson partner Douglas Anderson said: “A lot of local authority finance officers and treasurers that are aware of the stock take, are hoping they will get some relief from the increased costs of the scheme through higher existing member contributions.
“I am sure some of them would like to see the contribution rate go up beyond 7%.”
Anderson emphasised that the question of raising pension contributions for existing staff had previously been a “taboo subject” and was off the agenda for council chiefs.
Local authority pension fund deficits are estimated to stand at £30bn, but England and Wales have been hardest hit.
These deficits are known to have contributed to council tax rises which have averaged 12.9% in England, 10% in Wales and 4% in Scotland.
It appears that only Northern Ireland does not face a major funding problem.
The Northern Ireland Local Government Pension Scheme had a surplus in 2001 and was able to reduce its employer contributions from 11.9% to 4.6%.
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