UK - The government has backed down over controversial plans to let senior councillors join the Local Government Pension Scheme.
The original proposals to give only senior councillors access to the £35m LGPS have now been shelved, it can be revealed.
Instead the government has consented to let all councillors join the scheme – providing their constituency votes in favour of these changes.
Head of the local government pensions unit at the office of the deputy prime minister, Terry Crossley, said: “All councillors potentially will now be able to benefit if determined locally.”
The u-turn follows a sustained campaign by local authority pension schemes and senior councillors to change the proposals. They argued that such proposals could act as a disincentive for quality people to put themselves forward for election.
Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough Council – the administrating council for the £5bn West Midlands Metropolitan Authorities Pension Fund – superannuation committee chairman Frank Docherty said in October that he believed a pension for only the members of council executives would be “highly discriminatory”.
Greater Manchester Pension Fund head of pensions administration Ged Dale said senior councillors responsible for their pension fund had also been strongly in favour of the amendments to the proposals and were very pleased that the LGPF proposals had been changed.
The move has also won the support of public service union Unison.
Head of pensions Glyn Jenkins said: “Clearly this means that there will now not be such a divide between councillors and their staff.”
Jenkins added that councillors must now press the government to include same-sex and unmarried partners benefits in the LGPS.
“MPs have these benefits in their scheme and we hope that the councillors will join in the campaign to bring it into the local government scheme,” he said.
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