The final batch of regulations for Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) 2014 has been laid before Parliament.
The rules, which provide the last guidelines for administering authorities in advance of the scheme's introduction, include transitional protections for current members of the scheme within ten years' of normal retirement age.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) also announced local authority councillors will not be able to join the scheme when it takes effect on 1 April 2014. Current councillor members will no longer qualify at the end of their fixed term.
In a written ministerial statement, local government minister Brandon Lewis said: "Taken together, I believe these necessary reforms deliver on the coalition government's pledge to reform public sector pensions and provide a fair deal for public service workers and taxpayers.
"The reforms ensure that local government pensions are fair, affordable and sustainable in the long term, particularly in the light of changing demographics, and are justifiable to taxpayers who foot the bill for employer contributions."
Last week, Unison urged the government to "stop stalling" over introducing the transitional protections, as without them, LGPS 2014 "will not be able to function after 1 April".
Unison general secretary David Prentis wrote to Lewis warning of the consequences of delays to the regulations.
He said: "A number of scheme members are now so anxious at the apparent delay in bringing in the agreed protections that they are threatening to leave the scheme."
The delay in issuing transitional protections was related to councillor access to the LGPS, PP understands.
The DCLG consulted on whether the locally-elected politicians should qualify for "taxpayer-funded pensions" from April to June last year (PP Online, 16 April 2013).
However, Unison said the issue had "no bearing on the agreed protections".
LGPS 2014 will introduce a career average revalued earnings (CARE) benefit structure to the scheme, following John Hutton's 2011 review of public sector pensions.
The scheme is being introduced a year early in England and Wales. Both Scotland and Northern Ireland LGPS have chosen to introduce the scheme in 2015, when the Public Service Pensions Act 2013 comes into force (PP Online, 6 February).
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