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Local councillors to lose gold-plated pensions

The government plans to rein in the generous pension scheme offered to councillors that costs taxpayers £7 million a year.

 
Local councillors to lose gold-plated pensions

The government plans to scrap taxpayer-funded pensions for local government councillors in a bid to make sure every part of the public sector ‘does its bit’ in the bid to cut costs.

Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, has announced the end to councillor’s gold-plated pensions ahead of this afternoon’s local government finance settlement, which determines how much councils will have to spend over the coming year.

A total of 4,548 councillors had signed up to the generous pension scheme by 2010/11, according to the Taxpayers’ Alliance. It is estimated that scrapping the pensions will save taxpayers’ £7 million a year.

The pensions offered to councillors are guaranteed and based on the allowances they are paid as councillors, not pensionable pay. The pensions come with life insurance for the councillor’s spouse or partner and the ability to take an ‘early retirement’ deal if they are voted out of office.

Access to the local government pension scheme will be reined in as the government seeks to make public sector savings in a bid to reduce the UK’s deficit.

Brandon Lewis, minister for local government, said: ‘Every bit of the public sector need to do its bit to help pay off the unsustainable deficit left by the Labour party. Conservatives believe that councillors are civic volunteers undertaking public service, they are not, and should not be, state employees of the council dependent on the municipal payroll.’

Grant Shapps, chairman of the Conservative party, said the reforms would ‘strengthen the integrity and independence of councillors, so that these local champions of the people are seen to stand up for the best interests of taxpayers, not the town hall state’.

News of the cuts to councillor pensions was welcomed by the Taxpayers' Alliance which said it would give the public confidence that 'councillors are there to represent the residents of a local ward rather than forge a career as a professional politician'.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: 'Receiving allowances is not the same as pensionable pay, and the fact that many local authorities allow councillors to enrol on the scheme calls into question the voluntary nature of participating in local government.

'Instead of making local government just another job with pay, perks and a pension, councillors need to concentrate on representing the interests of their constituents by holding staff to account and encouraging them to deliver services at a better value.'

12 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Zoomer

Dec 19, 2012 at 14:25

Great - just need MP's to do the same!

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Michael Stevens

Dec 19, 2012 at 15:29

Well done! One of the most sensible moves the goverment has done.

Now put all Tax payer back pension schemes into NEST. Get in the real world

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RFH

Dec 19, 2012 at 16:57

Excellent move, but this should just be the start of reining in all the rest of political gravy train!

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A C Wiltshire

Dec 19, 2012 at 17:12

MPs take note!

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Ian Lewthwaite

Dec 19, 2012 at 17:14

In simple terms, why should any public servant, have a better retirement pension than I can, even on a prorata basis. Lets have an end to these gravy trains/golden handshakes for all these usually incompetent management, nor forgetting the BBC and the two who have gone today, and forget this bull**** about confidentiallity,

If I as a taxpayer is paying I want it all disclosed under FOI , no secrecy payoffs, then we may see some JUSTICE for once.

The best way is to NEVER elect anyone for a second term, regardless of who they are!

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MOGO

Dec 19, 2012 at 17:28

An excellent move, having spent 10 years as a local Parish councillor and 2 years as chairman I had fairly close working relationships with local Borough and County councillors and never once have I heard of this 'pension scheme'. I shall certainly be asking some searching questions of my local representatives after this revelation. Apart from legitimate expenses I was always under the impression that service by elected representatives at local level was a civic duty, I didn't realise I was that naive.

Agree wholeheartedly, MP's beware, it's time we saw some sacrifice from you lot.

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Philmo

Dec 19, 2012 at 17:39

It's a start!

I'd like to see an end to all early retirement schemes except where genuine health reasons demand. And thus avoid the ridiculous situation where people continue in the same or similar post, on contract, having taken the early exit option.

It's a practice which makes MoD, police and many other pension schemes expensive beyond belief!

The easy comparator is the ratio of annual pension payout to salary payout, within a sector. Tells a real story!

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Muggle

Dec 19, 2012 at 18:04

This pension scheme must have been a very well kept secret. When did this outrageous scheme start ? Under Blair's reign ?

Another well kept secret is the pension which David Cameron and two other members of the house receive. These pensions would even make Van Rompuy blush !

I have nothing against civil servants having a pension but it must be based on average earnings with full actuarial reduction for early retirement.

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Philmo

Dec 19, 2012 at 18:31

Agree completely Muggle

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Vestor

Dec 19, 2012 at 18:41

How is it that the Chancellor can limit private sector pensions when the cabinet , MP's and other public sector workers enjoy pension benefits the cost of which far exceeds anything available to private sector taxpayers.

All pension benefits for members of parliament and other public sectors should be published and limited in line with any legislation.

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P Williams

Dec 19, 2012 at 19:43

Well done Tax payers Alliance and Mr Pickles.

I don't ever recall being asked to vote on this perk as a council tax payer. It makes you wonder just how many more of these scams are still lurking in the public sector.

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Ian Lewthwaite

Dec 20, 2012 at 08:52

Come back every time to ANYONE who is paid/going to be paid from the Public purse their contract should be open to final PUBLIC scutiny before is commences. We have a local case of a small hospital manager, taking his redundancy, and has now being paid? probably mega bucks plus lump more on his already fat pension for a further two years, do to the Head of Health for D&G going under a cloud, and the locals objecting to his proposals for closure. We can get no information from the top under FOI who hide under the Data Protection Act

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