Local Government Pension Scheme under attack
Defend your Future!
You can play a part in making sure debate on the future of the Local Government Pension Scheme is based on Fact not ‘Myths’ and Envy.
The LGPS is under attack
Public Service Pension Schemes are under almost daily attack in the press. Statements like pensions ‘Black Hole’, pension apartheid, unsustainable perk, crop up with familiar regularity. Both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats want major reform and some politicians have called for the immediate closure of the schemes to new entrants and replacing them with cheap money purchase schemes for future service. Despite the virulence and regularity of the attacks there does not appear to be a consensus let alone a firm policy from either of those parties. So the next year is crucial if we are going to refute the attacks and stop the politics of envy firming up a policy of poverty for all.
The LGPS is not a ‘perk’ it allows nearly 2 million workers to save for their retirement.
The LGPS is affordable. Funds can pay back any deficits over more than 20 years. The Trade Unions and employers are developing a fair basis for monitoring future changes in costs
Other workers do not subsidise it. Over 50% of the cost is met by employee contributions and investment returns. Only around 5.4% of the total income generated for Local Government including Council Tax goes to the Pension Scheme.
Cheap money purchase schemes that sadly are being introduced in the private sector are not the answer. All the risk is with the member and there is no guarantee that benefits will even be above the poverty line when they retire.
The LGPS Normal Retirement Age for most is now 65. The average LGPS pension in payment is still only around £4000pa and the average for women is around £2000pa.
Worsen future benefits and many will end up on the State. Worsening pensions so people no longer save for their retirement is the real time bomb for the Taxpayer. The minimum income for the means tested Pensions Credit is now around £130 per week.
It is not that public Service Pension Schemes are getting more generous it is private sector schemes getting worse. Employers who switch to inadequate money purchase schemes are throwing many workers on to the State.
Doing the same for the LGPS would mean that a high proportion of the nearly 2 million workforce would stop saving and become reliant on the taxpayer. The real pension ‘apartheid’ is not between public and private sector workers, but between the fat cats in the board room who secure outrageously generous pensions for themselves with low retirement ages, and their workforce who at the same time are suffering cuts to their future pensions.
What can you do?
• Raise awareness of the issue with your colleagues
• Keep up with UNISON’s Campaign to defend the LGPS.
• Check the UNISON Pension website.
• Contact your local politicians and candidates running up to the next election