Town halls vent fury at pension cutbacks

 

Town hall officials yesterday launched a protest against having to pay more for their gold-plated pensions.

Town hall

Complaint: Town hall leaders claim increase in pension contribution will hit economic recovery

They said the economy will suffer if they no longer have so much of their salaries to spend.

And they claimed many will leave their pension scheme if they have to pay a bigger share towards a system that costs taxpayers more than £5bn a year - a quarter of all council tax.

The complaints led by the councils' umbrella body, the Local Government Association, provoked a furious response from taxpayer pressure groups.

They said there was no protest from anyone in local government about the depressing economic effects when council taxes were doubled.

Baroness Eaton, the Tory leader of the LGA, and Sir Steve Bullock, the Labour mayor of Lewisham who leads its pay negotiators, made their protest in a letter to Chancellor George Osborne.

They said the Government's spending review means that over the next four years town hall officials will have to pay on average an extra 3.2% of their pay into their pension scheme.

Their letter complained: 'Such an increase in contributions will lead to a further dampening of employee spending power at a time when the Government is seeking to promote economic recovery.'

The proposed increases would see someone on £25,000 a year paying an extra £27 a month. An official on £75,000 would have to pay an extra £144 a month, while for those on more than £150,000, the extra contribution would amount to £350 a month.

The Local Government Pension Scheme is among the public sector schemes already declared unsustainable by former Labour minister Lord Hutton in a review for the Government.

Lord Hutton has recommended that those who benefit from schemes should pay higher contributions.

Christine Melsom, of the council tax campaign group Is It Fair?, said: 'No sensible person would leave a pension scheme like this one. LGA employees have never had it so good, but they tell the rest of us to go hang.'