Government paper threatens council workers’ pensions

Local government HR body Socpo has opposed plans to scrap final salary
pension provision for council staff, which were raised in a government
discussion paper last week.

The discussion paper into the sector’s pension provision calls for more
flexibility to benefit the whole workforce, and raises the possibility that the
final salary pension scheme could be closed to new local authority staff in the

The paper states: "There is no intention of imposing change to the
existing pensions packages for current members", but does not guarantee
the long-term future of the present scheme.

Vice-president of Socpo Mary Mallett believes closing the final salary
scheme would be extremely damaging.

She said: "The current scheme is highly valued and works for local
government officers with long service, but we do need to add flexibility to
reflect modern working practices. It would be very concerning if the Government
does not listen to what local government wants."

The paper claims the existing system provides a good pension for staff who
put in 40 years service then retire at their peak salary, but does not serve
the high percentage of the sector’s employees who work flexibly or part-time.

Local government HR professionals have until February next year to comment.

At its annual conference last week the TUC passed a motion demanding
employers pay pension contributions of 10 per cent of workers’ salaries.

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