Local government talks on pension changes break down

Discussions between the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, local government representatives and trade unions to stop strike action over changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme have ended without agreement.

From April the earliest retirement age under the LGPS will increase from 50 to 55, while normal retirement age will be standardised at 65.

The government is introducing the changes as part of its review of all public sector pension schemes to deal with longer lifespans, changing demographics and rising pension costs.

However, the Local Government Association (LGA) said that while the discussions were cordial and positive, no agreement was reached. Further talks could take place next week.

Unions are demanding the withdrawal of the April regulation changes pending further talks, but the LGA said there would be enormous legal and financial difficulties caused by any late change in regulations when budgets and employer contribution rates had been set.

A Unison and TGWU strike ballot is currently underway and there is the prospect of national strikes beginning on 23 March.

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