I was astonished to read your letter of the week (Personnel Today, 25 April) when once again the myth that local government employees receive such a poor pension in relation to their private sector counterparts was proposed.
Let’s get this straight once and for all. The local government pension scheme provides a pension of one-eightieth of final pensionable salary for each year of service, plus a tax-free cash sum of three-eightieths of salary for each year of service. The private sector final salary scheme (where it still exists) generally provides a pension of one-sixtieth of final pensionable salary for each year of service, part of which can be commuted for a tax-free cash sum. Actuarially speaking, the amounts are the same.
The question of low salaries is also brought up frequently, but many of the local authority staff are part-time. I am aware of a number of people who work for my organisation part-time who are in the pension scheme I run, and who are also employed by a local authority and are members of that scheme as well. So talk of low salaries from one source does not necessarily tell the whole story.
It is easy to make political capital out of statistics, but unless you are aware of what the figures are telling you, they are meaningless.
I agree wholeheartedly with Alan Barry’s observation that our legislators have ensured they are very well looked after while the rest of us are struggling to keep our pension schemes afloat following endless, and sometimes pointless, legislation.
Dr Graham Brown
Head of people support services