Friday, 27 January 2012

CWaC Council: Gold plated pensions for some councillors?

The Taxpayer's Alliance have just released the results of their research on council pensions.
Surprisingly many councillors have also jumped on the pension gold plated pension bandwagon.

"At a time when public sector pensions are under the spotlight, the TaxPayers’ Alliance can reveal the true cost to taxpayers of ‘employer contributions’ to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). The equivalent of £1 in every £5 of council tax raised in the UK is spent on council pensions. This report also details the explosion in the number of councillors claiming council pensions.1 Despite fulfilling a supposedly volunteer role, there are now 4,548 councillors on the LGPS, up by over 1,000 since 2007-08."

Read the full TPA report here.

The figures for CWaC Council are (Compare them with other councils by downloading the TPA report)

Total contribution 2010/2011 £21,473,000
Total number of residents 327,300
Cost of pension contribution per resident £65.61 (£262.44 for a family of 4)
Number of Councillor in the scheme 26
(The median average number of councillors on the LGPS is 4 and the mean is 11)

"Councillors’ Pensions

The purpose of a councillor is to represent the people of a local ward in their council. They are elected to bring their expertise and experience to address the specific needs of their local community. These duties are meant to be separate from their private and professional lives outside the council and their position is voluntary. Any payments they receive are not intended to represent earnings but instead to compensate them for incidental expenses incurred in fulfilling their duties in local government such as the use of their phones, transportation and office expenses. As these payments are described as reimbursements, the fact that many local authorities consider them to be pensionable pay calls into question the voluntary nature of participating in local government."

My comment: Whilst one can understand council staff being in the pension scheme, how an earth do councillors qualify? They are not employed by the council. 

UPDATE 30th January 2012: I submitted a Freedom of Information request to confirm the number of councillors in the pension scheme and the cost to the taxpayer.

Once I have that information I will ask for the councillor's names and add this additional cost to their allowances and expenses.  Pension contributions are available for senior staff so why not councillors?

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