Councillors warn on pension change cost

The Local Government Association has warned that councils could be
left £100m short when changes to the Local Government Pension
Scheme are revoked.

The changes came into force in England and Wales on 1 April but
will be revoked retrospectively at the “earliest parliamentary
opportunity”, according to the agreement set out by deputy prime
minister John Prescott last month to avert mass strike action in
local authorities across the two countries.

The changes include raising the minimum pension age for local
government workers from 50 to 55 for reasons other than ill health,
and raising the retirement age from 60 to 65, except in cases of
ill health or redundancy.

A Local Government Association spokesman said councils had
anticipated savings of about £100m this year as a result of
the changes, and would be lobbying the Office of the Deputy Prime
Minister to recover this sum once the changes were revoked.

But Unison, one of the five unions that fought to get the changes
revoked, dismissed the £100m figure as “wildly inaccurate”,
insisting that costs would be “marginal”.

The first round of talks following the government’s climb-down over
reforms to the Local Government Pension Scheme was held last week,
and a special public service forum will be held after the election.

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