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It mostly covers my work as UNISON Scotland's Head of Policy and Public Affairs although views are my own. For full coverage of UNISON Scotland's policy and campaigns please visit our web site. You can also follow me on Twitter. I hope you find this blog interesting and I would welcome your comments.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Local Government Pension Scheme

This morning I was at a cost sharing sub group of the Scottish Local Government Pensions Advisory Group (SLOGPAG). This is the body responsible for Scotland’s largest pension scheme. Unlike many public sector schemes this is a funded scheme administered by 11 different funds, with a common set of regulations agreed nationally.

In 2008 we negotiated a new Local Government Pension Scheme for Scotland (LGPS). We also agreed to look at coast sharing mechanisms and governance arrangements in time for the next scheme valuation in 2011. These are complex discussions looking at how we calculate any movement in the assumptions that underpin the cost of the scheme (longevity, pay rises, inflation etc) and how those costs are shared between employers and scheme members. We made progress in narrowing down the options and further work will be undertaken on these before a formal consultation later this year.

These discussions have to operate in the context of a malicious campaign by business groups attacking the allegedly “gold plated” pension schemes like the LGPS. Let us have your definition of a "gold-plated" pension. Would it be £50,000 a year? £20,000? £10,000? Would you drop as far as £3,800 a year? That is the actual level of the average pension for local government workers - £3,800 a year. It is "more tin-foil than gold-plate", as UNISON's General Secretary Dave Prentis has said.

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