Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Legal theft for Councillors

Pensions for Councillors in England and Wales
The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) is available to all councillors and elected mayors of an English county council, district council or London borough council or of a Welsh county council or county borough council who are offered membership of the scheme under their council’s scheme of allowances and who are under age 75.

The LGPS is a secure scheme because the benefits are guaranteed by law. The benefits you get when you retire are based on the number of years you have been a member of the scheme and your average pay as a councillor. The benefits are not dependent on share prices and are not affected by stock market fluctuations.

How do I join the LGPS?
It will be up to you to decide whether or not to join the scheme, although you have to be under age 75. To secure your entitlement to the scheme benefits it is important that you complete and return a joining form. On receipt of your form, relevant records will be set up and an official notification of your membership of the scheme will be sent to you.

What do I pay?
You currently pay 6% of your allowances1 as a councillor into the LGPS. If you pay tax you will get tax relief2 on your contributions at the time they are deducted from your allowances and if you pay National Insurance you will pay a lower rate of NI contributions up to State pension age. Your council pays the rest of the cost of providing your LGPS benefits, which costs the council about double the amount you pay.

What are the benefits?
Life cover from the moment you join, with a lump sum of 2 times your career average pay being paid if you die in service under the age of 75.
Cover for your family with a pension for your husband, wife or civil partner3 and for eligible children should you die.

Retirement Benefits after 3 months
You can retire from office and draw your pension at age 604 or over, even though the scheme’s normal pension age is 65. It’s also possible to retire from age 505 and receive your benefits immediately, but only if your council gives their consent to immediate payment.
Immediate benefits are payable at any age if you have to retire because of permanent ill health.
When you retire you can look forward to:
A tax-free lump sum, and
A pension for life that increases each year in line with the appropriate cost of living index.

It is small wonder that Councillors, along with MPs, are considered as being at the bottom of the food ladder.  Whoever put this package together must have thought it would be caviar for life.  When ordinary folk are struggling to pay fuel bills,Councillors are counting and adding to their pensions by doing nothing more than attending meetings and nodding through Party Policy.

The whole system stinks and needs doing away with.  Better still, let's do away with all surplus politicians and put the money, the savings, into the NHS and Defence Budgets.