Deserves it own thread was mention in anotherGoverment to scrap pension scheme
A GENEROUS pension scheme for city councillors has been described as “a dreadful scam”.
Since 2003 councillors have been allowed to join the local government final salary pension scheme.
The Herald learned this week that only 18 out of 57 Plymouth councillors have signed up to the career average scheme.
They pay 6per cent of their earnings into the pension pot.
But taxpayers contribute a whopping 19.4per cent.
And from April that will rise to 20.1per cent.
This week some councillors condemned the Government’s decision to scrap their pensions.
Under changes announced on Monday, from April no more councillors will be able to join the scheme.
Those who have already joined will cease to receive contributions from the next time they face re-election.As reported in The Herald, Plymouth council leader Tudor Evans said the change was unjust, incorrect and discriminatory.
Cllr Ian Bowyer, the Conservative group leader on the council, said: “The Government is being unduly harsh on people who give many years of service to their local communities.”
Paul Jarvis, Labour councillor for Eggbuckland, said he gave up a well-paid job to become a councillor.
But a number of councillors contacted The Herald to welcome the scrapping of the pension scheme.
Cllr Richard Ball, Conservative councillor for Compton, said the Blair Government, which introduced the pensions in 2003, was trying to professionalise local politics.
“The pension is one of those dreadful scams the Labour Government got up to.”
Cllr Ball said he had not signed up to the scheme.
“It was set up before I became a councillor, and when I learned about it I was quite shocked.
He said the basic allowance of £10,044.84 was to cover expenses, and was not a pensionable salary.
Cllr Ball rejected claims that a lack of a pension would stop people becoming councillors.
“It hasn’t kept young people out in the past,” he said. He pointed to Conservatives like Cllr Patrick Nicholson (Plympton St Mary) and Cllr Martin Leaves (Peverell) who went into politics in their teens.
“What it stops is the professional councillor who does nothing else in their life.
“I don’t like this professionalisation of our councillors. I would like them to have another string to their bow,” he said.
Councillors contribute to the pension scheme out of their basic allowance, which in Plymouth is £10,044.84 a year.
Committee chairs and other office-holders get special responsibility allowance.
The leader of the council gets a total of £40,176.60.
A council spokeswoman said: “Councillors pay at a fixed rate of 6per cent of their pay (basic plus special responsibility allowances).
“The council pays at 19.4per cent of their pay. This is moving to 20.1per cent from April.
“This is the same rate as employees.
“These arrangements remain for the members in the scheme on March 31, 2014 and until the end of their term of office in 2014, 2015 or 2016, whichever applies.
“Currently there are 18 councillors in the career average scheme.”
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