Friday, 29 August 2008

TPA says don't even join the LGPS

The TaxPayers Alliance mob are reaching a new level of anger at the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). Now they don't even want Tory councillors to join the scheme (just Tory ones, funny that an independent lobby group only appeals to one political party eh?). The 'argument' is that since the Tories want to cut back the LGPS (though the TPA aren't sure if it should be a DC or a DB scheme) they shouldn't let their councillors join it.

TPA campaigns director Mark Wallace said: "The Conservatives keep talking about public pensions and how they need reforming. With the LGPS they have a real opportunity to show their intent.

"They control the majority of local councils and could put a stop to their councillors joining the scheme. You can’t criticise the level of employer contributions in the scheme while you are at Westminster and then have your councillors signing up to it across the rest of the country."

So Councillors shouldn't even accrue a pension until what's on offer is less generous - no pension is better than an LGPS pension. This is getting close to an actively anti-pension stance, and is already very stupid one. Why not take it further - David Cameron and his colleagues should leave the MPs' pension scheme immediately and when they retire should repay their pensions to the state.

I'm not thick enough to think that increased life expectancy doesn't put pressure on public sector schemes, and that some reforms are probably inevitable, but the TPA don't contribute anything to addressing this. They are only interested in attacking what good pension provision remains without a clear idea of what should offered instead. They say that employer contributions to the LGPS are "very high", yet they are lower than comparable contributions in the private sector and many LGPS funds manage to keep other costs (admin, investment etc) much lower than average.

As I've said before, the real problem in pensions is the collapse of good provision in the private sector and that's where attention should be focused. Public sector provision hasn't suddenly become generous overnight, it's a reminder of what typical pension provision looked like in the public and private sectors a few years ago. Yet the TPA's ideological blinkers don't allow them to see this, hence they advocate vanadlising good provision purely because it's in the public sector.


Jon Rogers said...

I'm grateful to anyone who keeps an eye on what the TPA are up to. They may have greater influence after the next General Election and we may have our work cut out to protect our pensions.

Tom Powdrill said...

Hi Jon

yes, they are definitely trying to prepare the ground for an attack on the LGPS etc. could turn into a major scrap.