Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Scrapping Labour’s taxpayer-funded pensions for councillors will save £7m

The Department for Communities and Local Government yesterday announced plans to reverse the controversial Labour Government policy of taxpayer-funded pensions for councillors.
In a radical move ahead of this afternoon’s Local Government Finance Settlement, Ministers have announced that they propose to scrap councillors’ access to the generous Local Government Pension Scheme.

Pensions for councillors was the ‘bad news’ which Labour spin doctor, Jo Moore, working for Stephen Byers’ Department for Transport, Local Government and Regions, ‘buried’ in the aftermath of 9/11. On 2.55pm on that day, she wrote; “It is now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury. Councillors expenses?” The press release was subsequently issued on 12 September, and received minimal public scrutiny.

The proposals came into force in 2003. A recent survey by the Taxpayers’ Alliance found that 4,548 councillors across the United Kingdom had signed up to the gold-plated pension scheme by 2010-11. It is estimated that scrapping these pensions will save taxpayers’ an estimated £7 million a year.

Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, Chairman of the Conservative Party, said: “The Labour Party took taxpayers for a ride, and eroded confidence in public life and public servants by their culture of spin.
Our reforms will strengthen the integrity and independence of councillors, so that these local champions of the people are seen to stand up for the best interests of taxpayers, not the town hall state.”

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