UNISON RESPONSE TO TAXPAYERS’ ALLIANCE
UNISON, the UK’s largest union, is today calling on the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), to get its facts straight after the shady right-wing, low-tax pressure group yet again attacked the Local Government Pensions Scheme (LGPS), calling for it to be reformed. The union is accusing being ‘out of touch with reality’ as the government, employers and trade unions have been involved in months of talks on the local government scheme.
The Tax Payers Alliance latest ‘research’ is nothing new, said the union, the LGPS like nearly all pension funds in the UK is maturing with an increasing number of pensioners. By cherry picking the facts to support their agenda of attacking adequate pension provision in the UK they conveniently forget that at last year the figures showed the LGPS was still cash rich to the tune of around £3.5 billion pounds a year that means the contributions going in were more than pensions being paid out.
They also conveniently forget that the LGPS is funded with about £150 billion in assets and that roughly a third of the money going into the funds comes from investment income. They are also conveniently forgetting that the savage cuts in services means many workers are being made redundant and being forced to retire, so increasing the numbers forced into retirement. In short the LGPS is alive and well while the reactionary ideology of the so called tax payers alliance is struggling.
Even before talks, the (LGPS) could afford to pay all of its liabilities for the next twenty years without a single penny more in contributions and that has not changed.
Heather Wakefield, UNISON Head of Local Government, said:
“This right-wing pressure group never lets the true facts get in the way of an opportunity to attack public spending or public services. Time and time again, the group makes the same, tired old claims about local government pensions. They are cherry picking the facts when in reality latest figures showed the LGPS was still cash rich to the tune of around £3.5 billion pounds a year, that means the contributions going in were more than pensions being paid out.
“The TPA are simply out of touch with reality as UNISON has been in detailed talks for months with the government and employers on changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme. Encouraging members to join the pension scheme is a low cost way of helping people to save for their retirement. The alternative – pricing the low paid out of the scheme – would cost the taxpayer more in the long run as they would have to pick up a multi billion pound means tested benefits bill.”
Why the Taxpayer’s Alliance is wrong again on pensions
There is no pensions timebomb – as usual, the TPA is deliberately making a ridiculous assumption that everyone will retire at once. With pensions you have to take the long view.
Just 5p in every £1 paid in council tax goes towards pensions, not £1 in every £5 as the TaxPayers' Alliance claims. Councils get only 25% of their revenue from council tax, 75% comes from other sources, including business rates and local government grants.
The scheme is not over generous – the average pensions in the LGPS is just £4,000 a year, dropping to just £2,600 for women.
We need to bring private sector pensions up to a decent level, not pull public sector pensions down – two thirds of employees do not get a single penny in contributions from their employers towards their pensions. The government’s plans for auto-enrolement will not go far enough to keep people off means tested benefits.
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