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Brian Binley calls on Gordon Brown to check the growth of local government pensions

Brian_binley_mpAt PMQs today Northampton South MP Brian Binley called on the Prime Minister to check the growth in local government pension arrangements.

This is the exchange:

"A quarter of all council tax is now used to pay for local authority pensions. A former chief executive of Northamptonshire county council left his job 18 months ago at the age of 52 with a lump sum payment of £291,000 and a £97,000 a year index-linked pension, which is costing the county £600,000. Nice work if you can get it! When will the Government have the courage to tackle this national pension outrage?

The Prime Minister: The first thing I should say to the hon. Gentleman is that it is a Conservative council that he is referring to, and the second thing is that most local authority workers do not have that level of pension entitlement. I hope that the Conservative party is not going to make the mistake of identifying one case as representative of what is happening to ordinary local authority workers who, as we found with the emergency services, do a good job when called upon to do so."

Mr Binley comments:

“It used to be the case that those who worked in the public sector were paid less than the private sector because of a number of other advantages, and notably among those a generous pension scheme. But with salaries that now exceed equivalent private sector roles at many levels those pension arrangements need to be reviewed. We cannot have a quarter of Council Tax going on local Government pensions. We cannot have schemes which double in cost to the taxpayer every seven years. It is not sustainable and at a time when those in the private sector face pension cuts it is not fair either.

Changes must start at the top, where the pension arrangements are the most generous. We have had a former Chief Executive of our Council leave that office at a relatively young age with a lump sum payment of £291,000 and a £97,000 a year index linked pension. That is complete nonsense and exemplifies the bloated nature of costs in our public services at present.

I brought this to the attention of the Prime Minister who told me this is not the case in all of the country. I am afraid it shows just how out of touch he is with local government inflation in the country. Since the Government came into power the cost of local pensions to the taxpayer has risen from £1.322billion to £5.009 billion far outstripping annual inflation rates.

Yet again we see a Prime Minister in total denial.”

Tom Greeves


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