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Communications Index | Press releases | Scotland inUNISON | Campaigns

 

Date 27 November 2011

£300 million more being paid into Scottish Local Government pensions than going out

“Cutting pensions to pay for bankers is neither fair nor justifiable “ says largest public services union

Research by UNISON - Scotland’s largest union in public services has shown that payments into local government pension funds in Scotland are £299.944million more than being paid out to pensioners. This figure does not include income to the pension funds from investments. The NHS scheme is also £2bn in surplus across the UK, nailing the myth pushed by UK ministers that more money is needed for public sector pensions.

The figures are published on the eve of a strike on November 30th which will see hundreds of thousand of public servants take industrial action over Government imposed attacks on public sector pensions.

The UK Government has imposed a change in the way future pension rises will be calculated from being based on the Retail price Index (RPI) to the Consumer price Index(CPI) this shift will mean that over time pensions will lose around fifteen per cent of their value. In addition there are also threats that the retirement age will be raised.

These changes are being imposed against a background of 5% inflation and a pay freeze across local government and the NHS. Members of the Local Government pension scheme pay between 5.5% and 8% of their salary into the scheme. As the value of wages drops this puts pressure on to not join or to opt out of the pension scheme. This in turn impacts on the stability of the pension funds and greater welfare costs when staff retire.

Speaking about the figures UNISON’s Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby said:

“These figures show that public sector pension funds are not just healthy - but valuable contributors to the economy - funding much needed investment. The current attacks on both pensions and on public sector employment will be bad for the schemes - and in the long run bad for the economy. The UK Government won’t be putting any of the money they raise or save from stealing from pensions into the schemes - just using it to pay back debt run up to bail out their friends the bankers – it’s not justifiable or fair and people won’t stand for it”

ENDS

Notes to editors

See below for calculations pertaining to each local authority pension fund in Scotland. These figures relate to the local government pension scheme – They do not cover the NHS Scheme - which is funded differently , but has for many years contributed more to the UK exchequer than is paid out to pensioners .

Up to 140,000 UNISON members in Scotland will be on strike next Wednesday. Joining colleagues in other trade unions in the campaign for pensions justice.

You can follow UNISON members on pickets, marches and rallies across Scotland at our website, blog and twitter feeds throughout the day www.unison-scotland.org.uk

Or contact the strike day media team:

Dave Watson 07958 122409
Stephen Low 07956 852822

Fund

Contributions (000s)

Benefits (000s)

Surplus (000s)

Falkirk

73,402

55,940

17,462

Fife

71,216

49,757

21,459

Dumfries & Galloway

31,062

24,295

6,767

Highland

53,283

37,870

15,413

Lothian

191,521

153,236

38,285

North East Scot

124,005

90,568

33,437

Orkney

9,236

4,528

4,708

Borders

21,253

15,484

5,769

Shetland

17,565

8,803

8,762

Strathclyde

588,714

471,142

117,572

Tayside

101,176

70,866

30,310

 

 

TOTAL

299,944

Index