This should please many of those who see elected members as surplus to requirements and wish to consign them to local government history as a failed experiment in democracy.
Copied from Local Government Chronicle online
19 December, 2012 | By Dan Drillsma-Milgrom
Councillors are to be barred from being members of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), local government minister Brandon Lewis has announced.
In a written ministerial statement made on Wednesday morning, Mr Lewis said that councillors would not be able to join the scheme after April 2014 and that councillors who are already members would not be able to accrue any further benefits after that date.
Mr Lewis said the government “did not believe that taxpayer-funded pensions are justified”.
“Councillors are volunteers undertaking public service; they are not and should be employees of the council dependent on the municipal payroll. They are not professional, full-time politicians, nor should they be encouraged to become so.”
However, the statement revealed that elected mayors would not be barred from LGPS membership in recognition of the “greater expectation than an elected mayor is a full-time position”. The government will consult on allowing elected mayors to remain in the scheme “as a voluntary option (but not as an expectation)”.
The salaries of Police and Crime Commissioners, the Mayor of London and London Assembly Members will also remain pensionable.
Mr Lewis admitted that his department did not hold records on councillors’ participation in the scheme. However, he said that “initial rough estimates suggest that this could save £7m a year in taxpayers’ money”. He said there was “absolutely no case” for increasing councillor allowances to compensate for the move.
Councillors have been able to join the LGPS since 2003. The Councillors’ Commission report found that by 2004, 912 councillors had joined the scheme. However, research from the Taxpayers’ Alliance found that number had grown to 3,527 in 2007-08 and 4,548 by 2010-11.
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READERS’ COMMENTS (1)
Roger | 19-Dec-2012 12:55 pm
Another good example of different politicians in the same government department looking in completely different directions on an issue. One the one hand we have this statement, that members are volunteers and not to be considered or encouraged to be full time ’employees’ of the council. Then you have Eric Pickles telling elected members that they can fill the gap and replace officers culled under hiis ‘modest’ local government funding cuts. Do these people actually talk to each other?
If these sort of petty almost spiteful statements don’t deter the younger members of our communities from becoming councillors in the future, then I’m sure DCLG have more up their sleeves to do the job!