This Campaign News contains two key items – an update on the Joint Statement made yesterday by the three LGPS unions and the LGA (see embedded document below this post) and the issue of use of LGPS funds to invest in local infrastructure projects.
1. JOINT STATEMENT BY UNISON, UNITE, GMB AND THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION (LGA)
Yesterday the three LGPS unions and the LGA issued a joint statement to update LGPS members and employers on the statutory consultation on the proposals already agreed by almost 91% of UNISON members in the ballot and negotiations on future governance and cost management of the scheme.
The joint statement is included below and is also available on UNISON’s Pensions web site.
The statement points out that work by DCLG to translate the agreed proposals into draft regulations for consultation has taken longer than expected. Regulations are now expected by the end of the year.
Governance and cost management
The statement also restates the outline proposals made to the Treasury and Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on governance and cost management to ensure the sustainability of LGPS 2014 – Workstream 2 of the negotiations.
It highlights the proposal for an LGPS Board for England and Wales, to include trade unions, employers, government and professional bodies and for local fund boards – which would also include trade unions.
Point 5 of the statement highlights the intention to create a higher degree of separation between the local funds and administering authorities to ensure that the best interests of LGPS members are paramount.
Point 8 of the statement highlights the agreed cost of the scheme. The total cost – as already agreed – is 19.5% of pensionable payroll – which is shared between employers and members on a 2:1 basis, with members’ share at 6.5%.
Points 9 -11 outline the broad mechanism for managing future costs. The clear intention is to prevent any future need to increase contributions or reduce benefits. The costs will be measured at each 3-year valuation using individual fund and actuarial data. Only if costs increase or decrease by more than 2% would action be required by the Secretary of State.
Point 12 refers to the identified need to ensure that past service deficits are dealt with effectively and not exacerbated at local fund level.
2. USE OF LGPS FUNDS IN LOCAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS
There has been recent talk of LGPS funds being used in local infrastructure and housing projects. While UNISON and the other unions want to see investment in social housing and local infrastructure, we are very clear that LGPS funds must be invested in the best interests of LGPS members and on a legal, transparent and justifiable basis.
UNISON is seeking advice to feed into DCLG and inform any decisions taken at government or local fund level on this issue.
We understand that there may be a formal DCLG consultation at some point and we will ensure that the union responds to ensure that funds are protected in your best interests.
If you are aware of any proposals by your employers to use LGPS funds for local investment, please let us know.
3. WANT TO BE AN LGPS PENSION CONTACT?
If you would like to be an LGPS contact or champion and keep members in your workplace informed about UNISON’s work on the LGPS and keep your members up-to-date on their pension scheme, please contact Indira Patel on firstname.lastname@example.org