Taxpayer burden

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A RECENT report tells us that in the 2011-2012 financial year, 54 per cent of council tax collected went to fund public sector, gold-plated, index-linked final salary pensions.

These are now virtually non-existent in the private sector as they are unaffordable and unsustainable.

The cost to council tax payers in 2011-2012 was £1.03 billion, up from £700 million when the SNP took power in 2007.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government tried the usual muddying of the waters tactic by claiming: “Employer contribution rates to local government pension funds are set by actuaries appointed by the administering authorities.”

The contributions may be 
calculated by these actuaries but they are merely costing the 
policies set by the Scottish 
Government with whom full 
responsibility lies.

Both the spokesmen for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and for the Scottish government trotted out uncannily similar statements referring to the scheme as “affordable and sustainable”, while the government spokesman went on to 
say that it was important that the scheme “remains affordable and sustainable as well as fair to both taxpayers and scheme members”.

How can it possibly be fair to ask taxpayers, who do not have the luxury of a pension scheme such as public sector staff enjoy, to pay 54 per cent (and rising) of their council tax to fund the scheme, while all the time seeing front line services cut across the board?

It is difficult to see anything being done about it, however, since all public sector employees – from MPs to MSPs and council officials – are the only ones who can change the system and they are all looking forward to 
sticking their noses in the trough one day. Talk about expecting turkeys to vote for Christmas!

Donald Lewis


East Lothian