Pension plan

As an accountant employed in local government, I do not recognise the figures quoted by Clark Cross (Letters, 29 December).

All Scottish local authorities are required to account for pension costs, following the same accounting standards as the private sector, so pension liabilities are shown in the same way.

All these schemes are showing 90 per cent of potential liability as funded and there is, consequently, little change to council tax by any Scottish scheme. This is because they have been sensibly managed, unlike many English and Welsh schemes (mainly in Tory-controlled councils) which took employer holidays in the 1980s and are now paying the price.

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The Scottish LGPS was amended with effect from April 2009 and all staff now pay on a sliding scale based on salary with an average of 6.3 per cent (I pay 6.8 per cent but higher earners will pay double figures) and councils pay about 14 per cent on average.

Perhaps Mr Cross should reflect on the following figures from the Pensions Policy Institute. Pension pay-outs for company directors in 2008 averaged 201,665, with some as high as 333,664, a 4 per cent increase over 2007. In contrast, the average occupational pension scheme pays out 8,112, a figure that drops to 3,800 for local government staff.

The real pensions divide is not between private and public sectors but between fat cat directors and their employees, with local government staff at the bottom.


Stratton road


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