Yesterday’s announcement that councillors will no longer be entitled to a local government pension has been described as a ‘kick in the teeth’ by council leaders.
The Local Government Association said it was ‘perplexing’ that councillors are being classed as volunteers given the devolution of responsibilities to local government.
Chair of the LGA, Sir Merrick Cockell, said: ‘This is a kick in the teeth for those who have dedicated their life to public service and undermines government’s commitment to give local people greater responsibility for the running of vital local services.
‘It is perplexing that ministers who have been busy adding to the workload of councillors by transferring functions from central to local government are now arguing that those same councillors – and the Mayor of London – should be classed as volunteers.
‘Fair remuneration is important so that people from all walks of life can afford to stand for office. Otherwise, we risk local government becoming the exclusive preserve of a privileged few who have the luxury of time and money to spare.’
Sir Cockell added that out of the 700 responses to the government’s consultation, only two were from members of the public objecting to councillors having access to the Local Government Pension Scheme.
He said: ‘This is the wrong decision and will create a double standard where councillors in England will be denied a pension scheme which councillors in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will still be a part of. We will be urging government to listen to the feedback from its consultation and think again.’
Local government minister, Brandon Lewis, said the reforms would ensure local government pensions are 'fair, affordable and sustainable'.