William Eichler 25 October 2016

Whitehall should not interfere with council pensions, union warns

Ministers must stop interfering in council pensions, union warns as MPs debate the future of the local government pension scheme (LGPS).

MPs yesterday gathered in Westminster Hall to discuss Government plans to create eight new multi-billion pound common investment vehicles by pooling pension schemes.

The focus of the debate was on who would have the final say on investment decisions.

Unison, the public sector union, warned it should be up to the funds themselves to decide where they invest in line with the best interests of scheme members.

However, the government has said it may require the new funds to invest in accordance with UK foreign policy—a move which Unison believes would breach European Union law.

The union also said it wanted representatives of nearly five million current and retired members of the schemes to have a voice on each of the new boards.

‘Ministers have created uncertainty by saying it is for LGPS funds to decide how they invest while reserving the right to intervene,’ said Unison general secretary Dave Prentis.

‘It is unprecedented for the government to interfere in funds and is a breach of EU law, which clearly says member states shall not require institutions to invest in particular categories of assets.

‘The government must listen to the House of Commons debate and move to clarify once and for all that it is for LGPS funds to decide their own investment strategy.’

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