Time to debate LGPS changes as petition hits 100,000 signatures, says UNISON

Government proposals to force the 89 local government pension funds to invest in infrastructure projects have prompted over 100,000 people to sign a petition calling for a debate in Parliament, says UNISON today (Friday).

The proposals are part of the government’s attempt to create six new multi-billion pound British wealth funds. UNISON is concerned that the move could take away funds’ ability to invest in the best interests of local government pension scheme (LGPS) members.

If these changes come into force, it could mean the new funds replace government funding for roads, bridges and railways, which might not give LGPS members the best possible return, says UNISON.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “It’s time ministers granted a debate in Parliament on the future of the local government pension scheme. No other pension fund in the UK has this level of interference, and it’s important that MPs can scrutinise proposals affecting one of the largest schemes in the UK.

“There must be proper consultation on the introduction of the new wealth funds, one that must involve unions in any investment decisions.”

“Ministers must allow council pension funds to make their own decisions on where they invest the current and future pension pots of care workers, teaching assistants and social workers, and allow them to get the best return.”

Notes to editors:

– The government plans to create wealth funds of no less than £25bn to replace the current 89 local government pension funds, so they can invest in infrastructure projects.

– UNISON is not opposed to the creation of these new funds but is concerned that ministers intend to take powers to dictate how funds invest scheme members’ money, a move that the union believes would be unlawful.

– The England/Wales LGPS Scheme Advisory Board, the Law Commission and UNISON have asked the government to apply the investment regulations applicable to all other pension funds in the UK and the European Union – EU Directive 41/2003 Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP).

– The text of the parliamentary petition is available here. Nearly 103,000 people have currently signed the petition.

– The government’s response to the petition is available here.

Media contacts:

Alan Weaver T: 0207 121 5555 M: 07939 143310 E: a.weaver@unison.co.uk

Liz Chinchen T: 0207 121 5463 M: 07778 158175 E: l.chinchen@unison.co.uk

UNISON (National News Release) – Tel: 0845 355 0845