5 million people rely on the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) to pay their pensions.
The Government wants powers over LGPS investment funds; but they could gamble away members’ money on infrastructure projects.
This is not allowed in any other UK scheme, including the MPs’.
The LGPS must be invested in members’ best interests.
Show on a map where signatures came from
The Government wants powers over LGPS investment funds instead of direct government funding of important projects – even if it doesn’t give the best return for LGPS members’ pensions.
UNISON is not against LGPS funds investing in infrastructure, but we believe that investment decisions should be made by the fund managers and their members, not government ministers.
Parliament must debate this issue and make the government accountable for these powers of intervention as any such direction may breach the law. Specifically Article 18 paragraph 3 of the EU Directive 41/2003 Institutions for Occupational Retire Provision: “Member States shall not require institutions located in their territory to invest in particular categories of assets.”
LGPS investment decisions will remain matters for local authorities, but councils should compare their investments in infrastructure against the example set by leading global pension fund investors.
Read the response in full
State pension changes
The basic state pension and the second state pension ended on 6 April and were replaced by a new combined state pension.
Those with a workplace pension (ie local government or NHS pension scheme) or private sector pensions, stopped paying the reduced National Insurance contributions rate of 10.6%, which reflects the fact that they were not contributing to the second state pension.
Instead, they will pay the standard rate of NI contributions – 12% on earnings between £8,060 a year and £43,004 a year – and earn a higher state pension.
Anyone earning more than £43,004 a year, or £827 a week, will continue to pay 2% on earnings above that figure.
From 6 April, the full state pension for anyone who has 35 years of qualifying NI payments, is £155.65 a week, which will increase each year by either average earnings, consumer price index (CPI) inflation or 2.5% – whichever is higher.
But anyone in a workplace pension scheme and not in the second state pension would have qualified just for the basic state pension before April. So their minimum new state pension will be the basic state pension. With 30 qualifying years it is £119.30 a week at April.
But any work, and NI payments, after April will go toward building a higher pension, up to the maximum of £155.65 a week (subject to yearly increases). For each year a member pays the new higher NI rates, they will earn an extra £4.45 a week, up to the maximum.