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Politicians clash on pensions as huge deficit is revealed
11:07am Wednesday 18th April 2012 in News
THURROCK Council is facing a pension deficit of around £104million.
Figures released by the TaxPayers’ Alliance show the authority had assets of £203million in 2010 to 2011, but liabilities of more than £308million in the Local Government Pension Scheme – a deficit of £104million.
Local authorities across the UK had a combined pension deficit of £54billion for 2010 to 2011, with Birmingham City Council the largest at £1.3billion.
Thurrock’s Tory MP, Jackie Doyle-Price, said the answer is for workers in the public sector to pay more into their pension.
She said: “Thurrock is in no worse a place than any other local authority.
“These figures illustrate why those of us who work in the public sector need to start paying more into our pension pots.
“Because we are all living longer, there simply isn’t enough money going into the pension fund to keep paying the pensions which will need to be funded over time. If we don’t grip this now the taxpayer will have to foot the bill and that isn’t fair.”
The Alliance says the Local Government Pension Scheme is more generous than private sector pensions and needs reform.
But Labour parliamentary candidate for Thurrock, Polly Billington, criticised the campaign group. She said: “Thurrock Council’s pensions scheme is about mid-table when it comes to similar councils.
“The TaxPayers’ Alliance doesn’t help find a solution by undermining the principle of properly funded pensions for people who work hard and provide services we rely on.
“It’s important that regardless of who we work for, we have decent pensions that support us in our old age. It’s a pity the TaxPayers Alliance doesn’t recognise that.”
A spokesman from Thurrock Council said: “Thurrock is part of the Essex County Council pension scheme which, like many such schemes worldwide, has a deficit.
“However, the deficit is not a ‘real’ one and would only come into play if every member of the scheme retired today – not a realistic scenario.”