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It is disappointing to find Unison information about the changes to take place to the local government pensions sch...
It is disappointing to find Unison information about the changes to take place to the local government pensions scheme in England and Wales in April continues to mislead (LGC, 28 January).

Despite the claims from Unison, the retirement age in the scheme is not being increased to 65. Since the scheme was set up in 1922, it has had a normal retirement age of 65.

However, the changes see the phasing out of the 85-year rule, which allowed long-serving members of the scheme to take unreduced benefits on or after age 60 and before age 65. The main reason for this is because of the longevity of scheme members.

It is important to note that not all staff will be affected by the April changes. The rights that members aged 52 or over accrue in the scheme up to 31 March 2013 are not affected in any way by the changes, nor are the rights that all other members have accrued up to 31 March 2005.

In addition to this, changes taking place in April will not see an increase in the contribution rate for staff from 6% to 7%. Neither will the calculation of benefits under the scheme be based on a member of staff's basic pay rather than the definition of pay which includes other payments such as bonuses.

I wish to make it clear such changes are not being introduced. They are merely propositions contained in a green paper issued by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, which has asked all interested parties, including Unison, for their views on what a new-look pension scheme should look like from 2008.

Terry Edwards

Assistant director, pensions, Employers' Organisation

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