'It is deeply disappointing that even before the consultation period is over, and any decisions have been made, the unions have chosen to look at strike action. It is equally frustrating that the unions appear to be breaking a clear agreement with us and the ODPM over the timetable for the long term reform of the Local Government Pension Scheme.
'The council taxpayer simply cannot pay more.
'The changes to local government staff pensions are both needed and necessary. Unless action is taken in the very near future, the cost to individual council tax payers and local government because people are living longer will continue to rise.
'The key aspect of these changes is to make sure the pension scheme does not cost the council taxpayer any more money while at the same time making sure that local government continues to be an attractive place to work in.
'People are living longer and unless the current pensions scheme for council staff means that early retirement on full pension is not an economically viable solution for council taxpayers and employers, and not fair to many employees.'