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Taxpayers' Alliance slams pensions spending

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The TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) has called for less spending on local government pensions after releasing a report claiming£1 in every£5 of council tax is spent on it.

But there has been widespread condemnation of the TPA's call for the end to early retirement benefits and government intervention, with the Local Government Association arguing that council workers deserve decent pensions.

The Council spending uncovered 3 report found that in 2006-07 the average council spent£10m a year on pension contributions - a 13% rise from the previous year. And the total bill for local government pensions is£4.6bn a year.

TPA chairman Andrew Allum said: “It’s unacceptable that ordinary families and pensioners who struggle to pay inflated council tax bills see so much of their money spent on gold-plated council pensions that have all but disappeared in the wider economy."

Report condemned

But the LGA and unions have criticised the report. LGA deputy chief executive John Ransford said the TPA was “condemning lollipop ladies, binmen, street cleaners and librarians for getting a pension worthy of the years of service they have given helping local people”.

It was also pointed out that the local government pension scheme was recently overhauled to offer more value for money and that councils on average will implement below-inflation council tax rises (LCGplus, 28 February 2008) .

GMB union national secretary Brian Strutton said: "All their facts - which are misrepresented anyway - are based on historic data from the old scheme. The new scheme will see councils paying less and council workers paying more; that’s a good deal for taxpayers and a fair deal for staff who pay extra to keep a decent pension scheme."

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