The government has laid before Parliament the Local Government Pension Scheme (Transitional Provisions, Savings and Amendment) Regulations 2014 which makes the transitional provision between the existing local government pension schemes and the new scheme which will come into force on 1 April 2014. They preserve benefits already accrued by scheme members under the existing schemes and make provision to ensure that members within 10 years of their normal retirement age on 31 March 2012 do not suffer any detriment.
Together with the Local Government Pension Scheme Regulations 2013 introduced in September last year, the introduction of the regulations completes the regulatory framework for the new local government pension scheme. Implementing the new scheme a year ahead of the other major public service pension schemes represents a major achievement; we are very grateful to the Local Government Association, the scheme’s shadow advisory board and other key interested parties for the help and co-operation they have given to ensure the successful implementation of the new scheme.
In my written statement of 19 December 2012, Official Report, Column 105WS, we announced our intention to abolish taxpayer-funded pensions for councillors. A statutory consultation to this effect was undertaken between April and July 2013.
The regulations we have laid also abolish such taxpayer-funded pensions for new councillors in England and other elected office holders from 1 April 2014, and terminate access for existing councillors at the end of their current fixed term of office (for example, from May 2014, in relation to councillors with elections this year). The rationale for the reforms is outlined in my statement from December 2012.
Taken together, I believe these necessary reforms deliver on the coalition government’s pledge to reform public sector pensions and provide a fair deal for public service workers and taxpayers. The reforms ensure that local government pensions are fair, affordable and sustainable in the long term, particularly in the light of changing demographics, and are justifiable to taxpayers who foot the bill for employer contributions.
I have placed copies of the associated documents in the Library of the House.