Keep Pension Funds Safe

11 Jan 2012

GMB commented on the revelation that the Treasury and the Local Government Association (LGA) have been having secret talks about using Local Government Pension Schemes funds (LGPS) to pay for infrastructure projects.

Brian Strutton GMB National Secretary for Public Services said “The money in these pension funds are union members savings for their retirements. They are not a Treasury resource. The funds are savings belonging to local government workers and they should be invested well. I’m very surprised that Treasury and the Local Government Association have been discussing the use of our member’s pension savings to support government infrastructure projects like roads and railways. There has been no discussion with us which is very worrying. Given that government wants staff to take more responsibility for the cost of their pensions we have an absolute right to have a say in how those pension savings are invested. GMB intend that this right is exercised by our members.

There may be some sensible infrastructure investments that are as good as other investments - that’s fine - but we can’t have the £140 billion LGPS funds used as a politician’s plaything. Pension fund savings cannot be gambled on projects which are financially dodgy due to risks of cost escalations from planning, design or other problems. Government has worked with National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) to come up with ways for private sector pension schemes to invest in infrastructure projects safely and GMB will be happy to help do the same for the LGPS. But GMB can’t have our members’ pension pots raided to pay for pet projects for politicians. That is not fair and probably unlawful.”