Coalition Government forces Labour Councillors to end £100,000 pensions perk

Greenwich Conservatives welcomed the news that the government has decided to end Councillors’ gold-plated pensions which cost Council Tax payers in Greenwich £100,000 each year.  For the last two years Conservative Councillors have proposed the ending of pensions for sitting Councillors, but despite arguing that cuts were forcing them to make difficult decisions, Labour Councillors voted unanimously to keep their expensive perk. 


The Greenwich Councillors’ Pension Scheme is a final salary scheme, which is heavily subsidised by taxpayers, meaning residents who are struggling to make ends meet are paying for Councillors to enjoy better pensions than they can afford.


The regulations which were laid before Parliament earlier this month will phase out the pensions for existing Councillors while preventing newly elected Councillors from joining the scheme. 


Cllr Spencer Drury said “I have always thought it was disgraceful that at a time when families are genuinely struggling to make ends meet and Council services are under real pressure, Greenwich’s Labour Councillors have voted to keep an expensive perk.  We have had to make difficult choices over the last four years and Conservative Councillors felt removing the £100,000 for this perk was only right.  Hence I am pleased that the Government has stepped in to force the Council to end Councillors’ right to this expensive pension and I would call on Greenwich to go further and close the scheme to all Councillors after the May Elections.”


Spencer continued “The next step is for the Council to stop paying for the support of Trade Unions with a £200,000 subsidy which they provide each year.  I’d also like to see them stop supporting vanity projects like the Tall Ships Regatta which seems likely to cost the borough around £2.5m.”


Cllr Matt Clare said “Several of us in the Conservative Councillors group in Greenwich had never joined the pension scheme on principle. As councillors we are here to serve the people of Greenwich and give value for money. If we're true to that we should not be giving ourselves pensions which are more generous than those most of our constituents have'


Nationally it is believed that savings of approximately £7 million a year will be made by closing the pensions scheme to all newly elected and re-elected councillors from April 1st. Any pension rights accrued so far will be respected.