Augmented pensions at East Riding of Yorkshire Council

September 20, 2010 5:07 PM

The headline in the East Riding Mail this morning read: Staff
Pension cutbacks ‘would save council £255,000 over five years’. It sounds good,
but when you read the detail, you realise it’s still very much ‘business as
usual’ at County Hall, in Beverley.
HullEastRiding TPA (1)  


Many will remember Sue Lockwood, the former Corporate Resources
Director of East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC). The TPA held two protests
outside County Hall, protesting against a discretionary payment made to her
pension fund of £364,205. She received this outrageous sum because she wanted to
take early retirement. This was at a time when councillors were also saying the
council could no longer afford to fund some community projects. Where charities
lost out, senior council employees won.


ERYC is now proposing a change. As it stands, when employees
wish to take early retirement their pensions can be enhanced by 5 years; as was
the case with Ms Lockwood. Under new proposals, this enhancement will decrease
to a maximum of 2 years, hence the headline in the East Riding Mail. By my
calculations, instead of receiving £364K, Ms Lockwood would have received over
£145K. Still a sizeable sum by anyone’s standards.


I made my views very clear in the press a couple of weeks ago.
Council employees already receive generous, taxpayer funded pensions. If you
work for 30 years, you should receive a pension based on 30 years service; not
35 or 32 years. This should be the message coming out of County Hall. Instead
Cllr Cross, chairman of the review panel, said these proposals were fair to
taxpayers and staff. No, Cllr Cross, they are generous to staff and unfair to
taxpayers.


These proposals have yet to be discussed by the cabinet and
full council. I will be writing to all cabinet members, and making the TPA’s
case that council employees should not receive
any enhancements in their pensions. If that doesn’t work, I can feel another
protest coming on. Watch this space.


The headline in the East Riding Mail this morning read: Staff
Pension cutbacks ‘would save council £255,000 over five years’. It sounds good,
but when you read the detail, you realise it’s still very much ‘business as
usual’ at County Hall, in Beverley.
HullEastRiding TPA (1)  


Many will remember Sue Lockwood, the former Corporate Resources
Director of East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC). The TPA held two protests
outside County Hall, protesting against a discretionary payment made to her
pension fund of £364,205. She received this outrageous sum because she wanted to
take early retirement. This was at a time when councillors were also saying the
council could no longer afford to fund some community projects. Where charities
lost out, senior council employees won.


ERYC is now proposing a change. As it stands, when employees
wish to take early retirement their pensions can be enhanced by 5 years; as was
the case with Ms Lockwood. Under new proposals, this enhancement will decrease
to a maximum of 2 years, hence the headline in the East Riding Mail. By my
calculations, instead of receiving £364K, Ms Lockwood would have received over
£145K. Still a sizeable sum by anyone’s standards.


I made my views very clear in the press a couple of weeks ago.
Council employees already receive generous, taxpayer funded pensions. If you
work for 30 years, you should receive a pension based on 30 years service; not
35 or 32 years. This should be the message coming out of County Hall. Instead
Cllr Cross, chairman of the review panel, said these proposals were fair to
taxpayers and staff. No, Cllr Cross, they are generous to staff and unfair to
taxpayers.


These proposals have yet to be discussed by the cabinet and
full council. I will be writing to all cabinet members, and making the TPA’s
case that council employees should not receive
any enhancements in their pensions. If that doesn’t work, I can feel another
protest coming on. Watch this space.


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