Pension contribution debate

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COUNCIL staff in Sheffield are bucking a national trend of declining participation rates in pension schemes.

The GMB trade union has highlighted how the cost of some local authority pension schemes is putting staff off joining – with less than half of workers at one council having entered its scheme.

Just 46 per cent of workers at Central Bedfordshire council are members of the authority’s pension scheme.

But 99 per cent of council staff in Sheffield are members, according to the research.

According to the union, one in four council workers has opted out in the past five years.

And the GMB fears Government plans to increase contributions to the scheme will make matters worse and, if it makes more people opt out, could jeopardise the local government pension scheme for its four million members.

Local government minister Bob Neill said: “Town hall pensions now cost local taxpayers £6 billion a year – more than £300 a year to each council tax-paying household.

“Hard-pressed taxpayers cannot afford to foot an ever-growing bill.”