Local Government Pension Scheme in England and Wales: ATL members back final offer
The final offer for changes to the LGPS in England and Wales has been overwhelmingly backed by ATL members who gave their views in an online poll.
Of the members who expressed an opinion, 76% ATL members in the scheme supported the offer.
The final offer comes after a long period of consultation between the three negotiating unions (Unison, GMB and Unite) and the government. Although not recognised for formal talks, ATL kept a close eye on the progress of the negotiations.
Who is affected?
The latest offer applies mainly to ATL members working as support staff, Soulbury-paid staff and some AMiE college members in England and Wales. Information here does not apply to Scotland as there are no plans, currently, to alter the scheme there.
In Northern Ireland, NILGOSC – the body which administers LGPS (NI) – has recommended that a similar approach as in England and Wales is taken to redesigning the scheme, and the Northern Ireland Executive has accepted that it has to make savings to all public sector pension schemes. The Department of the Environment, which makes the regulations for the LGPS (NI), has yet to set out any details of changes to the scheme or increases to employees' contribution rates.
Details of the offer
Measured against ATL's slogan 'pay more, work longer, get less' the proposals for the LGPS in England and Wales are a good compromise. ATL and the other unions believe this is the best that can be achieved through negotiation. We are reassured by statements from all those involved in the negotiations that the agreed offer achieves a fair balance between the needs of you, the members, and the government.
Key proposed changes to the LGPS from April 2014:
Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as the revaluation factor. The current scheme is a final salary scheme. This reflects a move to CARE in other public sector pension schemes.
An accrual rate of 1/49th. The current scheme is 1/60th.
There will be no normal scheme pension age; instead, each member's Normal Pension Age (NPA) will be their State Pension Age. The current scheme has a NPA of 65.
The average contribution rate in the new scheme will be 6.5%. ATL members can find a table showing all the contribution rates here. The lowest paid members of the scheme will pay the same or less; the higher paid members will pay higher contributions based on a sliding scale. For part-time staff, contribution rates will be based on actual salary, as opposed to full-time equivalent salary. In the current scheme members pay contributions based on their full-time equivalent salary.
Members who are considering opting out of the scheme could instead opt to pay half contributions for half the pension. This is a new flexibility; it does not exist in the current scheme.
For current scheme members, benefits for service prior to 1 April 2014 are protected, including remaining 'Rule of 85' protection. Protected past service continues to be based on final salary and current NPA. Members who leave the scheme prior to 2014 will retain their current NPA and there will be no change in the way their benefits are calculated.
When you are transferred to another employer, the new employer must allow you to remain in the new scheme, and this is the case on subsequent transfers too. In the current scheme you could remain in the scheme, but your employer did not have to let you do so.
|Pay||Contribution||'Real' contribution after tax relief|
|Up to £13,500||5.5%||4.4%|
|£13,501 to £21,000||5.8%||4.64%|
|£21,001 to £34,000;||6.5%||5.2%|
|£34,001 to £43,000;||6.8%||5.44%|
|£43,001 to £60,000||8.5%||5.1%|
|£60,001 to £85,000||9.9%||5.94%|
|£85,001 to £100,000||10.5%||6.3%|
|£100,001 to £150,000||11.4%||6.84%|
|More than £150,000||12.5%||6.88%|