New research by the Taxpayers Alliance reveals that the equivalent of £1 in every £5 raised in Council Tax is spent on Council pensions. The total bill for 2010-11, £5.175 billion was down on the previous year's total of ,£5.18 billion. But a saving of £5 million out of spending of over £5 billion is pretty modest – as the official National Debt total passes £1 trillion.
The paper also noted that there are now 4,548 councillors on the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), an increase of 252 on the previous year and up by over 1,000 since 2007-08.
I am not a member but I would be quite entitled to be at my council, although at several councils the councillors are not eligibile. I was quite surprised to discover when I was elected in 2006 that I had become overnight an employee of Hammersmith and Fulham Council. My allowances were paid with tax and National Insurance deducted.
Staffordshire County Council spent the most on employer pension contributions in 2010-11 with a total of almost £160 million, up from £147.5 million in 2009-10. This is also the highest cost per person in England at £192.31 per head, The Scottish council with the highest employer pension contributions in 2010-11 is Fife at £56 million, an increase of £12.3 million from 2009-10. The Welsh council with the highest employer pension contributions in 2010-11 is Cardiff with £32.9 million. The Northern Irish council with the highest employer pension contributions in 2010-11 is Belfast with £11.9 million.
The local authority that spends the most on pension contributions per head of their population is Falkirk council in Scotland at £341.24 per head. In Wales it is Blaenau Gwent Council with £215.10; and in Northern Ireland it is Belfast City Council with £44.64 per head.
So far as councillors signing up for Council pensions are concerned the English councils with the highest number of councillors enrolled in the LGPS are Leeds City Council and Dorset County Council with 56 each in 2010-11. The Welsh Council with the highest number of councillors on the scheme in 2010-11 is Powys County Council with 51.