Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Charities pension crisis and the future of the LGPS

The news of pension fund shortfalls for major charities (http://m.guardian.co.uk/ms/p/gmg/op/s70rgIJR3lLQPSkOd_cicLg/view.m?id=324213&tid=120787&cat=Search) raises a couple of issues for members in Unison's new Community Service Group who will soon be electing their first Executive.

First, the problems facing those larger voluntary organisations who have made some pension provision for their staff serves to highlight the plight of many voluntary sector workers whose employers have done far less.

Secondly, since even the largest charities are small players in the world of pension funds, this crisis underlines the desirability, from every point of view, of opening up "admitted body status" in order to broaden access to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).

When Unison members see the Preliminary agenda for National Delegate Conference they will (subject to the will of the Standing Orders Committee) see a motion from the National Executive Council in defence of the LGPS.

This proposes, amongst other things, that we advocate the merger of the many separate funds at national level (there would be one fund for England for example). The logic of this proposal (which would need very careful handling to avoid redundancies!) Is that larger funds are cheaper to administer and more secure.

Extending access to the LGPS is very much in the same spirit - and could also help to break down perceived divisions between public sector workers and our colleagues in other sectors where pension provision is less secure.

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