Latest Public Sector News

15.02.16

Controversial pension reforms consultation to close this week

The last chance to consult on proposed government reforms to local authority pensions, which critics say will hinder their ability to ensure money is ethically invested, will close this Friday (19 February).

The consultation, which opened on 25 November 2015, covers proposals to revoke and replace the Local Government Pension Scheme (Management and Investment of Funds) Regulations 2009 with new regulations.

It aims to help local authorities save £660m a year by collective investment and passive fund management, according to the government.

The consultation states that “using pensions and procurement policies to pursue boycotts, divestments and sanctions against foreign nations and the UK defence industry are inappropriate” and that guidance published ahead of the new regulations coming into force “will make clear to authorities that in formulating these policies their predominant concern should be the pursuit of a financial return on their investments”.

However, pressure groups have raised concerns that these regulations could hinder campaigns to stop local government pension funds from investing in areas such as fossil fuels, arms, tobacco companies, and Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Communities and local government secretary Greg Clark MP says in the consultation release: “Divisive policies undermine good community relations, and harm the economic security of families by pushing up council tax. We need to challenge and prevent the politics of division.”

Ryvka Barnard, senior militarism and security campaigner for pressure group War on Want, who are signatories to the ‘Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions’ campaign which encourages pension funds to divest from Israeli companies, said: “This is the latest in a sustained government assault on democratic rights and freedoms, following the Lobbying Act, Trade Union Bill, Prevent and much else.

“So much for George Osborne’s so-called ‘Devolution Revolution’, this proposal is a cynical attack on local democracy.”

The regulations may also hinder the work of campaigns such as Go Fossil Free UK, which aims to put pressure on local councils to divest their pension funds of fossil fuel investment.

Other proposed changes include changing the definition of a stock lending arrangement in the regulations, removing conditions on the choice and terms of appointment of investment managers, and encouraging local authorities to invest more efficiently by pooling assets with each other.

The government invites bodies including county, district and borough councils, fire and rescue authorities, police and crime commissioners and the LGA to take part in the consultation.

Those still interested in responding have until 11:45am on 19 February. They should e-mail: LGPSReform@communities.gsi.gov.uk.

View the full consultation here

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Parliament cannot solve homelessness through legislation alone

Parliament cannot solve homelessness through legislation alone

Cllr Michelle Lowe, deputy leader and cabinet member for housing and health at Sevenoaks District Council, argues that if the government is really serious about combating homelessness they will work more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Oxfordshire devolution will boost UK economy

21/04/2017Oxfordshire devolution will boost UK economy

Peter Sloman, chief executive of Oxford City Council, argues that pursuing ... more >
Clean growth and the role of UK infrastructure

21/04/2017Clean growth and the role of UK infrastructure

A renewal of the UK’s infrastructure – from telecommunications ... more >

interviews

New social care funding misses the point

13/04/2017New social care funding misses the point

Clive Betts MP, chair of the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committ... more >

most read

Shared Services and Outsourcing Week

the raven's daily blog

Why opening up procurement matters to the UK public sector

22/03/2017Why opening up procurement matters to the UK public sector

Rob Levene, managing director of Bloom, explains why opening up procurement is important to the UK public sector.  Procuring products and services by the UK public s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

11/04/2017A watershed moment in British politics

The government has now officially triggered Article 50, formally starting the process of Britain’s exit from the EU. How this will affect local government, the wider public sector and the Civil Service remains to be seen, but the likelihood of it being plain sailing with the enormity of the task ahead seems rather unlikely.  It is, therefore, quite appropriate that in this edition of PSE Professor Chris Painter reflects on the profound changes that have taken place in the... read more >