Pension scheme for Doncaster councillors costs you £73k a year

Doncaster's  Civic Offices.
Doncaster's Civic Offices.

A pension scheme for the borough’s councillors is costing tax payers tens of thousands of pounds every year, it has been revealed.

According to information obtained through a freedom of information request, Doncaster council spent a total of £73,000 on the local government pension scheme between 2013/14.

The scheme has been in place at Doncaster council since it was introduced nationally in 2003.

There are a total of 21 serving councillors, and 12 former councillors currently signed up to the scheme.

The Government scrapped the scheme earlier this year, and Doncaster council’s contributions to the scheme for existing pension scheme members will cease after the local elections in May next year.

Assistant Director of Legal and Democratic Services, Roger Harvey, said of the scheme: “Over half of all UK Councils were involved in the Local Government Pension Scheme, which elected Members were entitled to opt into if they wished.”

“Doncaster Council was no different to the other 178 participating Councils in deciding to offer this scheme to Councillors.”

“Councillors paid a standard six per cent contribution towards their pensions, however changes to Government legislation mean that the scheme ended in April this year.

“No new Members have been accepted since this point, and all contributions will finish after the next Council elections in May.”

The pension scheme is in addition to the basic annual allowances each councillor receives of £12,120 for travel and subsistence.

Councillors pay a six per cent contribution towards the pension, which they are entitled to claim from age 65, or aged 60 if they take voluntary retirement.

Tax Payers Alliance campaign manager, Andy Silvester has condemned Doncaster councillors’ use of the pension scheme.

He said: “With an ageing population and a crisis in the public finances, generous schemes like the LGPS are inflexible and - simply put - far too expensive.”

“It is absolutely right that the scheme is being brought to an end, but the expensive commitments already made will still hit hard-pressed taxpayers today and in future generations.”

The serving councillors signed up to the pension scheme are: Kevin Rodgers, William Mordue, Andrew Bosmans, John Sheppard, Jonathan Wood, Eva Hughes, Pat Knight, Phil Cole, Glyn Jones, David Nevett, Richard Jones, David Holland, Anthony Revill, Alan Jones, Linda Curran, Bob Johnson, Christine Mills, Sandra Holland, Christopher McGuiness, Austen White and Edwin Kitchen.

All 21 of the serving councillors signed up to the pension scheme were unavailable for comment on this story when contacted by the Free Press.