The trade union UNISON has called for a debate in parliament over the future of the local government pension scheme (LGPS) after over 100,000 have signed a petition in favour of this.
UNISON said it is concerned that the 89 currently separate LGPS members will be forced to invest in UK infrastructure, as part of central government plans to create six British wealth funds. If the new funds are forced to replace government funding for UK infrastructure, UNISON said that this could prevent LGPS members getting the best possible returns.
Dave Prentis, general secretary of UNISON, commented: “It’s time ministers granted a debate in Parliament on the future of the local government pension scheme. No other pension fund in the UK has this level of interference, and it’s important that MPs can scrutinise proposals affecting one of the largest schemes in the UK. There must be proper consultation on the introduction of the new wealth funds, one that must involve unions in any investment decisions. Ministers must allow council pension funds to make their own decisions on where they invest the current and future pension pots of care workers, teaching assistants and social workers, and allow them to get the best return.”
He added that UNISON is not opposed to the asset pooling reforms but it is concerned that ministers will take powers to dictate how funds are investing, which it believed would be unlawful. As well as UNISON, the Law Commission and the England/Wales LGPS Scheme Advisory Board have asked the government to apply the investment regulations applicable to all other pension funds in the UK and the European Union, Prentis said.