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Malvern Hills District Council "not in a position to meet its future pension liabilities"


21st April 2007

... and we're all paying for price for Gordon Brown's pensions tax

Harriett Baldwin, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for West Worcestershire this week highlighted a new audit report published by the Audit Commission about Malvern Hills District Council. In it, the auditors highlight a £14m pension fund deficit and say that "the level of this deficit is a cause for concern as the Council is, like most other councils, not currently in a position to meet its future pension liabilities".

Harriett Baldwin said, "As someone with a background in pension fund management, I am deeply concerned to learn that the 75,000 residents of Malvern Hills are going to have to pay another £187 for every man, woman and child in council tax in the future to make up this deficit, on top of the enormous increases they have already had to pay. I also learned this week through a Freedom of Information request that Malvern Hills District Council has paid out over £125,000 in pension-related severance costs in voluntary early retirement packages which have had to be funded by the sale of District Council assets and a draw-down in reserves."

She also added her support for demands for new help for the victims of company pension scheme closures. Conservatives are calling a 'Lifeboat Fund' to be set up to top up the pension income of thousands of vulnerable people who have their lost pension savings from company pension schemes collapsing, and who now face an uncertain retirement.

The bold proposals have been put forward to tackle the consequences of Gordon Brown's 1997 stealth tax raid - which has robbed £100 billion from pension funds.

In a further development, workers and pensioners face not only the prospect of smaller pensions thanks to the tax, but also soaring council tax bills. Since the town hall pension scheme is directly funded from councils' stock market investments, council taxpayers foot the bill from reductions in pension fund values due to the pensions tax.

Due to the pensions tax, demographics and rising town hall salaries, the total cost to council employers of town hall pensions has now soared from £1.2 billion a year in 1997 to £3.2 billion a year last year - equivalent to £177 a year per council tax-paying household in England and Wales.

Harriett Baldwin said:

"Gordon Brown has destroyed our pensions system, which was one of the best in the world. He robbed today's and tomorrow's pensioners of security in retirement through his £100 billion stealth tax raid and then tried to cover up that fact.

"Today's pensioners are suffering from soaring council tax, rocketing utility bills and more means-testing. Meanwhile, tomorrow's pensioners are facing plummeting pensions returns and the closure of company and final salary pension schemes.

"We're all paying the price. Gordon Brown's pensions tax has forced up council tax bills - with councillors taking the flak. Council tax payers are now paying the equivalent of £177 a year just to bankroll town hall pensions. It's time for a fairer deal for Worcestershire's pensioners and the pensioners of tomorrow."



Harriett says...

Harriett Baldwin
 
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