22 February 2008
Scotland's new local government pension scheme should deliver savings of about £20m a year, Finance Secretary John Swinney has claimed.
He was speaking after details of the scheme, to be introduced in April 2009, were published. It was developed by officials from the Scottish government, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the trade unions following a major row over the abolition of the 'rule of 85' in the previous scheme. This allowed members over the age of 60, whose age and years of service added up to 85 or more, to retire with unreduced pension rights.
The rule was removed to comply with a European Union directive on equality in the workplace. In Scotland, a commitment was made to reinvest the savings from the removal of the rule into the revised scheme.
The new arrangements involve the retention of the normal retirement age of 65 but include flexibility to work reduced hours beyond 65 while taking part of the pension.
Employee contributions will be increased to an average of 6.3%, while employers' will fall from 13.9% to 13.3%.
Swinney said the partnership approach had delivered an excellent package of benefits while being affordable and fair. He added: 'The work to develop this scheme reflects our new and much more productive relationship with local government, where we work in partnership to deliver the best outcomes for people across Scotland.'
Dave Watson, Unison Scottish organiser, said he was pleased that all parties involved had agreed on a scheme that was affordable and attractive to the quality staff that public services needed to recruit and retain.
Cosla president Pat Watters said the scheme was a 'tremendous achievement' that was the product of long and detailed negotiations.