Belfast Telegraph

Council's staff pensions cost £12m

Belfast City Council spent almost £12 million on employees' pensions last year, it has been revealed.

A total of £44.64 per head of population was spent on all staff at the local authority, said a TaxPayers' Alliance report.

It also said 19 Fermanagh councillors were enrolled in pension schemes at the authority where they serve.

Matthew Sinclair, director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "These gold-plated retirement deals have all but disappeared in the private sector and it simply isn't sustainable to keep the system as it is.

"These figures show the urgent need to reform the outdated Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) and to tackle the growing trend of councillors joining."

Belfast spent £11.9 million on employer pension contributions in 2010/11, the highest in Northern Ireland, the report said.

The Alliance said many councils do not give councillors the opportunity to join the Local Government Pension Scheme, maintaining the tradition of volunteerism. That includes many councils in Northern Ireland.

Mr Sinclair added: "But in many others a large number of councillors are enrolled in the scheme."

He said the number UK-wide had grown in recent years.

"This growth suggests that more councillors are becoming professional politicians," he added.

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