Council chief blasts pensions black hole claims

8:20am Sunday 29th April 2012

By Tom Barnes

The executive council member responsible for finance has blasted claims taxpayers will have to stump up £200m to pay for public sector pensions as misleading.

The black hole in the local authority’s reserves was revealed in research published by the Taxpayers' Alliance.

Kingston has assets of £304m and liabilities of £493m.

But Rolson Davies, executive member for finance at Kingston Council, said the figures were a snapshot of a long-term investment, and therefore subject to change.

He said an independent review by accountants last year concluded Kingston Council did not need to up its contribution to the fund and there was “no reason to be concerned”.

He said: “We are not panicking. This is a long-term investment. You would be hard-pressed find a pension fund either private or public that is performing at the moment.

“When the markets pick up you will see a very different story to the one shown in these figures.

“We are in a better position than private companies because as a part of government we will always be here, whereas should a private company go out of business there will be a black hole that can’t be filled.”

However, Matthew Sinclair, director of the Taxpayers Alliance, said the issue needed to be addressed urgently.

He said: "The deficit in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) remains a ticking time-bomb that’s being left for future generations of taxpayers to deal with."

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