Almost 20,000 people have signed UNISON’s parliamentary petition calling for MPs to debate government plans to tell local government pension funds that they have to invest members’ money in infrastructure projects.
That success has been achieved in little more than a week since the petition went live and means that the government has to respond to the petition.
At 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.
Some five million people rely on the Local Government Pension Scheme to pay their pension.
But Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to force the individual pension funds to invest in infrastructure, as an alternative to direct government funding of the schemes – even if this doesn’t give the best return for scheme members’ pensions.
That is why UNISON has launched the petition calling for a parliamentary debate on the matter.
The government has launched a consultation on the issue, and UNISON’s response to this makes it clear that the union is not against LGPS funds investing in infrastructure.
But UNISON does believe that investment decisions should be made by the funds and their members, not ministers.
And it adds that the decision must “be made in the best interests of scheme members when these conflict with those of employers or government”.
The union also queries whether the government has the legal right to do what it is suggesting.
The consultation response points out that the regulations covering occupational pension schemes do not give ministers a power of intervention, while the relevant EU directive says that member states “shall not require institutions located in their territory to invest in particular categories of assets.”
Sign the petition, and tell your friends and colleagues about it, at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/125475.