Leeds City Council’s £650m pensions ‘black hole’

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Leeds City Council is facing a £649m black hole in its pension scheme, according to new figures.

A survey carried out by the Taxpayers’ Alliance shows that councils across the UK had a combined pensions deficit of £54 billion in 2010-11, for which taxpayers are ultimately liable.

The alliance has described the deficit as a “ticking time bomb for future generations” and is calling for the local government pension scheme to be reformed.

Having analysed local authority statement of accounts, the alliance says the figures for Leeds show the scheme has assets of nearly £2bn against liabilities of over £2.6 billion. Wakefield Council’s deficit is put at £383m and Kirklees’ £380m.

Matthew Sinclair, alliance director, said: “The deficit in the Local Government Pension Scheme remains a ticking time bomb that’s being left for future generations of taxpayers to deal with.

“With an ageing population and a crisis in the public finances, generous final salary schemes like the LGPS are inflexible and too expensive, and need urgent reform.

“Councils’ pension liabilities continue to far outweigh their assets and the situation remains worse than two years ago.”

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