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Date: 19 January 2006

UNISON challenges Executive on pensions advice

UNISON, the largest Scottish Local Government union today challenged the Scottish Executive to produce the legal advice and the financial advice they have received on the Local Government Pension scheme and the 'Rule of 85' for discussion with local government employers and trade unions.

Joe di Paola, UNISON's Scottish organiser (Bargaining), said "Following Tom McCabe's statements in Parliament and in the media on the legal advice they had received saying that the Rule of 85 is discriminatory. Both ourselves and CoSLA asked for sight of that advice at our tripartite meeting yesterday and were refused.

"As Mr McCabe acknowledges, he has seen the advice from UNISON and CoSLA. If the government is so sure of its advice that they are prepared to reject two contrary opinions, why are they frightened to show it to us?"

In addition the Executive agency that regulates public sector pensions the Scottish Public Pensions Agency commissioned a report from a firm of actuaries on - we believe - the affordability of the rule of 85 and a health check on the state of the funds, which they have so far refused to release to us and the employers.

Joe Di Paola said "We have requested this report on two previous occasions and been refused on the grounds that they are continuing to analyse the information. We are aware that the position of Scottish Local Government Funds tend to be better than those south of the border, but given that the cost was a major reason for the English employers to argue for the removal of the rule, we want to be clear whether such arguments apply here. The purpose of the tripartite discussions is so that all stakeholders can discuss the future of the LGPS openly. This can't be done in one of the parties is keeping information secret."

ENDS

For Further Information Please Contact: Joe Di Paola (Scottish organiser - Bargaining) 0845 355 0845(w) 07958 121 861(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)

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