Council pension decisions to remain with local authorities

Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) investment decisions will remain with local authorities, the government has confirmed.

Following a petition calling for a debate into LGPS plans, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) released a statement saying: “The government has no intention of setting targets for infrastructure investment or removing the right of individual pension fund authorities to make their own decisions about strategic asset allocation.”

The petition came as a result of the pooling scheme announced by Chancellor George Osborne in the July 2015 Budget, which the government claims will improve the capacity of councils to use pension funds to invest in infrastructure, as well as achieving significant cost savings, while maintaining returns.

The statement said that councils should still compare their investments in infrastructure against the ‘example set by leading global pension fund investors’ and that councils must invest local government pension scheme funds in the ‘best interests of scheme members’.

A consultation has recently examined the option of granting the Secretary of State a power of intervention, but the DCLG maintains that this would only be used in exceptional circumstances ‘when there was clear evidence that a pension fund authority was not acting reasonably and lawfully’.