UK councils’ pension deficits reached £54bn in 2010-11

Councils across the UK had a combined pension deficit of £54 billion in 2010-11, according to research by The Taxpayers’ Alliance.

This figure is down from £91 billion in 2009-10, but still an increase from £51 billion in 2008-09.

The research also found:

  • Birmingham City Council had a deficit of £1.3 billion, the biggest deficit in 2010-11 and the only council with a deficit of more than £1 billion.
  • 14 local authorities had a deficit over £500 million in 2010-11, and 165 local authorities had deficits in excess of £100 million.
  • The local authority in Scotland with the largest deficit in 2010-11 was Glasgow City Council with £625 million.
  • The local authority in Wales with the largest deficit in 2010-11 was Cardiff City Council with £494 million.
  • The local authority in Northern Ireland with the largest deficit in 2010-11 was Belfast City Council with £74 million.
  • Across London’s 32 borough councils, plus the City of London and the Greater London Authority, the total combined deficit was over £9 billion. This is one-sixth of the overall deficit across all UK schemes.

Matthew Sinclair, director of The TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The deficit in the local government pension scheme (LGPS) remains a ticking time bomb that is 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 should not take false comfort in the improvement in the stock market. Their pension liabilities continue to far outweigh their assets, and the situation remains worse than two years ago.”

Read also London councils propose pooled pension fund

Read more articles on pension scheme deficits