Scottish Local Government Financial Statistics 2014-15

Scottish Local Government Financial Statistics is an annual publication that provides a comprehensive overview of Scottish Local Authority financial activity. The publication covers Local Authority income, revenue and capital expenditure, outstanding debt, local taxation and Local Authority pensions.

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4. Local Government Pensions

Local Government Pension Scheme Funds are operated as separate funds to other accounts. In accordance with regulation 4 of the Local Government Pension Scheme (Benefits, Membership and Contributions) (Scotland) Regulations 2008, and regulation 35 of the Local Government Pension Scheme (Administration) (Scotland) Regulations 2008, employer and employee contributions are paid into the fund, along with income from investments, and pensions and lump sum benefits are paid out of the fund. The income and expenditure from these funds are therefore entirely separate from the income and expenditure of the Authorities that administer the funds.

Tables 4.1 and 4.2 show the collective income and expenditure for the Local Government Pension Scheme for the year in question, with income from contributions representing payments for pensionable service accrued during the year which will be paid out (as part of an overall pension) at a future date and expenditure on pensions representing payments of previously accrued pension rights. The relative financial health of the pension scheme is gauged through three-yearly actuarial valuations of each of the eleven funds.

Table 4.1 - Local Government Pension Scheme Funds Expenditure 2010-11 - 2014-15


2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Total Benefits including Payments under Pensions (Increase) Acts: 969,723 1,021,142 1,025,525 1,069,643 1,116,100
Pensions1 574,929 651,085 601,299 642,755 671,634
Lump Sums1 330,251 300,705 242,232 235,963 238,777
Other Benefits1 3,006 2,883 2,838 0 0
Payments under Pensions (Increase) Acts1 61,537 66,469 179,156 190,925 205,688
Transfer Values2 46,244 33,839 41,701 42,061 44,295
Other3 64,609 69,225 72,343 16,282 20,820
TOTAL EXPENDITURE 1,080,576 1,124,206 1,139,569 1,127,986 1,181,215

1. Payments under the Pensions (Increase) Act 1971 relate to costs associated with uprating of pensions. In some cases local authorities were unable to separately identify this cost and included it within pensions, lump sums & other benefits.

2. Transfer Values are due to scheme members transferring to other pension schemes (for example where a scheme member has moved to a different employer).

3. "Other Benefits" includes, Fund Administration and Management Costs (the largest component); Refunds of Contributions; Adjustments; and Premiums.

Source: Local Financial Returns: LFR 24

Table 4.1 details the total expenditure of the Local Government Pension Scheme Funds in Scotland since 2010-11. Total expenditure increased by 4.7% (£53 million) between 2013-14 and 2014-15, with the vast majority (94%) of expenditure being on benefits. The increases in Pensions and Payments under Pensions (Increase) Acts should be interpreted with care, as much of this can be attributed to improved reporting.

Table 4.2 - Local Government Pension Scheme Funds Income 2019-11 - 2014-15


2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Total Contributions 1,234,224 1,206,509 1,135,927 1,157,698 1,179,595
Contributions (including those from other employing authorities) Employees 276,179 262,811 258,219 266,780 271,320
Employers 958,045 943,698 877,708 890,918 908,275
Net Investment and Other Income 1,538,331 516,367 3,040,095 2,063,964 4,215,940
TOTAL INCOME 2,772,556 1,722,876 4,176,022 3,221,662 5,395,535

Source: Local Financial Returns - LFR 24

Table 4.2 shows local government pension scheme funds income since 2010-11. Contributions from employees and employers are both dependent on the number of contributing employees (full time and part-time) and increased by 1.9% between 2013-14 and 2014-15, however are still below 2010-11 levels. Contributions from employees are fixed at a set percentage of pay, depending on level of salary. Contribution rates from employers are variable and are reviewed on a triennial basis, with actuaries determining the contribution rates for the following three years.

More fluctuation is seen in other income and, in particular, net profits on realisation of investments. Net investment income is influenced by investment conditions (e.g. changes in the stock market) and is the most variable component of the total pension funds income.


Email: Euan Smith

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