Posted: Sat 2nd Dec 2023

Workers at Welsh Housing Association Furious Over Plans to Remove them from Pension Scheme /
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Dec 2nd, 2023

Workers at a Welsh housing association have been left furious after hearing of plans to remove them from the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).
Staff at the Valleys to Coast housing association, based in Bridgend, have been told the organisation will look to leave the LGPS for a move to the social housing pension defined contribution scheme, which is based on worker and employer contributions.
Valleys to Coast is a provider of more than 6,000 affordable homes in the Bridgend area, and says the move will “ensure long-term financial stability” for the company.
A spokesperson said the majority of staff are already members of the defined contribution social housing pension scheme, with others being part of arrangements made before their transfer from Bridgend County Borough Council in 2003.
However, representatives from Unison say it could result in workers being left thousands of pounds out of pocket, with claims that an employee who had given 15 years to the business and was due to receive an annual pension of £19,200 under the LGPS, would now get just £13,300 a year.
One Valleys to Coast worker said: “It’s completely gutting because I’d predicted how much I’d be getting at 67, thinking I’d be retiring on a decent pension.
“I’m questioning if I’ll be able to retire at 67 now or if I’ll have to continue working. My retirement looks a lot different. It’s massive kick in the teeth for your loyalty after years of service.”
Unison Wales regional organiser Carmen Bezzina added: “Many of these workers have given decades of their life to this business. It is appalling they are now facing a future where they could be thousands of pounds out of pocket. 
“Unison will do everything possible to reverse this decision and ensure staff who provide such a vital service can look forward to a decent income when they retire.”
A spokesperson for Valleys to Coast said: “We have begun a period of consultation with a small group of colleagues affected by a review of our pension arrangements.
“These colleagues are members of the LGPS under legacy arrangements from their transfer from Bridgend County Borough Council in 2003, or because they joined us shortly after transfer. The majority of our colleagues are members of the defined contribution Social Housing Pension Scheme (SHPS DC).
“From a business perspective we have to ensure long-term financial stability and equitable benefits for all colleagues.
“As such, we are currently in consultation with colleagues who are members of the LGPS with a view to ending this arrangement and transferring them to the SHPS DC pension scheme, with their current accrued benefits protected.
“Those colleagues are being offered our full support throughout the consultation period, including guidance from independent pension specialists.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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