Oxford

Pension deficit review under way in Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire County Council could have to pay more into its pension fund to plug a multi-million pound black hole.

The county council's pension deficit has gone up by £194m to £752m which the council puts down to low interest rates and increasing inflation.

A full valuation of the pension fund is currently being carried out. The results will determine how much the council has to contribute to the fund.

The council has indicated its contributions could rise to over 20%.

It currently contributes 19.3% of pay towards the cost of pensions, and employees pay in between 5.5% and 7.5% of earnings.

In a statement the council said: "All local government pension funds always target to be fully funded in the long term, but the short term funding level is dependent on the financial markets.

"All Oxfordshire district councils are also running deficits as well as most, if not all, pension schemes across the country and many across Europe and the world."

Elsewhere Oxford City Council's deficit has increased from £95m to £137m; Cherwell District Council's is up from £46m to £68m; West Oxfordshire District Council's from £23m to £32m; South Oxfordshire District Council's from £30m to £48m; and Vale of White Horse District Council's from £30m to £44m.

The government last week announced it planned to set up a commission to look at the future of public sector pensions, to be headed up by former Government minister John Hutton.

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