• John Gray

Boris "eyes up" council pensioner money to invest in his "vanity" infrastructure projects?

Many of us are worried about the recent Government announcement on "levelling up", not least because it included a legislative commitment on Council pension funds to “publish plans for increasing local investment, including setting an ambition of up to 5% of assets invested in projects which support local areas”.

We know that the Government has long had an interest in the £337bn invested by pension fund members in Council schemes.

Some 6.1 million Brits currently have savings in the UK Council Pensions. I declare an interest. I have in it 28 years worth of savings.

Now I do not have a problem with council pension funds deciding to invest in infrastructure projects if they think they are good investments for the funds.

If the Government thinks that pension schemes should be investing 5% of its assets regardless of its finances then surely they should be prepared to compensate the funds if this proves to be a disastrous decision. Such infrastructure projects can be high risk.

Now, so far this is being peddled as being purely voluntary, but we know that the Government has form on this. In the past Council pensions funds were forced to merge into large investment pools whether they liked it or not, in order to support infrastructure investment.

Also, I understand that they are going to re-introduce plans to force council pension funds to only invest in line with "British Government Foreign Policy" (whatever that means).

What makes me most fearful is Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and his record as a supporter of "vanity" infrastructure projects, as London Mayor (he wanted a floating airport in the sea and the £46 million of public money he wasted on the "Garden Bridge") and more recently his £20 billion plan on a bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland and a £200 billion project link England and France. Worrying times. We need to crank up our opposition to these plans to protect our pensions and make sure that import investment decisions are made on merit and not government personal edict.

John Gray

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