We’re not volunteers, says leader

Coun Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, which administers the Tyne and Wear Pension Fund, which is part of LGPS, also defended town hall pensions for councillors.

He said: “Being a councillor is not a volunteer job. At the end of the day, a councillor is elected to work, and I think councillors are far more accessible than most MPs.

“We can receive calls 365 days of the year and people still contact me on Christmas Day.”

Coun Malcolm added that his own role involved overseeing transport and other major budgets, running into million of pounds.

“If an MP loses his seat, he receives a very generous payment from the taxpayers, for loss of earnings, but a councillor who is voted out receives nothing,” Coun Malcolm added.

Councillors were first offered town hall pensions in 2003 and more than 4,500 are now eligible to join local authority pension schemes nationally.

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “The Tyne and Wear Pension Fund is part of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) and is governed by regulations set by central Government.

“South Tyneside Council administers the Tyne and Wear Pension Fund in accordance with these regulations.

“Eligible council employees and councillors are able to join the LGPS.”