The letter from Britwell councillor Pat Shine (elected October 2002), one of the two remaining IBR councillors on Slough Borough Council, in the Observer of February 25th, was unbelievable to read. How many times has he sat in the chamber and heard the external auditors report, or was it that this year he actually listened ?
Pension fund deficits have been an issue for many years in both the private and public sectors, and yet it has only now alarmed Pat. The advice given to him that he should approach the pension scheme actuaries was sound. After all Pat is a councillor of a unitary authority and should not be looking to the readers of a newspaper's Letters page to educate him. A good starting point would be for Pat to surf the web, where all sorts of useful information can be found.
For instance, I looked and found that it was reported on January 30th 2006, whilst he was a member of the ruling cadre, that the deficit was £146 million. Of course this did not alarm him then.
The structure of the Royal Berkshire Pension Scheme is detailed on the Internet and if Pat looks he will find out that the administration of the scheme is vested in five Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead councillors and that each of the unitary authorities in Berkshire has an advisory member participating. The list of organisations covered by the scheme are too numerous to mention here.
To ask the question "How did our Labour Council let the pension trustees allow this to happen" shows not only a total ignorance of the way that pension schemes are run, but also the fact that the other unitary authorities in Berkshire are run by the same Tories that he was so happy to share power with in those grim years of 2004 to 2008 in Slough.
Perhaps the reason that "none of the Labour party asked or showed any concern about such a deficit" (I assume he really means Labour councillors) was that they were already briefed and had listened in previous years to the extent of the problem ?