A Pensions Patchwork
Taxpayers have been forced to pay for deficits in town hall pension funds, stretching hard-pressed local services. Could the funds be better organised for economic growth?
In Canada, everything is big - including powerful pension funds such as the Ontario Teachers fund which owns half of Birmingham airport and other large projects around the world. It's all a far cry from the British pension scene, where a hundred local government pension funds each run their own affairs separately and pay costly fees to City firms for investment advice.
Many of them still have financial deficits. Taxpayers have been forced to pick up bills to pay off those shortfalls and already hard-pressed local services have been stretched further.
Lesley Curwen investigates how these individual funds are run and asks whether we should have larger funds with cheaper costs - like Canada does. And she asks whether more councils should be using pension money to invest in housing and infrastructure as a way to boost their local economies?
Producer: Anna Meisel Reporter: Lesley Curwen.