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Retiring at 60 is not an option

Whilst pensions are notoriously complex, your article "Assistants fight to retire at 60," (TES, May 26) missed a number of key points. The local government pension scheme has always had age 65 as the normal retirement age. Introducing a retirement age of 60 is not an option under consideration.

The Rule of 85 (allowing staff to retire on full pension at 60 if their age and length of service add up to 85 years or more) had to go as it is in breach of age discrimination regulations introduced by the Government.

Local government agrees and has supported this government move. Local government has also supported government policy for protecting staff close to their retirement. The policy was to allow protection for those who will reach 60 by 2013.

Without details such as length of service, it is impossible to say whether the employees whose case you highlighted would benefit from the Rule of 85 or whether the employer would have agreed to the early retirement.

The article could have pointed out that teachers' pensions are reduced, and will continue to be reduced, if the employer does not support their retirement before the normal retirement age.

Actuarially reduced benefits are now the most common form of early retirement from the teachers' pension scheme.

The protection for those close to retirement is under review.

Mike Walker

Director, Local Government Employers, Local Government House, Smith Square, London

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