London Mayor Sadiq Khan looks set to veto attempts to create a new private pension scheme for himself and London Assembly members.
In 2014 the coalition government blocked local councillors as well as mayors and AMs elected from this year onwards from accessing the Local Government Pension Scheme.
The move was justified on the grounds that local councillors do not carry out their duties full-time and were not intended to get paid.
However in recognition of the fact that City Hall’s politicians do serve in a full-time capacity, ministers left it open for the new mayor and AMs to buy into a private pension if they wished.
Earlier this week a proposal to establish a new scheme was discussed at ‘Bureau of Leaders’ – a regular off the record gathering of Assembly group leaders and the Mayor.
AMs are keen to continue having access to a pension, to which they would contribute, however MayorWatch has learnt Mr Khan has expressed concern at the proposal’s potential to embroil City Hall in a row about politicians lining their pockets at a time of spending cuts.
Despite voting against the change of rules when sitting in the Commons, Mr Khan is said to believe it would be hard to justify spending taxpayer money to bypass the government and Parliament’s decision.
With changes to Assembly Member and mayoral perks needing the unanimous backing of all 26 City Hall politicians, the mayor’s stance could prevent his colleagues from accessing a workplace pension when they retire.
Assembly insiders have expressed disappointment at Mr Khan’s opposition, stressing that it would be open for him to opt out of the new scheme without blocking its establishment.
Asked to comment, a spokesperson for the Mayor said: “A proposal has been put to Sadiq to create a new pension system just for him and Assembly Members.
“No final decision has been taken, but it’s difficult to see how this can be justified after the Government has deliberately chosen to take access to this pension fund away from the Mayor, Assembly Members, as well as councillors across the country.
“Sadiq does not consider it appropriate to award himself a pension in the light of this decision by Parliament and the financial mess he has inherited from the previous Mayor.”