AN MHK who called for Tynwald members to pay 10 per cent towards their pensions says he is ‘amazed and shocked’ to learn that a number of his parliamentary colleagues are still not paying a penny towards the scheme.
Liberal Vannin leader Peter Karran (Onchan) said there was no justification for any member of Tynwald not to pay at least the minimum three per cent towards their pension.
Isle of Man Examiner revealed this week that five members were not paying contributions.
It has since been confirmed that the figure is actually four – as the fifth member is the Bishop who is not part of the Tynwald pension scheme.
Mr Karran said: ‘I’m shocked that members are not contributing. I’m amazed. I think it’s terrible. I cannot believe how greedy, how arrogant, they are. Three per cent is more than reasonable. There is no justification at all for not paying it.
‘It undermines what we are trying to do. We are supposed to be all in this together. One grievance I have with the government is that the cuts are not proportionate. This just highlights that there is one rule for one lot and another rule for the other. It’s just unacceptable.’
Tynwald voted in March to introduce a 5 per cent contribution towards members’ pensions, to be phased in over three years. Contributions were brought in from the following month, starting at 3 per cent of salary, rising to 5 per cent by April 2014.
However, the move was not compulsory to existing MHKs and MLCs, only to new members or those voted back in at future elections.
The Clerk of Tynwald’s office confirmed that as at the August payroll, five members were not making a voluntary pension contribution. It could not name them but has since confirmed that Bishop Robert Paterson, who is not a member of the scheme, was counted as one of the five.
During the March Tynwald, Mr Karran called for the contribution to be set at 10 per cent but his motion was rejected. He told the Manx Independent he was paying the initial 3 per cent contribution.
Douglas East MHK Brenda Cannell, who confirmed she is contributing 3 per cent, said she was ‘really shocked’ to learn that some members are not paying. ‘I think it’s disgraceful. It’s a moral obligation.’
Kate Beecroft (Lib Van, Douglas South), who is contributing 5 per cent, said: ‘It’s absolutely disgraceful particularly at a time when we are all supposed to be feeling the pain. It makes we so angry.’
During the Tynwald debate in March there were angry exchanges between those who wanted to increase the contribution and those who had misgivings on its impact on some members.
Economic Development Minister John Shimmin (Douglas West) said at the time he didn’t want a lecture from those who had alternative pensions, a second income, no children and limited responsibilities – views echoed by Graham Cregeen (Malew and Santon). Both, however, have confirmed they are contributing to their pensions.