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Councillors' Severance Scheme

02 September 2013

Environment Minister, Alex Attwood, has brought forward legislation on a severance scheme for councillors who will be leaving political life in the run-up to local government reorganisation.

The purpose of these regulations is to provide a severance scheme for those long-serving councillors who have more than 12 years cumulative service and who will not be standing for re-election next year.

At present there are 582 councillors in NI and this will reduce to 462 on 1 April 2015 when the number of councils reduce from 26 to 11. 

The severance is calculated on a fixed amount per year –

  •  From 30 May 1973 to 21 May 1998 - £1000 per year
  •  From 22 May 1998 to date of resignation - £600 per year.
The cap on total severance payment to any individual is £35,000.

Councillors may apply for severance during two application periods.  The first runs from 1 August 2013 to 31 December 2013 and the second period runs from 1 January 2014 to the closing date for nomination as a candidate in the next local government elections.

Impact on LGPS (NI) pension benefits

The above severance scheme has no impact on pension benefits paid by NILGOSC.  Councillors have a normal retirement age of 65 and any councillor who is accepting a severance payment and is younger than age 65 will have their pension benefits from the LGPS (NI) reduced if they are drawn before the normal retirement age.  In addition, employer consent will be required if a councillor wishes to drawn their retirement benefits and are over age 55 but younger than age 60.  Benefits drawn after age 65 will be actuarially enhanced.

For more information please visit the Northern Ireland Executive website using the link below: