"Billions of pounds could be taken from council staff pension schemes to bail out the Government’s PFI school projects, The Times has learnt.
Partnership for Schools, the government body responsible for the £55 billion building programme, has approached several local authorities to ask for emergency cash from pension funds because private finance has dried up.
The funds, worth £100 billion, cover final-salary pensions for two million council staff including social workers, cleaners, refuse collectors, lollipop ladies and town hall officials. Unlike other public sector schemes, they are made up of contributions from staff and employers."
It's striking that the Government's toying with what are such politically toxic solutions. Why risk a bunch of "Public sector pension raid" headlines when ramping up debt, through the usual processes, has hardly bothered the Government before? I suspect it's to do with keeping the PFI projects off the books - which could itself be a sign that the Government's getting worried about how bad the numbers are looking.