Pensions for councillors

Membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) is open to all councillors elected to a local authority in Scotland who are under age 75. 

All membership you have built up in the LGPS before 1 April 2015 will continue to be worked out using the rules of the scheme that were in place to 31 March 2015. 

The LGPS for councillors is a defined benefit career average scheme and is guaranteed by law. The calculation of your final pension is based on the time you have been a member of the scheme and your average pay during your period of membership as a councillor. 

From 1 April 2015 your pension in the LGPS will build up at 1/49th of your pensionable pay for each year. This pension will be increased each scheme year in line with the cost of living (currently based on the Consumer Prices Index (CPI)). The pay used to work out your pension each scheme year will be your pensionable pay in each year. 

You will have the option to pay half your normal contributions in return for half your normal pension, this is called '50/50'. 

Your entitlement to receive a pension will depend on your age. The pension can be taken in full at any time from Normal Pension Age but must be taken before attaining age 75. 

How do I join and how much will it cost me? 

On being elected as a Councillor, you will automatically become a member of the Scheme if you have not already attained age 75. 

You are allowed to join the Scheme even if you are contributing to other pension plans. 

You can elect to leave and opt out of the Scheme at any time. 

Your contribution to the Scheme is based on the level of the earnings you receive. The minimum contribution is 5.5.% of earnings. 

As a scheme member, you will automatically get: 

  • tax relief on your contributions
  • a pension when you retire once you've been in for two years
  • option to swap pension for tax free lump sum at retirement
  • life cover in form of a death grant 3x assumed pensionable pay
  • a pension for your close eligible dependants.

When can my pension be paid? 

If you leave your position as Councillor after age 55, your pension can be paid. As you would be taking your pension early, it may be reduced by as much as 52% if taken at age 55. If you have two or more positions, you can leave one and take that pension and continue to work in the other job. You must leave your position as a Councillor, to receive payment of your pension benefits.


Your benefits are worked out using a date of payment called the Normal Pension Age which equals your individual State Pension Age. If this is changed by the UK Government in the future, the Normal Pension Age would also change.


  • Councillor Scheme Guide April 2021

  • LGPS Circular Tiered Contribution Guidance


  • Opt Out Form

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