Last Friday's 'Five Live's Drive' show (link below) hosted by Peter Allen and Anita Anand had an ear catching story on MEP pension entitlements. It caught my attention because Green MEP Caroline Lucas was cited as an MEP that had declined to take up the offer of an additional voluntary pension.
MEP's throughout Europe are entitled to the equivalent pension entitlements as MP's in their respective national parliaments. This is funded by the European tax payer.
However, they are also entitled to a second voluntary pension which is again funded by the European tax payer. For every one £1 contributed by the MEP, the EU contributes an additional £2. Unbelievably, the £1 that the MEP puts in can be claimed on expenses. This whole sorry situation has come to the fore because thanks to "casino style investments", there is a deficit in the scheme which, you've guessed it, will be covered by the European taxpayer. Sigh.
The Open Europe press release notes that tracking down the MEP's who are profiting from this pension hasn't been easy as the list is a "closely guarded secret". Unsurprisingly the two Green MEP's are not on the list - and WELL DONE TO THEM - but interestingly, MEP's from the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem parties are on the list. Even UKIP, the party that moans about every British pound the UK taxpayer gives over to the EU is on the list. Shame on all the other political parties.
79 per cent of British MEP's have signed up to this morally unacceptable pension scheme. I am not surprised that the two GREEN MEP's are not on the list. Green politicians are ethically and morally minded. They tend to come from a campaigning background and enter politics to "make change". Jean Lambert was (and still is) a notable peace campaigner and Caroline Lucas worked for Oxfam.
I looked up Caroline's web site and found the following paragraph:
Additional Pension Scheme
British MEPs are members of the same pension scheme as our national MPs at present. There is also an additional pension scheme set up in the EP which Members may opt to join, but Caroline has chosen not to join this on principle, as she regards it as a misuse of EU taxpayers’ money. When the new Members’ Statute becomes operational in 2009, this will include a pension entitlement and it is likely that the existing additional pension scheme will close to new Members.
and Jean has the following paragraph on her web site
Additional Pension Scheme
British MEPs are members of the same pension scheme as our national MPs at present. There is also an additional pension scheme set up in the EP which Members may opt to join, but I have chosen not to join it. When the new Members’ Statute becomes operational in 2009, this will include a pension entitlement and it is likely that the existing additional pension scheme will close to new Members.
Greens are not part of this newly developed political class. Our principles are always consistent: a fair ans just society, peaceful solutions to conflict and genuine stewardship of the planet for future generations. Those voters that are looking for conviction politicians to represent them need not look any further than the Green Party.