PLANS to review a pension scheme at a Burnley social housing group in a bid to reduce its deficit have been met with anger.

The Calico Group, based in Burnley, is launching an informal consultation on a potential exit from the Local Government Pension Scheme.

It comes after deficit payments to the scheme topped £250,000 a year with a pension liability of £12million.

Housing bosses said they are taking action because they are ‘mindful of ongoing efficiencies’ without cutting services.

But union bosses said they feared it would mean staff losing out and have called for a formal consultation.

The Local Government Pension Scheme is a final salary scheme which means employees know what they are going to get.

It is understood staff would be transferred to a defined contribution scheme, if approved.

Chief Executive Anthony Duerden said: “Whilst the deficit is not an immediate problem for Calico, we are mindful of the ongoing efficiencies we need to make in order to meet the Government’s national rent reductions without cutting important services for tenants.

“It’s clearly important to take all opinions on-board before any decision is made, and we are consulting everyone who is part of this pension scheme.

“Our main priority is to ensure that our business is in the strongest long-term position, which will protect services for thousands of customers, and jobs for our staff across the region.”

At present, approximately one in ten staff across The Calico Group are members of the LGPS, with most staff members in other pensions.

The group employs more than 800 staff across the North West, and delivers housing, support, training and health services to thousands of people.

Dan Smith, UNISON North West regional organiser said: “We fear that the new pension arrangements will have a significant negative impact on our members’ retirement income.

“We are not convinced that this cost-cutting proposal is necessary.

“We are meeting with Calico to insist on a proper process of consultation.”