Pensions paid out early

Retired politicians cost millions for local councils

A Swedish Radio News survey of local governments in this Nordic nation shows that some US$ 10 million were paid out last year to retired politicians - many who left politics at their own request and some just over the age of 50 - 15 years before retirement age.

Questioned ex-politicians insist this is part of their contracts and there are no demands that the men and women involved have to get another paid job.

Some say they are busy with non-paid volunteer work for the local community. One ex-politician from central Sweden now lives at a diving center in the Philippines, and claims that by living abroad instead of Sweden, his pension covers his expenses.