30 November 2021
PFEW’s National Secretary has warned Government that the unexpected publication of new guidelines regarding unfair discrimination caused by the 2015 pensions reforms must not further delay the settlement of retirees and members’ pension claims.
Alex Duncan reacted to a decision yesterday [29/11] by Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT) to issue new guidelines advising public sector pension Remedy claimants and schemes to halt claims until new legislation was created to reduce the potential for tax consequences.
Previous Government advice made it clear PFEW members who moved to reformed pension schemes on or after 1 April 2015 and retired, had an entitlement to be treated as a member of their legacy scheme for the remedy period, if they wished.
However, the new HMT and HMRC advice on drafting the Remedy through the McCloud Bill has now described the uncertainties caused by the Government’s original guidelines as ‘considerably greater than was previously thought.’
HMRC advised yesterday that schemes should not process immediate cases before new legislation was in place, due to a significant risk of generating unintended tax consequences which may subsequently need to be reversed. HMRC added: “It is not possible to give any guarantees that the Remedy and its tax consequences will work as intended for everyone, before the legislation is in place.”
Following the unexpected announcement, Mr Duncan said: “HMT issued guidance earlier this year to Chief Constables advising them on the steps to take for pension scheme members who were part of the effected group and looking to retire.
“The general purpose of the guidance was to give those individuals the ability to have the Remedy period classed as having been during their original pension scheme, and so they might retire with those benefits.
“It now appears while working on the details of how the Remedy would be implemented, the Treasury identified unintended difficulties caused through the use of the original guidance, in particular relation to existing Tax legislation. They have now, therefore, withdrawn the guidance.
“PFEW continues to be of the view those who have suffered unlawful discrimination should have this rectified and should not suffer any further detriment due to any time lag whilst the Remedy is designed and implemented.
“The implementation of the immediate detriment guidance may cause challenges for Government, but it is unacceptable the solution is for those who have suffered discrimination to be further disadvantaged before the situation is remedied.
“We will, therefore, continue in the process of identifying suitable cases to progress to legal challenge on this issue, work which had already started prior to this announcement.”
Leigh Day Solicitors - Pension Challenge Claimants Update
Members of the pension challenge group represented by Leigh Day Solicitors have been notified a settlement offer has been made in respect of compensation. As a result, members who lodged claims with PFEW have asked how this impacts on their claim.
PFEW claims are separate and the settlement discussions with Leigh Day on behalf of their own clients do not relate to those lodged by the UK and international law firm Penningtons Manches Cooper (who were instructed by PFEW). PFEW’s claims are not as far along the legal route, and any compensation which may be awarded regarding those claims will be considered by a Court at a later date.
Please also note, the window to join the PFEW Claim with Penningtons has closed.
SUMMARY OF NEW HMT GUIDELINES (29/11/21)