90 days from today is Fri, 29 December 2023

Wiltshire Police Federation

PFEW provides formal response to Government on phase one of pension Remedy consultation

30 December 2021

Polfed News

As part of the consultation of the Police Pensions (Amendment) Regulations 2022, PFEW has provided a formal response to Government.

The comments cover phase one of the prospective Remedy, which will close the final salary schemes (PPS 87 and NPPS 2006) and move all active members to the 2015 CARE Scheme from 1 April 2022.

PFEW’s response to the phase one consultation raises questions around the prospective and retrospective elements of the Remedy and how they will interact in order for it to be successfully implemented without bias or prejudice to those affected.

PFEW has also provided comment on Immediate Detriment and the ‘pensions trap’.

Although HM Treasury (HMT) have withdrawn the Immediate Detriment guidance which was issued in August 2020 due to the complexities around its interaction with Section 61 of the Equality Act 2010, and tax legislation, PFEW continues to be of the view that members who have already retired or are imminently due to retire, should not be subject to any delays in formally rectifying the detriment they have or will experience.

We have also made challenges on behalf of members who attain 30 years’ pensionable service before age 55 (or 25 years’ service and are aged over 50), where some of their pension has been accrued in the 2015 CARE Scheme.

As CARE benefits are not payable until age 55, currently members must either wait until State Pension Age (SPA) to access their CARE benefits (unreduced) or put them into payment from age 55 – but the pension is then subject to a reduction for payment before their SPA.

PFEW continues to lobby Government to reduce this penalty given that it is unfair and immoral; this issue has again been raised by PFEW in response to the current consultation.

The retrospective Remedy (enabling the Deferred Choice Underpin) will be affected in regulations to be set out by October 2023 requiring members to make a choice of benefits for the period 1 April 2015 – 31 March 2022 when they retire.

National Secretary Alex Duncan said: “This consultation has not been well thought through by Government; the draft regulations do not achieve Government’s stated aims and the quality of the explanations in the consultation are poor.

“Nevertheless, PFEW has made clear in the response that the level of ambiguity in the proposals is unacceptable. As is the Government’s unwillingness to fully consider and address potential equality issues for members with protected characteristics.

“The Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) which was published alongside the consultation reads as a ‘tick box’ exercise, relying on the defence that they do not have comprehensive data for police pension scheme members.

“PFEW is committed to holding Government to account in remedying the discrimination they caused and addressing their failures through litigation if necessary.

“Whilst the Remedy is front and centre of police pensions at the moment, PFEW remain an interested party in the FBU’s Judicial Review of the Cost Cap. The FBU’s case seeks to challenge both the inclusion of Remedy costs within the Cost Cap calculation completed for the 2016 valuation, and the decision by Government not to implement the improved accrual rate in 2019 following a fall in member costs.”

You can read PFEW’s response here

This response follows on from our work in April 2021 on the Remedy and our announcement last week that PFEW will fund new Court of Appeal proceedings with other staff associations to ensure we cover all possible opportunities to work in the best interests of our members.