Police Pensions update - 8th July 2021
In February 2021 both the UK Treasury and Department of Finance (DOF) issued their responses to the Public Sector Pension Consultation. These documents unfortunately have brought more questions than answers. As PFNI pensions lead, Secretary Liam Kelly continues to attend both local and national meetings in respect of the proposed remedy and the impact on police pension members.
PFNI have raised concerns and requested clarity on:
- Immediate Detriment Cases (those retiring now including Ill Health Retirement cases whilst being members of two pension schemes).
- If opted out of the pension scheme whether a retrospective opportunity will be afforded to join CARE Scheme and accrue benefits.
- The identified exclusion from remedy for those who joined a legacy pension scheme between 1st April 2012 and 31st March 2015.
- The proposed closing of the legacy pension schemes in 2022 and the detrimental impact on those who were previously determined to be ‘fully protected’.
- Clarification regarding taxation and the burden being seemingly left on individual to resolve.
- Legislative Consent motion- as pensions are devolved, the NI Government do not have to follow Westminster but can sanction primary legislation themselves. The main issue is staff associations not having sight of the Westminster draft bill and being asked to blindly support its implementation. The draft Bill is being compiled now and is expected to be laid before Westminster imminently. It is expected it will remove the transitional protection elements only but scrutiny will be required to ensure that nothing else is being revised. It is envisaged that it will now be September 2021 before it is considered by our Assembly.
- Clarification on Interest rate for both under/overpayments.
- Accrued rights have not been explicitly referred to in DoF Document. Under previous guidance, pension scheme benefits are protected in law. Clarity has been requested as in UK Treasury Document these accrued rights are referred to, however, this is not apparent in the DOF Document.
It is imperative that officers who are unsure whether they should retire, or when they should retire, seek suitable financial advice. At first instance the PFNI recommend the online webinars with Andrew Benning which are free for members. These are regularly advertised via the PSNI e-mail system.
Any further developments or updates will be notified as they arise.