Monsieur Angry’s ‘Oliday

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With apologies to Jacques Tati

Well, I don’t know, I take a fortnight’s holiday and the whole world’s gone mad.  First though you have to look at my holiday photos, well not really.  Basically Mrs Angry and I set off on a roadtrip to visit old friends in the area of France where we used to live.  We drove down to the Tarn taking a couple of days to get there, spent 4 lovely days with old friends and neighbours (French) and then had a couple of nights on the Med.  Returning towards home we stopped off at the homes of various ex-pat friends, including a retired Met DI, eventually arriving home some 2,500 miles later.  We tried to drink the wine lake and I did my best to consume every steak in the country but we failed. Tired but happy were we, and then I catch up on this lot:-

Pension Reform

I joined the Met in 1972 on a 30 year contract, it was simple.  Work for 30 years, pay 11% and get a 40/60ths pension at the end of it.  It was an expensive pension, but everyone knew where they were and if one wanted to there was opportunity to start another job at the end of it.  They even brought in the scheme whereby you could retire on Friday and start again on a new contract on Monday, although I never fully understood how that really benefitted anyone other than The Job cos I could get paid 40/60ths just for staying at home, but life was straightforward and everyone knew what their rewards would be and when they could get them.  Indeed, it was entirely possible to retire at 50 years of age and immediately draw a full pension at 40/60ths.  Over the years it got tinkered with, but I can’t recall any significant changes during my service, and those that were introduced were introduced for new entrants, existing members keeping their original entitlements, a system which I see as right and proper.  In 2006 it was significantly (in my view) changed to include such perks as an accrual rate of 1/70ths, 35 years of service before you could draw your pension and then a full pension was equal to only half your final salary.  Already I can see that HMG has been fully committed to protecting the value of your pensions. In 2010 the previous Government did us the honour of switching from RPI to CPI when it comes to inflation-proofing our pensions, a move that I believe, begins to erode their value. Then along comes Mrs May and her Minister for Policing, Nick Herbert, ably assisted by Tom Winsor,  and an announcement that Police Pensions are going to be reformed, but don’t worry, I heard her say, we will negotiate with the Federation.  On only 6th July 2012, Theresa May said this “In common with the reforms that are being developed across public service pension schemes, the Government is committed to ensuring that police pensions are affordable and sustainable for the future. Let me reinforce that police officers should, and will continue to, have access to pension arrangements that are among the very best available.”  On 27th March 2012 Theresa May outlined the Governments proposals for Police Pension Reform

  • An accrual rate of 1/57ths (apparently 5% better than most other public sector schemes)
  • Officers contributions to increase to 13.7%
  • Normal retirement age of 60

Then her and her staff negotiated the very best pension available with the Federation, or maybe she just told them what they were going to get, I’m not sure, but what we ended up with was

  • A pension scheme based on Career Average Earnings and not Final Salary
  • An accrual rate of 1/55.3ths
  • Members contributions of 13.7%
  • A Normal Retirement Age of 60, but the possibility of retiring at a minimum age of 55 with an actuarily reduced pension

So if I have got this correctly ( and I may not have, happy to accept that) you will now work longer i.e. anything up to 40 years, pay more (13.7% of your pay) and get less (pension based on career average not final salary.  Best case scenario to me is work 40 years to get 40/55.3ths of your average salary.  I can immediately see how this is one of the best pensions available, best for the Government, definitely not the member.

In a lot of ways the final Pension Scheme mirrors Lord Hutton’s recommendations, and some of you may think that that was the brief, to come up with a scheme that Lord Hutton had already thought of.  However, there is one recommendation in Lord Hutton’s report that I have been unable to find so far in the new 2012 Police Pension Scheme – Honouring, in full, the pension promises that have been earned by scheme members (their “accrued rights”) and maintaining the final salary link for past service for current members;  maybe it’s in there and I just haven’t seen it yet.

Nick Herbert

So, Nick Herbert has quit the Government.  A sad loss I’m sure you’ll agree.  I have read reports that he was unhappy at not being offered a new job in the Cabinet Reshuffle.  Presumably he thought he was going to be the new Home Secretary and when Mrs May managed to hang on to that role could see no better prospects for his career. He is apparently now keen to “focus on new ideas & protecting countryside” outside of government.  I wish him well, who knows maybe a return to the Policy Exchange might be on the cards as well.

Olympic Medal Ceremony

Apparently whilst I was away some government ministers were booed and heckled at the medal ceremonies of the Paralympics.  Firstly I would say that the performances of all of the athletes competing at the Paralympics is immense and the winners fully deserved their moment on the rostrum, but if government ministers think that the great British public should not show their disapproval of the government’s performance then they need a reality check.  The current Government is incredibly unpopular, second only (probably) the Maggie Thatcher and her government of the day.  They need to recognise that fact and work out how they’re going to deal with it.  So far, it looks like they’re going to ignore it.  Do so at your peril, although akin with previous Tory regimes they will probably be only too happy to lose comfortably at the next General Election.

Judge Peter Bowers

Finally, I could not hang up my quill without commenting on M’Lud Peter Bowers.  How on earth is burgling someone’s home ‘brave’?  Crime and Disorder are big enough problems in society today without sending out messages such as “it’s very brave of you to burgle those houses, so in recognition of that fact I will not be sending to prison”   even the misguided poor soul himself does not think he was being brave ‘I don’t think burglary is a courageous thing to do. I felt awful about it, to be honest, but I can barely remember even doing it. I was on 60 to 70 valium tablets a day at the time.’  60-70 valium per day?  Well, that’s alright then.

Bugger, that was the last straw and I’m now so angry that I have snapped my quill, so until I can afford to buy a new one I will bid you farewell.  If I have made any errors in the Police Pensions paragraph please be gentle with me, I’m far from being an expert on pensions but Mrs Angry has taught me over the years, and on numerous shopping opportunities, how to recognise what is more expensive than the alternative, so blame her if I’ve got it wrong.

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