And that’s just our esteemed Government.
Over the years we have seen a succession of governments mount a sustained attack on the Police Pension Scheme. Up until recently it was generally accepted that these changes would only apply to new members of the scheme and that existing members would retain their existing Terms, Conditions and Benefits.
Then the coalition and Winsor came along and absolutely slaughtered that principle, bringing in changes that fundamentally changed the Police Pension Scheme for all. Out went the Final Salary Scheme, in came the Career Average Scheme, and, putting it simply, one had to pay more in, work for more years and then draw less pension at the end of it.
In the background we had the cynical farce that meant that MPs’ pay and pensions would be greatly improved. They even bleated that “we’re terribly embarrassed by this but the law won’t allow for us to decline to accept it” What an LOB. In order to bring in their reforms to Police Pensions they had to change the law in order for their unlawful reforms to be suddenly made lawful. They could do the same again couldn’t they? Oh no, for some reason that’s not on the agenda.
So now we are left with the situation that EVERY serving officer has suffered at the hands of the government. The unthinkable happened and they raided the pension scheme of existing members too.
I thought that was bad enough. In fact I thought that was despicable and unforgivable. Couldn’t really get much worse could it?
Yes, apparently it could.
It has recently been made public knowledge that the government of the day had raided the pots of retired Police Officers and Firefighters. A Firefighter in Scotland noticed that his commutation had been considerably less than colleagues who retired after him. With the aid of the Fire Brigade Union he fought the government.
I think it’s fair to say that the government played dirty. They challenged just about everything they possibly could, delaying the proceedings, adding to the costs of the action, no doubt hoping that the FBU would run out of steam and quietly go away. The government, in the form of the Goverment Actuary Department, played every trick they could, including a Judicial Review, claiming that they were not accountable to the Pensions Ombudsman and were not bound by his decisions.
The details of these actions and counter-actions are available elsewhere so I won’t bore you with them here, but the end result was that Mr Milne eventually won his case and the Pensions Ombudsman recognised that several thousand other Fire Fighters and Police a Officers were affected by this and he did NOT expect them all to now launch similar actions, but that Pension Administrators will now do the honourable thing and identify those affected and rectify the situation,
So far, so good, but what’s all the fuss about, so a few thousand people have received a couple of hundred pounds less than they should have done on their lump sum.
The repeated failure of the Government Actuary Department to adjust the Commutation Tables meant that retiring Police Officers and Firefighters were being diddled out of a lot more than a couple of hundred pounds.
It has been variously reported in different newspapers that Mr Milne has been paid out between £25,0000 and £30,000. PLUS £6,000 in interest after the Pensions Ombudsman stated that he expected the government to pay interest on the amount owing.
This judgement potentially applies to every Firefighter and Police Officer who retired between 2001 and 2006, and commuted part of their pension.
Work it out, the government has fiddled us out of £MILLIONS.
Mr Milne said
‘The Government played every trick in the book to avoid paying. They knew they were in the wrong but submitted appeal after appeal – and holding up proceedings for all these years will have cost the taxpayer unnecessarily.
‘Firefighters and police who retired after 2006 were getting a large amount more, and when it was realised this was due to an error, we felt cheated. This is money hard-working men and women are due. It is not a gift. We all paid into our pensions for many years.’
There are now thousands of retired Police Officers and Firefighters awaiting the end of July to see what will be in their “pay packets”. It just goes to prove that the Public Sector can’t trust a government of ANY colour. Successive governments have compounded the wrongdoing and forced the FBU into fighting all the way on our collective be halves, and, for that, we thank you.