The recent General Election campaign generated a great deal of conjecture and speculation concerning Public Sector pensions and of course most pertinently to us the Police Pension Scheme (PPS) or New Police Pension Scheme (NPPS)

We fully understand why our colleagues are so concerned; indeed we are not immune from those anxieties as we are long serving members of the scheme ourselves! However the simple truth of the matter is that there is no clarity as to what plans exist, if any, to change either or both schemes.

The Labour Party manifesto says ‘We have agreed tough reforms to public-sector pensions, which will make significant savings and ensure that pensions for the public sector workforce are secure and sustainable in the long term’ and Jack Straw the Justice Minister is on the record saying that serving officers’ current pension entitlements would be protected.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto commits them to ‘Reforming public sector pensions to ensure that they are sustainable and affordable for the long term, with an independent review to agree a settlement that is fair for all taxpayers as well as for public servants’

The Conservative party manifesto says ‘We want to make sure public sector pensions are fair and affordable. An incoming Conservative government would work with the trade unions, businesses and others to address the growing disparity between public sector pensions and private sector pensions, while protecting accrued rights’

A review of the existing schemes is due in 2011 but the truth of the matter is we really don’t know what that review will consider or indeed have anything that we can hold the major parties to. There has been no discussion at either National or Local Federation level on this issue. That said it is important to note that Pensions are not dealt with by PNB and as such they are not a negotiable matter. Staff side are only consulted with on Pensions via the auspices of PAB.

Suggestions that final commutation will be taxed or employee’s contribution level increased from the current 11% whilst being feasible remain unconfirmed rumours but rest assured we are as an organisation keeping a very watchful eye on the situation and if anything develops that requires a legal challenge on our members behalf or there is anything concrete that you need to be briefed about then you will be told.