Fire Pensions Reform from April 2015
This section contains information and guidance on the proposed reforms to the firefighters' pension scheme in England to apply from April 2015.
The Government remains committed to providing a form of defined benefit pension to firefighters based on service and pay.
Firefighters already putting money into a pension fund will be able to take the pension they accrued at their final salary, and at the retirement ages set out in their current scheme. New schemes are not expected to be introduced until 2015, and so anyone leaving the scheme before then will not be affected.
Government has also committed to providing protection for those 10 years or less from their Normal Pension Age (55 in the Firefighters' Pension Scheme 1992, or 60 in the New Firefighter's Pension Scheme 2006), who will see no change in when they can retire, nor any decrease in the amount of pension they receive when they choose to retire. There will also be a further four years of tapered protection for scheme members so that members who are up to 14 years from their current Normal Pension Age, as of 1 April 2012, will be eligible for an additional degree of protection, in the form of further accrual in their existing scheme. See the Frequently Asked Questions document below for more information about protections.
Both Lord Hutton and the Government have recognised the unique position of the uniformed services. Lord Hutton recommended a normal retirement age of 60 for firefighters, in line with the current retirement age in the New Firefighters' Pension Scheme. This means that firefighters will continue to have a lower pension age than other non-uniformed public servants, for which the proposal is to link retirement to the state pension age.
On 24 May, Bob Neill MP, Fire Minister, updated Parliament on the establishment of a Final Agreement which set out proposed reforms to the firefighters' pension scheme in England to apply from April 2015. This included a pension based on;
- career average earnings with a generous provisional accrual rate of 1/58.7ths and a revaluation rate of average weekly earnings
- flexible retirement from age 55, built around a Normal Pension Age of 60 (in line with the New Firefighters' Pension Scheme 2006)
- enhanced retirement arrangements for active scheme members who are age 57 and over; and
- transitional protections for members closest to their scheme's Normal Pension Age