Pension Issues

 

Details of any news, etc regarding State and Police Pensions as they affect the members will be published here 

POLICE PENSION INCREASE FOR 2021

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for September has been published and it is shown at 0.5%. This means that police pensions will rise by 0.5% from April, 2021.

10/2020

PENSION CREDITS & WINTER BILL DISCOUNT

Are you on Pension Credits, or perhaps you have family, friends that are.  Then this item maybe of use to your of them.

It is quite a lengthy article so in order to save space by repeating it here, please either copy the link to your web browser or click on the link

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/63700-pensioners-in-wales-to-automatically-benefit-from-140-winter-bill-discount

or   CLICK HERE

10/2020

WASPI - FINAL UPDATE

 

The following has been received from NARPO WAKEFIELD and is published here for the attention of all members 

ALL BRANCH SECRETARIES AND NEC MEMBERS FOR INFORMATION

Morning all,

See below regarding the claim against raising Women’s State Pension Age.

Women lose legal fight in Court of Appeal to lower State Pension Age to 60

The Court of Appeal has unanimously rejected an appeal by two women against the decision of the High Court in October 2019 that the mechanisms chosen by the government to implement changes which equalised the State Pension Age (SPA) between men and women over the period April 2010 to November 2018 and raised the SPA from 65 to 66, 67 or 68, depending on age, did not amount to unlawful discrimination on the grounds of age or sex under either EU law or the Human Rights Convention (R (on the application of Delve and another) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2020] EWCA Civ 1199).

The Court of Appeal ruled that it was impossible to say that the government's decision to strike the balance where it did between the need to put State Pension provision on a sustainable footing and the recognition of the hardship that could result for those affected by the changes was manifestly without reasonable foundation. Despite the sympathy that the appellate judges, like the members of the High Court, felt for the appellants and other women in their position, the Court of Appeal was satisfied that this was not a case where the court could interfere with the decisions taken through the Parliamentary process.

Lawyers for the appellants, Julie Delve and Karen Glynn, had argued that the economic burden should have been shifted onto younger women who faced less social discrimination in the workplace and were likely to earn more and have better opportunities over the course of their careers. But the Court of Appeal said rising life expectancy and the growing ratio of retirees to workers meant the government had to act urgently. 

As regards whether there was any legal obligation on the government to notify people of the change to their pension age, the Court of Appeal held that in any event the High Court was entitled to conclude on the evidence that the publicity campaign implemented by the DWP had been adequate and reasonable. In addition, the application for judicial review had been made substantially out of time and the long delay in bringing the proceedings would have precluded the grant of any remedy even if the grounds of challenge had been made out.

09/2020

WIDOWS PENSION FOR LIFE - UPDATE

Members may recall that sometime ago we published details concerning the 'Widows Pension for Life' campaign.

The following has been received from NARPO Wakefield and will be of interest to members please take the time to click in the link to find out a lot more

Hi All,

Please see our website for latest information and Press coverage of our claim which has now been lodged at the High Court in Manchester.

https://www.narpo.org/widows-pension-life/

09/2020

ATTENTION ALL 2015 POLICE PENSION HOLDERS

 

This is important news for police pensioners affected by the 2015 pension changes

The Police Federation for England and Wales have issued guidance on their website in relation to officers who may have been disadvantaged by the change in Police pension in 2015.

The document on their website is lengthy, a link to the document is provided below.  Please click on the link .

 

NB THIS MAY IMPACT ON YOU READ IT OR YOU MAY LOSE IT

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

of copy this into you web browser.

https://www.polfed.org/our-work/pensions/

06/2020

ADDITIONAL UPDATE

 

The following update has been received from Branch Chairman Dave A'Herne

 

The government lost a case brought by the Fire Service Union which resulted in public servants , including the police, who were serving prior to 2015 and after 2015 being not disadvantaged by the scheme. The government has now issued a consultation document on how to restore the pensions to pre 2015.

 

Details are on the NARPO news and can be viewed  by  CLICKING HERE

 

PLEASE NOTE:  Please click on the link (PUBLISHED) in the article and it will take you to the HMRC site where there is lots more information and flow charts regarding the consultation process

 

07/2020

Deductibility of Incapacity Benefit and Industrial Injury Disablement Benefit

 

NARPO Branch Circular 20/19 relates to the above subject concerning the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Evans & Ashcroft v Chief Constable of South Wales Police that will affect injury retired officers who may have had their injury pensions over-deducted since 2010.

Constabularies have an obligation to take steps to refund the monies which have been unlawfully deducted and the Police Federation has produced a questionnaire for retired officers to work out whether they may be eligible for a refund.

For those that consider they are, a template letter has also been attached for officers to edit and send to their Chief Constable.

For links to the QUESIONNAIRE & TEMPLATE LETTER PLEASE CLICK HERE

or copy the following link to your web browser

https://www.narpo.org/deductibility-of-incapacity-benefit-and-industrial-injury-disablement-benefit/

(input 07/2019)

LATEST WASPI UPDATE

The historic hearing into whether 3.9 million 50s born women have been cheated out of their state pension by the government has been set by the High Court for May 24.

The date is later than expected because the Department for Work and Pensions expected to win the hearing for permission to bring the review on November 30 brought by BackTo60 campaigning group and thought they would stop the process in its tracks.

Now the Department has been allowed more time to prepare its case as all of its initial arguments to stop the review were thrown out by the judge.

The Hon Ms Justice Lang – who is also known as Dame Beverley Ann Macnaughton Lang – ruled in favour of all the issues raised by barristers Catherine Rayner and Michael Mansfield on behalf of the women.

This means the government will have to answer whether the decision to raise the state pension age from 60 to 65 and then 66 amounted to age and equality discrimination. The key point is that the judge decided that although the legislation dated back to 1995 the present effects of the change is causing hardship to a specific group of women who were not able to fully contribute to the national insurance fund.

FOR MORE INFORMATION REGARDING WASPI GO TO:

https://www.waspi.co.uk

ONE FOR THE LADIES 

WASPI UPDATE

The following item has been extracted from a Facebook page update, and is provided for the information of all ladies who may have or will be impacted by the increase in the age of retirement on State Pension:

Waspi Women - Pension News !...……………………………………….This is from David Henke.


A High Court judge yesterday gave the Back To 60 campaign permission to bring a judicial review against the Department for Work and Pensions over the raising of the pension age for 3.8 million women born in the 1950s.


The Hon Ms Justice Lang – who is also known as Dame Beverley Ann Macnaughton Lang – ruled in favour of all the issues raised by barristers Catherine Rayner and Michael Mansfield on behalf of the women.
The ruling by the 63 year old judge obviously stunned the Department of Work and Pensions whose barrister, Julian Milford, asked for 66 days ( instead of the normal 14 days) to prepare a fresh case against Back To 60. They were granted 42 days.


The ruling means that a future hearing BackTo60 have the right to argue their case that the government’s decision which affected the 3.8 million wonder was both a matter of gender and age discrimination. In addition they can argue that the total failure of successive governments to review the arrangements to look at the hardship faced by many of the people made matters worse.


As is stated on the lawyer chambers site:
” the taper mechanism used to raise the date on which women receive state pension, in combination with a failure to properly inform women of the changes was unlawful because it discriminates on grounds of sex, age and sex combined and age.”
Catherine Rayner told the judge that there had been no fewer than 60 changes to the date when a 50s woman could get a pension and that the main driving force for the government was to save money. She said the equivalent of £5.3billion had been taken from this group of women. She described it as an ” historic inequality ” which was made worse by the lack of knowledge among the women themselves because the government never informed them directly about the changes.
Julian Milford for the DWP, admitted that this was part of a cost saving for the government but also said it was about equalising the pension age between men and women.
He argued that there should be no judicial review of this because it was about primary legislation which had been widely debated in Parliament in 1995 and it was far too late to call it into question.
He also argued that a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights which meant that pensioners who had retired to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were not entitled to uprated pensions meant that the women had no case to ask for a judicial review about changing their pensions.
Both these points were rejected by the judge who said that even though the act was passed 13 years ago the fact that its impact was causing problems for the women now meant the review could go ahead.
The government also revealed that the private pensions industry is uneasy about the women winning their case because it could force them to pay out occupational pensions five years earlier to some women – if their contract with companies meant it was payable on the day they could collect their state pension.
As the 7BR website says:
“The hearing will allow a detailed examination of complaints made by made by women born in the 1950s, and championed by groups such as #backto60 and WASPIE, as well as their political representatives. The case raises legal questions about sex and age discrimination in the mechanisms chosen by government to implement a policy; the responsibility of Government to inform people of significant changes to State Pension entitlement and of the applicability of the EU directive on Equal Treatment in Social Security provision.”
My view is that it has significant implications for Westminster and Whitehall.
It means that a judge has quashed the views expressed by financial commentators like Frances Coppola and other people connected to the private pensions and banking industry that there was no chance of a judicial review. It has also called into question the arguments they used over primary legislation and the ECHR court ruling.
It will add to pressure on the Labour Party leadership to promise to do something for these women whose cause is championed by Laura Alvarez, the partner of Jeremy Corbyn, and whose shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, is well aware of the issue, and predicted the women would win a review.
It will put enormous pressure on Amber Rudd, the new works and pensions secretary, who is already having to cope with the backlash over the mess caused by universal credit and will now have to seriously address the plight of the 50s women. It is also a blow to the reputation of Guy Opperman, the pensions minister, who all but nearly misled Parliament by telling them that the judicial review had already been rejected.
And I am afraid the All Party Group on State Pension Inequality for Women in Westminster will have to buck their ideas up and come behind this review rather than seeking small sums of compensation for the affected women. By taking this radical stand and going for the jugular BackTo60 have shown the way. They have not won yet but they have got much farther than anybody thought.

CAPITA ISSUES - PCC RESPONSE 

Many of our members will be aware of the news items involving the CAPITA group.

Mr Stuart Gay wrote to Mr Alan Michael seeking clarfication on the South Wales Police response to the issues that are affecting CAPITA and what action if any the South Wales Police were undertaking to protect the retired officers who were currently having their pensions paid via CAPITA.  The images below are of the letter received by Stuart in response of the issues raised, and Stuart has already published on certain Facebook pages and given us permission to reproduce here.

INJURY ON DUTY PENSIONERS ASSOCIATION LATEST UPDATE

 

Iodpa.org

24 January 2018 at 18:10

If you know of anyone who has been sent a letter calling them to review, please ask them to contact us. We can offer support, advice and friendship at, what can be, a traumatic time. 

Essex Police have just started reviews whilst Staffordshire Police are a few months ahead, with their review programme. 

Lots of former officers get in touch with us and find their world becomes a whole lot more bearable, knowing there are people out there who genuinely care. 

Our email is admin@iodpa.org

All correspndence is in the utmost confidence. 

Please share to reach as many police injury on duty pensioners as possible.

INJURY ON DUTY PENSIONERS ASSOCIATION - UPDATE

The Injury on Duty Pensioners Association (IODPA) have provided the following update with reagrds to the article below published on 4th November 2017.

For those who want to know more about the IODPA they have a website located at www.iodpa.org  and also a Facebook page - just search for iodpa on facebook and up it will pop 

We have read what David Lock QC states about the production of medical records at a review. 

What do those who attend the National Attendence Management Forum* (NAMF), now known as Wellbeing and Engagement Forum*(NWEF), say about the same issue? 

“Limitation to Disclosure of Medical Records

The general view was that it is the SMPs process so it is up to the SMP to direct what information or evidence they require, if an individual is refusing a step of the SMP process then it could cease.”

This statement is entirely wrong. It is not the SMP process. The Chief Constable delegates the medical decision to the SMP. 

How do these people keep getting it so wrong?

All that is required of a pensioner at a review, is that they must attend. That’s it. 

*NAMF/NWEF is a forum that some forces subscribe to, where HR and FMAs attend on a quarterly basis to share ‘good practice’ with each other.

INJURY ON DUTY PENSIONS - LATEST UPDATE 

The below information has been provided by our member Mr. Peter Roberts, who has updated us from his home in Spain.  The article has been extracted from the following site

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/medical-reviews-former-police-officers-injury-pensions-david-lock-qc/?published=t

Medical reviews of former police officers on injury pensions: Is there any duty to provide medical records?

  • Published on November 4, 2017

Barrister and QC at Landmark Chambers

There is a considerable debate at the moment about how far Chief Constables, acting as the Police Pensions Authority, (“the PPA”) and the Selected Medical Practitioner (“the SMP”), appointed by the Chief Constable under Regulation 30 of the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 ("the Regulations"), can go to require former police officers to provide confidential medical information to assist in a review of a police injury pension conducted under Regulation 37.

 

This post is designed to provide some clarity on the issue

The role of the PPA. 

The PPA has a statutory duty under regulation 37(1) of the Regulations to refer former officers who are in receipt of an injury pension under those regulations for reassessment, but has a discretion to decide how often to do so. If a referral is under consideration, the former officer is under no statutory obligation to assist the PPA by providing information to assist that decision making process. The former officer may, of course, choose to do so. There are (as I see it) broadly 2 reasons why a former officer may choose to provide information to the PPA:

a)To show that his or her degree of disablement has changed for the worse, and thus invite the PPA to refer his case for a review in order to seek an increase in the Band of the pension. If the PPA then refused to do so, that would be challenged either in a judicial review or an appeal under Regulation 34 to the Crown Court; and

b) If the former officer thought the medical evidence showed that nothing had changed and so provided the information in order to seek to dissuade the PPA from ordering a review.

However the Regulations place no legal duty on former officer to assist the PPA by providing information at the stage when the PPA is considering whether to refer a case to the Selected medical Practitioner ("the SMP") for review.

 

Hence there is no legal duty on a former officer to complete a questionnaire to assist the PPA decide to commission an SMP review. The former officer may choose to do so but has no obligation to do so. It follows that a former police officer cannot be penalised by a PPA for refusing to complete a questionnaire. The Merseyside PPA attempted to stop a former officer's injury pension because the former officer refused to fill in a Questionnaire.

 

That was the subject of a judicial review challenge and the PPA backed down (and paid the former officer's legal costs).

The role of the SMP.

The role of the SMP undertaking a regulation 37 review is to write a report which answers the statutory question as to whether there has been a substantial alteration in the former officer’s degree of disablement since the initial grant of the pension or the last review (whichever is later in time) ("the last assessment point"): see Laws v Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. 

 

That is the only issue that the SMP is entitled to address and so the focus must be on the period from the date of the review going back to the last assessment point.

The SMP is entitled (but not obliged) to conduct a medical examination of the former officer under Regulation 33. If required to do so, the former officer is required to "submit" himself or herself to an examination by the SMP. he or she also has to "attend" such interviews as the SMP considers necessary (but cannot be called on to do so by anyone other than the SMP). Hence, for example, the SMP may ask a former officer with a psychiatric injury to attend a psychiatric or psychological examination as part of the process to decide whether there has been a substantial change in his or her degree of disablement since the last assessment point.

There is no express duty in the Regulations on the former officer to answer questions but, particularly in a psychological examination, the answering of questions is probably the only way that the officer can "submit" himself to an examination concerning his or her mental illness. But, there is no specific duty on the former officer to provide records made by any other medical practitioner of any medical treatment that he or she has had since the last reference point. The former officer may choose to do so but is not under any obligation to do so.

It is entirely understandable that the SMP may wish to see medical records relating to the former officer covering the period since the last assessment point. There is nothing improper in the SMP asking the former officer to provide access to his or her medical records, but the SMP cannot insist on disclosure. 

Medical records constitute a record, made by another doctor or healthcare professional, of that person's understanding of the presenting medical symptoms of the patient and the treatment provided to the patient. They are confidential to the patient the law will protect that confidentiality.

 

Once the records are disclosed to the SMP, it seems inevitable that the records will be assumed by the SMP to be both accurate and comprehensive. Hence, the former officer will, in practice, be unable to challenge the accuracy or relevance of anything set out in a medical record. The doctor who made the records is not part of any review process and it follows that former police officers will, in practice, find themselves unable to challenge either the accuracy or the completeness of anything set out in records made by other doctors.

 

There is nothing in the 2006 Regulations to require a former officer to submit any medical records made by any other doctor to the SMP. These records are confidential to the former officer and that confidentiality attracts a high level of protection under article 8 ECHR: see Z v Finland. A legal duty on former officers to disclose medical records could only arise if there was a legal framework in existence which regulated the alleged disclosure duty. There is no such legal framework in teh 2006 Regulations. It follows that:

a) The former officer is under no legal duty to disclose any other records; and

b) When addressing the statutory questions in the review process and preparing a report, it must be impermissible for the SMP to draw any adverse inferences against the former officer because he or she refuses to disclose medical records.

A former officer may have legitimate reasons for not submitting the records because they may relate to a medical condition which is irrelevant to the issues the SMP has to consider or because the former officer considers that the records are either inaccurate or incomplete. However a former police officer cannot be asked to explain his or her reasons for choosing to keep their medical records confidential. Questioning a former officer about that decision would be a breach of the duty of confidentiality.

Hence, as long as the former officer submits to the examination and attends such interviews as he or she is required to attend by the SMP (but not by the PPA), there is no lawful sanction which can be imposed on the former officer for not attending with medical records or otherwise not agreeing to provide the SMP with medical records.

A practice seems to have grown up recently of PPAs and/or SMPs “demanding” access to a former officer’s medical records and threatening to penalise a former officer who chooses not to disclose them. As far as I am aware, there is no legal basis to support such a threat.

 

Former police officers who wish to seek advice about this issue are encouraged to seek legal advice from Mr Ron Thompson of Haven Solicitors (ron@havensolicitors.co.uk) or Mr Mark Lake of Cartwright King Solicitors (Mark.Lake@cartwrightking.co.uk)

ESA ISSUES - DOUBLE TAXATION ISSUES

Following the publication of the article 'ESA & INJURY AWARDS LATEST'  The following has been received from Mr. Barry Ashcroft of our branch.  Please note the information is NOT restricted to members of our branch but to all retired officers who may be in receipt of ESA.

"Many thanks for the informative update. Can I refer to the ESA issue; there is the secondary matter of double taxation. I have spoken with Steve Edwards regarding this and he is of the opinion that the Federation are follow in this through. That is not quite right and I am surprised to read the Injury Pensioners are having ESA deducted in South Wales Police.

The double taxation issue was first raised by Wayne Evans and was to be funded by the Federation but - after we won the illegal deduction of ESA issue and deductions were refunded - everything was put on hold by our legal team as the double taxation had to be a live issue and, in my case, SWP have not started deducting ESA yet. 

If there are SWP injury pensioners having ESA deducted, I would like to make contact with them so that the legal team can resurrect the Judicial Review.

Keep up the good work.

Barry"

Should you wish to make contact with Barry please let the webmaster know your e-mail details and they will be passed onto Barry in a block message

ESA and Injury Awards Latest

 

The recent change in legislation, which has now made ESA deductible from police injury awards with effect from 10th February 2016, has caused us much concern and we (NARPO) have been in consultation with the Police Federation about the severe detrimental effect this has on our members. After full consideration we can report that the Police Federation have lodged a Judicial Review against the Home Office, on the matter of the deduction of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from injury pensions payable under the Police Injury Benefit Regulations 2006 (PIBR), and specifically regarding the way in which the Home Office has chosen to make changes.

ESA is a benefit payable to anyone whose illness or disability affects their ability to work. ESA was introduced as a replacement for (primarily) Incapacity Benefit.

The reason for the concern is that, for retired officers, the value of Incapacity Benefit could be deducted from injury pensions under the Police Injury Benefit Regulations (PIBR). Until now, the Home Office failed to amend the Regulations to allow similar deductions regarding ESA, but it is now trying to close that loop.

 

However, instead of making amendments under the Police Pensions Act 1976 (PPA), as we believe it should have done, the Home Office has made them under the Welfare Reform Act 2007 (WRA). The Home Office stated that its reason for this was to bypass the “no worsening” provisions in the PPA. The “no worsening” provisions in PPA mean that (in certain circumstances) no change can be made affecting an accrued pension which puts the person receiving it in a worse position unless that person is given an opportunity to opt out of the application of that change. We are concerned by the Home Office’s approach as it sets a dangerous precedent in its avoidance of the “no worsening” provisions in the PPA which are there to protect members.

The impact on retired officers receiving an injury pension is that from the date when these changes became law (10 February 2017) the amount of any ESA the member is entitled to will be deducted from the injury pension paid to that officer under the PIBR. This change applies to pensions already being paid, so as a result many recipients will incur a reduction in income. (It will also affect all injury pension awards made in the future, but this legal challenge if successful can only affect those already in receipt).

A further detriment to this is that the ESA can be deducted even if it is payable for a different illness or condition than that which the injury award is payable for. As an example, a member could be receiving an injury award for a back injury and receiving ESA for a psychiatric illness, that full amount of ESA is under this change deductible from the injury award irrespective of the reason for receipt of ESA.

We have been contacted by many members who are in this position and are now losing a major source of income that they relied on to survive and many of them now face real financial hardship if this change in Regulations is not reversed.

We will continue to fight to achieve the best outcome for our members and will update the website with any developments.

Webmaster Comment - this will take sometime to fully resolve and we will keep you updated with any progress.

PENSION OMBUDSMAN DETERMINATION ON TAX LIABILITIES ON RE-EMPLOYMENT

 

The Pension Ombudsman in a South Wales case has determined that the Police and Crime Commissioner had a duty of care, as an employer, to have informed the Applicant of the tax implications of re - employment on his retirement benefits. Its failure to do so has led to the Applicant incurring tax charges on his retirement benefits.

 

As a responsible employer the Commissioner had a duty of care to inform the Applicant of the tax implications of re-employment on his retirement benefits. I find that as a consequence of their failure to do so that they should reasonably meet the tax PO-7096 liabilities incurred by the applicant in this regard. So, I agree with the stance taken by the Commissioner that it proposes to pay the tax liability for the applicant  in relation to this issue on confirmation of the amount from HMRC.

 

Full case link: https://www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk/determinations/2015/po-7096/police-pension-scheme/

CHANGES ON CAPITA PENSION PAYMENT SLIPS

 A number of members of all the South Wales Police branches have been raising issues with the changes in the make up of the CAPITA Pension slip entries.  We have already covered the PI AADJUS entry via a previously circulated e- mail.  However some retirees have the following information appearing on their slips  whereas others don't.  The reason the others don't is all down to their date of retirement.

 

The entries that have been raising concern are STATE GMP and POST 88 GMP.

 

It is all to do with the Guaranteed Minimum Pension and the issues surrounding that involving those officers who were contracted out of the Pension Scheme.  Full details of which can be locted by following this link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/indexation-and-equalisation-of-gmp-in-public-service-pension-schemes

The following is an extract from a Facebook entry of a retired officer who raised the issue with CAPITA which may assist you in eciphering the meanining of the two entries.

'I understood that GMP is the guaranteed minimum pension which had been paid with the Police Pension but that element was not part of the pension to which increases were paid. Looking at my pay slips that part on our payment has not increased since 2010 and probably beyond because I was 65 in 2005. The other item is payment to do with payments we made into what was recently called SERPS before we joined the force. Now it's still clear as mud but something to do with reaching retirement age.'

CAPITA - PENSION SLIP ADDITIONAL DEDUCTION

 Please note that when you get your pensions advice slip this month from CAPITA you will see a deduction on there headed PI ADJUST.

 

It would appear that the new pension increase comes into effect from 10 April and they have had to deduct this amount as they have paid it from the 1st to the 9th but have taken it back by way of the PI ADJUST deduction.

WIDOWS PENSION FOR LIFE CAMPAIGN

 

The campaign still continues to halt the injustice that continues with regards to the Police Widows Pension in furtherance of this the following has been received from Mr. Steve Edwards the Chief Executiive Officer NARPO Wakefield

 

Please find attached a template letter for members to complete and send to their MP asking them to support EDM 1063 which supports our widows Pension for Life campaign.

These are available on our website together with further information about the campaign, how to find out who your MP is etc.

 

 http://www.narpo.org/index.php/notices.html

 

Please circulate to members, the more pressure we can put on MP’s the better.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE LETTER TEMPLATE

 

INJURY ON DUTY PENSION - LATEST UPDATE

 

Please click on the link below to see the latest update on this issue on the NARPO Wakefield website as you may now be having this deducted.  Please NOTE there is no mention of CAPITA in the item, but that foes not mean that they are NOT making the deductions

 

http://www.narpo.org.uk/index.php/pensions/injury-pensions.html

Circ dated 24/03/2017

STATE PENSION TOP UP - LATEST NEWS

 

State Pension top up – Less than 3 months left to apply

 

State Pension top up lets those who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016 boost their State Pension income by up to an extra £25 per week in return for a lump sum contribution.

The extra amount is index linked, guaranteed for life and in most cases inheritable by a spouse or civil partner.

 

The scheme is open for a limited period, until 5 April 2017. 

 

For details visitwww.gov.uk/statepensiontopup.

 

ALSO  See more at: http://www.narpo.org/index.php/pensions.html#sthash.rzHUZdpb.dpuf

PENSION TOP UP - FURTHER UPDATE

For those of our members who have been looking into whether or not they wish to top up their state pension as previously suggested you should seek your own personal finacial advice, and not rely on what others suggest.  As always what id good for one person may not be good for another persons circumstances.

Mr. Dave A'herne the branch welfare officer ahs been researching this and other pesion issues for quite sometime and has recently come across an article within the Daily Mail 'On Line' which he believes may be of benefit to our members.  May I suggest that as well as seeking independent financial advice you also take the time to click on the link below and read the article:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/pensions/article-3838476/Can-pay-new-state-pension-Steve-Webb-replies.html

TOPPING UP YOUR STATE PENSION

 

Some of our members may have heard the BBC News item this morning (08/10/16) or listended to the Paul Lewis Money programme on BBC Radio 4 at lunchtime today (08/10/16) and may be wondering what he was talking about and where you can obtain a copy of the document he was talking about via a 'TWITTER' feed.

In order to help you, we have downloaded the 30 page document and you can view it in its entirety by clicking on the link below:

CLICK HERE TO VIEW DOCUMENT

Please note this is a complex issue and you should ensure you read and understand its contents thoroughly before embarking on any course of action you are advised to seek independent financial advice.  The document refered to by Mr. Paul Lewis is written Royal London so can hardly be described as 'independent.'

Our branch Welfare Secretary Mr. David A'herne has been monitoring this issue on behalf of the branch members and offers this advice.

"The NARPO HQ site deals with this in some detail and has links to the government advice sheets. I have previously examined this issue and can see no benefit in paying any money to the government. There is no way the average person will ever recover what they pay as an extra contribution. Before anyone starts shelling money out they should seek independent financial advice.

here has been lots of articles in newspapers . Whilst I did not hear Paul Lewis all the newspaper articles suggest extreme caution especially for the likes of us who benefited from the opting out of from serps as we had occupational pensions. The biggest clue to the government con is that the new system will not cost more than the system we are already on."

You can also find out more about this matter and other Pension related issues by clicking on the below link direct to the national NARPO WEBSITE:

CLICK HERE TO VISIT

INJURY PENSIONS and ESA

The below update has been received via e-mail from the CEO at NARPO Wakefield and is published in its entirety here inorder that those retired officers that may be affected by the illegal deductions are fully aware:

Hi All,

 

We have today received an email from the Home Office stating that whilst they are going to alter the Police [Injury Benefit] Regulations 2006 to make ESA a relevant deductible benefit, they have confirmed that any such change will not be retrospective.

As such all those Forces who have refused to refund any monies already unlawfully deducted from injury pensions should now be requested to repay such money unlawfully deducted without delay.

The email has been sent to all Forces so they should now be aware of this.

See email below:

 From: Police Pension Team 
Sent: 06 April 2016 14:40
Subject: RE: Employment and Support Allowance - Update

 

Dear colleagues,

 

As you may be aware there has been an inconsistent approach being adopted by forces regarding the deduction of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

 

We have confirmed in the past that we will be amending the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 to make it express on the face of legislation that ESA payments are to be deducted. Until the Regulations are amended, the advice remains that forces should comply with the current Regulations.

 

Please note that these changes will not have retrospective effect and will come into force on the date of implementation.

 

The Home Office will be providing further updates, including the intended implementation date, in due course.

 

Kind Regards,

Police Pension Team

 

Police Workforce and Capability Unit I Home Office I 6th Floor, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF I Email: police.pensions@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

PENSIONS NEWSLETTER - UPDATE

(Courtesy Alan Greaves Branch Sec)

 

 Many of you will have received a 'Pensions Newsletter' identifying the dates on which your pension will be paid into your bank for the next 12 months.

 

The information showed a change of policy whereby the pension was being paid into your account on the next working day after the pension date instead of the final working day prior to the pension date.

 

I, and I am sure many others, have direct debit arrangements which are operative on 1st of each month and problems could occur. I have contacted the Pensions Dept. at police headquarters and received an 

apology on behalf of Capita.

 

The dates shown are inaccurate and the original policy remains in place for those from South Wales Police receiving their pensions via Capita. Another newsletter is apparently being sent confirming the situation.      

WIDOW's PENSION FOR LIFE UPDATE

 

As you are aware from previous updates this branch has been publishing lots of information in relation to this matter, and the fight that has been going on for quite sometime for 'Police Widows' in both England and Wales to have parity with those in Northern Ireland.  (PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO VIEW THE CATHERINE HALL CAMPAIGN)

 

NARPO (Wakefield) have issued a branch circular regarding this matter, and have also formatted a letter which members may wish to copy and forward to their M.P.  There is also a link within the NARPO Circular to the 'ON LINE' petition which members may also wish to consider signing.

 

PLEASE CLICK ON THE RELEVANT DOCUMENT LINK BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION:

 

NARPO CIRCULAR 07/2016  (NB THIS WILL DOWNLOAD TO THE DOWNLOAD FOLDER ON YOUR COMPUTER)

 

 

M.P. Letter template

 

 

 

Deduction of DSS/DWP Benefits from Police Injury Pensions  

 

Are you a police injury pensioner who was medically retired after 1995.

 

Then this affects you

 

Please take the time to click onto the link below, which will take you to a document written by Mr Barry Ashcroft that details how South Wales Police in common with a number of other forces are making illegal deductions from your pension.

 

This is your money, and it has been taken from you in the past and it now appears that the Police Federation are going to fight to get it back

 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE DOCUMENT

2016 PENSION - NO INCREASE

 

The annual reporting of the CPI published today for September 2015 confirms it is minus 0.1%. This means that there will be no increase in the police pensions in the next financial year. 


However the triple lock system still applies for State Pensions. 

 

PENSION PAYMENT NOTIFICATIONS & P60's ONLINE

 

If you are fed up of waiting for the envelope through the door, patiently waiting for the P60 to arrive to do you tax return etc.  Well the wait is over you can now access the CAPITA system 'ON LINE' and retrieve that much needed information.  You will need to register with them first and will then be allocated a PIN to use to access your account. Many thanks to Steve Summers for providing the information:

 

If you wish to take advantage of this system please click on the link below and follow the instructions;

 

https://www.hartlinkonline.co.uk/swp/hopl.chi/wui/logpinui.html?hopsess=88a995db29189e9c11e4d84d22320ffe

PENSION OVER / UNDER PAYMENTS

 

It has come to our notice that throughout England and Wales as Forces outsource their Pension Administrators to external or other providers, a large number of anomalies are arising; which have resulted in them identifying that a number of Pensions have been paid incorrectly, for a variety of reasons. This has led to the Pensioner having been underpaid or overpaid for a number of years. In the event that you have been underpaid, the monies owed should be paid to you as soon as possible; if the Administrator is indicating that you have been overpaid it is important that you DO NOT agree to repay any monies; at least until you have established the exact reason for the overpayment. Most of these overpayments will have been made as a result of 'mistakes' or 'errors' made by the Pension Administrator and in view of that you should follow the course of action as outlined in the below documents. 

 

For further information please visit http://www.narpo.org/index.php/pensions/police-pensions.html

2015 PENSION INCREASE:

The following information has been received from NARPO Headquarters at Wakefield:

 

The CPI has just been released for September as 1.2% Police Pensions will rise for those eligible in April 2015 by said amount.

 

See website for more at: http://www.narpo.org.uk/index.php/pensions/police-pensions.html

 

INJURY ON DUTY PENSION

 

Did you retire on an injury on duty pension

 

If you did then click on the link below, please take time to read and understand what could already be affecting your pension without your knowledge.

 

Mr. Barry Ashcroft is seeking more information to ascertain exactly how many retired officers maybe affected by this issue.  All information supplied to him will be dealt with in the strict confidence.

 

CLICK HERE 

for

MORE INFORMATION

 

 
 
 
 
Grant PoliceWidows Pensions For Life
- Don't make them choose between future happiness and pensions
 
Cathryn L Hall From Walsall is petitioning the Home Secretary to change the law. Here is her story:

 

My husband Colin was a police dog handler and served with the West Midlands Police for 21 years. On Sunday 29th November 1987, he was dispatched with a number of his colleagues to deal with a disturbance; having performed this duty Colin suffered a heart attack and died at the scene – he was 40 years old.  At 24 I found myself a widow, and our 4 year old daughter Kelly lost her best friend in the world. 

In 2001 I was faced with a very difficult decision: to keep my police widows’ pension, or move in with my partner; although I could ill afford to lose the money living apart was becoming intolerable. Our financial lives have been a roller coaster ride since then but we have been happy.

2006 saw Police Pension Regulations change for new entrants and serving officers eligible to transfer to the new scheme. Should the most awful thing happen, they know that their survivors’ benefits are now payable for life, irrespective of whether they remarry or form a new partnership.

In Northern Ireland from July 1st 2014 all police widows from the 1980s to the early 2000s - regardless of how or when they became widows, have been afforded equality, and from that date will receive their pension for life. For those who have had their pension taken away in circumstances similar to my own, they will have them reinstated. In Northern Ireland it is considered that an injustice has being put right. 

For the rest of us forever overshadowed by the 1987 Police Pension Regulations, we have been told by the government - that in order to make public service pensions affordable for the tax payer, we will not be able to keep our pensions for life should we remarry or cohabit, and those of us who have already chosen love over money will not have our pensions reinstated. They say that the financial cost is too great. 

I think that you will agree that our husbands have already paid the ultimate price and given value for money in serving and dying within their communities. If you agree, and think that all police widows should keep their pensions for life – then please sign this petition.

 

Thank you.

 

Cathryn L. Hall

 

To sign the petition please  CLICK HERE

 

 

 

PETITION UPDATE - 

Information is Power

Cathryn Louise Hall

Walsall

16 Sep 2014 — I have received a response to my freedom of information request regarding the number of spouses affected by the 1987 Police Pension Scheme - the data that the Home Office were able provide, relates only to the period 2008-2012.

The total number of 'cessations' (widows having had their pensions revoked due to remarriage or cohabiting with a partner) during that period were 131.

'The valuation data has details of around 22,000 spouse's pensions in payment within the Police Pensions Scheme 1987. Under current regulations, the pensions paid to each of these spouses would cease if they remarried or cohabited in the future............As part of the valuation as at 2012 our actuary estimated that ignoring cessation on remarriage for current and future widows would increase the schemes liabilities by around £50 million based upon recent rates of remarriage. This approximate calculation was based on assumptions for widows within the police pension scheme at 31 March 2012. It does not include the cost of reinstating pensions of widows who have already remarried and is based on actuarial assumptions about widows in pension schemes, not the national average life expectancy of a woman.' Home Office 

I found references to 'cost' and use of the phrase 'increase the schemes liabilities' misleading; widows in receipt of a pension under the 1987 scheme who do not remarry or cohabit, simply continue to receive a pension - when a widow has her pension revoked due to remarriage or because they move in with a partner, the scheme has surely 'saved' the cost of their pension entitlement for as long as they remain married or living with that partner. 

I would like to thank the people who have already contacted their MP regarding my petition, NARPO (National Association of Retired Police Officers) and COPS for their continued support. There are a number of influential organisations currently consulting with their membership; I hope that I will be able to add them to this list in my next update.

On October 29th 2014 I shall be lobbying parliament along with a small group of ladies from COPS, and the CEO of NARPO will be attending on the day.

The families of police officers who have lost their lives on duty may find it beneficial to contact COPS - Care of Police Survivors www.ukcops.org/
COPS is a UK registered charity. 

Having signed the petition you are amongst 63,490 individuals that agree that Theresa May should grant all police widows pensions for life - without you the campaign simply would not exist. 

Thank you.

Cathryn

 

 

Another Victory for RUC Widows

 

 

Cathryn Louise Hall

Walsall, United Kingdom

5 Dec 2014 — Federation welcome for 'righting a wrong' 

Release Date: 3 Dec 2014

Source: PFNI

The Chairman of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, Terry Spence QPM, has welcomed the announcement that backdated pension payments will soon be made to RUC widows who remarried.

The Minister for Justice, David Ford MLA, said the legal position around eligibility had now been clarified and that he’d given approval for payments to be made. Payments will be backdated to 1 July 2014.  

All widows who remarried will be legally entitled to benefit under the relevant Section without the need for further legislation. The exception involves widows in the 1949 scheme whose husbands died or retired prior to April 1972.

Mr Spence said: “I’m glad this matter has been cleared up without recourse to further, time-consuming legislation. I welcome the Minister’s commitment to right a wrong and I know it will be well received within the police ‘family’.

“For many widows who lost their husbands, and then remarried, the decision to end their entitlement was an added and painful burden. This pension anomaly stood in the way of some widows getting re-married, and that was an intolerable situation.

“Removing a barrier such as this introduces decency and fairness into the system.”

The Policing Board/PSNI Pensions Branch will contact widows to confirm the necessary arrangements.

Congratulations ladies.

Cathryn

 

LATEST UPDATE:

 

5 Feb 2015 — Good afternoon all,

I thought that you would like to see the final paragraph of my latest letter from Mr Penning - Minister for Policing:

".....You mention in your letter the changes in respect of Armed Forces widow's pension. It is right that Ministers should be able to make changes when a compelling case is made. Given the case that has been put forward on behalf of widows and widowers of police officers, the Home Secretary has asked officials to look into the feasibility and affordability of any changes in this area, in conjunction with other departments. The full implications of any change will need to be taken into account before a decision is made, and any reform would need to be considered in the light of the Government's duty to ensure that public service pensions are affordable, sustainable and fair both for the members of those schemes and other taxpayers......."

I asked you to present a clear and compelling argument to the government with regards to the risks faced on a daily basis by serving officers, and the effect of their service upon their families; in agreeing to do so this is the stage that the campaign has reached as a result of your hard work.

The war is not yet won ladies and gentlemen, but I think that you should enjoy the credit for success in this particular battle - that is getting the government to consider making the changes that we have requested.

I am grateful as always for your support,

Cathryn

 

 

SUCCESS!!!

 

12 Feb 2015 — Good news folks,

MP Richard Graham has secured a debate about Police Widows' Pensions in parliament on Wednesday 25th of February 11-11.30 am.

If anyone can make it on the day it would be great to see you all - the more the merrier as we would like to make as much impact as possible.

If you are unable to make it on the day, there is still something that you can do - isn't there always! Could you please contact your MP and ask them to be there for the debate - provided of course that they intend to lend their support. 

Anyone that was promised the support of the Chief Constable of their force area do invite them - you never know they may fancy a day out in London with us.

If you do plan on coming, ask your MP if they can secure tickets for you in the public gallery.

Email me at CathrynHall@outlook.com letting me know that you will be there, and/or what response you have received from your MP.

Thanks as always for your support - let's make this a day to remember.

Cathryn

 

 

LATEST UPDATE

 

17 Feb 2015 — Hi folks,

Those bound for parliament on Wednesday the 25th February - we will be meeting at 9.45am at the Cromwell Green visitor entrance to Parliament. We need to go through the security checks at 10am to be through in time for our meeting with MP Richard Graham at 10.15 am. 

All campaigners that intend to come please complete the following as it will ensure that no-one is missed off my list, and I will know to look for you on the day.

I cannot list people's names here in the interests of confidentiality. I think that I have everyone, but I need to be certain.

Please email me at CathrynHall@outlook.com under the heading 'Confirm'.

Include your mobile number in your email.

Anyone willing to be interviewed by the media please let me know asap. PFEW will provide a Comms officer to brief you on the day.

Visit this website for maps and information:

http://www.parliament.uk/

I am so looking forward to spending the day with you all.

Cathryn

 

 

Yesterday in Westminster

 

Cathryn Louise Hall

Walsall, United Kingdom

26 Feb 2015 — 

 

If I had a pound for every time I have thanked someone during the course of this campaign I would have enough money to pay our lifelong pensions - today I am starting with an apology.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning I woke up with a headache of gigantic proportions, and it didn't respond to pain relief during our trip to London – as consequence we had to make an unscheduled stop at the services putting us behind schedule.

With 30 minutes to go before our meeting with Richard Graham MP, we were still half a mile out from Westminster and stuck in traffic, we had 30 minutes to reach the carpark gather our things together, get to the Houses of Parliament, pass through security and make our way to Westminster Hall. 

At this point I decided to contact everyone on my list of supporters to tell them to go straight to the meeting without me. As I was texting away frantically - a radio station phoned me to ask for an interview – I think I may have sounded a tad impolite as I explained that I didn’t have time. 

If in my confusion and haste I missed anyone and as a result they missed the day’s proceedings I am truly sorry. 

For me personally the day did improve as we arrived in time for the meeting and the pain killers finally kicked in. 

In the half an hour meeting prior to his Adjournment Debate - Mr Graham listened patiently whilst we reiterated that we stand together in our campaign for lifelong pensions for all widows and widowers. He listened to individual stories and made notes about the facts and figures available.

Brenda Neary had created an emblem for each of us to pin to our coats – a chequered ribbon and a red rose – Mr Graham graciously accepted his and wore it into the televised debate.

We were allowed into the room to hear the arguments put forward on our behalf – here is the TV link: 

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=17270&st=11:00:30

I have chosen some of the key comments to include here to give an overview of what was said. Tribute was paid to you as campaign supporters:

Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford) (Con): ‘I am most grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham) for securing this debate. Does the Minister accept that, in many cases, such as that of my constituent, Mrs Penn, who has taken the issue up with me at a surgery, people are supporting the campaign on behalf of others? The pension might not be hugely necessary for them financially, but they are supporting the campaign on behalf of their colleagues for whom it is. I very much commend the public-spirited nature of the petition. It is about not only those who need the pension—we fully respect their needs—but those who are doing it on behalf of others.’

Mike Penning: ‘I completely agree with my hon. Friend. The compassion that has been shown in the correspondence is remarkable. If people who are campaigning on other issues could look at how this campaign has been conducted, they might find that their campaigns receive not dissimilar support from across the House.’

Successive governments have refused to consider the changes we are asking for, as they would involve retrospective improvements to the schemes involved. Providing the ‘clear and compelling arguments’ in the personal accounts that you sent to your MPs and to the Minister - have led to the following developments:

Mike Penning: ‘My hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester mentioned that there was scepticism, to say the least, because no matter what colour of Government are in office, when people talk about “retrospective”, the Treasury has jitters galore. The important thing now, however, since we acknowledged that the case was compelling and the Home Secretary and I asked our officials to look into things, is that the Treasury as well as the Home Office is involved. Home Office and Treasury officials are working together, which is very important, because we must ensure that any decision we make is not only right, but one without a huge impact on other aspects that might lead, for example, to people claiming judicial review of other schemes.’

Listening to the terms of the changes that are being examined by the Home Office and the Treasury – was for me the most difficult part of the debate.

Mr Penning: ‘A full-time police officer in a force in England and Wales—I acknowledge the point made by the hon. Member for Bridgend and am as proud of being responsible for the police in Wales as I am for those in England, while those responsible in the other two devolved Administrations are also surely paying attention to the debate and the campaign—has a warrant in the service of the Queen and so is still responsible when off duty. Different terminologies can be used, but that is what I feel—police officers are still serving their community even when off duty. That puts pressures and responsibilities on them.

What does “an officer on duty” mean? Is an officer on duty only when they are on shift, or could it mean someone in a similar situation to Frank Mason, who was assisting the public when off duty? I am adamant that, if a scheme comes through and if we make the changes, there should be help in cases of the likes of Frank Mason’s—should his widow so wish.’ 

 

 

One Family

 

Cathryn Louise Hall

Walsall, United Kingdom

1 Mar 2015 — I have now had time to digest the events of Wednesday 25th during our visit to parliament. Many of you have been asking me about our next move.

We are in a promising but delicate position at present, with the Treasury and other departments examining some of the changes that we are requesting. This is the first time this retrospective change has ever been considered and that is down to you guys here on this petition - those of you reading this update right at this moment. 

During the adjournment debate the Minister for Police Mike Penning revealed that he had lobbied for the changes to the 1988 RUC Police Pension Scheme as he was then the Minister for Northern Ireland. In this he is an important ally.

The changes in N I have secured lifelong pensions for all RUC widows under the 1988 rules and widows that had previously had their pensions revoked due to remarriage or cohabiting with a partner will have them reinstated. 

‘Justice Minister David Ford has announced that he has given approval for the payment of pensions reinstated to RUC widows to commence.’
~ Wednesday, 3 December 2014

‘……..Initial legal advice indicated that only those widows covered by the 1988 pension scheme would be eligible. The Department was concerned to ensure clarity on this matter and sought further advice. It can now be confirmed that widows previously in the 1973 scheme are also entitled to the reinstatement of their pensions……..’
Northern Ireland Executive

Release Date: 3 Dec 2014
Source: PFNI
The Chairman of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, Terry Spence QPM, said: “……I’m glad this matter has been cleared up without recourse to further, time-consuming legislation. I welcome the Minister’s commitment to right a wrong and I know it will be well received within the police ‘family’…..’

During Remembrance weekend in November of last year, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that Armed Forces widows and widowers would be able to retain their pensions after remarrying. However, campaigners had not requested the reinstatement of revoked pensions, therefore this was not considered nor granted.

Mr Cameron said of the changes:

'I think that it wasn't fair and I'm delighted that because we have a strong economy we can afford to make this change and give justice to these people.’

Daily Mail 8th November 2014

As you can see a lot of importance has been attached to the ‘justice’ and ‘fairness’ of granting to those widows and widowers the lifelong pensions that had been requested and campaigned for. Our campaign is asking for parity with the RUC widows.

During the debate on the 25th much was said about the definition of ‘an officer killed on duty’ this is an obvious indication that what is actually being considered by the Home Office and the Treasury is a change to the ’87 rules for the survivors of those officers killed on duty - to the exclusion of all others.

We believe that it is fair and just that all police survivors should benefit from pensions for life irrespective of whether: their spouse was killed or died on duty, was an off duty serving officer, or died of natural causes or post retirement. This is what we mean by ALL and what was meant in Northern Ireland. 

Terry Spence spoke of ‘the police family’ and I am asking members of our police family to contact Mr Penning and others to ask that we be treated fairly and with the same level of justice. Our mantra at the beginning of this campaign was ‘no widow left behind’ that sentiment is now extended to widowers that have joined with us in our campaign.

As delighted as I would be to hear that the survivors of officers killed on duty were to be granted lifelong pensions – I think it is wrong for some members of the police family to be treated differently to others.  

To emphasise our idea of what it means to be part of the police family please consider attaching photos to your emails – families are made up of individuals, of real people and we were able on Wednesday to remind the government that we and our children are a living memorial to our lost loved ones and not just numbers on a data base.

Those of you that do not have connections to the police can also send photos if you wish and declare yourself an ‘honorary member of the police family’ for the duration of this campaign.

Send your emails and photos if you choose to include them a.s.a.p. to your own MP and the following:

mike@penning4hemel.com
mayt@parliament.uk
richard.graham.mp@parliament.uk
steve.brine.mp@parliament.uk

If these email addresses do not work as a link type them in manually.

Mark all correspondence and emails as ‘Private and confidential’ and include the title Police Widows’ Pensions. The Budget will be announced on the 18th March so the race is on to make your feelings known. 

Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford) (Con) said this during the adjournment debate on the 25th:

‘I am most grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham) for securing this debate. Does the Minister accept that, in many cases, such as that of my constituent, Mrs Penn, who has taken the issue up with me at a surgery, people are supporting the campaign on behalf of others? The pension might not be hugely necessary for them financially, but they are supporting the campaign on behalf of their colleagues for whom it is. I very much commend the public-spirited nature of the petition. It is about not only those who need the pension—we fully respect their needs—but those who are doing it on behalf of others.’

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150225/halltext/150225h0001.htm#15022587000001

I would like to join him in paying tribute to those of you that are campaigning on our behalf with little or nothing to be gained for yourselves - you are wonderful.

We have been complimented on the tone of our campaign and the way in which we have conducted ourselves in our communications with the government – we are members of the police family and grateful members of the public, we pride ourselves on our dignity – they should not be so surprised. 

I can be contacted at CathrynHall@outlook.com

Thank you a million times over for your continued support.


I am currently in discussion with a sympathetic MP with regard to how we can best respond to the gap that exists between what we are asking for and what the government appear to be considering – the key word here is ‘considering’. 

Mike Penning: ‘We are now at an important stage. We are analysing the implications in cost terms and any impact on other schemes that might be affected. For example, three months ago we did the right thing for the armed forces and now that case is being used for the police, so we have to be careful about whether what we do has implications for other schemes. The compelling case that has been put forward by colleagues today, as well as by others, and the nature, tone and empathy of the campaign, have been enormously helpful to me as a Minister and to the Home Secretary, enabling us to acknowledge the “compelling” case—the first time such language has been used.’

We have been praised for our dignified campaign and we need to maintain our high standards, keep our heads and respond in an appropriate fashion. All is still going to plan and as always I will have something in mind that supporters can do to move the campaign forward.  

This is the written record of the debate as it appears in Hansard:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150225/halltext/150225h0001.htm#15022587000001

As you can see from the transcript – we have come a long way in a comparatively short space of time and you guys have made it happen. I will send a further update when I have a firm idea of what is required and how best to progress – for those of you still willing to accept that challenge - you will not have long to wait.

I did give the radio interview on BBC Radio 5 Live at 12.35 pm - I concluded by saying:

"It is a courageous government that makes changes that successive governments have been unable to make." 

Once the budget is announced - we may know just how brave our government is prepared to be.

Cathryn

 

 

Early Day Motion 828

Police Widows' Pensions

 

 

Cathryn Louise Hall

Walsall, United Kingdom

8 Mar 2015 — Hi folks,

Please ask your MP to support this Early Day Motion - but do not forget to stress that we are seeking justice for all police widows/widowers not just those whose spouses 'were lost in the line of duty'.

POLICE WIDOWS' PENSIONS
Session: 2014-15
Date tabled: 02.03.2015
Primary sponsor: Llwyd, Elfyn
Sponsors: McDonnell, John
Henderson, Gordon
Anderson, David
Hopkins, Kelvin
Barron, Kevin

'That this House recognises that police officers often place themselves in the way of harm to protect their communities, sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice and leaving behind families and loved ones; believes that we have a moral and public duty to ensure all police widows and widowers are financially provided for for their lifetime; is deeply concerned that the Police Pension Regulations 1987 do not allow police widows or widowers the opportunity to marry or cohabit, without losing their right to a police widows' or widowers' pension for life; agrees with the Police Federation of England and Wales that it is morally and ethically wrong to make police widows and widowers and their dependants effectively choose between future financial security and the possibility of future personal happiness; welcomes the fact that the Police Pension Regulations 2006 allow new entrants or serving officers to transfer to a new scheme which permits their survivors to access benefits which are payable for life regardless of whether they remarry; regrets that nevertheless many police widows and widowers still remain disadvantaged by the Police Pensions Regulations 1987, and calls on the Government urgently to review the Police Pensions Regulations 1987 to ensure that the families of those who have served their community and been lost in the line of duty receive financial security regardless of their decision to remarry or cohabit.'

We are receiving support 'from across the house' this is a good sign.

Cathryn

 

The link below will help you find out who your MP is just in case you do not know:

 

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/      or  http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

 

 

 

 

 

News from the Home Office

 

 

Cathryn Louise Hall

Walsall, United Kingdom

27 Mar 2015 — As the dissolution of parliament takes place on Monday 30th March the announcement of our pension settlement will not happen until after the general election, and it will be the responsibility of the new administration to put the settlement into place. 

Alex Duncan of the Police Federation of England and Wales Legislation sub-Committee obtained the following information on our behalf:

‘I can confirm that we have today heard from the Home Office senior civil servant in respect of Police pay and pensions. He has informed us that due to the forthcoming election and the fact that the purdah period is upon us the details behind the budget statement will be a matter for the new administration.

The view from the Home Office is that irrespective of who wins the election the detail will be forthcoming. There will need to be a change of legislation to implement the change and this will be laid by the new administration post- election.’

We need not remain idle whilst we wait – in the six weeks before the election our MPs will be canvassing for our votes as will other prospective candidates. 50 MPs across most political parties signed Early Day Motion 828.

Go to this link for the list of signatories and see if your MP was amongst them:

http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/828

Clearly these individuals have shown themselves willing to support our cause and some will have done so at our behest as their constituents. As they will now welcome an opportunity to communicate with us as prospective voters, this is an opportune moment to be writing to them again. 

Don't forget to mark all emails and attached letters 'Private and Confidential'.

We would have been doing this had the settlement announcement been made pre- election and we will stick to the original plan. However, the settlement isn’t yet written and we must do nothing to jeopardize our excellent progress. 

We can point out tactfully that the wording of the EDM that was a disappointment:

‘Lost in the line of duty’ limits the benefits of the changes to a comparatively small number of widows and widowers. We are grateful however for this demonstration of cross party support.’

This is the Budget announcement as it appears in the Red Book Document- note that ‘who are killed on duty' has replaced ‘lose their lives on duty’ as appeared in the Chancellor’s speech:

2.17 Survivors’ pensions – ‘The government will ensure that all widows, widowers and civil partners of police officers and firefighters who are killed on duty will no longer lose their survivor benefits if they remarry, cohabit, or form a civil partnership. The government will also examine the possibility of making similar changes for members of the security services killed on duty. On 1 April 2015, the government will be introducing new and reformed public service pension schemes. All these new schemes will allow widows, widowers and civil partners across the public sector workforces to retain survivor benefits if they remarry, cohabit or form a civil partnership.’

Clearly what constitutes ‘on duty’ is an issue as things stand, but also consider beyond that point – we want lifelong pensions for all police survivors.

These are some of my comments in response to the Budget announcement:

‘I am delighted that as a result of the hard work of our supporters - some police survivors will benefit from the proposed changes. Based upon the Budget announcement we have not yet reached our goal of parity with the RUC widows and a comparatively small number of people will benefit this time around, but no one should be in any doubt that the Chancellor’s speech heralded a great step forward for our campaign.

Mr Cameron told our representative that he wanted the changes to be as far reaching as possible and that they had to start somewhere. This gives me great hope that given the opportunity, he intends to do the right thing and roll out the changes to include all police survivors. It would be cruel to raise our hopes and then to dash them - our representative said that Mr Cameron seemed very compassionate, and a compassionate person that genuinely cared about us as individuals would not do that.

I cannot imagine that our next government whoever should win the election, would wish to move in any direction other than forwards on this matter. 

I would just like to thank everyone who has worked so hard on our behalf particularly the police widows and widowers that have shared their sometimes harrowing stories to provide the clear and compelling argument required by the Home Secretary. It has been a traumatic experience for some. There is of course disappointment that we didn’t secure a complete victory this time around, but I remain optimistic - we have made great progress and will continue to fight on.

As the spouses of police officers we know how to wait, and we are very good at it.’

Other quotes that may also prove useful to you when writing your letters: 

Richard Graham MP said in the Adjournment Debate of February 25th:

‘Things have changed. The regulations on police pensions in Northern Ireland changed last year and, more significantly, a very similar rule was amended for the armed forces so that from April this year, all widows and widowers of our armed forces can remarry or live with a new partner without losing their pension. That change is retrospective, and it sets a precedent for further change.’

Alistair Burt MP asked Mr Graham the question:

‘Does my hon. Friend agree that the Government have a good record in seeking to put right the errors of the past? That is a further reason for looking at what now appears to be an anomaly in the regulations. The change he is seeking would be welcomed as being in the spirit of what the Government have sought to achieve in one or two other areas in order to correct past wrongs.’ 

Richard Graham answered: 

‘My right hon. Friend is absolutely right: the Government do have a good record of trying to right problems and issues inherited from the past—one could call them historical leftovers. It is to the benefit of many people when a Government are able to tackle such issues with the fairness and justice they deserve. That is why today’s debate is timely. It comes some three months after the Government rightly addressed what could be described as an injustice for the widows and widowers of members of the armed forces. Today’s debate gives the Minister for Policing an opportunity to spell out the challenges, in his view, in getting a similar injustice addressed for the widows and widowers of the constabularies of this country.’ 

When it was his turn to speak The Minister for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims Mike Penning said:

‘………My hon. Friend touched on the fact that, through its devolved powers, Northern Ireland has already acceded to the widows’ requests. I was the Northern Ireland Minister at the time and, although that matter is devolved, I can assure Members that I was lobbied very heavily in Northern Ireland. I hope that I was part of that decision.’

That decision was eventually to grant all RUC widows in Northern Ireland pensions for life, and widows’ pensions that had been withdrawn due to remarriage of cohabitation were reinstated. We are seeking parity with the RUC widows.

Mike Penning described our campaign thus:

‘….The compassion that has been shown in the correspondence is remarkable. If people who are campaigning on other issues could look at how this campaign has been conducted, they might find that their campaigns receive not dissimilar support from across the House.’

Do not doubt for a moment the importance of what we have achieved so far – we are approaching the general election having secured the budget announcement and all that it implies.

We need to use this opportunity to reiterate that we are one family and we want the best for our family members – all of them. 

We need to begin promoting the petition once more in earnest – the poor beast has been somewhat neglected of late – we still need to pursue the 100,000 signature target. 

Can you send me copies of your letters and replies received to:

CathrynHall@outlook.com with the heading 'Round Two'.

Cathryn

 

 

Latest Communication from the Home Office

 

8 Aug 2015 — Hi guys,


Here is the latest communication from the Home Office forwarded to me by a supporter:

“Thank you for your letter dated 8th July about pension entitlement for police widows. I am replying on behalf of the Rt Hon Mike Penning MP who is responsible for this policy area. 

I appreciate that this is an extremely sensitive matter for those affected and I have a great deal of sympathy for those in your situation.  

As I said in the adjournment debate on this issue in the House 25th February, this is a very important issue and I have been impressed by the nature, tone and empathy of the compelling campaign to make these changes to the 1987 Police Pension Scheme.

In the Budget on the 18th March, the Chancellor announced that widows, widowers and surviving civil partners of police officers who died on duty in England and Wales will no longer lose their survivors’ benefits if they remarry, form a civil partnership or cohabit. The Government has sought to be clear that this amendment would be limited to those officers that died on duty.

These changes will not apply to all survivors of members of the 1987 Police Pension Scheme. Instead, recognising the high risk of harm that police officers face as an everyday part of their jobs, the changes apply only to deaths that have occurred on duty. The intention is also to include journeys necessary to report for duty or return home after duty. I believe it is right to recognise the risks faced as an everyday part of this job and I believe that where police officers have died on duty, their surviving spouses/civil partners should not be faced with a decision between a new relationship and retaining entitlement to their survivor benefits. 

Any pensions already surrendered before the implementation date of the changes will not be automatically reinstated. This is in keeping with the policy as part of the Armed Forces’ changes announced last year. As you know, the current rules allow for the pension of a surviving spouse or civil partner to be reinstated if the new marriage, civil partnership or cohabitation ends. If that happens then the widow, widower or civil partner would need to apply to have the pension reinstated. Once restored, the pension would remain for life, even if the spouse or civil partner remarries, forms a civil partnership or cohabits, provided that the officer died on duty. 

The Home Office will consult the Police Advisory Board for England and Wales (PABEW) shortly on proposals to implement this change. 

Yours sincerely,

Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon"

The changes detailed above will mean that campaign supporters Amanda and Kerry as constituents of Mr Cameron and Steve Brine MP will benefit. During the Adjournment debate Mr Penning said that he was adamant that his constituent and widow of Frank Mason would also benefit. That is I am sure, what has led the Treasury to examine what exactly can be defined as ‘on duty’.

If anyone knows of a widow/widower or civil partner living in Witney the constituency of David Cameron or Hemel Hempstead Mike Penning’s constituency, that have had their pensions revoked due to remarriage or cohabitation - especially if their spouse did not die on duty - it is imperative that they contact the PM and Mr Penning asking them to act on their behalf.

I would like to point out yet again that when I started this petition a little over 12 months ago, we were knocking on a door that was theoretically firmly closed to those of us overshadowed by the 1987 Police Pension Rules.

Since then thanks to your efforts some of us have passed through that door to lifelong pensions, and slowly but surely more have followed.

Until we fling that door wide open and achieve parity with Northern Ireland this campaign will continue. 

As always please send any information received regarding the campaign to this email address: 

CathrynHall@outlook.com

 

 

Announcement Made

 

13 Oct 2015 — Good morning,

Apologies in advance for any mistakes in this update but it is vital that it goes out as soon as possible.

Following our visit to Downing Street yesterday we went to Portcullis House for a photo opportunity with Shadow Home Secretary MP Andy Burnham.

This announcement was made in the House of Commons as we were making our way to Portcullis House at approx. 3.17pm: 


http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06jn6nv/house-of-commons-home-office-questions

Scroll to 47.06 minutes.

When we were talking to Mr Burnham he asked us if we knew that an announcement had been made, and then a member of his staff kindly showed us the recording of the Home Secretary speaking during House of Commons Home Office Questions. 

We had informed David Cameron's constituency office via Amanda Keylock that we were visiting Downing Street yesterday - it can be no coincidence that they chose to make the announcement just a week after David Phillips death and to coincide with us being in Westminster.

I can understand why the Government would seize upon this opportunity to make the announcement when it did as it makes sound political sense. 

However, that doesn’t mean that I approve, but those are the rules of engagement in politics - exploit all opportunities as they present themselves to show your party in the best possible light.

Our job now is to spread the word that we have not achieved parity with N I, and whilst the timing of the announcement wasn't known to us beforehand, it wasn't exactly surprising, and we did know that the changes announced were in the pipeline. 

In all communications please pay due deference to the Government and acknowledge that we are grateful for progress so far, but we are still seeking parity with Northern Ireland and lifelong pensions for all police widows, and the reinstatement of pensions revoked due to remarriage of moving in with a partner.

Please contact your MPs, local papers, radio, tv stations etc. to let them know that our fight is not over.

As always let me have a record of communications please:
CathrynHall@outlook.com

I will update you when I know about next moves etc. Today will be spent trying to keep the campaign high on the political agenda.

As soon as I know more I will tell you - I will not be able to comment on the impact upon individual cases at this point, and in any case that job ultimately will fall to a combination of the relevant government departments, force pension administrators, NARPO etc. 

I was looking forward to giving you a leisurely account of our visit to Downing Street and the activities surrounding it - but in the meantime many thanks to;

Diane Burns, Paul Clarke (PFEW Comms), David Conroy, Alex Duncan PFEW, James Igoe and Amanda Keylock and Amanda's friend Jo for accompanying me to Downing Street and their part in what was a fabulous day.