26/11/2012

Minister Disappointed At Decision On Public Service Pension Reform

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has today made clear his disappointment that the Executive has failed to agree to the use of a Legislative Consent Motion (LCM) that would allow for the reform of public service pensions in Northern Ireland.

Proposals for reform of the UK public service pension schemes were recommended in the final report of the Independent Pension Commission into public service pension provision in the United Kingdom which was published on 10 March 2011.

Lord Hutton reported that final salary pension arrangements in the public sector are unsustainable and recommended their replacement with alternative models which share the cost of pension provision more equitably between public service employees and the taxpayer whilst continuing to protect the accrued pension rights of current employees.

The Public Service Pensions Bill was introduced in Westminster on 13 September 2012. The Bill is currently being considered by a Public Bill Committee and is expected to achieve Royal Assent in May 2013.

Mr Wilson said: "I am extremely disappointed that the Executive failed to agree to the use of a LCM that would enable the Assembly to make the necessary legislative provisions for the reform of public sector pensions in Northern Ireland to be taken forward in the Public Service Pensions Bill currently in passage through Westminster.

"This is despite the fact that the Executive agreed, as far back as 8 March 2012 to commit to the policy for a new career average revalued earnings (CARE) scheme model with pension age linked to State Pension Age to be adopted for general use in the public service schemes; adopt this approach consistently for each of the different public sector pension schemes in line with their equivalent scheme in Great Britain, and, not to adopt a different approach for Northern Ireland.

"As Finance Minister I have consistently made it clear to Executive colleagues that it will be impossible for the changes to Northern Ireland public service pension schemes to be implemented to the timetable set out in Great Britain of April 2015 and that slippage from this timetable will have significant consequences for the Executive."

(CD)

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