You will be aware that the FBU has been developing professional arguments and evidence to counter many of the Westminster government's proposals to increase the contribution rates from April 2012 and to close existing schemes and replace them with new (worse) pension schemes by April 2015.
An initial outline of this evidence has already been described by the CLG (English) Fire Minister Bob Neill, in a letter to the union on 16 September 2011, as 'robust' and 'expert'. The Fire Minister also confirmed in the same letter that he would give it 'serious consideration' and that it 'will provide a substantive basis for future detailed discussion with my officials and the Government Actuary's Department'.
The CLG (English) Fire Minister has also invited the FBU to a series of meetings in order to discuss the evidence submitted.
The FBU has now submitted in full our initial position to each of the Ministers responsible for the fire service in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
This submission will include documents where expert analysis has been provided from a number of sources with proven expertise in the field;
- A critical analysis of the Independent Public Service Pension Commission report by Tony Cutler and Barbara Waine, two independent academic researchers who have previously produced papers on public sector pensions for the Centre for Research on Socio Cultural Change (CRESC).
- A scoping study: Review of aging and the demands on firefighting by Richard Graveling and Joanne Crawford on behalf of the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM).
- A report on the impact of the government's proposal for members of the firefighters' pension scheme and the new firefighters' pension scheme; by Rob Hammond of First Actuarial consultants.
The critical analysis document by Cutler and Waine has already been distributed to FBU branches and is also available on the FBU website www.fbu.org.uk the remaining two documents will also be circulated very shortly.
It is extremely important however that officials and members continue to contact their members of Parliament to outline the attacks on fire service pensions. The FBU has already submitted early day motion 2049 on Firefighter pensions. This has received support from MPs from all parts of the UK.
We previously provided a briefing note for MPs and other politicians:
'Firefighter pension changes could cost taxpayer £210 million as one in four say they will consider leaving.'
We have now prepared a further briefing note:
'MPs Briefing number 2 ' Independent evidence backs firefighters' case.'
This briefing note is enclosed. We hope it will support you in developing the arguments further and will assist you in local lobbying and campaigning. Please take the opportunity to utilise this briefing and to raise this issue with your MP and encourage them to sign EDM 2049.
Attachment: Briefing for MPs 11th October 2011