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Challenge to New Public Sector Pensions

Published 24/07/2019 10:51:00, by Marina Maher

The following statement has been issued by the government in regard to the recent challenges to the changes to Public Sector Pension schemes in 2015. 

1. The Supreme Court has refused the Government permission to appeal the Court of Appeal’s December 2018 judgment in the McCloud and Sargeant cases. These cases, brought by judges and firefighters, contested that the transitional protection in their 2015 pension schemes gave rise to unlawful discrimination on the grounds of age. This is due to the transitional protection allowing some older workers to stay in their legacy pension scheme instead of moving to the new career-average pension scheme introduced in 2015. The Government will now be required to remedy the difference in treatment since 2015.

2. The Government respects the Court’s decision and has confirmed that it will remedy the difference in treatment across all main public service pension schemes, including all Armed Forces Pension Schemes. Any remedy must a) compensate for any previous discrimination, and b) remove discrimination in the future. 

Next steps
3. The judges’ and firefighters’ cases will now go back to the Employment Tribunal, where the Government will engage with the litigants to agree how the discrimination will be remedied. It is a matter for the Tribunal to agree timing and to make the final decision on remedy. All Public Service Pension Scheme representatives are in discussion with Treasury (the lead Govt Dept) on how this will impact personnel in individual schemes and potential remedies.

4. Service Personnel will not see any reduction to the pensions they have earned/built up to date, irrespective of the pension scheme they are in.

5. Further updates will be provided as information becomes available and is cleared by the Treasury.

The MOD issued this additional comment to supplement the above statement 
The outcome of a Court of Appeal decision in December 2018, that the transitional protection applied to 2015 Public Service Pension Schemes gave rise to age discrimination, is to be applied to all main Public Service Pension Schemes. This could affect all personnel who have service before 1 Apr 15, including rejoiners. No personnel will see any reduction to the pension they have accrued to date as a result of any changes directed by the Employment Tribunal. At present there is no timeline for any rectification.


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