Skip to main content

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service: Pensions

Volume 471: debated on Thursday 31 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will assess the impact of changes to fire-fighters’ pensions on Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service as compared to other fire services. (183088)

The new financing arrangements for firefighters’ pensions were designed to counter the yearly volatility in pension expenditure and to ensure authorities’ budgets reflect the cost of providing their services. The benefits should be judged over a period, not just a single year. All fire and rescue authorities have been provided with pensions top-up grant to cover deficits in their pension funds in 2006-07 and 2007-08. The deficits are expected to increase over the next three years with corresponding increases in grant.

The New Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 2006 was designed to ensure the affordability of special pension arrangements for firefighters while aiding recruitment and retention. The admission of retained firefighters, who had been excluded from the 1992 Firefighters’ Pension Scheme, was designed to ensure equal treatment with regular firefighters. Although the 1992 and 2006 schemes are national, they are administered locally by fire and rescue authorities, who will interpret their application to the circumstances of individual firefighters. This makes a valid comparison between authorities difficult to achieve.