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Volume 706: debated on Tuesday 16 December 2008


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government on what grounds the accrued pension entitlements of an employee of central or local government can be reduced or annulled. [HL55]

An accrued pension entitlement under an occupational pension scheme is a property right protected by the European Convention on Human Rights: it cannot be forfeited except in the public interest and in accordance with the law.

Under Sections 92 to 94 of the Pensions Act 1995 an accrued pension entitlement pension generally cannot be forfeited, but this is subject to certain exceptions and the Act permits a public service pension scheme to withhold the whole or part of a pension in certain circumstances. These include where a member owes a debt to the employer or the pension scheme; where a member has been convicted of treason; where a member has been convicted of an offence under the Official Secrets Acts for which the person has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment totalling at least 10 years; or where a member has been convicted of an offence committed in connection with the member's employment where a Minister of the Crown has certified that the commission of the offence has been gravely injurious to the interests of the state or is liable to lead to a serious loss of confidence in the public service.

The precise terms in which individual public service pension schemes provide for forfeiture are matters for those responsible for the rules of the individual schemes.