My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Policing, Crime and Security (David Hanson) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The police pensions additional voluntary contributions (AVC) scheme, which was introduced in 1990, has served as a useful means by which police officers can top up their retirement pension. However, the opportunities now open to those who want to save for a personal pension reduce the need for an in-house AVC scheme. After consulting the Police Negotiating Board we have decided to close the police AVC scheme to new business from 1 October 2010, subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary changes to the relevant regulations.
Notice of this change has been given to the two providers concerned, Standard Life and Equitable Life. Regular contributions in effect on 30 September can continue to be made but the change will mean that no new or increased contributions will be possible from 1 October. We recommend the need in all cases for officers to satisfy themselves about whether AVC investments are right for them, if necessary by taking independent financial advice.
As part of our review of the current arrangements for topping up police pensions we are discussing with the Police Negotiating Board proposals for introducing a new facility, Added Pension, which will enable officers to buy specific amounts of pension, subject to set limits, on a cost-neutral basis for the Police Pension Scheme. The introduction of Added Pension would be accompanied by the closure to new contracts of the current facility of buying added years. The aim is for this change to be made at the same time as the closure of the AVC Scheme to new business but this is subject to confirmation.