Fire Minister Brandon Lewis launched a consultation on an agreement giving eligible retained firefighters access to fire service pension benefits. The benefits offered will be the same as those provided under the now closed Firefighters’ Pension Scheme.
The government department, DCLG stated:
Every part of the public sector needs to play its part in reducing the deficit and steps to reform the pension scheme for all firefighters are contributing to this. The decision to open up the pension scheme to retained firefighters is about introducing a fair system that provides a level playing field for all firefighters.
Today’s consultation is about taking steps to address a long standing anomaly that discriminated against retained firefighters who perform such an important role for their communities and who are the mainstay of many fire and rescue authorities. Subject to the consultation, legislation will be laid in Parliament to give effect to the new pension arrangements.
Retained firefighters who are employees, just like full-time fighters, provide cost effective, reliable and vital on-call cover from home or their place of work. However, historically they were not permitted to be members of the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme.
The pensions will be available to any retained firefighter who was employed during the period 1 July 2000 and 5 April 2006 and the terms will be comparable with those offered to a regular firefighter employed at the same time.
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis said:
I am delighted that we are finally able to announce plans to put retained firefighters on an equal footing with their full-time colleagues. We are absolutely committed to the retained fire service. They play a vital role in protecting the community across most of England, and it is only right and fair that their efforts are recognised with access to the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme.
The RFU be responding to the consultation document in due course. We would therefore welcome your views on the proposal which will form part of our formal response. Members can email their views here.