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Chiefs were told about pension payment changes, claims Treasury


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The people who are going to suffer from this are police officers and the public, says analyst.

Liz Truss. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Liz Truss. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Date - 12th November 2018
By - Ian Weinfass - Police Oracle
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The government continues to insist that chief constables were told about imminent pension changes that the service worries could cost 10,000 officer posts.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Elizabeth Truss has repeated the claim that upcoming pension changes were announced by the government years ago.

PCCs and chiefs have warned the increased pension payments from public sector employers demanded by the department could destroy financial plans and put public safety at risk.

Shadow policing minister Louise Haigh, who last week called for Prime Minister Theresa May to apologise for “rank incompetence” over the issue, asked Ms Truss whether the effect of the change was communicated to police forces before September this year.

Following a previous comment by Theresa May that chiefs were warned about the changes, the NPCC and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners issued a joint statement which said they had been given no guidance on costs or a timeline for when the payments had to be increased.

In a written response, Elizabeth Truss said: “Budget 2016 identified expected pressures on employer contributions to public service pensions of £2 billion.

“The Home Office communicated with the National Police Chiefs’ Council on the issue shortly after Budget 2016, explaining the need to consider the matter within the wider context of the imminent scheme valuation.”

She added the 2018 budget also confirmed it is giving the sector more than was anticipated in 2016.

Then-chancellor George Osborne’s 2016 budget speech gave no specifics about pension changes and claimed the public sector would feel the benefits from “the fiscal windfall of lower inflation”.

Inflation has been rising since soon after the budget was delivered.

Associated documents did say that employers "will pay higher contributions to the schemes" from the 2019/20 financial year onward, and stated this would cost the public sector as a whole £2 billion, according to the House of Commons Library.

The full impact of the changes on the police service will be revealed in December when the police funding settlement is announced.

Policing academic and former ACPO finance chief Dr Tim Brain told Police Oracle: “I see no reason for any optimism whatsoever.

“Whoever’s fault it is, if it is going to fall on current police budgets at their current levels, the only way to fund it is through staffing cuts.

“The people who are going to suffer from this are police officers and others working in the service - and the public.”

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