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Red letter day for payback 'billions' in fight for justice over police pensions


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Government 'concedes age discrimination' against 13,500 officers.

Pensions payback: Officers have had to be patient for four years, Leigh Day Solicitors claim

Pensions payback: Officers have had to be patient for four years, Leigh Day Solicitors claim

Date - 3rd August 2019
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle
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A letter sent to a court is set to write a defining chapter in a policing pensions’ saga that leaves the Government faced with shelling out billions of pounds to officers.

The Home Office today confirmed it "concedes" there had been age discrimination when introducing a new pension scheme, according to lawyers representing the officers.

The admissions were made in correspondence sent to the London Central Tribunal Court on Thursday, Leigh Day Solicitors said.

The letter from Government lawyers said the Home Office accepted the "discrimination claims" made by the claimants "must succeed".

A tribunal hearing is to take place in the coming months to discuss compensation – which could run into billions of pounds if the Government is required to repay the full pension payment amounts owed to the 13,500 police officers represented in the mass claim.

The officers born after April 1, 1967 were moved on to pension schemes with reduced benefits, lawyers said.

The career average revalued earnings police pension scheme came into force in April 2015, which required officers born after that date to leave two existing arrangements which offered lower contribution rates, retirement age and a higher payment value.

But others born before April 1967 and appointed before April 2012 were allowed to stay in the two ‘1987’ and ‘2006’ pension schemes.

Kiran Daurka, the law firm's employment team partner who represented the officers, said: "This is really significant.

"Our clients have had to be patient for the last four years.

"They've waited a long time."

She said the Government discriminated while trying to make savings and said the next stage was to seek a remedy to "rectify the discriminatory impact of these pension scheme changes".

Ms Daurka added: "We would hope that this would be full redress, to put our clients back into the position they would have been in financially had they not been subjected to discrimination. We will also be seeking compensation for injury to feelings."

The news comes after the firefighters' union last month claimed a major victory in its long-running dispute with the Government over changes to thousands of pensions.

The Government also lost a legal challenge against rulings over changes to a judicial pension scheme in claims brought by 200 judges.

Liz Truss, as chief secretary to the Treasury, previously told Parliament the estimated cost of the judgments to taxpayers could run into £4 billion a year.

Last month, Police Oracle reported the Governmenthad caved in to an eleventh-hour ultimatum to act “morally” or face a claims backlash in the protracted dispute over changes to pensions.

The likely £16 billion additional cost in liabilities to the public purse comes with the news the Treasury has agreed to respect last month’s Supreme Court decision and “fully engage” with the Employment Tribunal over how the long-running unlawful age discrimination will be remedied.

National Police Federation leaders, who said they were ready to strike back if a six-point plan clarifying pension demands was not acted on by parliament's summer recess, said the importance of a just solution for the “sacrifices made during officers’ working careers” could not be overstated.

The Home Office refused to comment on the contents of the letter.

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