Fire

Too much too young?(Pensions)

In common with up to five million public sector workers, firefighters are facing the most radical overhaul of pensions for decades. Government proposals for changes were published in October and the consultation period has just finished. As the campaign to save firefighters' pensions intensifies, what are the implications for current and future firefighters and also the fire and rescue authorities of the future?

HAVING WRESTLED WITH THE problem for what seems like forever (at least since May 1997), there are now proposals on the table which attempt to address the concerns of three groups of workers: wholetime firefighters, their retained colleagues and some of the more highly paid chief fire officers.

The reasons behind the drive for changes are well rehearsed and should be familiar. A lack of foresight on the lifespan benefits of improved health and safety for firefighters and a national increase in longevity has meant that pension schemes drawn up when retired firefighters died relatively young are no longer affordable. A declining proportion of the working population has compounded the problem for the government. The relatively young age for retirements in the Fire and Rescue Service has further exacerbated the crisis. …

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