Police officer pension contribution rises â€“ coming in less than a month â€“ are â€œnot affordableâ€ for officers, the Staff Side of the Police Negotiating Board (PNB) has said.
The increases could lead to a â€œrise in opt-outs which could in turn undermine the financing of the [pension] schemes themselvesâ€ the Staff Side has told the government.
However, the Home Office confirmed to PoliceOracle.com that the contribution rises â€“ which were out on consultation until the end of February â€“ are still going to be introduced for all officers at the beginning of April.
The majority of English and Welsh officers â€“ on the 30-year Police Pension Scheme â€“ will have a 1.25 per cent rise to their monthly contributions, up to 13.5 per cent.
If officers are on the 35-year New Police Pension Scheme (NPPS), they face a 1 per cent increase to a contribution rate of 11.5 per cent.
The Staff Side, in its response to the four-week government consultation, said â€œincreases to member contribution rates are not justifiedâ€.
The response, signed by Ian Rennie (pictured), General Secretary of the Police Federation of England and Wales and representing the Staff Side of the PNB, added that the changes â€œare not affordable to our members, particularly within the present context of changes to pensions, pay and conditions.
â€œThe contribution rates have to be reasonable or members will opt out, which in turn will place financial pressure on the schemes.
â€œTo increase pension contributions further would effectively be implementing an additional wage cut at a time when salaries have not been uprated, let alone kept pace with inflation, and when officers are shortly set to lose pensionable pay in the form of Competency Related Threshold Payments (CTRPs).â€
Increases will lead to a rise in opt outs as squeeze on finances continues, warns PNB Staff Side.
Police officer pay rises have been frozen for two years and CRTPs are being phased out from April 1 this year.
In July 2011, the Home Secretary Theresa May consulted the PNB on her proposals to increase the amount paid by officers into the police pensions schemes by an average of 3.2 per cent over a three year-period beginning in April 2012.
Following representations by the Staff Side of the PNB, Mrs May decided only to implement the proposed increase for the year 2012-13, with contribution rates for most officers rising by 1.25 per cent for those in the PPS and by 1 per cent for those in the NPPS.
A Home Office spokesman said: â€œIn line with all public servants, the police have been asked to make a bigger contribution to their pensions to ensure they remain affordable to taxpayers as life expectancies rise.
â€œPolice pensions will remain among the very best available to reflect the vital job officers do.â€
However, not all public servants are facing increases to their pension contributions from April 1 this year.
As reported by PoliceOracle.com, officers remain furious after hearing that proposed pension contribution rises for the countryâ€™s MPs have been suspended. The decision to drop the budgeted 1.85 per cent increase in their contributions was taken by the MPsâ€™ expenses body Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.
From Police Oracle