FBU prepares to file further legal claims against govt over McCloud ‘inaction’

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has called on the government to deliver “pensions justice” following the McCloud ruling, stating that its "lack of action" has led to the union preparing legal claims on behalf of its members.

In December 2018, the Court of Appeal ruled in the McCloud/Sargeant case that 2015 reforms to the judicial and firefighter pension schemes were unlawful as they were discriminatory on the ground of age, with older workers being able to remain in the more beneficial scheme.

Workers are now entitled to be treated as if they had remained in the previous, better pension scheme when the schemes were formed in April 2015 up until 31 March 2022, the end of the ‘remedy period’.

The government plans to introduce legislation in October 2023, but this means that affected members who have, or who are taking, pension benefits are at detriment in the meantime, in contradiction to the court’s ruling, the union stated.

The FBU and Local Government Association (LGA) have agreed a joint framework to implement the Court of Appeal ruling, but they claim the withdrawal of relevant Home Office guidance and “Treasury opposition” to any solution, aside from the October 2023 legislation, has made its introduction difficult.

FBU national officer, Mark Rowe, commented: “The FBU continues to fight for pension justice for all our members. We do not accept Treasury and Home Office delays in abiding by the decision of the court.

“The FBU never misses a meeting or any opportunity to fight for those suffering immediate detriment to have their pensions paid to them right now.

“We continue to meet regularly with the LGA and our respective legal teams to resolve this matter as quickly as possible for our members. There must be no further delays, the FBU legal team are drafting the very significant next round of legal claims which will be registered in the court shortly.”

Furthermore, employees’ and employers’ representatives within fire and rescue have sent a joint letter to the government calling on them to comply with the ruling and remedy “pension injustice”.

In the letter, FBU general secretary, Matt Wrack, and LGA senior pensions secretary, Jo Donnelly, said: “We cannot express strongly enough our continued frustration at the government’s failure, as expressed by HM treasury and Home Office, to support FRAs in ensuring affected FPS members are placed in the position required by the Court of Appeal in December 2018 prior to implementation of remedy legislation.”

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