Public sector schemes granted judicial review over McCloud cost remedy

Public sector pension schemes have been granted a judicial review over the government’s proposed method of paying for costs incurred by the McCloud judgment.

The case was brought by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and two named claimants, while the British Medical Association’s (BMA) claim has been held to overlap with this case and they will be heard together.

It relates to the McCloud ruling, which found that the 2015 changes to public sector schemes that saw younger members transfer to a new and worse scheme, while older members remained in the existing and better scheme.

In its claim, the union said that the government was attempting to “shift” the estimated £17bn that it is going to cost to reverse the changes onto members of the new, post-2015 public sector schemes.

This has resulted in the cost of remedying the discrimination identified in the McCloud ruling being met by younger scheme members, according to the FBU.

In March, the government confirmed it will proceed with its propoal to include the costs of the McCloud remedy in the cost control mechanism for public sector schemes' 2016 valuations.

The government’s remedy is being challenged on the grounds that it breaches commitments made in legislation and to unions in 2015, that it contravenes the purpose of the cost control mechanism and that it discriminates against younger scheme members.

“Firefighters and other public sector workers shouldn’t be forced to pay for discrimination against their own workforces,” FBU national officer, Mark Rowe, commented.

“It’s a disgusting attempt to heap the burden for these dreadful pension mistakes on workers. We’ve been challenging the government on these pension reforms since 2015 and winning time and time again.

“It is high time the government finally got its act together and sorted this out once and for all, which is entirely within their gift. However, if they don’t, we will pursue this case for as long as it takes to win firefighters what they deserve.”

The FBU, and two named members, are the claimants in this case, while the trade unions named as interested parties to the case are the GMB, PCS, POA, RCN and Unite.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The government is committed to providing public sector pensions that are fair to both workers and taxpayers.”

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