Pensions legislation and case law update: the latest developments week ended 19 November

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Pension freedoms and protection of savers inquiry: evidence from Pensions Minister

Guy Opperman MP, the Pensions Minister, has given oral evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee during the second part of its inquiry into protecting pension savers, 5 years on from the introduction of pension freedoms.

The Pensions Minister confirmed that there will be a call for evidence 'in the next year' to consider investment pathways and protections for trust-based scheme members in relation to DC decumulation (the process used to switch pension savings to retirement income). 

He also confirmed that legislation for collective defined contribution schemes is expected to be introduced in Spring 2022 – this will allow Royal Mail to make an authorisation application for the CDC scheme it is setting up next Summer. Regulations for multi-employer CDCs are also being looked at but will not be ready before Summer 2022 at the earliest and most probably later than this.

McCloud age discrimination remedy

Home Office consultation on amendments to the police and firefighters' pension schemes 

The Home Office is consulting on draft regulations amending the police pension schemes in England and Wales and the firefighters' pension schemes in England. The consultations close on 2 January 2022.

The regulations 'will enact the first phase' of the McCloud remedy, which is being provided for under the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill currently making its way through Parliament. Under this first phase, the legacy pension schemes will be closed to future accrual from 31 March 2022 and all members in service from 1 April 2022 will remain in service as members of the reformed scheme. It is intended that the amendments will be brought into effect on 1 April 2022.

The changes form part of the overall framework which is being implemented to remove the age discrimination identified in the 2018 McCloud/Sargeant case.

The second 'phase' of the remedy will be consulted upon in 2022 – this will look at the implementation of the 'deferred choice underpin' which members will have of taking either legacy or reformed scheme benefits for service between 2015 and 2022 when their benefits become payable. 

GMB Union, BMA & Fire Brigades Union seek judicial review on costings proposals

GMB Union has launched a judicial review in respect of a deal which it and other unions reached regarding the payment of an estimated £2.4bn to relevant public sector workers, that the GMB Union say the Government is now going to use towards the costs of implementing the McCloud judgment under a lifting of the 'cost control mechanism'.

GMB Union is not the only union to take action. Both the British Medical Association and the Fire Brigades Union have issued letters before claim for judicial review against the Government regarding the Government's proposals to use the cost control mechanism to pass "the costs of remedying age discrimination…onto…members" instead of reducing member contributions and/or improving benefits as previously agreed.

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