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Foster secures £133million funding for police and fire fighter pensions

Finance Minister Arlene Foster has secured around £133million funding from HM Treasury to meet the cost of pension settlements for affected retired police and fire fighters in Northern Ireland.

The settlements will follow a determination by the Pensions Ombudsman, which upholds a complaint made by a retired Scottish fire fighter, that he should have received a larger retirement lump sum than he actually received. The ruling also applies in respect of the Northern Ireland police and fire fighter pension schemes.

The Finance Minister said: “There are significant cost implications, in the region of £133million, arising from the Ombudsman’s ruling. At a time when budgets are already severely stretched, this would have put unprecedented pressure on the budgets of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, and the Department of Justice who have overall responsibility for the fire fighter and police pension schemes respectively.

“Following negotiations with the Chancellor, I have been able to secure the necessary funding from HM Treasury to meet the upfront costs associated with making payments to the affected pensioners. As a result, we will avoid the potentially catastrophic consequences of the two Departments having to absorb these costs.

“Work is now underway to ensure that affected pensioners receive appropriate payments in a timely manner.”

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