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Government responses to McCloud pension consultation

The Government has published its response after seeking views on the

proposed remedy option for correcting the unlawful discrimination determined in

the Court of Appeal’s McCloud judgment.

In line with UNISON’s recommendation, it has been confirmed that Deferred

Choice Underpin (DCU) will be the remedy option for the NHS Pension

Schemes covering England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. DCU

means that all in-scope members will receive a choice at retirement, on whether

they wish for all of their pension scheme service prior to 1 April 2022 to be in

their previous scheme (i.e. 1995 or 2008 Sections) or have a combination of

previous scheme benefits and the 2015 scheme for all service, up to 1 April

2022. The benefit of making a choice at retirement, is that members will be able

to make a decision based on known entitlements instead of assumptions,

thereby reducing the likelihood of making the wrong decision.

The Government response also confirms that everyone will be in the 2015

Scheme with effect from 1 April 2022. Everyone eligible for a choice will be

assumed to be in their previous scheme for all service before 1 April 2022 up to

the point of actually making their choice.

Retirements from October 2023 is when it’s expected that eligible members will

be offered this choice but it’s hoped that for those that have already retired that

these members may get a choice earlier than this.

For anyone that has already retired or will be retiring before October 2023, all

choices will be fully retrospective to your pension payment date, meaning that

your award will be amended and backdated should you choose not to be in the

2015 Scheme for any period before 1 April 2022.

You can view the Government’s consultation response here.

UNISON has also produced a series of frequently asked questions to help

members understand what this means for them. These can be found here.

Ambulance pension age survey

Since the 2015 NHS Pension Scheme was introduced, UNISON as the main

union for ambulance staff, has been leading the way in calling on the

government to bring the pension age for ambulance staff in line with other

emergency service workers.

The pension age for ambulance staff in the 2015 NHS Pension Scheme is

linked to your State Pension Age, which for many ambulance staff is up to 67 or

68. While fire fighters and police officers can take their full pension at 60. The McCloud judgment means many ambulance staff will have an additional 7

years in a pension scheme with a lower pension age. For staff purely in the

2015 scheme or those currently in the 1995 or 2008 sections who will start to

build up benefits in 2015 scheme from April 2022. The link to State Pension age

still exists

UNISON will be continuing our campaign to end the ongoing omission of

ambulance staff from the group of public service workers - armed forces, police

and firefighters – that they deem should have a lower pension age.

Ambulance staff, like the other emergency services, work in similarly unique

circumstances and this needs to be reflected in their pension age.

To help inform our campaigning on this important issue for ambulance staff

please fill out our survey and let us know your views.

The survey closes on 14 April.