FBU seeks Supreme Court appeal for pensions challenge

Working people shouldn’t have to pay the price for the government’s mistakes, says FBU leader.

17 May 2024| News

Photo credit: FBU

The FBU is seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court in relation to the costs control mechanism imposed on public sector pension schemes by HM Treasury.

The FBU was successful in challenging the government’s public sector pension reforms introduced in 2015 as age discriminatory. That legal success led to the government having to reinstate previous pension arrangements and pay compensation to affected public sector workers (the McCloud remedy) – not just in the fire service. The public sector pension reforms also included a costs control mechanism which mean that certain specific member-related costs could be attributed to the costs of the scheme, and paid for out of lowering benefits or increasing contributions for workers.

HM Treasury used that costs control mechanism to pass on the costs of remedying its own unlawful age discrimination to members of the public sector pension schemes. The FBU argues that the costs control mechanism cannot be used for a purpose for which it was never intended, and also that its use in this way discriminates against younger members of the schemes who have no opportunity to take advantage of the McCloud remedy.

The FBU’s challenge has been rejected by the Court of Appeal but with the support of PCS, POA, RCN and Unite, the FBU now seeks permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union general secretary said:

“The Fire Brigades Union is seeking to take our fight against pension discrimination to the Supreme Court.

We won a landmark challenge against pensions robbery in 2015, with unfair changes to public sector pensions ruled to be age discriminatory. It is shameful that the government is now trying to force firefighters and other public sector workers to shoulder the costs of this botched attack on their hard-earned pensions.

Working people shouldn’t have to pay the price for the government’s mistakes. The FBU will pursue all avenues to win justice for our members.”