UK - Firefighters' pensions will eat up 25% of the fire service budget by 2007 unless the scheme is radically overhauled, the government has been warned.
Sir George Bain’s independent review – set up to look at firefighters’ pay and conditions – says the unfunded scheme needs “wholesale” modernisation.
It urges the government to set up a notional fund so that actuaries can determine the level of contributions that employers would have to make to the firefighters scheme.
Sir George also believes the government must find ways to enable firefighters to carry on working longer, as he believes that the current scheme discourages people from working beyond 50.
He explained that the scheme’s ill-health retirement benefits were so good, that people chose to retire early, rather than be redeployed.
He also believes the government should review what type of provision retained firefighters receive, but suggests they be put into a stakeholder scheme.
However, the Fire Brigade’s Union attacked the review’srecommendations and described them as “idiotic”.
FBU executive council member Mick Shaw said: “This is obviously a major issue and the idea that Bain and his two colleagues can come up with the answers to our scheme in the two months or so that they have had to look at it is not an idea worthy of consideration.”
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