24 July 2014

New Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt has written to the Fire Brigades Union to confirm that firefighters will be exempt from proposals to increase the minimum age at which a person can access their pension from 55 to 57.

In a letter dated 22 July, Mordaunt writes: “The Chancellor has announced that the Government will increase the minimum age at which people can access their pension under the new tax rules from 55 to 57 in 2028 and which will thereafter remain 10 years below the state pension age.

“However, I am pleased to confirm that the increases will not apply to the Firefighters’ Pension Schemes, recognising the unique nature of the occupation.”

The letter was written just after a eight-day period of industrial action had ended. The Fire Brigades Union is involved in an ongoing row with the Government over pensions and retirement age and it is hoped that this concession is a step closer to resolving the dispute.

FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack commented: “The decision to exempt firefighters from such provision is very welcome.

“It was this issue which caused considerable difficulty during our negotiations with the Department for Communities and Local Government on and after March 19.

“Since the threat (of increasing the minimum pension age to 57) has been removed, it is to be hoped that DCLG enter a new period of genuine dialogue and make revised proposals for our members to consider.”

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.