Home Office says it has now “committed to relaxing tax and pensions rules”, but did not state that full salary will be paid. In a second blow, returned will also have to pay pension contributions toward pensions for which they have already qualified
The Tory government’s call for retired police officers to return to duty to help in the coronavirus crisis contained a hidden insult that was only revealed to those returning after they stepped forward.
Officers – many of whom received letters with their names stated incorrectly – were told in a ‘generic letter’ that if they return to service they will not be paid their pension:
In effect, this would mean them being paid only a few hundred pounds a month more for returning to the front line, when they could enjoy a pension of around £1,700 a month for staying home.
The Home Office appears to have performed a partial u-turn, but would not commit to paying returners full pay on top of their pension. A Home Office spokesperson said:
The government is committed to ensuring the police have the resources they need to keep themselves and the public safe at this crucial time, including by encouraging forces to ask retired officers to return to work.
To enable this, we have committed to relaxing tax and pensions rules which could otherwise deter officers near retirement or those recently retired from continuing or returning to serve.
However, this appears to be limited to a tax break, rather than a promise of full pay, as the Home Office also said that this ‘relaxing’ would remove ‘adverse tax implications’.
This is confirmed by the Metropolitan Police Service page for potential returners, which states that officers will not only forfeit pension for the duration of their renewed service – meaning that pension contributions, currently around 13.5%, will be deducted from their pay, even though they have already qualified for their pensions:
In accordance with the Pensions Act 2008, the Met will auto-enrol officers in the 2006 Pension Scheme.
Participation in the Scheme will make the pension subject to partial abatement (reduction). This means you will not be entitled to a proportion of the monthly allowance. However, on retirement from the MPS [on a second occasion] your original pension will be reinstated in full.
How typical of the Tories to ask people to return to risky work for a pittance.
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