HC Deb 20 November 1969 vol 791 cc1489-91
8. Mr. Lane

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress he has made in his discussions with police representatives about the safeguarding of police pension rights which may be affected by the Government's new national superannuation scheme; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Callaghan

The Police Council for Great Britain, which f consult before making police pensions regulations, has set up a working party representative of all police interests to examine police pensions arrangements in the light of the Government's proposals for earnings-related pensions.

Mr. Lane

While we are grateful for such reassurances as the Home Secretary and his colleagues have been able to give, will he bear in mind that the rate of resignations from police forces is already alarmingly high owing mainly to dissatisfaction with pay, and that uncertainty about pensions may for many be the last straw. Will he continue to give the matter the highest priority in the next few months?

Mr. Callaghan

Assurances have been given to the police about pensions. I do not know where the rumours started, but the pension scheme is absolutely safe. They can retire now, and will be able to retire in future, at the normal age that they have in the past, without alteration.

From this House, we have set up detailed machinery for working out rates of pay and provided negotiating machinery to do the job. When the time comes to review the arrangements, it will be for that machinery to do it.

There is no evidence that wastage is any larger now than it has been. I would not like the hon. Gentleman's assertion to gain currency. I notice that he indicates disagreement. In his own force in Mid-Anglia, for example, it is running at about the normal rate.

Sir D. Renton

As we have not had details of the assurances given to the police, will the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that: police officers' rights under the police pensions scheme will not in any way be diminished by the proposed new national. superannuation scheme?

Mr. Callaghan

If the right hon. and learned Gentleman cares to put down a Question, I will give a full and detailed answer. I am sure that he is not complaining that assurances have been given to the police.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

The Home Secretary, who knows so much about this, will wonder whether he has gone far enough. Can he not tell the House now that the Government will ensure that there is a non-worsenment arrangement for the police in any changes that are made?

Mr. Callaghan

I ask the House to keep to this, because, although it may think it advantageous to raise these questions now, there will be occasions when it will not. The best way to handle these matters is to allow the appropriate body, set up at the request of the police organisations, to enter into negotiations and discussion. A working party is considering this matter.