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Following consultation on reforms starting in 2004, the Labour Government introduced a New Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (NFPS) for new entrants from April 2006. More limited amendments were made to the existing scheme – Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 1992 (FPS). Key differences between the two schemes are that:

• FPS has a normal pension age of 55 (50 with 25 or more years’ service). The NPFS has a normal pension age of 60.

• The NFPS has a single accrual rate (1/60th) whereas in the FPS benefits accrue at 1/60th for the first 20 years service and 1/30th for up to 10 years thereafter.

• Contribution rates for employees and employers are higher in the FPS than the NFPS.

Ill-health pensions were also reformed, with the aim of reducing the rate (and therefore the cost) of retirement on ill-health grounds. Two-tier ill-health pension arrangements were introduced in both schemes, with a lower tier payable where the member is capable of regular employment other than as a firefighter and a higher tier award where the member is not so capable.

This note focuses on reforms to firefighters’ pensions introduced by the Labour Government. A separate note – SN 6585 – covers the current reforms.

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