Police commissioner backs call for more government funding to cover police pension deficit
Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner is welcoming a call by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) for government to provide funding to cover a future deficit in the pension fund of police officers and staff.
David Keane says the Treasury should plug the funding gap caused by new public sector pension valuation directions introduced by government.
The directions indicate the requirement for police forces to increase the employer’s contribution rate from 2019/20 for all unfunded public sector pension schemes.
The scale of these changes will push Cheshire Constabulary’s already stretched budget to breaking point, with an additional £2 million of funding required on an annual basis.
The call from the commissioner for the government to fund pensions comes following his joint announcement with the acting chief constable that Cheshire Constabulary estimates it will be required by government to make a further £12 million of savings over the next two years.
David said: “It’s important that police staff and officers who are serving the public under increasingly challenging circumstances have access to a fair pension but in these circumstances where the government is introducing a new directive, they should fund it and not place the burden on already over stretched police force budgets.
“If the funding was taken from existing Cheshire Police budgets, this would have a huge impact on our resources and our ability to set a balanced budget for the next financial year.
“Despite our continued efforts to make efficiency savings which has seen us make savings to the sum of £60 million since 2010, these changes – coupled with the requirement from government for us to make further saving and the ongoing pressures of inflation – will cripple our budget.”
The APCC and NPCC have written a joint letter to Minister for State for Policing and the Fire Service, Rt. Hon Nick Hurd MP, to request that he seeks the additional funding from the Treasury.
All forces will receive their annual cash settlement from the government later this year which will set out the budget position for 2019/20.