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Chief Minister repeats assurances on Pensions 4 September 2008

CHIEF Minister Tony Brown MHK today repeated assurances that no final decisions have been taken on the future of public service pensions – and there will be full consultation with staff before any changes are introduced.

The Chief Minister explained:

‘The Government initiated an external review of public service pensions last year – in response to recommendations from a Tynwald Select Committee – to look at options for rationalisation and simplification of the current 19 separate schemes.
‘While the independent report from the consultants Hymans Robertson did make a number of proposals, all that Government and Tynwald have agreed so far is a set of principles for the design of a unified pension scheme. The Council of Ministers is to report back to Tynwald with further recommendations by the end of this year.’

The Chief Minister continued:

‘If and when detailed proposals are agreed, the Government is committed to full consultation with staff before any change is introduced. I can also repeat the assurance that the value of all benefits and lump sums accrued by staff will be protected.’

He added:

‘It is entirely understandable that some staff representatives will want to protect the status quo and lobby against change. But Government has a duty to the wider community to look at whether our public service pensions system is value for taxpayers' money. We also have a duty to staff to ensure that the system is sustainable into the longer-term future.’

Mr Brown said there seemed to be confusion over pensions issues in general. For example, the current consultation over the Superannuation Act was completely separate from the overall review of public service pensions being undertaken on behalf of Government by Hymans Robertson. Similarly, the recruitment of a new pensions advisor was to provide specialist support for Government in this area and nothing to do with the public service pensions review.

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