This site is being updated. However because of the immense amount of material on the site it is taking me some time. When the new site is populated this site will be closed and the updated site will be launched. In the meantime new information is only being added to the new site . You can see how the updated site is coming along here.
A member has had an exchange of correspondence with Steven Webb MP the minister for Pensions.
The member wrote to Steve Webb on 4 March 2011
Steve Webb got the DWP to reply on his behalf on 29 March 2011
The member wrote again on 31 March 2011 not satisfied with the response that did not address the members' points. As yet he has not had a reply.
A member wrote to the speaker of the House of Common to ask about how MPs pensions might be afeceted by the RPI/CPI swindle and recieved the following reply:
11 April 2011
I have been asked to respond to your letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons dated 31 March 2011 which I received this morning. I have replied by email rather than by letter in order to better provide links to the information you are seeking.
I hope that you find the following information about the pensions available to MPs and Ministers helpful.
Under the new arrangements, the pensions available to MPs and Ministers will also be indexed according CPI rather than RPI.
The schemes are described in fact sheets available on the Parliamentary
Members' pay, pensions
The pension scheme is more fully described in House of Commons Library briefing notes which are also available on the website:
Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund
Pensions of ministers and senior office holders
I also thought you might find the following briefing note on the change from CPI to RPI interesting:
Please let me know if I can assist further.
Head of Information Rights and Information Security House of Commons
Sent: 21 March 2011 14:22
To: 'BARWELL, Gavin'
Subject: RE: Vote on Indexation of Pensions ~ BT Pensioner
Please can you respond specifically to the points that I made in my email rather that send me a standard response, I look forward to a more detailed reply? Just in case you have lost the original mail please find it attached.
Finally, why are you allowing BT to penalize my pension as a result of your legislation ~ detailed response required?
This is an interesting and helpful reply so I have published it here as well as the PDF link
HOUSE OF COMMONS
LONDON SWIA OAA
18 February 2011
Thank you for your recent letter regarding the Government's proposed changes to
pensions as outlined in the Pension Bill, I know that this issue has caused distress to a
number of my constituents.
Thank you for your recent e-mail about changes to the BT Pension Scheme.
The Government believes that it is right to use one appropriate index for uprating additional State Pensions, public and private pensions and social security benefits and that the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) is a more appropriate measure of changes in the cost of living than the Retail Prices Index (RPI). It may help if I set out some of the considerations that were factors in pur reasoning:
Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2011 11:41 AM
Subject: thanks for your email
Thanks for contacting me about the Government’s proposals to alter the inflation index used to update private pensions from the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). I have received this explanation which I hope will answer some of your queries:
Date: 16 February 2011 13:41:43 GMT
Subject: RE: Pensions: RPI-CPI uprating
Thank you very much for your email. This is just to let you know that it has been safely received.
I am always happy to assist my constituents where possible, however unfortunately my office is currently experiencing an extremely high volume of casework, therefore you may experience a short delay in me getting back to you regarding any issues you have raised.
He encloses the standardised reply he got August 27th 2010 concerning the proposed use of CPI for private and public pensions, so I won't detail that as there is nothing new.
He does say that he appreciates bringing the unintended negative impact this could have on the BT Pension Scheme to his attention.In the light of the detailed case study that was sent he is raising this with the government to ensure that these concerns are properly considered before a decision is reached.
A lengthy just over 2 and a half sides of A4 paper reply so I have summarised and only quoted significant phrases.
It is headed:
BT Pension Scheme (the "Scheme") - pension increases
And Rod Kent is apparently absent.
She sets out what the scheme rules are in relation to revaluation and pension increases and for increases for pensions in payment 'for the avoidance of doubt' so nothing new there. That comprises one side of A4. The rest is a re-statement of what has already been said or written.
Dear Mr. Pinto
Thank you for your letter of 24 January about the change from RPI to CPI in the indexation of BTPS pensions. I entirely sympathise with the case you make, not least because I am a member of the Scheme myself. But therein lies the rub. My direct personal and financial interest would prevent me from taking any part in the pursuit of any form of "statutory mechanism" as you suggest.
I am sorry to send you a disappointing reply but I am sure you will understand that the rules of engagement for Members of the House of Lords are quite unequivocal on a point like this.
So, I fear all I can do is to wish you the very best of luck!
To: dominic.pinto; gavin.e.patterson
Sent: Tuesday, 25 January, 2011 8:57:13
Subject: RE: RPI to CPI - the Unintended Effect on the BT Pension Scheme
Dear Dominic ,
Thank you for your letter .
I am a long standing member of the BT pension scheme and understand the concerns you have raised . The subject has been extensively discussed and authorised within BT.
In response to a member writing to him Lord Vallance sent the following reply:
"You may have received, by now, the letter from our Pensions Scheme people setting out the reasons why the Trustee has no legal alternative but to follow what the Govt. have in mind, as the BT Scheme of which you and I are members is linked directly to the terms applicable to public sector schemes in general. So, although I sympathise with the points you make, I don't think there is any joy down that particular route.
Which would leave us with trying to change what the Govt. are proposing for public sector schemes as a whole and I fear there will not be much joy there either. Until the end of the last Parliament, I used to chair the Select Committee in the Lords which dealt with Finance Bills and, if anywhere, that is where a proposal of this kind might be considered. However, for historical reasons, the Lords are heavily constrained in what they can do about Finance Bills; specifically, they are not able to question the revenue/expenditure side of things, only at administration, simplification etc. So, even had I still been doing what I was last year, I doubt if we would have been able to make much headway.
I am sorry to send you a disappointing reply but I fear we shall just have to grin and bear it. One small consolation is that the CPI does, on occasion, outstrip the RPI (depending on housing and related prices)."