MP Mike Weir supports Defence

ANGUS MP Mike Weir has strongly supported claims by the Defence Fire Service and Defence Police to be treated the same as other ‘uniformed services’ in public sector pension reform.

The House of Commons debated amendments by the House of Lords on the Public Service Pensions Bill based on findings of Lord Hutton’s Pension Reform Report which recommended a lower retirement age for ‘uniformed services’ such a fire fighters, police and the Armed Forces. The report however failed to include Defence Fire and Rescue Service fire fighters and Ministry of Defence police officers.

Commenting on the situation Mr Weir said: “The Pension Bill vote is a further example of Scotland suffering from legislation it does not want.

“This pension reform is unfair, and for that reason 83 percent of Scottish MPs voted against it.

“This was an important vote for those concerned- yet Alistair Darling failed to turn up and instead played spokesperson to George Osborne.

“It is inconsistent that the Public Service Pensions Bill sets a normal retirement age of 60 for uniformed services, including the Armed Forces, civilian police and fire fighters, and yet links their counterparts in defence to the state retirement age, projected to be at least 68.

“The House of Lords passed an amendment that would have ended the discrepancy of a different retirement age, providing equality for Defence Police and Fire and Rescue Services who play an important role on the front line in the UK and overseas.

“The UK government have failed to make a case for higher pension age for uniformed services in the defence sector; they need to follow the spirit of Lord Hutton’s changes to this discrepancy by supporting the Lords amendment.”

Defence Police and Fire and Rescue Services play an invaluable role on the front line in the UK and overseas.

They are deployed to war zones and have decorated personnel.

Their work is dangerous, gruelling and essential to both force asset projection and British service personnel’s safety.