Govt faces £550m bill over botched pension calculations


The Government has made provisions worth over half a billion pounds after commutation errors led to thousands of emergency workers being underpaid pensions.

Home Office accounts published in July show the department has set aside £460m to compensate retired police officers.

In addition, the Department for Communities and Local Government expects to pay firefighters £94m, the Mail on Sunday reports.

The payout follows a decision in May this year by the Pensions Ombudsman to award fireman Billy Milne £36,000 after the Government Actuary’s Department failed to update commutation tables.

Milne and others who retired at the same time received lump sum payments based on old calculations.

The decision means every other firefighter and police officer who retired with a lump sum between 2001 and 2006 could receive a payout.

About 5,000 firefighters and 29,000 police officers are eligible, according to the Mail.

Former pensions ombudsman Tony King said at the time: “In theory every one of those retired members could complain to the Pensions Ombudsman Service.”

He added: “I have every hope and expectation that GAD, the Department and all other interested bodies, including those representing fire and police authorities, will swiftly jointly consider what steps should be taken to ensure that further determinations are not necessary.

“That may involve discussion as to where liability lies, particularly as following the division of liability above is likely to be administratively burdensome. However, the particular public sector pocket or pockets used to make payments from is of no significance to the members.

“So I strongly recommend that the question of where liability ends up should be regarded as secondary to the members receiving as soon as possible such payments as they will be due.”