Firefighters have demanded that the prime minister David Cameron and speaker of the house John Bercow take action over the way that MPs were misled by a government minister in a Parliamentary debate on firefighter pensions.
Ministers informed MPs in the House of Commons, prior to a vote on the 2015 firefighters’ pension scheme, that any firefighter over age 55 who failed a fitness test through no fault of their own, would receive a full, unreduced pension.
The ‘guarantee’, initially welcomed by firefighters, turned out to be totally worthless as both fire authorities and the national employers of the Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that they could not guarantee this position. Worse still the biggest employer in England, the London Fire Brigade, confirmed that they had actually advised the government of this before the debate.
In a letter to the prime minister Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, reiterated that firefighters are committed to resolving the dispute through negotiations but that the false ‘guarantee’ is “a clear case of Parliament being misled by your government.”
Wrack goes on to say: “This has been the pattern throughout negotiations with DCLG in regard to the firefighter pension scheme and a key reason why firefighters in England remain extremely angry at the failure of the government to take proper account of the evidence available.
“This has now become a matter not simply of policy but of trust and confidence in the Parliamentary procedure and your stewardship.”
The FBU has also written to all members of parliament as well as the speaker of the house asking what they intend to do knowing that Parliament was misled.