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Pension claimants get first stage of compensation pay-out

Officers affected by the botched pension reforms are getting offers in the first stage of their legal claims

Members of the Leigh Day legal challenge who were able to prove they were hurt by the government’s decision to cut their pension entitlement are getting a pay-out.

Their payment for injury to feelings, the emotional impact of the changes, has been agreed with the government.

More than 13,000 officers who signed statements as part of the long running claim will get one of three payments depending on their assessment: £2,000, £3,600 or £7,000.

Officers who joined up expecting to have the traditional pension with retirement after 30 years’ service found they either couldn’t do that or would have to retire with a lesser pension than colleague who signed up just a few months earlier.

Payments are expected to land in the New Year.

Officers who are not part of the Leigh Day claim will have to wait while a possible deal is negotiated for them by their staff associations.

Mandy Bhattal, Associate Solicitor at Leigh Day who has been advising officers in the group action, said: “We’re sending details of offers with what it represents and what it means based on individual circumstances. They then sign and send it back,” she told Police Oracle.

But it’s not the end of the claim or further potential pay-outs outside of the pension settlements.

“We’re going to look at if there are any financial costs that were made which we can claim back for such as financial advice for those who looked at their pensions,” she said.

It’s the first actual pay-out to officers since the changes were ruled as discrimination in the McCloud judgement in 2018 which the government didn’t appeal against.

And it isn’t even the beginning of the end for the thousands of officers involved.

The government has started legislation to close the pension schemes affected and has withdrawn guidance to forces halting pension agreements for officers retiring now.

The Treasury is pressing ahead despite the High Court ruling its consultation on next steps was unlawful and the judge warning that the government was open to further claims for discrimination.

Staff associations including the Police Federation and Police Superintendents’ Association are considering a return to court in the New Year.

Mandy Bhattal said the Leigh Day claimants could also have a fresh legal case.

Not least because the government’s legislation could be finalised as late as October 2023 leaving thousands officers in limbo until then.

“We’re going to look at whether there’s anything we can do in terms of litigation,” she told Police Oracle. “We are over two years later since the McCloud judgement. The government says it’s complex – and there’s been COVID-19. But it’s asking what is the reasonableness.”

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