Firefighters applaud as Government is challenged over pensions

The Government has been accused of having one rule for politicians and another for firefighters when it comes to pensions.

Several Labour MPs raised the issue in the Commons ahead of a full debate on the long-running dispute between the Government and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). John Mann (Bassetlaw) said: “When a useless Government minister is sacked, including by the electorate, they get a huge payout and they get a massive pension. Why is it one rule for the politicians and another rule for the firefighters?”

His question was applauded by scores of firefighters sitting in
the public gallery who had travelled to Westminster for the discussion.

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The FBU hopes the move will hold the Government to account over controversial changes to pensions, which have sparked a series of strikes over the past 18 months. The dispute remains deadlocked in England, while progress has been made in other parts of the UK.

Fire Service Minister Penny Mordaunt told Mr Mann to stick to the facts and argued that the new regulations, which came into law last week, improve on
some of the current pension schemes.

Ms Mordaunt was hit with a barrage of heated remarks from the Opposition benches throughout Communities and Local Government questions.

Dennis Skinner (Bolsover) warned the Government to leave firefighters’ pensions alone, while Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield) accused ministers of complacency.

The FBU believes the Government’s scheme is unworkable and unsustainable as it expects 60-year-olds to have the same fitness levels as those in their 20s.