Both the House of Commons and House of Lords have now risen for their summer recesses, with MPs returning to Westminster briefly in September before again dispersing for the annual party conferences.
While Westminster has essentially been winding down in the weeks before recess, the DPF has continued to engage with the Ministry of Defence and with Parliament over the future of the MDP. This has specifically been focused on the transition to new security arrangements and MDP complement sizes for MOD establishments; and on the issue of officers’ pensions – a subject the MOD and HM Treasury are working on in order to present a review to Parliament in December.
During the summer period, the Federation will be working to consolidate its position and will prepare for renewed Parliamentary activity following the summer recess. As part of these preparations, we will be encouraging members to contact their local MP on the subject of officers’ pensions and the review currently being undertaken by the MOD and the Treasury. We will shortly be contacting members and providing them with a local lobbying toolkit and asking you to write to your MPs to support this activity.
We will also be engaging closely with the passage of the Defence Reform Bill, which received its first reading in Parliament during the last month. Once written into law, the Bill will allow for the part-privatisation of Defence Equipment and Support, which will adopt a ‘GoCo’ (Government owned, Company operated) model.
The political approach
We are very grateful to Alan Reid, the MP for Argyle and Bute, who has tabled a number of Parliamentary Questions over the past month on the subject of MDP officers’ pensions in order to ascertain what effect the Government’s review might have on MDP officers in his constituency – and to maintain the pressure on the MOD and HM Treasury to equalise MDP pension rights with those of other emergency services.
We are also very grateful to Shadow Defence Minister Gemma Doyle MP for tabling a series of questions on the effect of the 26 June spending round on the MDP – and to Defence Select Committee member Madeline Moon MP, who has tabled questions on the scale of loss and theft from the Department.
Over the coming weeks we will be continuing to put pressure on the MOD to ensure its review of officer pensions is of an acceptable scope and is fit for purpose. We will also be briefing MPs on the implications of the spending round on the MDP and the effect that changes to MDP complements could have on their constituencies.
The past month has been spent consolidating the coverage of the Federation’s annual conference in the Daily Telegraph, Sky News, and Police Oracle – and identifying further opportunities to highlight issues of concern to the Federation and its members to the national media and general public.
During the summer and once Parliament returns from summer recess, we will be briefing journalists on the effect the latest spending round is likely to have on the MDP and highlighting concerns on the pensions review and the transfer of DE&S to a ‘GoCo’ model.
As noted above, we would encourage members to contact their local MPs over the summer with regards to the pension’s review being undertaken by HM Treasury and the MOD.
We will shortly be circulating a toolkit advising members of the most effective way in which to contact their local MP and offering suggestions as to the content of any correspondence. We would remind members to be mindful of regulations in any communication you have with your local MP.