Annual General Meeting and Reunion 2010
The AGM and Reunion was held at the Wessex Hotel, Bournemouth over the weekend 8th-11th October with 81 members and guests that included President Steve Love, CCMDP, MA, FsyI; Patron Jack Aspinall QPM and Eamon Keating, DPF National Chairman. A warm welcome was also extended to Insp Angela Harney who oversees the routine contact with ROA during the year. Special thanks were recorded to the Force for the assistance afforded to ROA during the year and to DPF for providing meeting facilities.
The AGM was well attended and members received reports on the work of the association undertaken throughout the course of the year as well as being given a full account of ROA’s financial position as at 31st March 2010.
The Secretary gave an update on the state of play as regards civil service pensions and a copy of what he said is reproduced below:
“I would like to say just a few words about a subject very dear to us – PENSIONS.
Now I suspect we all differing points of view on the Coalition Governments approach to tackling the deficit, restoring growth to the economy, assuring the money markets and avoiding a double dip recession.
Similarly, we all have differing views on the previous Governments policies as regards the Economy, however one big issue of concern to our membership is the threat to our Civil Service Pension.
Certainly in the lead up to the general election it is worth noting that the three main political parties made clear that they had no plans to change the current index linking arrangements to civil service/public sector pensions. All very reassuring you might think!!!!.
Then within weeks of forming a coalition government there came a flurry of unwelcome statements about the cost of public sector pensions rising from £4.6bn in 2010/11 to 9.46bn in 2014/15. The OBR announced these figures but they were unsupported by any evidence whatsoever. And then we had senior Government Ministers ‘Public Sector Bashing’ saying the Country could no longer afford generous gold plated public sector pensions. Seems that much to the annoyance of Government, we are all living longer!!
I think you would agree that for the vast majority of civil servants – pensions are far from Gold Plated and therefore it was deeply worrying to hear such outrageous comments coming from the Government.
Worse was to follow – In the Emergency Budget by the Chancellor on 22nd June it was announced that with effect from April 2011 increases in Public Sector Pensions would be linked to the Consumer Price Index rather than the Retail Price Index. Since the CPI is usually well below the RPI (its reckoned to be about 1% lower) this will have a detrimental effect on Public Sector Pensions and from April 2012 the State Retirement Pension will also be similarly affected.
The Treasury also announced the setting up of an Independent Commission to review the future provision of public sector pensions and while the announcement made clear that ‘Existing Accrued Rights would be protected’ there is a genuine fear, certainly among the Civil Service Pensioner’s Campaign Groups (eg Civil Service Pensioners Alliance) – that more unwelcome developments relating to the future of Civil Service Pensions – is likely to come. Well a few days ago Lord Hutton produced his Interim Report and clearly major change is on the way certainly for those still working – employees are going to have to pay more – for less return and work longer.
Hutton as I understand it also confirmed that existing accrued rights would be protected but that future uprating would be on the CPI formula which he admits will make huge savings on the public purse. He also dismissed the view that public sector pensions were ‘Gold Plated’ pointing out that the average pension in payment was under £10.000 a year.
We may get some further indication on the Governments intentions on the 20th October when the Chancellor announces the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review.
I mentioned earlier the CSPA, although the ROA has no affiliation to CSPA, individual members can join for £12 a year, deducted via the pension.
I am arranging for a link to the CSPA website from our ROA website.
And finally — You would have noticed that in April this year there was no increase to the civil service pension. The reason being that under current arrangements the September RPI determines the Pension increase for the following April. In September 2009 RPI was minus 1.4% meaning no increase or reduction”.
Officer and Members of the Committee were re-elected.
Following the AGM DPF National Chairman Eamon Keating gave an overview of the many issues currently impacting on the MDP particularly with regard to the financial pressures and the numerous reviews currently being undertaken including the defence review.
At the Reunion Dinner ROA President Steve Love gave an after dinner speech highlighting key events that had occurred during the previous 12 months. From his remarks the Force is continuing through a difficult period as a result of recent cost cutting measures. The outcome of the governments spending review and defence review would undoubtedly further impact on the force in the months ahead. Retired member Bill Duncan received surprise news when Mr Love announced that Bill had won the Force Lottery and happily presented him with a cheque for £1000.
All who attended enjoyed the weekend event and as ever it was good to welcome several new members joining us for the first time.
Next years AGM/Reunion will be held from Friday 14th to Monday 17th October 2011. The cost is £218 per person. The Booking Form together with detailed information on the venue and cost will be circulated shortly.
Committee Information for Year 2010/11:Chairman: Harry Norwood
Secretary: David King
Vice Chair: Peter Parkes
Treasurer: Les Cracknell
Assistant Secretary: Jon Livitt
Committee: Bill Duncan, Les Gosling, Ken Taylor and Dave Rogers Force Liaison Officer: Ch Supt Andy Kirkwood
It should be noted that apart from the Newsletter that is normally circulated with ‘Talk Through’ the website is updated from time to time with additional news and information. See www.dpf.org.uk/roa for details.
Images from Conference