Prison Officers: Pension Age

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:45 pm on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington 4:45 pm, 8th October 2019

It is no longer tenable, Mr Hanson. We have reached tipping point, if I might quote a couple of quiz shows. The fact that prison officers are expected to work until the age of 68 disregards basic health and safety; in the opinion of many, it is a complete failure by the Ministry of Justice in its duty of care, under legislation, to prison officers.

I and many Members of the House believe that our uniformed emergency services deserve pension protection. Police officers and firefighters are able to retire at 60,

“to reflect the unique nature of their work”,

to quote Lord Hutton. A prison officer’s unique nature of work has been recognised as being the same as that of a police officer. Section 8 of the Prison Act 1952 gives prison officers

“all the powers, authority, protection and privileges” of police officers. So the Hutton pension test—

“to reflect the unique nature of their work”— applies equally to prison officers, police officers and firefighters. Sixty-eight is too late. How many Members of this House would be able to serve on prison landings at 68? There are few who would be able to serve for a week, or even a day, in such violent and dangerous prisons.