Police: Pensions

Home Department written question – answered on 1st April 2008.

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Photo of David Ruffley David Ruffley Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department

(1) how much was spent on the police pension scheme in each year since 1980-81; what forecasts she has made of how much will be spent in each year between 2007-08 and 2050-51; how many members of the scheme there are; and if she will make a statement;

(2) what the cost of pension provision to each constabulary was in each year since 1997; and what percentage of the budget of each force this represented in each of those years.

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing), Home Office

The information requested on the total cost of police pensions and on the cost of pension provision as a share of police spending for each constabulary for the years before 2006-07 is not held centrally as the administration of the police pension schemes is the responsibility of individual police authorities. Information on financial statistics, including expenditure on police pensions and overall spending, for police forces is included in the annual reports published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). This information is gathered independently of the Home Office.

However, the system for financing police pensions changed on 1 April 2006. Under the new system, police authorities no longer have to meet the cost of pensions in payment out of their operating accounts. Police authorities now have a separate pensions account for this purpose, into which are paid officers' contributions and a new employer's contribution. Where the pensions account does not have enough funds to meet the cost of pensions in any year it is topped up with a grant from central Government; any surplus is recouped. A key benefit of this change is that it takes away from police authorities the responsibility for meeting the rising cost of pensions in payment as a result of an increase in the number of pensioners.

Figures from the annual police pensions financing reporting cycle show that based on police forces' unaudited accounts for 2006-07, the estimated pensions expenditure from forces' pensions accounts under the new system across the service was £1.96 billion—£1.46 billion net of the contributions made by serving officers.

The following figures are the most recently published projections of total future expenditure on police pensions in England and Wales, net of the contributions made by serving officers. These were produced by the Government Actuary's Department (GAD) as part of the consultation process on the new system for funding police pensions in 2005. GAD advise that in view of the time elapsed since the figures were produced they should be viewed only as indicative as the likely future trend of police pensions expenditure. No projections are available for 2013-14 to 2050-51.

The following table outlines figures for the expenditure of each police force on employer contributions for police pension purposes, based on their unaudited accounts, set against each force's budget requirement for 2006-07 as a percentage.

Membership figures are not held centrally, but we estimate that there are approximately 140,000 active members of one or other of the two Police Pension Schemes. We also estimate that there are approximately 120,000 police pensioners, including survivor pensions, and a further 20,000 police deferred pensioners. This gives a total estimate of 280,000 members of the police pension schemes.

Financial year Estimated pensions expenditure (£ billion)
2007-08 1.61
2008-09 l.74
2010-11 1.88
2011-12 2.00
2012-13 2.25
Financial year 2006-07
Police force Budget requirement 2006 Un-audited accounts 2006-07 Employers contributions (£000) percentage of budget
Avon and Somerset 236,729,347 26,609 11.240
Bedfordshire 87,335,239 210 10.546
Cambridgeshire 110,474,455 11,253 10.186
Cheshire 150,305,000 17,097 11.375
City of London 61,206,000 7,556 12.345
Cleveland 114,975,143 113,156 11.442
Cumbria 90,328,000 9,866 10.922
Derbyshire 145,328,989 15,829 10.892
Devon and Cornwall 246,273,836 27,233 11.058
Dorset 103,055,700 11,725 11.377
Durham 102,583,311 13,432 13.094
Dyfed-Powys 79,892,792 9,575 11.985
Essex 231,985,273 24,944 10.752
Gloucestershire 91,489,400 10,204 11.153
Greater Manchester 503,504,176 61,560 12.226
Gwent 106,054,899 11,507 10.850
Hampshire 269,722,000 13,060 10.568
Hertfordshire 164,225,494 7,161 9.812
Humberside 158,052,928 7,716 11.216
Kent 247,311,000 12,474 11.302
Lancashire 239,533,000 12,380 11.585
Leicestershire 148,270,715 17,331 11.689
Lincolnshire 86,492,378 9,439 10.913
Merseyside 296,426,757 34,294 11.569
Metropolitan 2,425,700,000 254,974 10.511
Norfolk 124,672,108 12,503 10.029
Northamptonshire 105,398,000 10,286 9.759
North Wales 118,675,632 12,600 10.617
Northumbria 260,475,000 31,672 12.159
North Yorkshire 122,894,000 12,915 10.509
Nottinghamshire 170,490,070 19,629 11.513
South Wales 222,649,897 25,908 11.636
South Yorkshire 230,581,818 26,240 11.380
Staffordshire 164,024,687 18,053 11.006
Suffolk 97,352,382 10,259 10.538
Surrey 172,396,784 14,973 8.685
Sussex 227,247,669 24,035 10.577
Thames Valley 329,137,246 32,224 9.790
Warwickshire 76,560,000 8,198 10.708
West Mercia 176,766,000 18,670 10.613
West Midlands 501,612,139 61,670 12.294
West Yorkshire 380,196,015 43,344 11.400
Wiltshire 91,633,000 9,722 10.610

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