Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance and Leader of the House
The UK Government introduced the Public Service Pensions Bill into the House of Commons on 13 September 2012 and is aiming for it to receive Royal Assent by May 2013.
The Bill provides for new public service pension schemes from April 2015 which will be based on career average salaries; link normal pension ages to the State Pension age; and introduce an employer cost cap.
The vast majority of public service pension schemes in Wales fall under the provisions of the Bill. In relation to pensions, the National Assembly for Wales’ legislative competence is limited to pension schemes for Assembly Members and members of local authorities. To address the impact of the Bill on the Assembly’s legislative competence, a Legislative Consent Motion was agreed at Plenary on 29 January 2013.
The Bill also impacts on the executive functions of Welsh Ministers’ to establish pension schemes for firefighters (for whom there are two pension schemes) and for members of the Welsh Language Tribunal (for whom there are currently no schemes). The provisions of the Bill mean that pension schemes established under those executive powers would cease to apply to a person’s pensionable service after 5 April 2015. In replacing, or perhaps amending, these existing schemes, (i.e. so as to apply to pension service after 5 April 2015) Welsh Ministers would be required to ensure that the new or amended schemes complied with the requirements of the Bill. We consider that the need to comply with the Bill’s requirements therefore affects Welsh Ministers’ executive functions.
It is the view of the Welsh Government that it is appropriate for the Bill’s provisions to apply to Welsh Ministers’ executive functions in respect of future pension arrangements for Firefighters and Welsh Language Tribunal members. The Welsh Government is maintaining parity with public sector pension provisions elsewhere in the UK.