THe Pension Green Paper This is potentially very,very serious stuff. Excerpt from www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk website... DEFENCE BOSS CANNOT CALM FEARS OVER PENSIONS DAVID PERRY 09:00 - 04 March 2003 The Government last night failed to calm fears that pilots, aircrew and other service personnel may be forced to wait for pensions they had been expecting to get on retirement. Defence Minister Lewis Moonie said he could not confirm that all existing service personnel would escape any changes until the Government publishes its conclusions on pension reform plans. Concerns were raised during Defence Questions in the Commons by Moray SNP MP Angus Robertson after he was approached by service families at Lossiemouth. He said senior officers had been unable to answer queries raised by personnel who fear that their retirement plans will be disrupted if they are forced to wait until 65 to receive pensions which they are currently entitled to receive at the end of their service careers. Alarm is being caused by references in a green paper on pensions, retaining a "normal retirement age" for servicemen and women of 55 but recommending that the pensions of those who leave before that age are deferred until they reach the normal retirement age of 65 for public service workers. Another section of the paper suggested Treasury pension rules may be changed to prevent anyone receiving "tax-privilege pensions" - largely those funded from tax-free contributions - before the age of 55. This would hit service personnel, professional sportsmen and others who have to retire at a younger age, possibly forcing them to take another job until they are at least 55. Concern at the airbase is greatest among officers who are currently entitled to a pension after serving a minimum of 16 years and were promised this benefit when they signed up. Mr Robertson asked Mr Moonie for reassurance and was told by the minister: "Until the report is actually received and published I cannot give that confirmation. "What I can say is that those who complete their service according to the rules will suffer no deferment of their pension." A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said service pensions are included in the scope of the Government pensions review. Mr Robertson said it was essential the Government quashed rumours at Lossie-mouth that those who terminate their service before they reach 55 will see their pension entitlement deferred for up to 10 years. He said: "This is a really big issue for service people and I intend to press the Government for clarification. This is not a time for service personnel to be concerned about their futures." Also check out these links: http://www.thepensionservice.gov.uk/ http://www.thepensionservice.gov.uk/greenpaper/ http://www.ukonline.gov.uk/Discussions/DSGroupIndex/1,1772,%7E801b22%7Efs%7Een,00.html So, are us serving members about to get absolutely poleaxed by the goverment and its reforms. ie noone allowed to get any benefits from their pension until 65? Does this mean that despite the fact that I've moved every 2 years or less for the last 14 years ( as have many others and in worse situtations) and only recently been able to get a mortgage on the promise of my gratuity, that my gratuity will be stopped and my immediate pension will not be forthcoming? Many others are in the same situation. What is Mr Loonies (!) phrase about those that complete their time - what about commissioned guys who PVR at the 16 years point? Is that 'their proper time' or are they going to be considered losers because they didn't stay until 55? Will it be only those that stay until 55 that get their pension immediately? What happens to the OR at 40, when they are sent on their way without the promised gratuity or pension to cushion the transition to civ div where they have to start all over again? If you were out on Op TELIC now and found this out what would you think?? If this is what the Government thinks of 'the finest Armed Forces in the world' why are the answers not forthcoming? I have written to my MP to ask him to found out (find out your MP from www.faxyourmp.com) and make some noise. Anyone know any more?