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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-14563: Liam Kerr (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 9 February 2018

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the announcement that a new pension fund for retired British Transport Police (BTP) officers will be established around the time of merger with Police Scotland, how much the so-called triple-lock guarantee will cost in the (a) short, (b) medium and (c) long term; from which budget line this will be drawn, and whether allocating this money to cover the pension fund will lead to a reduction in other services and, if so, which.

Answered by: Michael Matheson 7 March 2018

There has been no announcement by the Scottish Government or the Joint Programme Board that a new pension fund for retired BTP officers will be established on the integration of the BTP in Scotland into Police Scotland.

The Joint Programme Board has agreed that, subject to the approval of the British Transport Police Force Superannuation Fund (BTPFSF) Trustee, that existing officers and staff should continue to have access to their current pension scheme on transfer. The Scottish Government have sent a pension proposal to the Trustee and we expect to publish that letter soon. Retired officers will continue to have access to their existing benefits from the same pension scheme. The Scottish Government will refer to pension and actuarial experts to ensure the arrangements are fair for officers, staff and the Scottish taxpayer.

BTP officers and staff who are serving, deferred and retired BTPFSF scheme members will be in the same scheme, with the same pension benefits, with the same Trustee continuing to deliver effective management of the funds.

The cost of railway policing pensions is a key consideration for the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government aims to ensure that public sector pensions are affordable, sustainable and fair. Doing so will ensure that railway policing officers and staff in Scotland remain well-skilled and well-motivated as they deliver an essential service across Scotland.

Pension costs already form part of the costs allocated to the railway industry under the BTP Authority Police Service Agreement model and will continue to do so in Scotland under Railway Policing Agreements by the Scottish Police Authority.