“What’s so special about 2015?” you may ask. It’s just a number, just another year, a bit like 1984 maybe.
2015 is the proposed date for the next General Election, but 2015 is so much more than that. The next election is almost an irrelevance, no-one knows who to vote for any more any way.
In April 2015 the Civil Service Pension Scheme will change;
For those civil servants who move to the new 2015 scheme, the main features are:
- A move to a ‘career average’ scheme, rather than ‘final salary’ for those currently in classic, classic plus and premium schemes. This means your benefits earned after April 2015 will be calculated in a different way. They will be based on an average of your earnings for each year you work until you leave or retire rather than the last salary you are on. nuvos is already a career average scheme.
- A new ‘accrual rate’ of 2.32%. An ‘accrual rate’ is the percentage of your salary that the scheme puts aside each year towards your pension. The current rate for nuvos is 2.3%.
- A new ‘Scheme Pension Age’ in line with your ‘State Pension Age’ (due to increase to 68 over time). This is the age at which you can draw your new scheme benefits in full. You would be able to retire earlier but your Civil Service pension would be reduced to reflect that it would be paid out for longer. The current Scheme Pension Age for nuvos is 65.
The current final salary police pension schemes will close from April 2015, with future accrual based on the new CARE model.
In a final salary scheme, your pension is typically worked out as a fraction of your final salary for each year of service. The ‘final salary’ used is generally the highest paid level of your last few years. For instance:
- if you are in the Police Pension Scheme 1987, you receive a pension calculated as ((1/60th x the number of years up to 20) + (2/60 x the number of years served between 20 and 30 years)) x final pensionable pay
- if you are in the New Police Pension Scheme 2006, you receive a pension calculated as 1/70th x final pensionable pay x years (up to a maximum of 35 years)
In a career average scheme, each year you build up a ‘slice’ of pension based on your salary in that year. At the end of each year, the slice is increased in line with the revaluation rate used for that scheme – typically either prices or earnings increases – to maintain the value of the pension earned. When a member finally retires, their total pension is calculated by adding up the slices of pension they have built up each year throughout their career.
April 2015 was also scheduled to be the date for implementing the new State Pension Scheme, of a Flat Rate Pension of £140 per week. Reforms were expected to be introduced in 2015, however Prime Minister David Cameron has called for the reforms to be re-examined, according to the Financial Times, calling the expected deadline into question.
The Teachers’ Pension Scheme is also scheduled to change (not for the better perhaps) on 1st April 2015.
April 2015 also sees changes to the Firefighters Pension Scheme; another Career Average Scheme, much along the same lines as other Public Service Pensions.
David Cameron originally assured us that Coastguard Stations would begin to close in 2015, but now seems to have forgotten that promise and the closures have already begun. Rest assured though, I’m sure all scheduled closures will have happened by 2015.
The existing 35 local probation trusts are to be scrapped and replaced by a single, smaller, national probation service. They will also be replaced by 21 “government-owned companies” covering England and Wales that will invite bids from the private and voluntary sectors, including G4S and Serco, to take over existing probation work as well as the new rehabilitation programme for released short-sentenced prisoners. The plans are to be in place by the next general election in 2015.
From 2015 GCSE’s will be graded eight to one, instead of A* to G, and the pass mark will be higher.
There’ll be a move towards essay-based exams at the end of two years, instead of coursework and assessments during the course.
The content will be harder too – for example, English will require studying a 19th-Century novel and a whole Shakespeare play.
The armed forces budget is not safe from cuts after 2015, David Cameron has publicly admitted for the first time.
George Osborne, the Chancellor, is preparing a Spending Review for 2015/16 that has raised the prospect of more cuts in the Ministry of Defence budget, on top of those made by the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2010.
Mr Cameron has previously insisted that “defence can’t be exempt all together from difficult decisions”.
Citizens Advice Bureaux may be forced to close if plans to change the system of civil legal aid go ahead. The Government’s proposals are intended to cut the legal aid bill by £350 million a year by 2015. Funding for a wide range of disputes – including some divorce, clinical negligence, and immigration where the person is not detained – would be axed.
Independent Living Fund
The Independent Living Fund (ILF) – which provides money to help people with disabilities live an independent life in the community – is to close in 2015.
Funding will be incorporated into local social care arrangements – through local councils in England and the devolved governments in Scotland and Wales.
People who already have ILF care packages will have to transfer to new local arrangements.
October 2015, Personal Independence Payment, Claimants aged 16-64 still receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will start to be contacted to claim Personal Independence Payment instead.
NHS Reform, to be completed by 2015, the reforms are partly designed to encourage greater involvement from the private sector and charities. In total, £1 of every £20 spent in the NHS goes to a non-NHS provider. The cost of the reform programme is £1.4bn.
Most of that will come in the next two years as more than 20,000 management and administration staff are made redundant from health authorities, PCTs and the Department of Health.
It could cost as much as £1bn to make redundancies. Another £400m will be spent on things such as IT and property in setting up the new consortia.
But the government claims the cost will be more than offset by savings.
The reduction in staff alone will save £5bn by 2015, according to the government’s own costings.
So, do you still think that 2015 is just a number like any other, or could it be that our wonderful ConDem Coalition government have completely lost sight of ethics and principles, and are in an indecent haste to reform everything in sight prior to the next election in 2015. Bring on the Monster Raving Loony Party I say.