From the Bishop of Dudley
Sir, - As the outgoing vice-chair of the Pensions Board and
incoming chair of the Remuneration and Conditions of Service
Committee of the Archbishops' Council, may I reassure your readers
on the concerns raised by Canon Earis (
Letters, 1 February)?
The decision of the General Synod to opt clergy back into the
second state pension (S2P) in 2010 was perfectly sound, and was
taken in full knowledge of the long-term uncertainties surrounding
the future of state pensions. Opting in to S2P was an essential
element of the changes that enabled the defined-benefit scheme to
be kept open at a moment when the deficit was £262 million, and
most other organisations were closing their schemes.
It enabled the Church to preserve as generous as possible a
scheme for the clergy, which also remained affordable to those in
the pews who ultimately pay the contributions.
The present Government has been thinking aloud about the state
pension since 2010, and making periodic statements to that effect.
A draft Bill, technical note, and impact assessment have recently
been published, and a technical analysis of the proposals will be
brought to the Remuneration and Conditions of Service Committee for
Further changes to the proposed legislation are highly likely
during its progress, and the new pension arrangements are not due
to begin before 2017 at the earliest.
Even with the benefit of hindsight, it would have been unwise to
have bet the Pension Scheme family silver in 2010 on future
government policy changes that even now remain unclear.
Church of England Pensions Board
29 Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3PS