Every so often it is worth reminding ourselves (and others) just what the Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) is all about and those aspects of the Scheme that really matter to us - and therefore you!
The Society has adopted a model based on 5 ‘Pillars’ of the AFPS to help frame any debate with MoD and other stakeholders should the AFPS ever be reviewed, or changes proposed by government; not that we are expecting any such review imminently, but it is important to remain alert to such possibilities and to have prepared our position beforehand.
Our position is captured in the model shown which identifies the foundation, pillars and purpose of the AFPS – supporting career structures and sustaining operationally effective Armed Forces - this is what it is all about!
We explained the model to the Armed Forces Pay Review Body earlier this year as part of a pensions focused session that covered the role of the Society, key concerns of its Members (including the impact of pension taxation) and the extent to which people understand the value and 'non-contributory' nature of the AFPS. There is always more that can be done to make serving personnel more aware of the true value of their pension (and we endeavour to do exactly that) – noting that AFPS benefits are taken into consideration in determining pay scales and that service personnel all contribute through their selfless commitment to the mission 24/7, 365 day a year. This, we argue, much like death and ill health retirement benefits, is a reciprocal element of a so called ‘non-contributory’ pension scheme.
Fundamental to any AFPS must be the ability to genuinely sustain operationally effective Armed Forces – so they can continue to operate worldwide wholeheartedly committed to the cause, confident that their long-term financial wellbeing has not been compromised by their selfless service. If this trust were lost, the consequences could be severe.
Please rest assured we have not been asked for our view yet - but if the call comes you now know our starting position!