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CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S MESSAGE

Chief Executive’s View

With a general election on the horizon, the Society remains fully engaged in representing your interests. 

The indicators and warnings that we’re in a general election year are already flashing on the dashboard. Although as I write this no election date has been announced, ‘shaping’ statements of policy and likely manifesto commitments are already being trotted out by the main political parties.

I sense this could be a long election campaign preceded by an equally long ‘phoney war’ where the risk of over-promising and under-delivering could be high. It reminds me of what the late and former Governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, said in 1985 about politics:

“You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.”

Tough choices lie ahead for any future government across all areas of tax and spend. So, as you would expect, we seek to influence any policy debates and keep our antennae tuned for any possible implications for public service pension schemes in general and the Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) in particular.

We will continue to engage with key stakeholders over the coming months. And while commentators may argue there are ‘no votes in defence’, it is increasingly clear to many that matters of defence and security are once again front and centre as the government seeks to deliver upon its first responsibility: to keep its citizens safe and the country secure.

On that note, I attended the Defence Secretary’s Lancaster House speech on 15 January: Defending Britain from a more dangerous world. One extract from his speech stood out for me:

“So, we find ourselves at the dawn of a new era, the Berlin Wall a distant memory. And we have come full circle, moving from a post-war to a pre-war world.”

I had hoped to share an initial update on the MOD’s Haythornthwaite implementation plan and what that could mean for the AFPS, but an update had yet to be issued.

There is a significant amount of work under way, and with so many interdependencies it is essential that it is undertaken in a deliberate, considered manner; I am not advocating a rush to potential failure, which would be in no one’s interests. We will keep you posted via our website and newsletter updates and should have more to say in Pennant come November.

Meanwhile, work at the Society continues at a blistering pace (no change there), and you will get a sense of that when you read through our news and events here.

Finally, Mike Davis has now retired as Deputy Head of Pensions, and we wish him well. And I’m sure you will all join me in congratulating and wishing Wendy Bandeira every success as she steps up into this incredibly important role for the Society. 

I look forward to seeing many of you at our AGM to be held at the Victory Services Club on Wednesday 12 June, more details can be found here.

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