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Teachers 2015 Scheme - Faster Accruals

Thursday, 05 January 2017 11:18

This is a reminder to Teachers' 2015 Scheme Members who took out a faster accrual contract in 2016/17 that the contract will run out on 31 March 2017

Should you wish to take out a new contract for the tax year 2017/2018, please apply before 31 March 2017. Any applications received after this may not be accepted.

If you are new to the scheme, or are interested in learning more about faster accrual, please see the factsheet.


Firefighters 18-20 SFRS Refunds

Thursday, 29 December 2016 10:16


The amending regulations SSI, which will enable the SPPA to make payments in respect of the Firefighters 'Contributions Holiday', were laid in Parliament on 22 December 2016 and come into force from 6 Feb 2017.

On 23 December 2016 the SPPA Acting Chief Executive wrote to those affected by the amended regulations confirming the progress the Agency has made to date, and our requirements to ensure we can meet our anticipated timescales.

Retired members: We have verified all individuals affected by the 'contributions holiday' and are running test cases to ensure all calculations are correct. We aim to finalise calculations and notify individuals of their entitlement from 6 February 2017 and make payments by 31 March 2017, subject to the return of the appropriate mandates from the members affected.

Active members: The SPPA has confirmed with SFRS that the contributions holiday can commence from 6 February 2017.  GAD will provide the Agency with a calculator specifically for active members and we aim to advise the SFRS of the refund amounts due by  31 March 2017.

*HMRC Requirements:

HMRC has confirmed that the refund payments generated by the retrospective application of the employee contributions holiday constitute unauthorised payments and, as such, will generate an unauthorised payment charge tax liability. An agreement has been reached regarding payment of the surcharge, at no loss to the member, on the provision of a completed mandate to SPPA.  Please see the following link for more information on Unauthorised payments -

Some scheme members may have received additional income from other sources outside their employment as a firefighter during the contributions holiday period and may have sought additional tax relief on their firefighter pension contributions direct from HMRC based on this additional income.  If this has been the case we would arrange for the Governments Actuary Department (GAD) to arrange a bespoke calculation.

Further information is included in our FAQ's.


Consultation on GMP indexation and equalisation

Thursday, 01 December 2016 09:46

Contracted out employment ended on 5 April 2016. Between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 1997 members of contracted out occupational schemes built up an element known as a Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP). A GMP is intended to be broadly equivalent to the additional earnings related state pension the member would have received had they not been contracted out. A GMP becomes payable when a member reaches State Pension age and public service pension schemes were contracted out.

Prior to 6 April part of the annual indexation for a GMP was paid with the member's State Pension but this process ended with the introduction of the New Single Tier State Pension from 6 April 2016. Those receiving a GMP before 6 April 2016 are unaffected by this change.

It is anticipated that the loss of GMP indexation will be offset by individuals building up entitlement in the more generous Single Tier State Pension. However those close to State Pension age will not have the same opportunity to offset their GMP indexation loss and to address this the UK Government introduced an interim solution for those reaching state pension age between April 2016 and December 2018. For these members full indexation on their public service pension scheme  including any GMP will be provided for the member's lifetime by their public service scheme.

In announcing the interim solution the UK Government set out that it would undertake a  public consultation setting out options and seeking views on a permanent solution that will deliver GMP indexation That solution will also provide equalised indexation payments reflecting the different accrual rate of GMP for men and women. On 28 November 2016 HM Treasury issued the UK Government's consultation  and full details are available via the following link  Consultation on indexation and equalisation of GMP in public service pension schemes - GOV.UK  The consultation closes on 20 February 2017.

This consultation refers to those pension scheme members who have a GMP and reach state pension age after December 2018.


Firefighters who joined the Firefighters Pension Scheme (FPS 1992) aged 18-20

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The Scottish Government is addressing the issue of Firefighters' Pension Scheme contributions paid in excess of 30 years' service before age 50.

Following an agreement between the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) (now Home Office) and the Fire Brigades Unions in England and Wales an agreement was reached that firefighters are not required to pay the excess contributions between reaching the 30 year limit and their 50th birthday.   Scottish Ministers agreed that the settlement should also be applied in Scotland.

The agreement means eligible firefighters who retired after 1 December 2006 having accrued 30 years' service will be eligible to receive a refund of any employee contributions paid between the date they reached maximum service, and the day before they reached age 50. Where maximum service was reached prior to 1 December 2006, only contributions paid after that date and before age 50 are eligible to be refunded.  

In addition, currently active FPS 1992 members who have reached, or will reach, 30 years' service before age 50 will be entitled to a "contributions holiday" and refund of any overpaid contributions.  Under the agreement, pension contributions become payable again from age 50.  Payments to active members will be made by the Scottish Fire Rescue Service (SFRS). 

The Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA), which administers Scotland's firefighters' pension schemes, is committed to ensuring that retired firefighters affected by this issue receive any payments they are entitled to in full and as soon as possible. 

On 7 November 2016 the SPPA Acting Chief Executive wrote to those affected to confirm that the Agency is aware of their case and is dealing with it. A further letter will be issued before the end of the year with information on timescales for repayment and how the process will be managed.

If you have any queries regarding the payment process, or you did not receive a letter and consider that you may be affected, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Annual Allowance - 2015/16 Pension Savings Statements

2015/16 statements

SPPA have started issuing 2015/2016 pension savings statements to members and these Statements will be issued where growth in final salary or the CARE Scheme exceeds the Annual Allowance.

We will also be issuing statements to transition members where the total growth across both the final salary and the CARE Scheme exceed the Annual Allowance amount. Members will receive a separate statement from each scheme.

The Annual Allowance for 2015/16 is £80,000 and the pension input period is 1 April 2015 to 5 April 2016.  This is split into two subsequent PIP’s, the pre-alignment PIP which is from 1 April to 8 July 2015 and has an Annual Allowance of £80,000.  The post alignment PIP which is from 9 July 2015 to 5 April 2016 and has an Annual Allowance of £0, but any unused allowance from the pre-alignment PIP can be used, up to a maximum of £40,000. 

Read more: Annual Allowance - 2015/16 Pension Savings Statements


Lifetime Allowance - Important Information

Interim temporary lifetime allowance protection certificates will no longer be valid after 31 August 2016. Any retirement applications made where a member has used the interim protection process will be returned and HMRC will direct the member to the online service to make an application for permanent lifetime allowance protection.

For more information regarding the process for acquiring permanent Fixed Protection 2016, Individual Protection 2016 or Individual Protection 2014 please see:


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Link to Scottish Government Website