MP slams ‘risky’ changes to firefighters’ pensions

Michael Dugher MP
Michael Dugher MP

A Dearne MP has spoken up for firefighters, saying that planned changes to their pensions could put the workers’ lives at risk.

Michael Dugher, the MP for Barnsley East, has opposed Government changes to firefighters’ pension regulations. There is a long-running dispute over the proposals that has seen members of the Fire Brigades union stage strike action in recent weeks.

Mr Dugher said: “The regulations put forward by the Government are built on the assumption of a dangerously low aerobic fitness standard. The Williams Review, which the Government itself commissioned, states that the aerobic fitness measure the Government is basing their plans on means “the risk of sudden catastrophic cardiac events increases… with a risk of sudden death particularly while undergoing high levels of physical exertion”. This flawed fitness standard would put firefighters needlessly at risk and fail to protect the public.”

If a more robust fitness standard is implemented, said the MP, it would mean that the assumptions on which the pension regulations are based would no longer be valid. The result would be that a number of firefighters who try to maintain fitness would be unable to meet these operational standards into their late 50s through no fault of their own.

Michael signed the ‘prayer against’ the regulations, which secured a full Parliamentary debate on the issue.

Mr Dugher said, “The Government’s Firefighters’ pension regulations are not fit for purpose. Firefighters risk their lives to save ours and they deserve better than this.”