Following a meeting with local firefighters at the Penrith Fire Station, Rory Stewart MP has again raised concerns over firefighter’s pensions with Penny Mordaunt MP – the Government Minister responsible for Fire Services. In particular, Rory Stewart has sought further assurances and clarification over job security and pension payouts for those firefighters over the age of 55 who are unable meet fitness requirements. The Penrith and The Border MP has worked with representatives of the Fire Brigade on this issue for many months, and has repeatedly pressed for firm assurances that under the new pension scheme, firefighters over 55 would not find themselves penalised in any way, should they fail a fitness test. Rory Stewart was given a full tour of the new Penrith Fire Station, and observed a training drill which saw firefighters simulate a rescue at a road traffic accident. The local MP had a chance to handle the heavy machinery often required in such an emergency, to get a sense of the physical demands expected of firefighters, whose retirement age has recently risen to 60.

Rory Stewart said:

“In December last year, government made a clear commitment that those firefighters over 55 would be offered redeployment opportunities or an unreduced pension should they fail a fitness test. At the time, this had seemed a fantastic result for firefighters who have led a great campaign on this issue. But it now appears that some fire and rescue service employers – like Cumbria County Council locally – do not feel the legal position has changed, and have refused to guarantee the assurances laid out by government. This is disappointing, and firefighters have a right to feel frustrated by this latest setback. I have therefore written again to Penny Mordaunt, to ask that her office review the current stance of local authorities, and ensure that one way or another, firefighters are not unfairly penalised as a result.”

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