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Section highlightHouses into homes This report details findings to emerge from the evaluation during the first six months of delivery (April to September 2012).
Written Statement - Update on tobacco policy »Standardised packaging of tobacco products and Sub Committees on The Smoke-free Premises etc. (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012.Learn more »
National Library base for US Radio Travel programme
On Saturday 25 May, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth will be host to US radio star, Peter Greenberg.
- Industry and government plan for a healthy future for farming in Wales
- Historic garden is a breakfast TV star
- National Library base for US Radio Travel programme
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Section highlightAccess to information
The Welsh Government has followed the principles of openness in government for many years. Find out how you can make a freedom of information request or see requests that have already been made.
Sky lanterns: environmental and risk assessment »To establish an evidence base to help any future policy decisions on sky lanterns and helium balloons.Learn more »
- Future management of private water supply pipes
- Amendments to the Motor Vehicle (Competitions and Trials) Regulations 1969 and the Motor Vehicles (Off Road Events) Regulations 1995
- Higher Education (Wales) Bill: Technical consultation
- Consultation - Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (Wales) Regulations 2006 (Amendment) Regulations 2013
- Draft action plan for pollinators
Featured consultation »Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011
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Section highlightFurther and Higher Education (Governance and Information) (Wales) Bill 2013
Removes a number of technical restrictions and controls on colleges without changing the principal powers of colleges to provide further, higher and secondary education.
Legislative programme 2012 - 2013 »
Addressing the Assembly in the Senedd today, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, detailed the eight bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the second year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightCommunity Infrastructure Levy
Local authorities can charge a Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments to support the infrastructure needed.
2nd Supplementary Budget 2012-13 »
Proposes a number of changes to the 1st Supplementary Budget for 2012-13, which was published on 26 June 2012.Learn more »
Assembly Sponsored Public Body Pensions
The First Minister:
I am grateful for your permission, Llywydd, to make a statement on the pension arrangements for the Assembly sponsored public bodies being merged.
I appreciate more than most that this is an anxious time for staff affected by the mergers that will take place on 1 April. No-one should be seeking to create any uncertainty for them. Sadly, some are not showing them the same consideration, and are stirring up a pointless furore in the media.
The key points are as follows. How can individuals make sure that they will not lose out on their pensions as a result of the merger? On transfer, it is intended that staff will simply continue as members of their current schemes, with no detriment. They will, as soon as it is administratively possible, be provided with pension statements and independent financial advice and sufficient time in which to consider their individual situations and make informed choices about their pension future. Any decisions taken will be backdated to 1 April, and any necessary adjustments made.
Is it likely that many staff will join the civil service pension scheme? As regards the WDA, whose pension scheme, administered by the Rhondda Cynon Taf pension fund, shows a considerable deficit, we envisage that the majority of staff will remain in their existing pension scheme, because cash-equivalent terms would not be particularly favourable. In the majority of cases, a cash-equivalent transfer would secure less than year-for-year service. However, some staff, most likely those with short service in their existing ASPB pension scheme, may wish to transfer into the civil service scheme. We are therefore providing staff with a set of choices for them to make to suit their personal circumstances, and we will support them in making an informed decision through the provision of independent financial advice.
Would these ‘bulk transfer’ terms suit everyone? Experience has shown that most staff prefer to maintain the status quo and stay in their existing scheme. Our plans are therefore for staff to be able to do that, but also to provide them with the right to transfer into the civil service scheme as an alternative if it suits their individual circumstances. What about previous transfers? It is necessary to look at each transfer individually and to manage it in the best possible way for the staff and the employer. The Assembly Government is a diverse employer and already has some staff who are members of pension schemes other than the civil service pension main pension scheme. On this basis, the intended arrangements for the Welsh Development Agency and Wales Tourist Board staff pensions do not set a precedent. The alternative would be unaffordable, namely to take £38 million from front-line budgets to make up the cost of the transfer from the Rhondda Cynon Taf pension scheme. That way, all staff from WDA could transfer in with all their years of service reckoned in full as previous years of service, but it is unaffordable. Like many pension schemes in the public and private sectors, the WDA component of the RCT pension scheme requires action over a number of years to maintain its financial security.
The Wales Tourist Board has a small problem in that it is a member of the British Tourist Authority scheme, which has almost a notional deficit of just over £100,000. In addition, we have agreed that WDA and WTB staff will have the option to be eligible to join the civil service pension scheme for their future service in the merged organisation. We informed staff of this eligibility in a joint message from unions and management dated 31 January, which has been e-mailed to all staff, and we are currently in discussions with the relevant pension scheme administrators on how the previous service of WDA and WTB staff would be affected should staff wish to come in to the civil service pension scheme. To this effect, we will provide staff with the opportunity to take independent financial advice on the implications of either freezing their previous service in their existing pension scheme or transferring their previous service into the civil service pension scheme under terms to be agreed with the relevant pension scheme administrators, and taking cognisance of the deficit. I will ensure that a copy of the 31 January staff notice is made available to all Assembly Members. I emphasise that Education and Learning Wales and the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales staff, who will be merged on 1 April, are already members of the civil service pension scheme and are, essentially, unaffected.
This outcome is entirely consistent with our previously stated position. In one of our first staff notices, dated 30 July 2004, we confirmed that staff would be able to remain in their current pension scheme or move to the civil service scheme.
We also confirmed that we would enter into negotiations about the opportunity for staff to transfer previous service into the civil service pension scheme, but taking recognition of the WDA deficit problem. This is what we have done—there has been no u-turn and I deprecate attempts by anyone to try to stir-up confusion among those staff at a difficult time for all concerned.