The BBCPA has received sad news of the sudden death of ex chairman Martin Cox aged 74, who was on holiday with his family in Portugal. See our Obits page in the Members area of this site.
Pension Increase Exchange: PIE
In common with many other employers, the BBC is to offer many pensioners an option to receive future pension benefits in a different way. if you are an eligible Old Benefits Scheme pensioner, the BBC Director of Finance will have written to you.
His initial letter explains how you will have 3 months in which to consider your options. He also says that, if you do nothing, your pension arrangements remain the same.
If you decide to take-up the option, the main effect will be to increase pre-April 1997 earned pension benefits to a higher flat level, on which it will remain with no regular increases. Any post- April 1997 element will continue to attract increases as usual.
BBCPA sees this as a move by the BBC to have a more predictable pension liability. Since inflation cannot be predicted with accuracy, an offer of bigger pensions now but with no further increases, the BBC's future liabilities are more certain.
Your BBCPA committee wants to reassure you about these arrangements as the BBC's letter is not as clear as it could be - or you may not have received one at all.
For BBC Old Benefits Scheme pensioners who have not had a BBC letter, this is likely to be because you are not eligible for one reason or another. To find out why, contact the BBC Pension & Benefits Centre helpline: Tel. 029 2032 2811.
If you are aged under-80 and have had a letter, the BBC will write to you again later this year with a personal information pack and will explain how to get financial advice from the appointed Independent Financial Adviser (IFA), Chase de Vere. The company will provide professional advice on the option (at BBC expense). This does not commit you in any way but, if you tell the BBC by 22 Oct. 2015 that you want nothing to do with the option, a pack will not be sent to you, nor any information about you will be shared with Chase de Vere.
If you are aged over-80 and have had a letter, the BBC will not prepare an information pack for you, or share any information about you with the IFA, unless you express an interest in receiving more details about the option by 8 Nov. 2015..
We would emphasise that PIE is a voluntary option introduced by the BBC for eligible Old Benefits pensioners. It may be suitable for some and not for others. Information packs will set out the option's affect on you and for any dependants. If you are considering taking this option, you should know that it can be a regulatory requirement to have taken independent financial advice before making a final decision.
In all cases, the decision is for you and not the BBC. Nothing will change for anyone who does not take-up the option, whether by telling the BBC or doing nothing.
BBCPA is satisfied that the procedures will not breach the Data Protection Act, e.g. in the passing of personal data about you to Chase de Vere. We have also established some flexibility on the part of the BBC over deadlines; information packs and data to the IFA will not be sent out if late replies are received before their despatch.
BBCPA continues to discuss PIE matters with BBC Pension Scheme Management & the BBC.
Hugh Sheppard - BBCPA Chairman
Please note: the BBC, BBC Pension Scheme Trustees, the Pensions & Benefits Centre and BBCPA are unable to provide financial advice.
BBC Charter Review public consultation
The government has published its Green Paper on the future of the BBC. You can read the document and submit your thoughts on their website - BBC Charter Review public consultation.
BBCPA Regional Meetings
Each October the Association holds 2 or 3 meetings outside London. We are currently arranging these. Please check the Regional Meetings page to find out more.
BBCPA AGM 2015
This year's AGM (Our 28th) took place on Thursday 16th April at the Friends' Meeting House, 173-177 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ.
From left to right: Nick Whines, Hugh Sheppard and Alan Bilyard.
Edited highlights of the AGM: You can listen to the speeches by Colin Browne (Any Other Business), Natasha Maclean (Memory Bank) and Sir John Tusa.
All recordings are © BBCPA2015.
If you were unable to attend this year's AGM, we have made an audio recording of the whole of the meeting proceedings that you can listen to on the meetings page.
At the April 2015 AGM, copies of a short report called SKY HIGH! were made available, which compared the cost of viewing free-to-air television with the cost of a subscription account for pay-TV. Now updated, it sets out many of the reasons why the licence fee which pays for the BBC is such good value, particularly when the typical cost of SKY subscription is taken into account.
This report comes at a crucial time for the BBC. The next Royal Charter is due to take effect in 2016 and is inextricably linked to the licence fee, which has already been frozen at £145.50 for six years since 2010. Not only frozen, but with more demands placed on the BBC's budget, such as the funding of the World Service and S4C.
The report previously published in the Members section of this web site is now available to all - read Sky High! here.
Rona Fairhead's speech to the RTS
BBC Trust chair's first speech in her new role reveals her initial observations from four months in the job and sets out how the corporation should address the challenges it faces.
The speech delivered 4th Feb 2015 was entitled 'Confident and connected - A BBC fit for the future'.
Pensioner Nominated Trustee
In the recent election for a Pensioner Nominated Trustee of the BBC Pension Scheme, Leslie Huss-Smickler received the majority votes and so will be appointed a trustee of the scheme. Leslie is a committee member of the BBC Pensioners' Association. Nils Blythe was the runner up. Read more...
Pension Increase 2015
The increase to BBC pensions that have been in payment for at least 12 months will be applied from 1 April 2015. A proportionate increase will be applied if the pension has been in payment for less than 12 months. Read more...
Beware of Pension scams
Pension scams are on the increase in the UK. ‘One-off pension investments’, ‘pension loans’ or up front cash are being used to entice savers. Read more on The Pension Regulator web site - Dangers of pension scams.
Some confusion has arisen recently over the discount that members of the BBC Pensioners' Association can obtain on Radio Times and other BBC magazine titles.
Immediate Media the new owners of BBC Magazines have now clarified the situation. Members of the Association who take out a direct debit will be charged £26 for 26 editions of RT posted to their home address. This represents a substantial saving on the shop price and more than covers the annual subscription to the Association. Those members who already receive Radio Times will continue on the old tariff until further notice.
To take advantage of the discount you will need to quote a code which is contained in the most recent copy of the Newsletter or can be obtained by emailing the Membership Secretary email@example.com