Church of England debates options to keep DB pension scheme

The Church of England has proposed a series of changes to the terms of its defined benefit pension scheme in a bid to keep the plan open for all employees.

The proposals, which will be debated the national assembly of the Church of England later this month, include: increasing the accrual period for a full pension from 37 to 40 years for all future service, changing the rules of the scheme to that it guarantees post-retirement increases in line with the retail price index to a maximum of 2.5% per annum, and establishing a new policy whereby all future pension increases should reflect what is guaranteed by the scheme rather than its present discretionary link between pension increases and stipend increases.

A Church of England spokesman, said: "Many organisations are currently ending their defined benefit schemes. To avoid having to take such action, the Church of England is considering a range of options to retain the benefits of this type of scheme, which we recognise is an important part of the overall package we offer stipendiary clergy."

This option has been recommended by a task force which consists of the chair of the pensions board, chair of the archbishops’ council finance committee and the first church estates commissioner. The task force was set up in November 2005 to ensure that the clergy pension scheme does not become too costly to maintain.