Protecting Defined Benefit Pension Schemes White Paper

21st March 2018

In the wake of the BHS and Carillion collapses I was contacted by a number of constituents who urged the Government to provide protections for employee pensions.

My constituents and millions across the country will have watched with incredulity as bosses who recklessly put workers’ pension pay-outs in jeopardy seemingly ‘got away with it.’

But under new measures, workers will have the assurances they need that their future retirement savings are safe when a company fails.

The White Paper entitled “Protecting Defined Benefit Pension Schemes” was laid before Parliament earlier this week. It will make it a criminal offence to neglect pension responsibilities and could see businesses hit with fines or even prison sentences if they fail to meet their duty.

There are more than 10.5 million Defined Benefit Pension scheme members in the UK and most employers are doing the right thing and people will get their pension in full. Employers behaving correctly will not see major changes but everyone will be given clear instructions of what is expected from them.

Businesses need support to ensure they can grow and prosper but they also have a responsibility to their employees to meet their pension promise.

Under the changes the Pensions Regulator will be given more powers to get the information they need quickly. Tougher penalties will be introduced, including hefty fines and criminal convictions for those who “wilfully or recklessly” put the financial future of employees at risk.  

It is right that those responsible face tougher sanctions and we need to make sure that the Pensions Regulator has the powers in place to act swiftly when action is needed.

I am delighted Government listened and is introducing penalties for companies that neglect their duties to their pension schemes. This will act as a deterrent to businesses and I hope, for my constituents, it provides reassurance that Government is taking action to keep their pensions protected.