UK PM announces new measures to protect workers’ pensions from irresponsible behaviour by company bosses
- New rules to protect pensions during takeovers – and increase punishments for those found to be mismanaging schemes
- Consideration of a specific new criminal offence for those risking the ability of a pension scheme to meet its obligations
- Takeovers could be blocked where pension schemes risk insolvency
Today (Sunday), as part of her plan to deliver a more secure economic future for families across the country, the Prime Minister is announcing new measures to protect the pensions of workers against irresponsible behaviour by a minority of company bosses.
In recent years, the employees of several large, household-name companies have had their pensions put at risk by the irresponsible behaviour of bosses. Meanwhile, responsible companies managing their pension schemes in the right way have found their competitive position suffer as a result. This is bad for ordinary working families and bad for the market.
Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Today I am setting out our plans, if elected, to ensure the pensions of ordinary working people are protected against the actions of unscrupulous company bosses. Safeguarding pensions to ensure dignity in retirement is about security for families, and it’s another example of the choice in this election. Strong and stable leadership delivering for Britain, or a coalition of chaos led by Jeremy Corbyn, which can’t get the right deal for Brexit, and risks our growing economy with higher taxes, fewer jobs, more waste and more debt.”
A Conservative Government will give pension schemes and The Pensions Regulator the power to scrutinise takeovers or unsustainable dividend payments that threaten the solvency of a company pension scheme. Any company pursuing a merger or acquisition valued over a set amount – or with more than a prescribed number of members – would have to notify The Pensions Regulator, who could then apply clearance conditions. In extreme cases, where there was no credible plan or willingness to ensure the solvency of the scheme, the pension scheme or The Pensions Regulator could be given new powers to stand in the way of takeovers.
Under the plans, The Pensions Regulator would also receive new powers to issue punitive fines for those found to have wilfully left a scheme under-resourced. If fines proved insufficient, the company directors in question could be struck off for a period of time. Going further, the Government is considering introducing a specific new offence making it a criminal act for a company board to deliberately or recklessly put at risk the ability of a pension scheme to meet its obligations.