I today asked the Government to ensure that current and past Carillion staff do not see a reduction in their pensions as a result of the company’s collapse.
Construction firm Carillion, which employed 250 people in their city centre offices in Sheffield, has a pension fund deficit approaching £1 billion. It is understood that Carillion has 13 Defined Benefit (DB) schemes in the UK with 28,500 members.
During Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Questions in the House of Commons, I asked what discussions the Business Secretary has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the potential effect of the liquidation of Carillion on workers’ pensions.
In his response, Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said that the taskforce established to tackle the impact of Carillion’s liquidation includes the Department for Work and Pensions, and that the Business Secretary is in regular contact with the Pensions Secretary. He also said that those already receiving their pensions will continue to receive payment at 100% of the usual rate and that anyone worried about their pension situation can contact the Pensions Advisory Service and their dedicated helpline.
I then said:
“I thank the Minister for his answer but I think it would be little comfort to Carillion staff past and present when they hear that their pensions fund is approaching a deficit of £1billion. Public sector contracts have made some at the top of Carillion very rich indeed. What action is he taking to ensure that those current and future pensioners don’t lose out?”
Carillion staff and pensioners must not be made to pay for the mistakes of management and the failure of Government oversight. It looks like current staff will receive reduced pensions and may lose some inflation-proofing. Existing pensioners will receive 100% of their benefits, but might face lower annual increases.
I have already discussed the position with the Business Minister, who has given me assurances on the position of Carillion staff for the foreseeable future. I will continue to press the case to protect both jobs and pensions.
You can watch my exchange with the Minister here.