Packed houses for British Steel Pension Fund roadshow event in Scunthorpe
Steel pensioners Wendy and Tony Wilkinson
By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 27 Oct 2017
A roadshow to discuss the future of the British Steel Pension Fund attracted packed houses to three sessions at The Baths Hall in Scunthorpe.
Representatives from the existing trustee board and the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) were in town on Tuesday (October 24) ahead of the December 11 deadline for stakeholders to vote on the future of their investments.
Pensioners who attended the first two-hour session agreed that the presentation had been well-organised and well-run.
But many like Martin Harrison, 63, and Chris Cooper, 60, were concerned about the "unknowns" which they now faced.
The two retired electrical engineers said: "It’s a Catch 22 situation. We have to wait for the Government ruling over payments of private pension when the state pension is also taken into consideration."
Many of the participants like Katrina Malynowsky, 58, had decided to opt for a new fund set up with cash from Tata Steel UK, the former owners of the Scunthorpe works.
Katrina, who worked in the Scunthorpe plate mill for 30 years until she was 51, said: "If the new scheme does not work out you can still join the Pension Protection Fund – but not vice-versa."
She also said she remained concerned about the impact on pensioners in same sex partnerships.
Steve Musgrove, a British Steel pensioner, who was at the meeting at The Baths Hall.
Steve Musgrave, 67, a retired maintenance fitter, said: "It was a very useful presentation. It seems if we join the PPF fund we lose out initially, but payments from the new scheme also dip eventually."
Harold Osborne, 72, a retired machinist, said: "Some of the people at the Baths were not listening. They just wanted to know their own personal details there and then without using the help-line provided.
Tony Wilkinson, 74, a retired welder, said: "It was a very good presentation but there are a lot of loose ends to be tied up."
Peter Griffiths, 79, a retired planner, agreed: "There is a long way to go yet. The new scheme does not kick-off until next March."
Joining the 1,000-plus pensioners at the first briefing was Shaun Leckey, the Scunthorpe spokesman for the 4.500-strong British Steel Pensioner Members Group.
Harold Osbourne, British Steel pensioner, who was at the meeting.
Afterwards, Mr Leckey said: "The Baths Hall was full and the session started a little late because of the popularity of the event. It started off with a corporate Powerpoint presentation and introduction by the panellists as they attempted to give a history of how we got into a position that Tata Steel would no longer fund the old scheme.
"During question time the panellist didn’t get an easy ride and at one point there was a lot of angry shouts from the floor.
"Questions were asked over why the transfer values had suddenly increased and if they would have an overhaul effect on the scheme going forward.
"It seems the reason was they had to change the investment strategy when Tata decided it was no longer going to support the old scheme.
"Members tried to get the trustees to commit fully to using any surplus to increase the pre-1997 indexation and to pay additional benefits.
"Apparently it’s in the deeds but members haven seen this document .
"I asked why the pension has been set up in a hurry with some members not receiving figures or booklets and others waiting for a legislature change on the smoothing pension by the PPF and why the December 11 deadline was critical and why it could not extended to give members more time to decide.
"Overhaul it was well run and professionally put together but I did leave with more questions that time did not allow me to ask."
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