Plea to retirement and care homes ahead of British Steel pensions deadline

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 19 Dec 2017

A plea has gone out to staff in retirement and care homes in North Lincolnshire to check on residents who are members of the British Steel Pension Scheme to see if there are aware of this Friday’s (December 22) to decide on the future of their savings.

The 4,500-strong British Steel Pension Members Group made the call following concerns that up to 20,000 stake-holders may miss the deadline.

The deadline was extended by 11 days to allow pensioners more time to consider either moving their savings into a new fund financed by Tata Steel UK or stick with the present scheme which will be run from next March by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

Read more: New partnership will save British Steel tens of millions of pounds

Shaun Leckey, the Scunthorpe spokesman for the action group, said: “There are fears that 20,000 members will miss the December 22 deadline and will see their savings transferred by default into the PPF.

“We are urging members in the Scunthorpe area to make their choice and send back their forms as soon as possible.

Pensioners pictured leaving the Baths Hall, Scunthorpe following a meeting to explain the new British Steel Pension Scheme options.

“There may be members who are not aware of the dead-line or have moved address and cannot be traced.

“We would ask people who know some-one who has worked in the steel industry in the past, to check on them. There may be some of our older pensioners in retirement homes who are not aware of what’s happening."

A spokeswoman for the PPF said: ”The right choice will be different for each member and will depend on personal circumstances and preferences.

“For many members, particularly non-pensioners this is a difficult decision and confusing time.

“Both options offer lower benefits than the old scheme. This is a finely balanced decision for many members."

The PPF has expressed concern that for some members opting or choosing to rely on the PPF is “being portrayed as a bad or inappropriate outcome”.

Alan Rubenstein, the PPF chief executive, in a letter to the Parliamentary Works and Pensions Committee, said benefits available to members had been “an area of significant misconception”.

Mr Rubenstein said:”A member might be better off or no worse off dependent on accrued benefits and personal circumstances. There may also be non-financial factors at play in member decision making."

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