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Pension Liabilities: Plumbing Industry

Volume 662: debated on Monday 1 July 2019

18. What recent discussions she has had with representatives from the plumbing industry on section 75 pension liabilities. (911658)

I met plumbing representatives from Lancashire recently, and those in Angus and Perth last year. We also debated this matter in the House last year. There are nearly 1,000 last man standing multi-employer schemes. Most respondents to the Green Paper on defined-benefit pensions felt that the current buy-out basis was a clear and fair way in which to calculate an employer debt.

My constituent Margaret Briggs, having paid £21,000 over 11 years with four employees into a pension scheme, has in the past four weeks received a demand for £331,000. How is she expected to pay this, and how can that possibly be rational and fair?

I cannot speak on the specifics of the individual scheme, but the majority of the employers in these schemes are incorporated and are not personally liable for any debt. The flexible apportionment arrangement can be used to help unincorporated employers who wish to incorporate, and the plumbing pension trustee has a streamlined flexible apportionment arrangement process that employers can use. Alternatively, where the employer debt arises in multi-employer schemes as a result of an employer cessation event, there are a number of mechanisms in the occupational pension schemes employer debt regulations that can be of assistance.