UK - Around 40,000 workers at Turner & Newell who are facing massive cuts in their benefits may be covered by the government's financial assistance scheme.
The department for work and pensions insists ministers have not yet made any decision on a cut-off date for the scheme.
The DWP was forced to clarify the matter after Mike LeBrun, who is heading up the £400m FAS, told a seminar it would not cover wind-ups between the date the measure was announced – May 14 this year – and the implementation of the Pension Protection Fund next April.
He said a change in the priority order on wind-ups, which was announced on April 19 this year, would be sufficient to cover any victims between these dates.
But critics said this would leave a gap where members of insolvent firms were not covered by any government safety net – including around 40,000 members of the Turner & Newell scheme.
A DWP spokeswoman said: “Mike’s comments were similar to those already made by ministers – that they were advised to use April 1997 and May 2004 as possible cut off dates.
“However, no decision has yet been made and the final decision will rest with ministers. Until this work has been completed it would be unfair to members to make any assurances on this.”
However, Conservative pension spokesman Nigel Waterson (pictured) said: “Changes made to the priority order on wind-up will not be enough to protect people.
“The priority order change doesn’t magic up any more money – it simply takes priority away from pensioners.”
London School of Economics governor Ros Altmann agreed and called for the PPF to be brought in immediately.
She said: “Ministers do not have to have the mechanisms in place, just for it to be made applicable from now.”
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