UK - The Conservatives have attacked the government's pension policies after new figures showed only 40% of FTSE350 firms have an open final salary scheme.
The Tories claim increasing pension costs and additional regulatory burdens are to blame for the massive closure of schemes to new members over the past year.
And it warned that the government’s latest pension proposals would only make matters worse.
Conservative work and pensions spokesman David Willetts said: “All the government proposals since the end of last year will merely add to the costs of running schemes, so we can expect further bad news.”
Willetts hit out after Mercer Human Resource Consulting’s latest survey of FTSE350 companies showed that only 40% of the UK’s biggest firms now offer final salary pension schemes to new members compared with 66% a year ago.
Willetts added: “Labour has given up on its stated aim of expanding the provision of private pensions, and is now concentrating on trying to stem the flow of bad news.
“We badly need new incentives for companies to provide pensions.”
Buck Consultants technical manager Kevin LeGrand said confidence in the pension system was being eroded with each new deficit calculation. But he urged companies not to rush any decisions over scheme closures.
He explained: “With employers facing increasing pressures, not least because of the poor stock market performance and snapshot accounting, it is important that they avoid knee-jerk reactions.
“Rushing to close schemes can in itself be costly – what we need is strategic long-term thinking for this long-term issue.”
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