UK - The Conservatives accused the government of being in a "state of denial" over the recent pensions crisis, following a controversial meeting with TUC (Trade Union Congress) secretary general, John Monks.
Monks met with Michael Howard, Conservative shadow chancellor, and David Willetts, shadow secretary for work and pensions, in a move that has led to hostility from fellow unions, including manufacturing giant Amicus, and the UK’s largest trade union body, UNISON.
After the discussion - of which details were not divulged - Willetts told IPN : “During the meeting, we analysed the scale of the problem and discussed policies to tackle it. We agreed to keep in touch on this and other issues.”
Earlier he said in a statement: “Everybody recognises that this is a very serious problem apart from the Government who continue to be in a state of denial.”
Also commenting on the meeting - spurred largely by the spate of final salary scheme closures - Monks said that the TUC’s main concern was the transfer of responsibility for pensions from state and employer to individual employees, who did not have “the means to make sufficient savings for their retirement.”
“This is why employers should be required to contribute to a quality pension for their staff and any government should index the state retirement pension to earnings. While current issues such as FRS17 do need review, the problem is more deep-seated,” he added.
Monks also said that he welcomed the chance to put TUC views to the opposition in what he described as a “useful” meeting.
“Of all issues, pensions policy decisions can affect people for years to come, and the TUC will take every opportunity to put our case for quality pensions.”
By Madhu Kalia
Most respondents in this week's Pensions Buzz do not think businesses should be able suspend AE contributions if in financial distress.
Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell has lost the appeal against his section 72 conviction and sentence for failing to hand over information to The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
This week's top stories include Marsh and McLennan Companies agreeing to buy JLT, and the home secretary calling for AE to be scrapped in a no-deal Brexit scenario.
Lesley Titcomb says the watchdog wants closer interactions with pension funds to spot problems sooner and act before having to use its more stringent powers