UK - Pension Protection Fund inaugural chairman Lawrence Churchill has been warned not to "intrude into political matters" over its future funding.
Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay claimed Churchill’s assertion in IPN’ sister publication Professional Pensions that it was “outrageous” to suggest the government should act as guarantor had stirred up a “political controversy”.
In the article, National Association of Pension Funds chairman Terry Faulkner (pictured) questioned whether it was appropriate for Churchill to “wade into the political debate” while still getting to grips with workplace pension issues.
And Oakeshott, the Liberal Democrats’ Treasury spokesman, agreed.
He told the Lords that Churchill had been intruding very strongly in political matters, which he should not do as parliament had not yet taken a decision on the matter.
He added: “It is quite inappropriate for the newly appointed chairman of the PPF to weigh in on one side or other of that debate. Would the minister ask him if he would not indulge in political controversy. That is clearly what it is.”
NAPF chief executive Christine Farnish agreed.
She said: “The PPF is a highly complex area. We would expect anyone coming to it fresh to want to listen to those who have been thinking about it for some time before stating a view.”
However, pensions minister Baroness Hollis of Heigham defended Churchill’s comments.
She said: “In his discussions with stakeholders, the press, and so forth, he is entitled to make clear what he regards to be the purpose of the PPF and his function in it.
“I have not heard anything he has said that seems to trespass beyond what we would expect from someone seeking to establish a brand new fund and as chairman of it.”
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