UK - Big firms dominate the government's employer task force on pensions and smaller companies could struggle to voice their fears, a consultant warns.
PIFC Consulting fears the task force – which includes J Sainsbury, Marks & Spencer, EMAP, Whitbread and George Wimpey – will not represent the interests and views of small-to-medium sized enterprises, employing less than 250 staff.
Head of technical services Mike Dowding said: “Given the domination of large employers’ views, it seems unlikely that we can look forward to anything radical emerging which might be of real help to beleaguered SMEs struggling with so many pensions issues at this time.
“These issues have a much bigger impact on SMEs. Where are their representatives in the group?”
He stressed that larger companies are better able to cope with “difficult pensions decisions”.
But the NAPF dismissed Dowding’s fears.
A spokesman said: “The task force’s remit covers all workplace pension provision – regardless of size of employer.
“There are representatives from smaller businesses on the task force, including a member of the Small Business Council. We fully expect the voice of small business to be heard.”
One notable exception to the big business heads on the task force is Simon Topman, the chief executive of Acme Whistles, which has 60 staff. Topman is also a member of the Small Business Council.
A department for work and pensions spokeswoman added: “We did choose carefully and try to get a balance on the task force from different sized companies, different sectors and different kinds of provision, but we also wanted to keep the task force to a sensible number so it didn’t get unwielding.”
And she pointed out that task force members would be going out to the public to hear views from a range of SMEs.
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