On 13th September 2016, Lord Haskell asked the Government whether the Pension Protection Fund will be able to meet its obligations to pensioners. The Lord Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: Perhaps I may push the Minister a little more. I totally accept that the value of pension funds goes up and down according to a number of factors, but recent statistics show that 56 of the FTSE 100 companies had a combined pension deficit of £42.3 billion, which was up from £25 billion in the previous year—so growing fairly steadily. Just last year those FTSE companies were able to pay out dividends of £53 billion—a sign of their success. Does the Minister think that those companies have the balance right between shareholders and employees? If not, will the Government consider doing something about it to ensure that their responsibilities are taken more seriously?
Lord Young of Cookham: The important thing is that the pension funds are able to discharge their obligations to current and future pensioners. With regard to the broader issue that the right reverend Prelate raised, we keep under constant review the legislation concerning the PPF and, indeed, the impact on defined benefit schemes of the current interest rate regime. These things are kept under constant review, including the very valuable point he has just made.