Advice service employees could have pensions halved

Around 200 employees of an organisation that provided advice
through the Connexions Service could have their company pensions
cut by over 50 per cent, it was alleged last week,
writes Amy Taylor. 

Employees of Essex Careers & Business Partnership are facing
a cut after the company lost the contract to provide services for
EST Connexions partnership. The company was put into voluntary
liquidation by its owners Essex, Southend and Thurrock

EST Connexions, the social advice service for young people, has
decided to provide its services itself after the government made a
£25m cut in the £40m provided for partnerships that use
private service providers. The saving should to be used to help
fund services outlined in the Children Bill.

The vast majority of the employees have been transferred over to
EST Connexions but it has refused to take over the pension

Chris Martin, managing director at Independent Trustee Services,
the company that has been appointed to oversee the pension scheme
following the voluntary liquidation, said that the scheme could
have a shortfall of around £5.5m and that people could loose
over half of their pensions. The voluntary liquidation of the
company means it is not liable to make up the majority of the

“In the light of the government’s proposed
amendments to the Pensions Bill aimed at preventing organisations
from changing their circumstances to minimise their financial
obligations to pension schemes, ITS will seek to recover the full
buy out cost from the councils so that members can receive the
benefits they were expecting,” he said.

A spokesperson for Essex council said: “We had to balance
our responsibilities to the workforce with our responsibilities to
the council tax payer.”


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