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Another regulator for pension rescue

A new pension regulator will form part of the pension protection scheme aimed at covering company schemes that have folded.

The Queen&#39s Speech last week set out plans to step up efforts to educate the public on pensions, including a website giving consumers access to details of their likely state pension entitlement.

From 2005, employers will have to pay into a fund which will cover staff pensions if a firm becomes insolvent.

Under the current rules, which were changed in the wake of the Maxwell scandal, staff whose schemes collapse after they retire are protected but those who are still working are not.

Former ASW workers are taking their case against the Government to the European Court to seek compensation for failure to use a European directive that could have protected staff money when the company became insolvent.

Shadow Work & Pensions Secretary David Willetts criticised the proposals, saying: “The Pensions Bill imposes new obligations on employers with-out the Government doing its bit by sorting out the mess in its own backyard. There is nothing in the proposals that would encourage anyone to set up a pension. All they can offer is new burdens and more means&#39 testing.”

Steel and metal workers union ISTC general secretary Michael Leahy says: “This will mean that no British worker should have to suffer the fate of the ISTC members at ASW, who lost their jobs and were told they would receive only a fraction of their expected pensions.”

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