The Government is facing a backbench rebellion over the Pensions Bill from a large number of MPs supporting an early day motion calling for compensation for pensioners who have seen their funds disappear after the collapse of their employers.
Cardiff MP Kevin Brennan has tabled the EDM, challenging the Government to compensate thousands of pensioners who have lost all or nearly all their pension pots following the closure of companies. The motion has been supported by 215 MPs, 150 of them Labour.
The creation of a pension protection fund is likely to be included in the Pensions Bill but it will only cover workers in schemes which collapse from 2005 which the Labour MPs say will be too late for thousands of pensioners.
Trade unions ISTC and Amicus representing former steel workers from Allied Steel and Wire are taking the Government to the European courts over the issue.
Speaking at Prime Minister's Question Time last week, Brennan said: “Is it not a disgrace that despite the fact that the Conservatives have been pretending in public to support those workers, in private, the party's pensions spokes-man has written to his backbenchers to tell them not to sign the EDM?” Responding, Prime Minister Tony Blair said: “I know that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Minister for Pensions have been meeting representatives and affected members from ASW.”