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Govt misses deadline on pension legal challenge

The Government has missed the deadline to respond to the legal challenge launched by the Pensions Action Group over its part in the occupational pensions scandal.

A response had been required within three weeks of the publication in August of the public administration select committee inquiry into the Government’s rejection of the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s report.

But the Government has requested more time while it “takes instruction at the highest level”.

People who lost some or all of their occupational pensions say the Government assured them that their pensions were safe, protected by law or even “guaranteed”.

The committee’s report vindicated much of this criticism, describing the Government’s maladministration of occupational pension schemes as “at best naive, at worse misleading.”

It also dismissed the Government’s defence that the pension leaflets included caveats pointing out that the information was not exhaustive and advice may be required.

It said by not mentioning the limitations of the minimum funding requirement, which “goes to the heart” of legal pension protection at the time, it failed to highlight major risks.

Head of the PAG and former pension adviser to the Government Ros Altmann says the further delay is “shameful”. She says pension campaigners have refused to grant the delay and will ask the courts to speed up the process.

She says: “Some of the people affected are very ill and one person has just been diagnosed with cancer. Another delay is shameful.”

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