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Watchdog makes pledge to complete pension probe

The Parliamentary Ombudsman has written to members of occupational pension schemes in wind-up pledging to finish the investigation into whether the Government contributed to the downfall by July.

The investigation, started last November, is assessing whether the DWP, the Treasury, Opra and the Inland Revenue National Insurance Contributions Office are guilty of maladministration which directly contributed to scheme members losing their benefits.

The ombudsman has written to hundreds of scheme members who have made complaints about their schemes, stresssing the commitment to finishing the investigation as soon as possible.

Independent pension consultant Ros Altmann says the ombudsman could recommend that Government should pay compensation of up to 5bn if it finds against it. It will consider Government actions such as reducing the minimum funding requirements, failing to tell scheme members of the risks on wind-up and promising final-salary schemes were safe.

Altmann says: “The Government is responsible for what has happened and the real problem is that it is talking about offering assistance, not compensation, which is what these people should have.”

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