Pension fears after Johnston Press is sold
THE pensions watchdog is facing questions from MPS after the sale of News Letter newspaper owner Johnston Press put its pensioners at risk of cuts.
Frank Field, the chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee, has written to the Pensions Regulator to ask if protections are in place to prevent pension schemes being “dumped” on the taxpayer-backed Pension Protection Fund (PPF).
It comes after the publisher, which has a stable of regional titles including The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post, was bought out of administration by creditors through newly-formed company Jpimedia over the weekend.
Jobs across the company’s titles have been safeguarded by the deal, but an assessment period has been triggered for the employees on the defined-benefit pension scheme, meaning it could be bailed out by the PPF.
If the scheme is rescued by the official lifeboat, former employees could face cuts to their retirement incomes.