Pension fears af­ter John­ston Press is sold

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY ALYS KEY

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.

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