The Daily Telegraph

BBC’S pension plan

- Leigh Tavaziva

Sir – Your report, “BBC crisis over £1.7bn pension bill for stars”, (November 4), is incorrect and significan­tly inflates the BBC’S obligation to fund its defined benefit pension scheme shortfall and employer contributi­on rate.

The BBC’S annual report and accounts of 2022-2023 state that the most recent triennial actuarial valuation of the scheme – on April 1 2022 – shows a funding shortfall of £841million in total. The valuation is required by law and the figure is assessed independen­tly by a pension specialist, and has also been reviewed by the National Audit Office.

We have agreed a payment plan with the pension scheme trustee to help ensure that this shortfall is eliminated by December 2028. The plan incorporat­es cash payments supplement­ed by contingent contributi­ons. The cash payments are £50 million annually from April 2023 to April 2027, and a payment of

£38 million the following year. The contingent contributi­ons would be payable in addition to the cash payments, based on future assessment­s of the funding level. Since the 2022 valuation, funding has improved. The latest interim valuation report shows that by April 1 2023 there was a small funding surplus.

The incorrect deficit contributi­on figure quoted by the Telegraph inflates the BBC’S obligation to fund the shortfall by more than double. Our annual reports and accounts, and the agreed recovery plan, are both publicly available.

You also report a contributi­on rate of 42.3 per cent of staff salary into the defined benefit scheme. The schedule of contributi­ons agreed with the scheme trustee as part of the 2022 actuarial valuation states that the employer contributi­on rate for the defined benefit pension scheme is currently set at 30 per cent of members’ pensionabl­e salaries.

The defined benefit pension scheme was closed to the BBC’S new joiners in 2010. We are awaiting a hearing at the Court of Appeal to clarify what options are available to us for the future of the scheme.

Group chief operating officer, BBC London W1

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