Earlier today I presented a 10 Minute Rule Bill to make provision about Multi-employer Pension Schemes, including provision for the protection of unincorporated businesses, such as plumbing businesses, from certain multi-employer pension scheme liabilities; and for connected purposes
The background to this was the revelation that the multi-employer scheme operated for plumbers in Scotland and Northern Ireland, (SNIPEF) is having to advise some members that they owe hundreds of thousands of pounds and even over £1m due to the perceived debt or black hole in their pension fund. However, this is as much to do with changes in legislation to the 1995 Pension Act and how the debt is calculated. And the debt includes “orphan debt” – debts assigned to members who left the scheme prior to the last legislation change in 2005.
As it stands several employers/individuals face financial ruin despite having responsibly tried to look after employees, and many live in fear of financial ruin and cannot change ownership or pass the business on for fear of triggering the debt. A plumbing company in my constituency with approximately 20 employees altogether closed before Christmas as a consequence of it being unsellable with the potential liability associated with it. So changes to the legislation are required before matters get worse across the country.