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  • by Trevor Loveday

Work and Pensions Committee chair presses Bristol Water pension trustees on surplus handout

Chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee’ Stephen Timms MP has demanded an explanation from the Water Companies Pension Scheme for its decision to hand a £12m pension surplus at Bristol Water to the company rather than to the members of the scheme.

In a19 April letter to chair of the Water Companies Pension Scheme, David Sankey, Timms said the scheme members had informed him that the the trustees were permitted to to use any surplus to augment members’ benefits. “Despite this,”Timms wrote, “the Trustees decided to transfer the remaining funds to the employer without, in [the members'] view, adequate consultation or explanation. We would be grateful if you could explain.”

Timms asked Sankey to confirm whether, in the given circumstances, the rules permitted use of the surplus to increase benefits, and whether the trustees had considered that option. Timms also pressed Sankey to offer a rationale for not exercising that permission, to confirm whether members were consulted, and to explain the involvement of trustees nominated by members were involved in the running of the scheme.

Timms went on: “I am considering asking my committee to discuss whether the legislative

protections available to members of pension schemes regarding rights over surpluses and their ability to elect

Trustees are effective and sufficient.”


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