UK pensions lifeboat is lower in the water after corporate deficits spike in April

Oliver Gill
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UK pension schemes pay a risk-based levy to the pension lifeboat (Source: Getty)

Deficits covered by the UK’s pensions lifeboat rose by over £19bn during April, according to official statistics revealed today.

The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) said the aggregate deficit of the more than 5,700 schemes it covers was £245.6bn at the end of April. This compares with a shortfall of £226.5bn at the end of March.

Read more: UK pension deficits are now lower than they were a year ago

All of the UK's eligible defined benefit pension schemes must pay a levy to fund the PPF. In return, the PPF takes on the schemes if they fall into insolvency.

PPF member payouts in the event of bankruptcy are capped, with annual increases often lower than live schemes pay. Each month the PPF calculates the cost paying an insurance company to take on the schemes.

Blackrock head of UK strategic clients Andy Tunningley said: "As the UK’s general election campaign ramps up, it’s easy to feel a sense of deja vu.

"In recent years, few things have been more familiar than a UK election or referendum. Sadly, pension fund underperformance is one of them."

Read more: Good news for pensions? We aren't going to live as long as we thought...

He continued: “Even though global equity markets performed strongly during April, UK defined benefit schemes seem to have missed the party again."

Schemes insured by the PPF held aggregate assets of £1.51bn against liabilities of £1.76bn. There were 4,391 schemes in deficit and 1,403 schemes in surplus.

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