Thursday 16 June 2016 4:43 pm

If Tata doesn't find a buyer for its UK operations the British Steel Pension Fund could be put into the Pension Protection Fund, trustee warns

If steel giant Tata fails to find a buyer for its UK business it could mean the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) is placed into the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

A warning over the future of the fund has come from the Trustee Board of the BSPS in response to the Department for Work and Pensions consultation in May. 

The Trustee Board found that if the BSPS were forced to be incorporated into the PPF, 58,000 members below age 65, would have their benefits reduced by at least 10 per cent and all members would see reductions in future pension increases.

Read more: Tata Steel writes to UK staff on benefits of EU membership

The trustees have issued proposals involve modified future pension increases and mean no benefit reductions for any members. The board has written to its 130,000 members explaining the proposals.

In recent weeks Tata's sale of its UK assets has been cast into doubt. 

Yesterday, bidders for Tata Steel’s UK operations accused the company of being split over whether to move ahead with the sale.

Tata is currently reviewing bids from up to seven firms for the business, which it announced it wanted to sell in March.

Read more: China has promised to curb steel capacity and "zombie enterprises"

“There seems to be genuine division within Tata over whether to sell or retain the business,” a source close to the sales process told City A.M., adding, “There is a growing amount of frustration among bidders.”

Earlier today, a leading industry body has warned that a Brexit would exacerbate the crisis engulfing British steel, in a stark warning issued ahead of next week's referendum.

Gareth Stace, director of Steel UK, said Britain is better able to prevent Chinese steel dumping which is contributing to low prices if it remains part of the EU.