Thursday 21 July 2016 1:45 pm

The UK’s pensions lifeboat remains buoyant on Brexit and BHS, despite rising claims values

The UK's pensions lifeboat remains optimistic on its prospects, despite facing the potential rescue of two substantial schemes and uncertainty generated by Brexit.

In figures published today, the Pension Protection Fund reported a £4.1bn surplus for the year to 31 March, up from £3.6bn.

The collapse of BHS earlier this year means the PPF is currently assessing the retailer's £571m pension deficit, while the future of British Steel scheme is currently under consideration.

Similarly, City A.M. reported in late May that the PPF may also have to take on the 33,000 UK pensioners of bankrupt Canadian telecoms giant Nortel Networks.

Read More: Tata Steel spurned £100m-plus offer due to pensions burden

And early estimates have shown liabilities in defined benefit schemes ballooning and causing deficits to widen.

Liabilities could have increased the deficits across the almost 6,000 schemes in the PPF's 7800 Index by £100bn or more.

The PPF said today that the full consequences of the UK's vote to leave the EU remain unclear.

Chief risk officer Hans den Boer said: “There are clear risks in the current economic environment, which have grown since the end of March point that our modelling is based on, but our funding strategy remains on track and we continue to make good progress against it.”

The PPF now has 225,500 deferred and pensioner members, with 10,005 joining in the 12 months to March 2016 alone.

The pensions lifeboat was boosted by reduced numbers of new claims, although the value of these was higher than in previous years.

Of the £2.4bn total compensation the PPF has paid since it was established in 2005, £616m was paid out in 2015/16.