May vows to protect pensions from 'unscrupulous bosses'


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The Tories will pledge to increase the powers of regulators over company pensions

Theresa May has announced plans to protect pensions from “unscrupulous” bosses if she wins the election.

The Tories will pledge to increase the powers of regulators over company pensions, including fines for employers who deliberately underfund schemes.

Following the BHS pension scandal, corporate takeovers could be blocked where the solvency of the company scheme appears to be threatened.

Meanwhile, Labour has unveiled a plan to strengthen rights at work.

Billionaire Sir Philip Green sold BHS for £1 in 2015 and a year later it went into administration with a £571m pension deficit.

Earlier this year, he agreed with the Pensions Regulator to pay £363m to settle the company’s pension scheme.

Mrs May said: “Today I am setting out our plans, if elected, to ensure the pensions of ordinary working people are protected against the actions of unscrupulous company bosses.

“Safeguarding pensions to ensure dignity in retirement is about security for families, and it’s another example of the choice in this election.”

The Pensions Regulator would also be able to impose large fines on bosses who “wilfully left a scheme under-resourced”, she said, and company directors could be struck off in more serious cases.

The Tories will also consider a new law to make it illegal to intentionally or recklessly put a pension scheme at risk.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, Mrs May criticised Labour leader Mr Corbyn, saying he was “weak, unstable, nonsensical and floundering” and said Labour had launched seven “conflicting” Brexit plans.

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Jeremy Corbyn is due to address the National Association of Head Teachers conference

Meanwhile, Labour has announced a 20-point plan to end the “rigged economy” in the workplace.

The plan includes giving all workers equal rights from day one; pledges to ban zero-hours contracts; guaranteeing trade unions a right to access workplaces; raising the minimum wage; banning unpaid internships; and amending company takeover rules to protect employees’ pensions.

Mr Corbyn is expected to address the National Association of Head Teachers conference in Telford later.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “These policies will be the cornerstone of the next Labour government’s programme to bring an end to the rigged economy that many experience in workplaces across Britain.

“The scandals of six million people earning less than the living wage, and four million children growing up in poverty, are not inevitable.

“It only takes a change of government to bring these outrages to an end.”



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