Carmichael raises concerns about changes to BP defined benefit pensions

18 Dec 2023

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today raised concerns about changes made to the BP defined benefit pension scheme, and warned about the risk to other pensioners. Speaking in Parliament Mr Carmichael highlighted the decision by BP to uprate pensions below inflation, and called for the rules around such schemes to be changed.

Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:

“Members of the BP Pension Scheme, which is a defined benefit pension scheme, have seen the value of their pensions fall by 11% in real terms as a consequence of BP senior management refusing to uprate in line with the cost of living, and despite the fact that the pension fund itself has a £5bn surplus.

“Does the minister agree that if the rules allow a company like BP to deal from the bottom of the deck when it comes to their own pensioners, that these are rules that need to changed?”

Responding for the government, Work and Pensions minister Paul Maynard said:

“I’m always conscious when talking about pension schemes just how many thousands of members may be watching, so I don’t wish to speak off the cuff, but I am happy to meet with him and discuss the matter in greater detail, and see what can be done.”

Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:

“These changes to BP pensions – which on their own will impact many directly and indirectly in the isles – are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to defined benefit pension schemes. If one company can get away with this sort of behaviour then we can expect it to be repeated across the board, with implications for anyone with a defined benefit pension.

“This issue has been bubbling under the surface for some time but ministers cannot afford to ignore it any longer. We need to see officials be proactive to protect the rights of pensioners for the years to come.”

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