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Pension deficit increases in July

The deficit of the UK's final-salary pension schemes reached £283bn in July, up from a figure of £267bn at the end of June.

The figures from the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) revealed that the pension deficit is the second highest level on record in July. However, this figure is still below the record level of £312bn in May, but is more than a three-fold increase on the deficit of £78.0bn recorded at the end of July 2011.

The rising deficit was partly attributed to the fact that the finances of many schemes have weakened as a knock-on effect of the rises in the estimated cost of paying for pensions.

Commenting on the figures, Joanne Shepard, a senior consultant at Towers Watson, a global professional services firm, said: "Ultra-low interest rates on government debt are translating into big deficits for pension funds.

"An added twist that some companies are just waking up to is that today's low interest rates also increase the amount that the PPF is likely to demand in levies next year."

The funding ratio of schemes also fell from 79.6% to 78.9% at the end of July 2012. The figure is lower than the 92.7% recorded in July 2011.

The news follows an interim funding check from the BBC which showed that the corporation’s pension deficit had climbed to £2.6bn. The increase from a shortfall of £1.4bn in 2011 was blamed on factors including low interest rates and weak economic conditions.

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