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PPF lower than expected levy welcomed by industry bodies

Leading industry bodies in the pension and business sectors have welcomed the news that the Pension Protection Fund’s (PPF) estimated levy for the 2013/14 year is expected to remain at same level as that for the current year.

The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) have argued that matching the estimated £630 million pension protection levy expected to be collected in 2012/13 in the 2013/14 levy year, will help to ease the pressure on businesses with so-called defined benefit schemes.

A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) revealed that 91% of the 98 defined pension schemes included in its research were in deficit, with more than half (57%) admitting that deficit totals had slipped further than 2011.

The PPF was established to pay compensation to members of eligible defined benefit pension schemes should their employers become insolvent.
PPF chief executive Alan Rubenstein, argued that while the fragile state of the UK’s economy should have resulted in a higher levy, that the organisation has had to be responsive to the needs of businesses. He said:

 “We are realistic and have listened. We know that many employers are still struggling in the continuing economic turmoil. That is why, exceptionally, we have set a levy estimate that means schemes will typically see levies at similar levels in 2013/14 as they will for this year."

However, the PPF warned that if current high risk conditions were to continue then future levy increases were “inevitable”.

NAPF chief executive Joanne Segars called the PPF's decision both "realistic" and "pragmatic". She said: "While any increase at the current difficult time is unwelcome, it does reflect that the risks to the PPF have increased. The rise would have been more had it not been for the PPF's approach."

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