Hain rejoins the pensions debate

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Peter Hain, the Leader of the House of Commons, yesterday visited the former Allied Steel & Wire plant in Cardiff as pressure grew on the Government to compensate hundreds of workers who lost their pensions when the company went into receivership in 2001.

Peter Hain, the Leader of the House of Commons, yesterday visited the former Allied Steel & Wire plant in Cardiff as pressure grew on the Government to compensate hundreds of workers who lost their pensions when the company went into receivership in 2001.

Mr Hain, who was visiting the factory in his capacity as Secretary of State for Wales, yesterday said the Government was still searching for a way to help workers who had lost their pension contributions.

"We're still turning every stone to try to find a solution to this problem," he said. "If there is a way to do it, which does not create a situation which will cost taxpayers potentially billions of pounds, there is certainly a will to do it. To be robbed of your pension and lifelong commitment is just disgraceful.

"Gordon Brown and Andrew Smith [the secretary of state for Work and Pensions] have been working hard on this, because it is important to us."

But the Government is running out of time before it faces a major backbench rebellion on the issue. Hopes for a clear commitment for compensation before the end of the week were fading yesterday, leaving the field open for Kevin Brennan, the Labour MP for Cardiff West, to mount a challenge.

Mr Brennam has garnered the support of 298 MPs, 206 of whom are Labour.

New regulations in the forthcoming Pensions Bill will ensure that the pension rights of those not yet retired are protected, but these will not be retrospective. Thursday is the deadline for amendments, and in the absence of any proposals from the Government, Mr Brennan looks set to table his call for compensation for those already suffering.

Comments