Retreat on BR pension plan fund

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Indy Politics
THE GOVERNMENT was forced into a significant retreat on its rail privatisation Bill last night when it abandoned plans to suspend payments to the British Rail pension fund.

The retreat in the face of angry protests by pension fund trustees was underpinned when the Lords also carried a rebel amendment requiring the Government to tighten the protection for BR pensioners.

The retreat came as Commons rebels and ministers continued attempts to reach a compromise over the Government's refusal to allow BR to compete for rail franchises after privatisation.

The Government was defeated yesterday by 152 votes to 123 on an amendment from Lord Peyton, the former Tory transport minister, which would force the Government to get the written agreement of pension trustees before making any significant changes to the pension fund.