Pension crackdown: Up to seven years in jail for reckless bosses

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Bosses face being jailed for up to seven years if they are reckless and play “fast and loose” with their workers’ pensions.

Cabinet minister Amber Rudd warned executives if they run the schemes “into the ground” and “saddle” them with “massive, unsustainable debts” then “we’re coming for you”.

The pensions secretary insisted she will make such “wilful or reckless behaviour” a criminal offence and those found guilty could also face unlimited fines.

Ms Rudd’s pledge follows the BHS pensions scandal which saw the retailer go into administration a year after it was sold by Sir Philip Green for £1 in 2015.

The collapse left a £571m pension deficit.

Sir Philip later agreed to pay £363m towards it to end action against him by The Pensions Regulator (TPR).

The government launched a consultation last summer as part of moves to beef up the TPR’s powers.

The regulator can step in more quickly and more often when companies make changes which could damage a pension scheme.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Ms Rudd said: “To curb these freelancers playing fast and loose with your cash, I am going to make ‘wilful or reckless behaviour’ relating to a pension scheme a criminal offence, with jail terms of up to seven years for the worst offenders.

“We’ll also give the courts powers to levy unlimited – yes unlimited – fines.

“So if you run your company pension into the ground, saddling it with massive, unsustainable debts, we’re coming for you.

“If you gamble your employees’ futures on risky investments that put a pension scheme at risk, we’re coming for you.

“And if you chronically mismanage a pension scheme and it goes under, we’re coming for you.”

(c) Sky News 2019: Pension crackdown: Up to seven years in jail for reckless bosses

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