Court rejects BT’s bid to change inflation-linked benefits

first_imgTelecoms giant BT cannot change the index it uses to calculate pension increases for certain members of its pension scheme, according to a UK court ruling today.The company was seeking to find out whether it would be able to use the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) instead of the Retail Prices Index (RPI) to calculate inflation-linked annual pension increases. The CPI is typically lower, so being able to use it would have helped the company deal with a large deficit in its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme.According to BT’s annual report for the 12 months to 31 March 2017, the pension scheme had a shortfall of £7.6bn (€8.6bn). However, a funding update issued by the trustees last year put the deficit at nearly £14bn as of 30 June 2016.The company had agreed in principle with the trustee of the BT Pension Scheme (BTPS) to switch its inflation measure to the CPI, but it wanted to check whether this would be deemed compatible with the scheme rules. The High Court today ruled against BT.The company said it was disappointed with the decision.“[W]e will now consider the judgment in detail in order to decide next steps, including the possibility of an appeal,” it added in a statement.According to Slaughter and May, which acted for the BTPS trustees, BT had argued that RPI had “become inappropriate” for the purposes of the relevant scheme rules and that the company could therefore, following consultation with the trustee, switch away from RPI. The trustee said it was in the process of analysing the judgment and would provide a further update once this was done.BTPS is the largest private sector pension scheme in the UK and the 11th largest in Europe, according to IPE’s Top 1000 Pension Funds report.The court ruling comes as BT has just completed a consultation on changes to its main DB and defined contribution (DC) schemes.The company has proposed closing BTPS to future accrual in April, with all members’ contributions moving to the BT Retirement Saving Scheme (BTRSS), the main DC plan. BT would pay additional contributions into the BTRSS for up to 10 years.As an alternative, the company proposed keeping BTPS open on a significantly amended basis, whereby benefits would increase more slowly in future and members would have to contribute more.BT said it was now considering employees’ feedback to the consultation before concluding its review of its pension schemes.Trade union CWU has opposed the proposals. Prospect, another union, said it was in the process of finalising a new pension deal with the company.BT said it was in “constructive discussions” with the BTPS trustee in relation to the triennial valuation, and that it still expected to complete the valuation in the first half of this calendar year.last_img read more

Beat writers predict lowly end to Syracuse’s season

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 30, 2019 at 11:24 am Syracuse (4-7, 1-6 Atlantic Coast) hosts Wake Forest (8-3, 4-3) on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. While the Demon Deacons are headed to a bowl game in one of their better seasons in recent years, the Orange look to salvage an otherwise disappointing year after starting the season in the AP Top 25. Below our beat writers predict Syracuse’s final regular season game of the 2019 season. Eric Black (7-4)Out with a whimperWake Forest 38, Syracuse 21I have no idea how the Demon Deacons are currently only favored to win by four points on Saturday. This is an 8-3 Wake Forest team that was ranked as recently as four weeks ago and has five times as many ACC wins as Syracuse does. Not to mention SU is fresh off a 56-34 disaster at Louisville that eliminated it from bowl contention and will likely be playing a considerable amount of upperclassmen backups on senior day. I certainly don’t believe the Orange’s level of effort will be any lower than usual, but that probably won’t matter much in determining the game’s outcome. The Demon Deacons have been a significantly better team than the Orange all season and I don’t see that changing on Saturday. Andrew Graham (8-3)Left in the wakeWake Forest 41, Syracuse 34AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWake Forest is to 2019 what Syracuse was to 2018. The Demon Deacons aren’t miles better than any of the other 12 teams not named Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but WFU has won its share of close contests and won every game on the schedule it should’ve, plus a few. Thus, they roll into the Carrier Dome at 8-3, a finale and a bowl game away from 10 wins. Sound similar to when SU went in and steamrolled Boston College last year? It is. SU won’t be hamstrung like BC was last year — AJ Dillon was hurting — but the paradigm has flipped. It’s the Demon Deacons gunning to finish the season with a flourish and the Orange just trying to limp across the finish line.Josh Schafer (8-3)Past demonsWake Forest 35 Syracuse 27The last time we saw the Syracuse defense it couldn’t’ stop Louisville. A week later the Orange are lining up against the 16th best offense yardage-wise in the country. Receiver Sage Surratt is already over 1,000 yards while quarterback Jamie Newman is already over 2,000 yards passing and can run the ball as well. It’s a combination Syracuse has seen countless times this year and hasn’t been able to stop yet. SU’s rushing game has picked up in recent games and could continue to bring the Orange much needed offense, but it won’t be enough in a game that will need to be a shootout. Commentslast_img read more