So the days of the old BSPS are numbered. At some point in the next few months it will be absorbed by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF). In the meantime a second incarnation of the British Steel Pension Scheme, with less generous CPI-based annual increments, is being proposed, and the personal papers have been sent out to all existing members.
There are also public meetings planned. Although already started in the north, South Wales will have to wait till the middle of November for them to take place. I have booked mine for Port Talbot on the 15th of November. Although to be fair, in my case the choice is a no-brainier: if I follow the BSPS into the PPF, I immediately take a 10% cut in my pension, something that never will be recovered by future pay increases.
People who haven’t retired yet have a third option, which is to take their money out of either scheme and try their luck in investing it in a form of defined contribution scheme. Fortunately that’s not an option for me. I say fortunately, because if this goes wrong it could become the next financial miss-selling scandal. At least in my case it doesn’t come as a total shock, unlike some people who retired ages ago, and had thought themselves set up for the rest of their days.
Especially since pensions earned prior to 1997 are not index-linked at all. Although I’m partly affected there (my first year at British Steel together with my Allied Steel & Wire transferred Pension), at least it’s not the total disaster it is for people who have all or most of their service in that period.
So where does this leave me? Not over the moon, but also with the thought that it could have been so much worse. By the time inflation starts to erode my current pension, maybe the state pension can come to the rescue.