LONDON: Britain’s government said on Thursday it had launched a consultation to overhaul the deficit-laden British Steel Pension Scheme to facilitate the sale of Tata Steel’s UK assets, which are saddled with 500 million pounds of deficit in pension funds.
Business secretary Sajid Javid, who returned on Thursday after discussions with Tata group executives in Mumbai, announced the consultation in the House of Commons. He had previously revealed that the pension deficit was deterring potential buyers.
The consultation, which will run until June 23, is expected to lead to a longer period in which the sale process can be completed.
Javid also told MPs that Tata had received several credible bids for its UK steel assets, and was now assessing them. It is “not the government’s role to pick winners”, and it would not be recommending any particular one, he added.
The consultation includes a full range of options that consider whether and how the scheme could be separated from the existing sponsoring employer, and whether it will be necessary to reduce the benefits within the scheme,” work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb said.