Interesting to see the Ariel article today about the options that the BBC considered for the pension scheme before settling on effectively closing it down. It’s heavily focused on two arguments; the level of the licence fee that the BBC pays into the scheme, and the reduction of risk. As I said in a previous post, there are assumptions here that need to be challenged. No-one knows the level of licence fee that licence fee payers would find acceptable for the BBC to spend on pensions. And the interests of licence fee payers have to be balanced against the BBC’s obligations to its employees. And as for risk, this is a deliberately chosen argument because once you accept as an objective that the BBC has to reduce risk, then only the BBC can be the judge of whether that has been achieved. It is purely qualitative. I think the BBC’s position is actually pretty outrageous on this question. They don’t want to reduce risk, they want to eliminate it, and transfer ALL the risk to us, by way of reduced payouts and a far less generous new scheme. Funding a pension scheme has always involved an element of risk. It is fundamentally wrong for the BBC to unilaterally decide to transfer all that risk to us.


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