Closure at last on BTPS indexation saga

Telecoms & Financial Services

BT has failed in its attempt to change the indexation arrangements for Section C of the BT Pension Scheme (BTPS) from RPI to the typically lower CPI measure of inflation.

The company’s long-running, and fiercely contested, court battle to force the change – which would have resulted in lower future pension increases for around 80,000 Section C members – finally hit the buffers on Monday when it was denied permission to escalate the case to the Supreme Court.

BT had previously lost at the High Court, and then again at the Court of Appeal late last year, but the latest ruling brings the company’s efforts to reduce its pension liabilities by about £2bn to the end of the road.

With its efforts to challenge the twice legally upheld existing interpretation of the scheme’s rules in the highest court of the land now blocked, BT’s epic legal battle has finally concluded – meaning that Section C pensions in payment will continue to be annually uprated by RPI.

“The CWU wholeheartedly welcomes the end of this misguided, unnecessary and expensive case designed to cut members’ future benefits,” stresses CWU assistant secretary Nigel Cotgrove.

“BT was seeking to cut the future incomes of BT pensioners and the CWU does not believe this was acceptable.

“This news will come as a great relief to all Section C members who have been facing the real prospect of lower pension increases in the future.

“At last they have closure on an issue that has naturally been weighing on minds for a very long time now – but the CWU still views it as highly regrettable that BT persisted for so long in attempting to pursue an attack on pension benefits in the face of successive courtroom defeats.”