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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 May, 2004, 05:43 GMT 06:43 UK
Lost pensions payouts 'peanuts'
Steelworks (generic)
A total of 1,000 ASW workers in Cardiff and Kent were made redundant
The amount of money needed to compensate workers who lost pensions after firms went bust is "peanuts" according to a Cardiff MP.

Research by two trade unions has found 76m a year for 30 years would be needed - a significantly lower amount than previously thought.

Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan said the money was "peanuts" if it restored confidence in the pensions systems.

The research by Amicus and steel union ISTC found the figure could even be as low as 50m a year.

At least 60,000 workers are affected by lost pensions, including 1,000 ex-steelworkers at Allied Steel and Wire (ASW) in Cardiff and Sheerness, Kent.

Mr Brennan has campaigned for the workers to be compensated by the government after losing 90% of their pensions when ASW went into receivership in July 2002.

Michael Leahy, ISTC general secretary said: "76m a year over 30 years is a small price to pay for restoring confidence in the UK pensions system.

"[It would lift] the threat of hardship in retirement from thousands of people who were told their pension was safe, only to have it snatched away from them when their employer became insolvent."

The loss of the ASW pension funds prompted the introduction of the Pensions Bill in February this year, which would set up a pension protection fund to help guarantee workers their pensions even if their employer goes bust.

But the legislation would not be retrospective, and some Labour backbench MPs have threatened a revolt if workers already affected are not covered.

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