The National Trust has today (29 July 2015) announced its intention to close its final salary pension scheme (NTRDBS) to future accrual on 31 March 2016. This follows a period of consultation with members of staff and the Trust’s recognised trades union Prospect.
The final salary pension scheme closed to new entrants in 2003 and therefore the proposed changes will impact around 1,200 members of staff or approximately 16% of our permanent workforce.
The closure comes as a result of the most recent valuation of the scheme in April 2014 which showed a deficit of £116m (as at 5 April 2014). This figure has increased from £69m since our last three-year valuation in 2011.
Whilst we are going ahead with our plans to close our final salary pension scheme we have taken a number of steps to mitigate the potential impact on members of staff. These include delaying implementation until 31 March 2016 and deciding not to remove the link with final salary. As the result of the feedback we received during consultation we have also made positive changes to our original proposals for death-in-service and ill-health benefits from 31 March 2016.
On closure of the final salary pension scheme members of staff will be eligible to join 2,500 colleagues in our defined contribution pension scheme. In this scheme we match any contributions members of staff make between 4% and 10% although they can choose to contribute more if they so wish.
In order to safeguard accrued benefits we have agreed with the Pension Scheme Trustees to significantly increase our deficit recovery payments from £3m a year now to £8.5m a year from 2016. This will increase by CPI+1% year on year until 2029.
These proposed changes do not impact on the benefits of existing pensioners or deferred members of the defined benefit scheme.