GMB union calls on Gordon Brown to force private equity firms to stump up cash for failed pension schemes

The GMB trade union has called on incoming prime minister Gordon Brown to introduce a windfall tax on private equity firms to boost the UK’s pension funds.

The union claims that 96 insolvent pension funds in rescue schemes set up by the government have direct links to private equity owners. It says that 21 of these insolvent funds have total unfunded liabilities of £2bn.

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “GMB wants MPs to use their full powers to uncover the full amount of the unfunded liabilities of all 96 insolvent pension funds with links to private equity that have been dumped in the taxpayers’ laps.

“Gordon Brown must close the loopholes to stop private equity mugging the British taxpayer. He should also bring in a windfall tax on private equity to recover the amount the taxpayer pays to bail out the unfunded liabilities of insolvent pension funds.”

Concerns were last week raised over the pensions of employees at high street pharmacist Boots, which has been bought by private equity business Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. The new owner is reported to have borrowed more than £8bn to buy the firm and has failed to reassure workers over an existing pension fund deficit.

The GMB’s annual congress kicked off in Brighton yesterday and runs until Thursday.

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