Fund deficit puts a hole in Barnardo's pensions

Staff at the children's charity Barnardo's are likely to have to stump up more cash to plug a hole in the charity's pension fund.

Barnardo's runs a final salary pension scheme that links pension payouts to employees' final salary prior to retirement. However, the charity has been hit by the fall in the stock market and now faces a shortfall in its pension fund.

A source at Barnardo's, who asked not to be named, feared that this may have serious consequences for the estimated 80 per cent of Barnardo's 6,000 staff that are in the pension scheme.

"The scheme is in trouble to the extent that all staff may have their pension benefit cut," said the source. "They will either have to pay more into the scheme or accept a reduction in the benefit that they are expecting."

A spokeswoman for Barnardo's confirmed that there was a funding shortfall and said the charity was undertaking an evaluation of the options available to deal with it. These options will be presented to staff next month.

Several other large charities, including Save the Children and Age Concern, have recently closed their final salary pension schemes to new employees.

But Barnardo's has always insisted that its scheme will stay because many of its staff are recruited from local authorities which offer similar schemes.

The charity has confirmed that it intends to keep the final salary scheme open.

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