Will Hutton strikes again!


The Work Foundation, an influential think tank devoted to workplace issues, has been bought by Lancaster University after being pushed into insolvency by the weight of its pension obligations.

The takeover will secure the jobs of 43 staff members at the not-for-profit body, including Will Hutton, an author and journalist who was its chief executive from 2000-2008 and is now its executive vice-chair.

Creditors, led by the think tank’s defined benefit pension fund, face an as-yet unspecified shortfall as a consequence of the insolvency, however.

Formerly known as the Industrial Society, the Work Foundation traces its history back to a boys’ welfare association set up in 1918. Its patron is the Duke of Edinburgh and its chairman is John Peace, who also chairs Standard Chartered, the bank.

The Foundation’s ongoing activities were sold after it petitioned to wind itself up in the High Court on Thursday with the agreement of its pension fund trustees, according to FRP Advisory, its liquidator.

The defined benefit pension fund has about 600 members, almost all of whom are former or retired employees. Jason Baker, a FRP Advisory partner, said the funding deficit was £27m.

Tears to my eyes that brings. This is the man, remember (and he was Chief Executive before stepping up you know, as they say), who insists on telling us all how business should be run so as to get better performance out of the UK economy.

But he keeps his job! Rewards for failure all round, eh?

9 thoughts on “Will Hutton strikes again!”

  1. In the bad old days, pensioners in payment would have been safe but those yet to retire, such as Willy, would have been totally shafted over their pensions, losing virtually the lot.

    Now, they can happily pass 90% of the obligations (capped at some arbitrarily high figure that I can’t recall off the top of my head) over to us, the taxpayer.

  2. Time for a re-write of The World We’re In…”if the current cohort of savers want to achieve the same pension as those retiring today they will have to save twice as much or get bailed out by a university backed by piles of public cash”.

  3. I have always felt that WH is a charlatan and simply a buttplug for NuLiebour. I’m sure he has ‘arrangements’ in place, as he is, I suspect, not as stupid as he seems when it comes to his own well-being.

  4. So what does Lancaster get out of it? (I can’t see the FT story). Are they going to pay the pensions of the 600 retired employees? Is this just a case of of a seriously left-wing University bailing out some lefty mates?

  5. How can Lancaster waste taxpayers money on this already failed venture?
    Who is in charge of such waste and incompetence.
    No cuts at Lancaster they are goung to dip into poor students parents pockets.

  6. From a site called The Third Sector::

    “FRP Advisory, the insolvency specialists who advised the foundation, says it cannot estimate what losses pension scheme members will face.
    The pension scheme is the largest of several unsecured creditors. Of a total estate of £4m, the scheme is likely to receive only around £3.5m, meaning it will be left with an approximate shortfall of £23.5m.”


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