House of Commons: Monday 5 March 2012
T3.  Tristram Hunt (Stoke-on-Trent Central) (Lab): As you know, Mr Speaker, the Wedgwood museum in Stoke-on-Trent is one of the greatest museums in the world and is facing the liquidation of its collection due to faulty pension legislation. The problem lies with the 2008 occupational pension schemes regulation and the last man standing principle, which leaves a solvent employer liable for the whole of the deficit in a multi-employer scheme. That was never meant to apply to charitable collections. Will the Minister review that legislation before we sacrifice more of our national heritage to the lawyers?
The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Steve Webb): When any charity or other organisation joins a last man standing pension scheme, it is important that it take proper advice about the liabilities it is taking on. Obviously, that is a general observation. On this specific case, the Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, the hon. Member for Wantage (Mr Vaizey), has spoken to the chairman of the Pension Protection Fund about the Wedgwood museum, has explained the importance of the collection for the nation and has asked her whether she can find a way of preventing the collection from being broken up. That is something we all want to see.