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MEP warns Anglian Water on pensions

Alex Meyer, MEP for East of England

By HK Norman

East of England MEP Alex Mayer is set to issue a warning to bosses at Anglian Water on Monday, criticising the planned closures to staff pension schemes.

The firm has announced the closure of their “Defined Benefits” pension scheme and further changes to their “Defined Contributions” scheme, which will affect 5,000 employees at Anglian Water.

The Labour MEP will challenge Anglian Water bosses to prove that the current pension scheme is unaffordable, after Unite discovered that the company made an operating profit of £357.8 million in 2016/17, and paid out £320 million in dividends to their shareholders.

Unite, the trade union representing workers at Anglian Water, have said that the changes could see some workers losing up to £100,000 should the changes to the “Defined Contributions” scheme fail to deliver.

Anglian Water has been the subject of some controversy, as it was named in the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers as having a subsidiary in the Cayman Islands, which allowed them to avoid paying council tax last year.

In a speech to the European Parliament, Ms. Mayer will say: “It seems to me Anglian water are more concerned about their tax arrangements in the Cayman Islands, than their loyal employees coming up for retirement in Canvey Island.

“Local staff have contacted me and are rightfully angry. They are quite literally seeing their pension money going down the drain.

“I am in firm belief that Anglian water can well afford to pay for their staff’s pensions. It is a drop in the ocean for them.”

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