The Pensions Regulator issues ITV with £133 million warning notice

18 May 2022

Broadcaster, ITV, has been handed a £133 million warning notice by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) for failure to provide sufficient support to the Box Clever pension scheme within the relevant deadline. 

TPR attempted to impose a financial support direction on Granada (which is now ITV), for its part in the creation and eventual failure of the business, Box Clever, which went into administration in 2003. A decision by the Upper Tribunal in 2018 stated that TPR was right to do this and meant the regulator could ask ITV to devise a strategy for topping up the scheme’s funding.

The case continued and there were questions surrounding how much financial support ITV should provide to the scheme. In 2020, there was a deficit of approximately £115 million. In March of that year, ITV was given a six-month deadline in which to fund the scheme. 

ITV offered to put £31 million toward the scheme in August 2020, stating it accepted that TPR could issue a warning notice if that amount wasn’t sufficient. In a trading update, published on 11 May 2022, ITV confirmed it had received a waring notice from TPR relating to the Box Clever pension scheme, equating to £133 million. ITV advised it would continue to work with TPR to resolve the matter.

A TPR spokesperson commented: “The deadline we set ITV to provide reasonable financial support for the Box Clever pension scheme in response to the financial support directions issued to them passed on 17 September 2020. While they did submit an offer, we rejected it because we did not consider it provided reasonable support to the scheme. We have now issued a warning notice seeking contribution notices against ITV and four related entities. These contribution notices would see cash paid into the scheme to pay member benefits. We will not be commenting further on the matter at the moment.”