Defined benefit pension schemes: security and sustainability

Closed 14 May 2017

Opened 20 Mar 2017


In the private sector, Defined Benefit (DB) pension schemes provide an important source of income in the retirement plans of 11 million current and future pensioners. Around £1.5 trillion is held under management by these schemes and they help to fuel the UK economy. The pensions provided by these schemes are on average £7,000 per annum, which can be a vital source of income for around 11 million members (current and future pensioners).

For those employers providing DB pensions and the trustees responsible for running these schemes, the years following the financial crash of 2008 have been particularly challenging, with record low interest and gilt rates driving up the cost of scheme liabilities compared to the increases in assets, thereby leading to increases in funding deficits.

News of these increased deficits, combined with a number of high profile cases during 2016, have led some commentators to declare that there is a problem with the funding and regulation of these schemes.

Key facts on Defined Benefit pension schemes.

Why We Are Consulting

This Green Paper sets out the evidence we have available about the key challenges facing DB pension schemes and highlights a number of options that have been suggested to us to improve confidence in the system.

In order to ensure a balance between member protection, sustainability and affordability of these important pensions we want to continue the debate and to start building a consensus on what, if anything, we should do to further support the sector.

We are seeking the views of as wide a range of people and organisations with an interest in private sector DB pension schemes as possible.  This includes scheme members, trustees, sponsoring employers and scheme professionals.

The questions are part of the Security and Sustainability in Defined Benefit Pension Schemes Green Paper and we’ve provided links to relevant sections within that document for more context.


Gallwch ddod o hyd i gopi o'r crynodeb gweithredol yn y Gymraeg yma a chopi o'r cwestiynau ymgynghorol yma.


If you would prefer not to respond online, you can respond by email to, or to the following postal address:

DB Consultation
Private Pensions
First Floor
Caxton House
6-12 Tothill Street

What Happens Next

Thank you for your interest in this consultation, we are now analysing your feedback.

Your views will be used by the Department of Work and Pensions to consider how we can help ensure the security and sustainability of Defined Benefit Pension Schemes.


  • Organisations
  • Scheme members
  • Trustees
  • Sponsoring employers
  • Pension professionals


  • Pensions