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Attorney General decides not to appeal Wedgwood decision

Attorney General, Dominic Grieve
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Attorney General decides not to appeal Wedgwood decision

Finance | Vibeka Mair | 22 Mar 2012

The Attorney General will not appeal the recent decision concerning the Wedgwood Museum at the High Court.

Last December, the High Court ruled that the Wedgwood Museum’s assets are to be transferred to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF). The Museum found itself in this position after Waterford Wedgewood Potteries went insolvent, leaving the museum as sole sponsor of its pension scheme. 

The Attorney General was considering whether to appeal the decision, and has decided not to. An Attorney General spokesman said: “The trial judge gave the issues before him careful consideration and the Attorney does not believe his interpretation of the relevant law could be challenged. He has also taken account of the representations made by Alan Wedgwood."

David Davison, director at Spence & Partners, says the Attorney General’s decision is not surprising: “The grounds for appeal were very limited,” he said. “The Wedgwood Museum signed up to the scheme, and had the opportunity to research the risks.”

Government in talks with PPF

However, the government appears keen to protect the Museum’s 250-year-old collection.

Pensions minister Steve Webb recently told the House of Commons that the minister for culture Ed Vaizey had spoken with the chairwoman of the PFF to explain the "importance of the collection for the nation".

Webb said: "Vaizey 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." 

Webb, however, warned: "When any charity or other organisation joins a last-man-standing pension scheme, it is important it take proper advice about the liabilities it is taking on."

Webb has ruled out any changes to the laws governing the PPF and insolvencies, arguing they could have "significant repercussions".

 

 

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