Business

Pension deficits fell in December, says PPF

Cash
Image caption Schemes have been affected by policies aimed at kickstarting the UK economy

The collective deficit of the UK's private sector final-salary pension schemes fell slightly in December.

The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) said that the deficit fell from £252bn at the end of November to £245bn a month later.

There were 5,173 schemes in deficit and 1,143 schemes in surplus, the PPF said.

Schemes have been heavily in deficit since the summer of 2011, mainly due to the government's policy of quantitative easing.

This has cut the returns on investing in government bonds, and raised the estimated cost of paying for current and future pensions.

The deficit is the balance between the value of scheme assets - such as shares, bonds, property and cash - and the liabilities of schemes. The liabilities are the estimated stock of assets needed now, to pay all current and future pensions.

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