Re: Barrister BS
Not quite sure what spazturtle was actually saying. Although I think I understand what they were trying to say.
Fundamentally contribution and funding levels (and limits) (for final salary/defined benefit schemes) were set too low, hence why so many final salary schemes were closed to both new and existing members - to cap the liabilities.
However, as you note the law is very clear about the legal agreement between employees and employers over pensions. Hence why with liabilities still increasing even on closed schemes, we are seeing some (but not many) cases that are attempting to reinterpret the rules so as to reduce the liabilities.
I suspect BT will not win this challenge, leaving as spazturtle notes a shortfall that still needs to be funded from somewhere. The problem is, as Equitable Life demonstrated, the funding had to come from somewhere so in their case they 'raided' the monies from the "with profit" schemes, until this was exhausted and the company collapsed. with BT it would seem it's only option will be to reduce investment in new/improved infrastructure and milk the cash cow for as long as possible. Which effectively means slowing the deployment of large investment projects such as FTTP and getting more out of the existing copper and telephony infrastructure; but given the pace of progress this is risking suicide.
Alternatively, the directors at BT could do a Maxwell - yes the legal loopholes are still there, and use the BT pension fund to fund the FTTP investment...