Supreme Court rejects £2.4m pensions appeal

A £2.4 million appeal against Daventry District Council has been rejected by the Supreme Court.

DDC and Daventry and District Housing (DDH) have been in a long-running dispute over which is responsible for a pensions payment.

Now the Supreme Court has rejected a request from DDH to appeal against the housing group being ordered to pay the money.

In October last year the Court of Appeal ruled DDH should be responsible for a pension fund deficit up to a value of £2.4 million.

Ian Vincent, chief executive at DDC, said: “This not only saves us potential further legal costs but also finally draws a line under this protracted case and allows the council and DDH to move on.”

DDC says the move by the Supreme Court saves the council around £375,000 in legal costs, and that it has also recovered costs from all previous stages of the dispute – worth around £1 million.

The dispute originated in a mistake in the contract drawn up when DDC transferred its council homes to DDH in November 2007.

The council claimed DDH agreed to pay £2.4 million less for the homes and instead put the cash towards the pension fund deficit. But a wrongly worded clause said DDC should pay the money.

Elaine Bradbury, chairman of the board at DDH, said: “We are disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision, particularly as we had attempted to resolve the case without going to court. However we are pleased to be able to draw a line under the matter.

“We would like to assure tenants that our efficient management of DDH means we remain in a strong financial position and we will continue to deliver, and indeed exceed, our original promises made to tenants at transfer. We are continuing to develop new services and invest in local communities.”

The £2.4 million will not help the council’s general finances, but will be used to pay off some of its pension deficit.