UK – Ben Verwaayen, chief executive of telecoms firm BT Group, has had his pension contributions boosted by the company – although the company’s main scheme is £3.3bn (€4.8bn) in deficit.

“Ben Verwaayen is not a member of any of the company pension schemes, but the company has agreed to pay an annual amount equal to 30% of his salary towards pension provision, increased from 20%,” BT said in its new annual report.

Based on Verwaayen’s £700,000 salary before bonus, the company’s contributions to his pension will rise from £140,000 to £210,000.

The company’s ‘ordinary’ contribution rate is 12.2% of employees’ pensionable pay.

In addition BT paid £30,000 into Verwaayen’s personal pension plan – plus a cash payment of £126,900. This represented “the balance of the pension allowance for the year”.

The firm added that executives affected by the new Lifetime Allowance tax change that will come into force next year will be able to opt out of the deficit-hit scheme and “receive a cash allowance annually”. There were no further details and the company did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment.

It comes as the company disclosed a £3.3bn deficit in its main BT Pension Scheme as at the end of March 2005, under the FRS17 accounting standard. The scheme closed to new members in 2001.