Court of Appeal dismisses ITV Box Clever appeal

The Court of Appeal has rejected ITV's appeal against the decision that The Pensions Regulator (TPR) was within its rights to use its anti-avoidance powers on ITV regarding the Box Clever pension scheme.

TPR has again called on ITV to fund the Box Clever scheme, which has 2,800 members and a deficit of around £115m.

The Court of Appeal dismissed ITV's challenge to the decision made by the Upper Tribunal last year, which stated that a financial support direction should be issued to ITV in regard to the scheme.

ITV's arguments against the initial ruling were labelled as “without substance” by the court, which found that the Upper Tribunal were correct in its judgement.

The Box Clever pension scheme was formed in 2000 as part of a merger between ITV (then Granada) and Carmelite.

Employees were transferred to the new company and enrolled into the new pension scheme. Following the scheme’s collapse TPR opened an anti-avoidance investigation, as ITV extracted “significant value from the joint venture”, the regulator said.

Following the appeal decision, ITV will be expected to explain how it will fund the scheme.

ITV asked for the Court of Appeal to grant it permission to take the appeal to the Supreme Court, although this was rejected.

Commenting on the case, TPR director of enforcement, Erica Carroll, said: “ITV has raised numerous legal challenges against our actions for over seven years in a bid to avoid responsibility for the Box Clever scheme.

“Both the Upper Tribunal and now the Court of Appeal have confirmed that ITV should provide financial support to the scheme. Disappointingly, ITV sought the Court of Appeal’s permission to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, however we are pleased that this was refused.

“We hope that ITV will finally accept its responsibility and work with us so that a good outcome can be achieved for members.”

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