The award winning Wedgwood Museum Collection in Stoke on Trent is facing the threat of forced sale to pay for the £134 million pension liability of the Wedgwood Group Pension Fund which arose from the insolvency of Waterford Wedgwood in 2009.
Legislation introduced initially in 2005 and amended in April 2008 has led to the museum entering into administration and legally defending the position of its collection as one that is held in a Trust and therefore a Permanent Functional Endowment. The new law had the laudable objective of preventing companies from fraudulent transference and misuse of pension funds. It was not intended to cause the break-up of nationally important, unique historical and cultural collections.
The Museum and its collection are being held responsible for the £134 million deficit of the Wedgwood Group Pension Fund simply because five of the museum’s staff are among the Pension Fund’s 7,000 members. The Museum is still fully open pending direction from a Judge to the Administrator to determine whether the prize winning collection can be sold off to pay the pension creditors. The long-awaited court hearing will commence on Tuesday 13thSeptember at: Court 6, Birmingham Civil Justice Centre, Priory Courts, 33 Bull Street, B4 6DS, before His Honour Judge Purle QC
The public gallery will be open.
We will update the website and news blog once a decision is made.
The work of supporters in writing to their MPs and raising the issue in other ways has been immensely helpful in publicising the Museum’s plight – we wish the Museum’s legal team all the very best.