The ongoing row over the pensions of former Visit London staff will receive a further publicity boost next week when the London Assembly holds a public meeting into the decision to place Visit London Limited into administration.
The capital’s former promotional and tourism agency was placed into administration on 1 April this year following the establishment of successor body London & Partners which merged the responsibilities of Visit London, Think London and Study London into a single body.
The merger of the agencies followed the Government’s cutting of City Hall’s funding despite Mayor of London Boris Johnson vowing to fight a “Stalingrad-like” defence of the capital’s budget.
Although staff transferred from Visit London to London & Partners, the new body did not take on the pension liabilities for them. This resulted in Visit London going into administration since it did not have an estimated £7m needed to wind up the pension scheme.
Appearing before the Assembly earlier this week for Mayor’s Question Time, Johnson appeared to indicate he was aware that placing Visit London into administration would threaten the pensions of workers.
The Mayor looked increasingly uncomfortable as both Labour and Conservative Assembly Members called on him to fulfil his “moral duty” to those affected.
Labour AMs say that, in addition to the staff, a number of London businesses also stand to lose from Visit London’s collapse.
There has been speculation from Tory AMs that Johnson will eventually have to buy Visit London Limited back from the administrators in order to draw a line under the issue.
On Tuesday (May 24th) AMs on the Assembly Economy, Culture and Sport Committee will hear from members of the pension scheme and creditors. They will also question a number of guests about the decisions which led to Visit London going into administration.
Guests scheduled to appear before the committee include Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas, interim Chair of London & Partners and Sir Peter Rogers, Chief Executive of the London Development Agency.
The meeting will take place from 10am in the Chamber at City Hall and s open to the public.