Botched legal work in BT privatisation responsible for potential £23 billion pension liability for UK taxpayers

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A failure to define what was meant by the term ‘liability' by lawyers constructing the agreement for the UK government's 1984 privatisation of telecoms group BT is the reason why the UK taxpayer has been left with a potential £23 billion bill following last week's high court ruling.

In order to protect the pensions of employees, the government gave a guarantee that it would stand behind BT's pension obligations, and the scheme's trustees sought to clarify whether this covered all the obligations