Bosses who are reckless with staff pensions now face up to three years behind bars

May pledges to fine company bosses if they endanger staff pension funds

New criminal offence of neglecting pension responsibilities to be announced this week

Rogue bosses will face fines or prosecution for putting the pensions of their workers at risk under new laws to be unveiled by the government.

Ministers will confirm this week that they will target reckless employers with new rules designed to protect pension pots when companies go under. There will also be measures designed to target directors who are guilty of mismanagement.

The Pensions Regulator will be given tough new powers following the BHS scandal, which put the savings of 19,000 cur­­rent and former staff in peril.

The regulator accused tycoon Sir Philip Green of selling the store to dodge responsibility for its insolvent pension schemes.

He finally agreed last year to pay in £363million to help bail them out.

Esther McVey, the Work and Pensions Sec­retary, will tomorrow unveil plans for an offence of shirking pension responsibilities.

She said: “We’ll punish directors who wilfully or recklessly put pension schemes at risk.

“We’ve seen what can go wrong.”

Prime Minister Theresa May added: “It’s vital people have the confidence their pension will pay out in retirement.”

The regulator will also be able to step in if it fears pensions may be at risk.

Green sold BHS for £1 in 2015 to ex-bankrupt Dom­­inic Chappell.

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