Thursday evening's business bulletin

Half of Britons in the dark over pension schemes; Private equity industry warns it could quit Britain; Power supplier Aggreko sees better-than-expected profits.

Half of Britons have no idea how much money they have built up in pension schemes and one in six have even lost track of where the money is saved, a survey showed today.

One of the main reasons people gave for losing track of their pension was that they changed jobs, according to Government website Directgov.

The research found that one in five people had already changed employer at least five times by the time they were 34 years old, while a third of people had paid into two or more pensions.

The private equity industry warned today it could quit Britain if the Government clamps down on controversial tax breaks enjoyed by the sector.

The industry’s trade body told the Treasury that private equity firms could leave the UK for countries such France, Italy or Germany if the tax rate is upped significantly.

The British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) said the UK enjoyed only a ``fragile" lead over other countries in a submission to the Treasury ahead of its Pre-Budget Report, due later this year.

Private equity firms can pay as little as 10% under current UK tax rules, which has led to accusations that the sector is taking advantage of an over-generous tax regime at the expense of jobs and staff in the firms that they buy out.

The power supplier for major events such as the Glastonbury festival and the US Super Bowl said today it was on course for better-than-expected profits.

Glasgow-based Aggreko, which specialises in portable power supply products, caused a surge in City forecasts after it delivered a 60% rise in half-year profits and said annual figures should be well ahead of analysts’ hopes.

Aggreko has benefited from investment in its rental fleet, but also noted that power shortages in many of the countries in which it operates meant there was likely to be a growing need for its temporary power.

The pound at 4:30pm was US$2.0265 compared to US$2.0311 at the previous close while the euro at 4:30pm was £0.6849 compared to £0.6844 at the previous close.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer