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12May94 UK: PENSIONS POT SPURS CLAIMS DELUGE - CONSTRUCTION.

Calls from former construction workers are flooding into a finance firm sitting on a £2.4 million pot of unclaimed pensions cash.More than 3,500 people have rung a special claims hotline during the past month.And calls are coming in by the hour to organisers of the B and C E Benefit Schemes.But fewer than one in 20 inquiries have been valid so far, with 174 former workers set to be paid out an average of £1,000 each.B and C E spokeswoman Denise Marsh said: 'This money is really helping people because a lot of the claimants are in fairly dire financial straits.'The company organises holiday pay and pension schemes solely for construction workers and employers.Last week B and C E announced that pension pay-outs are set to rise by nearly 50 per cent after a revision of the length of service formula used to calculate payments.Chairman Sir Trevor Hughes said: 'I am delighted directors have been able to grant this significant increase in retirement benefits for operatives.'The move to increase pay-outs follows the defection of more than 19,000 construction workers from the B and C E scheme into personal pension schemes.Bosses at B and C E believe many builders have been poorly advised by pensions salespeople.They are now emphasising the fact that their schemes are funded entirely by employers' contributions in a bid to win workers back. CONSTRUCTION NEWS