Whitbread Group’s pensions director was one of those to stand up at the annual conference of the National Association of Pension Funds yesterday and point to the inexorable rise in the cost of company pension promises. Geoff Mellor summed up much of the industry’s attitude towards pension promises when he said that with a change to pensions law, benefits became a firm promise and not simply the general intention that companies had previously believed. Employers had, as a result, drastically cut their offering of defined benefit pensions, he said. Financial Times 10/06/06 page 2