The government's announcement that it will launch a consultation to 'consider the financial situation of Tata's UK pension scheme' has the potential to open up a Pandora's box of issues unless carefully managed.

Despite assurances from the Business Secretary Sajid Javid that several options were 'still being considered' and that he was 'wary of setting a precedent' any changes to the pension rules could have massive implications beyond the Tata Steel workforce.

It is clearly an incredibly difficult situation with Tata's existing pension liability proving to be a massive obstacle to any potential purchase.  

The government has repeatedly voiced its determination to find a solution, and in the face of an EU referendum barely four weeks away, it cannot afford to fail. 

But in saving a future for Tata Steel, Mr Javid must tread very carefully, otherwise he risks torpedoing the founding premise of every company pension scheme, that it will be honoured.