Defined benefit schemes

The net pension expense before tax recognised in the income statement in respect of the defined benefit pension schemes is summarised as follows:

Group2019
£m
2018
£m
Current service cost6.227.3
Curtailments/settlements9.02.3
Administrative expenses2.82.6
Pension expense charged to operating profit18.032.2
Net pension interest income credited to investment income (see note 5)(9.5)(7.1)
Net pension expense charged before tax8.525.1

Defined benefit pension costs excluding curtailments/settlements included within employee benefit expense were £9.0 million (2018: £29.9 million) comprising current service costs and administrative expenses. Total post-employment benefits expense excluding curtailments/settlements charged to operating profit of £32.0 million (2018: £42.0 million) comprise the defined benefit costs described above of £9.0 million (2018: £29.9 million) and defined contribution pension costs of £23.0 million (2018: £12.1 million) (see note 3).

Included within curtailments/settlements is £6.6 million (2018: £nil) relating to the equalisation of GMP benefits (see note A5 for further details).

The reconciliation of the opening and closing net pension surplus included in the statement of financial position is as follows:

Group2019
£m
2018
£m
At the start of the year344.2247.5
Expense recognised in the income statement(8.5)(25.1)
Contributions paid75.271.6
Remeasurement gains gross of tax73.050.2
At the end of the year483.9344.2

Included in the contributions paid of £75.2 million (2018: £71.6 million) were deficit repair contributions of £66.1 million (2018: £43.0 million), enhancements to benefits provided on redundancy of £1.6 million (2018: £1.5 million), administration expenses of £0.5 million (2018: £0.6 million)and an inflation funding mechanism payment of £nil made during the year (2018: £0.4 million). Following the 2018 actuarial valuation, contributions in relation to current service cost decreased to £7.0 million (2018: £26.2 million; 2016 actuarial valuation).

Remeasurement gains and losses are recognised directly in the statement of comprehensive income.

Group2019
£m
2018
£m
The return on plan assets, excluding amounts included in interest58.5(60.0)
Actuarial (losses)/gains arising from changes in financial assumptions(160.6)85.1
Actuarial gains arising from changes in demographic assumptions70.943.2
Actuarial gains/(losses) arising from experience104.2(18.1)
Remeasurement gains on defined benefit pension schemes73.050.2

For more information in relation to the group's defined benefit pension schemes see note A5.

Defined contribution schemes

During the year, the group made £23.0 million (2018: £12.1 million) of contributions to defined contribution schemes which are included in employee benefits expense (see note 3).

Company

The company did not participate in any of the group's pension schemes during the years ended 31 March 2019 and 31 March 2018.