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Financial Assistance Scheme: EC Law

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 22 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many individuals have been excluded from the Financial Assistance Scheme on the basis of their age; what assessment his Department’s legal advisers have made of the extent to which this policy complies with European Union law; and if he will make a statement. (121446)

We estimate that around 50-55,000 members are more than 15 years from scheme pension age and therefore do not qualify for assistance.

We consider that European Directive 2000/78, which includes non-discrimination on grounds of age, does not apply to FAS.

The Government are carefully studying the ruling by the European Court of Justice of 25 January 2007 relating to Article 8 of the European Directive 80/987/EEC, and in so doing we will have in mind compliance with community law generally.