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Financial Assistance Scheme

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 14 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the oral answer of 23 April 2007, Official Report, column 640, to the hon. Member for Ludlow, on the Financial Assistance scheme, if he will list those solvent schemes which will not be covered by the extension of the Financial Assistance scheme. (135137)

We announced an extension to FAS on 18 April 2007 to cover members of schemes that began winding up between 1 January 2007 and 5 April 2005, where a compromise agreement is in place, and where enforcing the debt against the employer would have forced the employer into insolvency. On 23 April 2007 we subsequently issued an indicative list of schemes potentially eligible for support from the FAS where a compromise agreement is understood to be in place.

We do not currently have any detailed information on schemes sponsored by other solvent employers.

On 28 March the Secretary of State announced a review to examine whether an alternative treatment of the residual funds in affected pension schemes and other non-public expenditure funding that have not already been allocated could be used to increase levels of assistance above the 80 per cent. provided by the financial assistance scheme. One objective for this review of scheme assets is to determine whether there are other pension schemes (in addition to those with compromise agreements) where although the sponsoring employer did not undergo an insolvency event, it would not be reasonable to expect the employer to have a continuing responsibility for supporting an under funded scheme. The review will provide an initial view in the summer, consult formally in the autumn and then report by the end of the year.