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Financial Assistance Scheme

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the average processing time for pension schemes applying to qualify for initial payments was under the financial assistance scheme for each month since the scheme began operating; and if he will make a statement; (148250)

(2) what the average processing time was for pension schemes applying to qualify for initial payments under the FAS in each month since the scheme began operating; and if he will make a statement.

The following table shows the months in which schemes have requested initial payments and the average time taken from the date of request to the date on which the scheme was accepted for initial payments.

Month of request for initial payments

Average number of days between request and acceptance

2005

October

41

December

47

2006

January

19

February

42

March

47

April

48

May

41

June

32

July

20

August

42

September

20

October

4

November

12

December

11

2007

January

20

February

22

April

8

May

16

June

7

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the average processing time was for pension schemes applying to qualify for assistance under the financial assistance scheme in each month since the scheme began operating; and if he will make a statement; (148251)

(2) what the average processing time for pension schemes applying to qualify for assistance under the financial assistance scheme has been since the scheme has been operating; and if he will make a statement.

In order to obtain a decision on qualification for assistance under the financial assistance scheme, a pension scheme must successfully go through the two stages of notification and qualification. This involves the trustees and administrators providing basic scheme information to the FAS operational unit.

As at 29 June 2007, the average time taken since operations started in September 2005 from receipt at FASOU of a correctly completed application form for qualification to a qualification decision being issued was 47 working days.

Equivalent information on a month-by-month basis is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.