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Volume 470: debated on Friday 25 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that those eligible for having pensions restored following the collapse of company schemes are aware of their entitlement. (179725)

There are two methods by which those who have lost their pensions might receive restoration of up to 90 per cent. of their loss. These are the Pensions Protection Fund (PPF) and the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS).

Scheme trustees are responsible for informing scheme members where an approach to the PPF or the FAS is necessary. Both FAS and the PPF provide assistance to trustees with member communications. Both also have websites where scheme details are displayed.

The FAS Operational Unit (FAS OU) which is administered by the Department, contacts individual members once a scheme has been assessed and the trustees have provided the necessary information. Eligible scheme members receive a form and an explanatory leaflet about FAS. The FAS OU may also contact some members by telephone—for example where forms have not been returned and people might be missing out on assistance.

Following the Secretary of State’s announcement on 17 December extending FAS assistance, the Department has embarked on a programme of communication with trustees, is in the process of restructuring the FAS website, and updates the media regularly on progress.