[holding answer 19 March 2008]: This Department’s 2007-08 voluntary early departure scheme is not a multi-annual scheme but was open for applications between September 2007 and January 2008 with provision set aside in this financial year for any payments to retirees, consequent on their departure under this scheme, which might fall in future years. It immediately followed a previous voluntary early departure scheme which ran from December 2006 to July 2007.
It is estimated that during financial years 2006-07 and 2007-08 this Department will have spent £14.8 million and £49 million, respectively, on the funding of voluntary early departures under either scheme. There are currently no plans to launch further voluntary early departure schemes.
The forecast core DEFRA paybill savings for the CSR07 period due to early departures via the two schemes of VER/S are:
£ million 2007-08 10 2008-09 17.2 2009-10 17.8 2010-11 18.5
For the Rural Payments Agency the estimated costs during the financial year 2006-07 was a credit of £0.074 million, this was due to a reduction in the provision for exit costs as a result of some staff from 2005-06 withdrawing from their arrangements. In 2007-08 the estimated cost is £1.062 million.