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Members: Pensions

Volume 486: debated on Monday 12 January 2009

To ask the Leader of the House what procedures will be applied to over-payments of pensions to former hon. Members. (246276)

A variety of factors contributed to a significant number of pension payment errors by the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF) related to the application of the guaranteed minimum pension (GMP). These errors included payment of pension increases at the wrong level and payment of increases too early.

In 2006 the Chairman of the PCPF Trustees and the Leader of the House agreed to an independent person being appointed to advise on the handling of the overpayments, so as to ensure that the approach adopted was fair and consistent and in line with the best practice on the recovery of overpayments of public money.

The independent adviser recommended that full recovery action be taken for all overpayments made within the last six years, apart from:

overpayments of less than £500, unless the scheme member agreed to repay the monies voluntarily;

overpayments made to members who had since died and whose estates had been settled; and

other cases where legal considerations supported non-recovery.

All future payments to scheme members were corrected.

To ask the Leader of the House how much has been overpaid on pensions to former hon. Members during the last three financial years; what the reasons were for this overpayment; and whether the amount overpaid will be recovered from recipients. (246277)

A variety of factors contributed to a significant number of pension payment errors by the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF) related to the application of the guaranteed minimum pension (GMP). These errors included payment of pension increases at the wrong level and payment of increases too early.

Over more than 10 years, overpayments totalling some £402,000 were made to 177 scheme members, pensioners and widow(er)s.

87 scheme members were asked to make repayments, totalling some £185,000.

Some £253,000 has been written off, which includes a small proportion of the sum originally identified as recoverable.