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NHS: Pensions

Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 21 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the answer of 1 September 2008, Official Report, column 1751W, on the NHS Pensions Agency: resource accounting and benefits, for what reason the NHS pension scheme resource accounts were not published between the 2008 summer recess and the end of the 2007-08 Session; and when he plans to publish them. (249006)

In his written ministerial statement of 16 December 2008, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster referred to overpayments made to pensioners of public sector pension schemes, including the NHS pension scheme.

The NHS pension scheme accounts contain reference to these overpayments. The decision was taken not to publish the accounts until such time as we had sufficient information to be able to inform the pensioners. Critical to this decision was the need to avoid unnecessary public concern among the vast majority of national health service pensioners who were entirely unaffected, but who would not have known that had a general announcement been made. Letters were sent to affected pensioners on 15 December and the statement, formally notifying Parliament of the overpayments, was made on 16 December.

The accounts will be now be laid before the statutory deadline of 31 January 2009.