To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 3 November 2005, Official Report, column 1359W, to the hon. Member for Tamworth (Mr. Jenkins), on pensions, what progress has been made towards making an estimate of the number of people who have lost their pensions due to firm insolvency since 1997; and whether this information is available for each (a) constituency and (b) region.
We estimate that since 1997 around 125,000 people have lost some part of their pension due to the insolvency of the sponsoring employer or where the employer no longer exists. We are now collecting information from pension schemes applying to the financial assistance scheme (FAS), which will enable us to provide actual data on the number of affected members in eligible schemes. However, as this information can only be provided by the pension scheme when close to winding up, it is likely to be some time before we have sufficient data to provide robust figures for each constituency and region.
As explained in my previous answer, based on our most recent data collection for the FAS, we know of around 70,000 non-pensioner members (in 380 schemes) that are potentially eligible for assistance from the FAS as a result of their schemes being wound up in circumstances of insolvency or where the employer no longer exists. In addition to these members we anticipate that a few hundred more schemes, including around 50,000 non-pensioner members and a small number of pensioner members, could come forward and be eligible for assistance. Some of these members may have suffered limited losses and would therefore not be eligible for FAS.