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Pensions

House of Lords written question – answered on 6th November 2009.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird UUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many public sector and private sector final-salary pension schemes were in existence over the past three years; what were their respective total memberships; and how many private sector schemes are no longer open to new members.

Photo of Lord McKenzie of Luton Lord McKenzie of Luton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (also in the Department for Communities and Local Government), Department for Communities and Local Government, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (also in the Department for Communities and Local Government), Department for Work and Pensions, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government) (also in Department for Work and Pensions), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions) (also in the Department for Communities and Local Government)

Such information as is available is presented in the following tables:

Number of defined benefit occupational pension schemes by sector, 2004 to 2007
Numbers
Sector 2004 2005 2006 2007
Private 18,100 12,030 11,530 10,970
Public 320 n.a. 310 310

Source: Occupational Pension Schemes Survey

Notes:

1) Defined benefit includes hybrid schemes

2) The 2005 survey did not cover the public sector

3) Private sector scheme numbers relate to pension schemes with only one section.

4) Figures for 2004 and 2005 exclude schemes that were winding up.

5) Changes to the methodology for 2006 onwards mean that comparisons with 2005 and earlier years should be treated with caution.

In 2007, 8,740 private sector defined benefit occupational schemes were no longer open to new members (6,250 closed schemes, 1,760 frozen schemes and 730 schemes that were winding up).

The 2008 Occupational Pension Schemes annual report published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) did not include information on scheme numbers because it considered that the survey design was not sufficient to produce robust estimates of scheme numbers. The survey continues to provide robust estimates of scheme memberships:

Number of members of defined benefit occupational pension schemes by sector, 2004 to 2008
Millions
Sector 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Private 14.6 14.1 12.9 12.9 13.1
Public 10.6 n.a. 11.5 12.0 12.4

Source: Occupational Pension Schemes Survey

Notes:

1) Defined benefit includes hybrid schemes

2) The 2005 survey did not cover the public sector

3) Figures for 2004 and 2005 exclude schemes that were winding up.

4) Changes to the methodology for 2006 onwards mean that comparisons with 2005 and earlier years should be treated with caution.

5) Changes to the part of the questionnaire used to estimate pensions in payment and preserved pension entitlements in 2008 mean that comparisons with 2007 and earlier years should be treated with caution

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