Pensions Action Group

Workers closest to retirement are set to receive a top up to 80% of their scheme pension from the Financial Assistance Scheme, announced Pensions Minister, Malcolm Wicks, today.

DWP Press Release
22nd February 2005

Malcolm Wicks was announcing the latest details on FAS and confirmed that eligible workers who were within three years of their scheme pension age on 14th May 2004, when FAS was announced, will receive this level of assistance.

Given that FAS will apply to pension schemes that commenced winding up from 1st January 1997 until the introduction of the Pension Protection Fund, this means that depending on the pension age of their particular scheme, members currently aged between 57 and 73, should expect to get 80% of their core promised benefits. The money will be paid as a top up pension rather through the purchase of an annuity.

A list of the potentially eligible schemes – some 380 of them – that have so far provided data for the FAS was also published today.

Mr Wicks said:
“Workers who were a few years from retirement when their company went bust have been hit hardest – losing both their jobs and their pensions with little chance to start again.
“We urgently needed to give these people peace of mind by making their position clear, and today we are doing so, by announcing through FAS they will now get 80% of the core pension benefits for life.
“The list of schemes that we are publishing represents the work done so far. I must stress that the door has not been shut on those schemes and their workers who do not appear on this list – we expect to be contacted by more schemes in the coming months.
“We will continue to collect detailed information on the schemes, including crucially on the total number and level of individual losses.”

At present there are at least 380 schemes where members may be eligible for assistance but schemes who may still consider themselves as potentially eligible can contact the Department to provide us with details.

The government will review the operation of FAS after 3 years. We will review the funding for the FAS in the next Spending Review alongside other spending priorities.

A dedicated team of DWP officials, based in York, will administer the scheme and aim to get payments to recipients as soon as possible once the regulations are in place.

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