HC Deb 15 June 1999 vol 333 cc85-6W
Ms Rosie Winterton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the position reached in respect of the pensions scheme of the former National Bus Company. [87246]

Mr. Prescott

I am pleased to be able to announce substantial progress in the settlement of the long running dispute concerning the payment to the Government in 1990 of surpluses held in the two National Bus Company pensions funds. At the first opportunity following full consideration of all the relevant legal and other issues, I instructed the Department's lawyers to open discussions with the pension trustees with a view to obtaining a just and equitable out of court settlement as soon as possible.

Those discussions have been successful. Offers have been made which the trustees have indicated they intend to recommend as acceptable. An application will be made to the Court for its approval of the proposed settlement terms as soon as possible following all proper consultation with the beneficiaries.

The proposed settlement involves payment to the trustees of £300 million in respect of the BEST scheme and of £55.77 million in respect of the NBPF scheme. I am satisfied that this is a just and reasonable settlement for all concerned.

The details of the distribution of the settlement sum to individuals will be a matter for the trustees to decide and carry forward.