HC Deb 15 December 2003 vol 415 c678W
Kevin Brennan:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the net cost to the Exchequer caused by short-falls in final salary occupational pension schemes arising from company insolvency since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [143753]

Ruth Kelly:

The Pensions Schemes Registry (PSR), administered by the Occupational Pension Schemes Regulatory Authority (OPRA), holds information on the number of final salary schemes which are currently in the winding-up process and the number of schemes which have entered and completed winding-up. The registry database is, however, limited in a number of ways. Consequently, it does not provide all the information requested, though it nevertheless remains the most comprehensive source of information available on the aggregate number of pension schemes in the UK.

According to the PSR's most recent data, around 1,400 private sector final salary schemes were in the winding-up process at the beginning of September, and around 4,800 private sector final salary schemes have completed winding-up. The data do not permit any further analysis on whether these schemes have commenced/completed winding-up prior to 1997. It is not possible to split the above by whether they are connected to a solvent or insolvent employer. No alternative data source exists to provide this information.

There will be a cost to the Exchequer from schemes winding up in deficit, from the loss in income tax receipts on pensions and an increase in income related benefits. As regards estimating the cost to the Exchequer, we have not estimated this due to the above data deficiencies.