HC Deb 27 February 2004 vol 418 c604W
Sir Nicholas Winterton

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will establish an occupational pension rescue package for the former employees of Ballast plc following the company's liquidation; and if be will make a statement. [156685]

Malcolm Wicks

The Government remains sympathetic to all those people who will not receive the pension they worked so hard to build up for their future retirement. Ministers have been meeting those affected by pension losses in order to understand their plight and to listen to suggestions regarding assistance ahead of the Pension Protection Fund's introduction.

We are examining closely all the suggestions that have been put to us but, given all these workers' anxieties, which we understand, we owe it to those affected to do that without raising their expectations.

They must know that we have been absolutely straight with them all along. If it is not possible to do anything, as might ultimately be the case, they need to know that that has been the position from the outset. At the same time, we should not prematurely close off the opportunity of assistance if we can identify a proper basis on which it can be done.