§ Bob Russell
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assistance can be given under the Local Government Pension scheme to employees of the Essex Careers and Business Partnership Ltd., owned jointly by Essex, Southend and Thurrock councils, now in liquidation; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Phil Hope
Essex Careers and Business Partnership Ltd. established its own pension arrangements for employees; they were not members of the Local Government Pension Scheme. Consequently, the loss of any pension rights as a result of the company's liquidation needs to be resolved initially on that basis.
§ Bob Russell
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will inquire into the decision of Essex, Southend and Thurrock councils to place the Essex Careers and Business Partnership Ltd. into liquidation from 31 March; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Raynsford
Essex Careers and Business Partnership Ltd. (ECBP) was a private company delivering Careers Company services across Essex,1598W Southend and Thurrock. Up until 31 March 2004 ECBP delivered these services under a contract with the Connexions Partnership (Connexions Essex Southend and Thurrock), and as a private company it is for the shareholders to decide if and when the company should be placed in liquidation.
Since the company went into liquidation the full range of 'Careers Service' activities has been delivered by Connexions Essex, Southend and Thurrock, and all ECBP staff working on Connexions activities have transferred under TUPE conditions to the Connexions Partnership.