New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: The Secretary of State [for Work & Pensions] reiterated today what he said on 16 March, which is that he still proposes to consider the case of APW Electronics and others, on which there is a three-party consensus – led by his right hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (John Denham) – that something must be done. Can the Secretary of State tell us how many firms are in the position of having been forced to give up 80 per cent. of their pensions under duress before the scheme came into effect? Will he use his best endeavours to save the futures of only a small number of people?

[John Hutton: I do not know the exact figure, but only a few employers fall into that category. My right hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen has been at the forefront of the campaign for people in that position. If it would be helpful, I would be happy to meet the hon. Gentleman and others to discuss the problem and try to find a sensible way forward. Unfortunately, I am not announcing today a way forward on that problem, but I am happy to receive a delegation to go through the arguments and seek a sensible solution.]