WORK AND PENSIONS – THE APW PENSION CRISIS – 31 October 2005

Dr Julian Lewis: The Minister will recall his previous meeting on the question of APW Electronics based in Eastleigh. At least four of my constituents and many more in Eastleigh and Southampton lost 80 per cent. of their pensions when their trustees were forced by a foreign-based arm of the firm to accept a deal that cost them that on pain of the company otherwise going into liquidation. Throughout the country, only about half a dozen companies are in that situation, and they are not covered by the protection scheme that has been set up or the financial assistance scheme. Can he do something to restore the stolen pensions of my constituents and the constituents of others?

[The Minister for Pensions Reform (Mr Stephen Timms): I do recall the discussion that we had. As I said to the hon. Gentleman on that occasion, it is our view that, where there is still a solvent employer, as there is in that case, that employer has a duty to ensure that the obligations that it has entered into are honoured. Therefore, he needs to look to the employer to put things right.]