The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) still does not
know how many people will need its £400m Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) that
helps workers whose pension funds have collapsed.
Five months after launching the scheme, the DWP has
written to thousands of pension trustees to ask whether their schemes have
closed and left them without a retirement fund, reports The Times.
Employers said they were “staggered” that the DWP had waited
so long to conduct in-depth research into the extent of the problem it faced.
deputy director of employment policy at the Engineering Employers’ Federation,
told The Times: “Why on earth has it taken them since May to send this letter
out? How on earth did they settle on £400 million without this information?
“The schemes that are most likely to need the FAS are the
ones least likely to have this type of information to hand,” Yeandle added.
Andrew Smith, the former Secretary of State for Work and
Pensions, launched the FAS on May 14, saying that it would “give real help to
people who have lost their life savings through no fault of their own”.
The deadline for the questionnaires – November 12 – also
dashed hopes that the FAS would be in place by the end of the year.