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The youngest scheme members will not be eligible for financial assistance for a number of decades. A member who was 20 years of age when their scheme started to wind-up in 2005 would not qualify for payment of assistance until 2050. Therefore it could take at least 40 years before full assistance starts being paid to all members eligible for FAS.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many members of the Earlys of Witney Pension Scheme had been approached by the Financial Assistance Scheme to offer them compensation before 20 July 2007. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Following the intervention of the right hon. Member for Witney the trustees of the Earlys of Witney Pension Scheme were contacted by the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) Operational Unit. Subsequently a DWP official contacted an individual member of the scheme to provide information about the FAS, and issued the standard form to return to the Financial Assistance Scheme Operational Unit. The individual subsequently decided not to pursue a claim for assistance, and I am told this was because he was awaiting an appeal judgment in court.
The trustees of the Earlys of Witney Pension Scheme have successfully applied for FAS initial payments, and the unit is working with the trustees to encourage them to provide the necessary member data to allow these payments to be made.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many calls made to the Pension Service in the East of England (a) met an engaged tone, (b) were received and (c) were handled by an adviser in each year since 1997, broken down by call centre; and what area within the East of England is served by each call centre. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Prior to 2002 the Benefits Agency was responsible for the delivery of benefits and services for pensioners. From April 2002, this became the sole responsibility of the Pension Service.
In 2003-04 the Pension Service customer base was split into regions, the then East of England region was served exclusively by Derby, Leicester, Nottingham, Norwich Baltic and Norwich Kingfisher pension centres.
Since 2003-04 the Pension Service has reduced the number of pension centres and work is no longer managed in regions. Telephone calls from the East of England region are now handled by Burnley Pension Centre which also takes customers in the North West. It is not, therefore, possible to report East of England calls separately within the data held by the Pension Service.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much of the money paid into the wrong Post Office card accounts by his Department has been recovered over the last three years. 
I can now provide updated figures covering the period up to 2006-07. These show that the amount incorrectly paid into Post Office card accounts was £7.3 million and the amount recovered was £2.4 million.
(The figures in the Resource Accounts therefore overstated the amount that had been incorrectly paid and understated the amount that had been recovered.)
During this four-year period the level of incorrect payments has reduced significantly, while the proportion of payments recovered has shown a significant increase. This is partly due to improvements by Post Office Ltd. in its own systems and procedures, which enable us to better identify and recover incorrect payments.
Mrs. McGuire: The Chair of the Health and Safety Commission (HSEs parent body) recently wrote to the Chief Executives of all British local authorities and a number of other organisations, urging them to avoid needless health and safety requirements for planned Remembrance Day events. The letter recognised that the vast majority of authorities are very sensible and sensitive in dealing with such events, but urged that all ensure a consistent approach. I will place a copy of the letter in the House Library.
Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 15 October 2007]: Following the review of Remploy last year by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, we asked the Remploy board to bring forward a five-year restructuring plan both to modernise the business and to support substantially larger numbers of disabled people into work, ensuring that there would be no compulsory redundancies of disabled employees, and that their full terms and conditionsincluding rights to final salary pensionswould be protected.
Remploy announced their initial proposals on 22 May. On 19 August, the Secretary of State appointed Roger Poole to chair the negotiations over the proposals between Remploy and the trade unions. Although substantial progress was made, these talks concluded with a formal failure to agree.
The Secretary of State has now requested a final report from the Remploy board on the modernisation of the company, no later than 12 November 2007. We recognise that despite substantial progress, significant issues remain unresolved. Nonetheless, these remaining differences can and should be bridged. We continue to believe that a negotiated settlement represents the best outcome for Remploy.
A decision on the future of Remploy will be made by the Secretary of State once a final report from the board is received. Until then, no Government decision will be made concerning Remploy's factories.
Mrs. McGuire: Remploy owns 55 factories and leases 26 factories. The company pays a commercial rent for the 26 leased factories. The remaining factories are owned by Remploy on a freehold basis or ground lease. The Department for Work and Pensions holds a debenture on all Remploy owned property and must agree to the sale of any company property, before the debenture on that property can be released.
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