UK – The UK government says it is working “as quickly as we can” on a scheme to provide assistance for victims of underfunded wound-up defined benefit pension schemes.

The government committed 400 million pounds of public money over 20 years to the scheme when it was announced in an amendment to the Pensions Bill in May.

"We appreciate that there are a lot of people out they who are desperate for information on the package of financial assistance that we announced to help those who have lost out on their occupational pension because their pension scheme was under-funded when it wound up,” said Malcolm Wicks.

"We are working as quickly as we can to develop the scheme in consultation with industry, trade unions and others but we appreciate that whilst the process takes place it will be a worrying time for people who have lost out and are not yet sure whether they will be covered by the scheme.”

He made the remarks announcing an email update service for the measures, known as the Financial Assistance Scheme.

He said: “We hope the email updates will help to ensure that interested parties are kept as informed as possible."

The government intends to have the legislative framework in place by spring 2005 – with the first payments to be made “as quickly as possible after that”.