§ Mr. Frank Field
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment his Department made of the impact on occupational pensions of FRS17 prior to its implementation; 
(2) what representations his Department received from employers concerning the introduction by the Accounting Standards Board of FRS17 prior to its implementation; 
(3) whether his Department was consulted about the planned timescale for the introduction of FRS17: 
(4) when he was first informed by the Accounting Standards Board about the planned adoption of FRS17; 
(5) whether his Department consulted employers concerning the introduction by the Accounting Standards Board of FRS17 prior to its implementation; on what dates; and what the contents of those consultations were; 1013W
(6) what representations his Department made to Accounting Standards Board concerning the introduction of FRS17. 
§ Malcolm Wicks
[holding answer 27 February 2002]: FRS17 is an accounting standard introduced by the Accounting Standards Board (ASB) which is entirely independent of Government. Financial reporting standards are introduced after a long period of public consultation which offers an opportunity for those with an interest to make representations to the ASB.1014W
The Department has been aware of FRS17 throughout its development, a process that has taken several years.
Ministers and officials hold regular consultations with those involved with the pensions industry. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met representatives from the ASB on 27 February.
There are many factors tending to increase the costs and risks faced by employers who choose to offer defined benefit occupational pension schemes including longer life expectancy and lower expected future investment returns. It is not possible to isolate the effects of FRS17 from these other factors.