The UK government has apparently admitted that the Financial Assistance Scheme, set up to help pensioners whose savings had been lost when their former employers went bankrupt, has paid out just 16 pence for every GBP1 spent managing it.

In two years since its inception, the government’s pensions minister James Purnell was forced to admit that, only GBP347,888 had been paid out to beneficiaries, The Independent newspaper reports. More embarrassingly still for the government, there were only 113 recipients of any money at all, out of a possible 125,000 individuals who could be eligible.

The government is paying a pittance at a snail’s pace to less than one in 1,000 of those who have been robbed of their pensions, said Lord Oakeshott, the Liberal Democrat peer who tabled the question in parliament.