Amendments proposed to the Pensions Bill - continued House of Commons

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Duty to assume responsibility for closed schemes

   

Malcolm Wicks

NC14

To move the following Clause:—

    '(1)   Where the trustees or managers of a closed scheme—

      (a) make an application under subsection (1) of section [applications and notifications where closed schemes have insufficient assets], or

      (b) receive a notice from the Board under subsection (4) of that section,

    the Board must assume responsibility for the scheme in accordance with this Chapter if the value of the assets of the scheme at the relevant time was less than the amount of the protected liabilities at that time.

    (2)   In subsection (1) the reference to the assets of the scheme is a reference to those assets excluding any assets representing the value of any rights in respect of money purchase benefits under the scheme.

    (3)   For the purposes of determining whether the condition in subsection (1) is satisfied, the Board must, as soon as reasonably practicable, obtain an actuarial valuation (within the meaning of section 112(3)) of the scheme as at the relevant time.

    (4)   Subject to subsection (6), the following provisions apply in relation to a valuation obtained under subsection (3) as they apply in relation to a valuation obtained under section 112—

      (a) subsections (4) to (6) and (8) of that section;

      (b) section 113 (approval of valuation), other than subsection (2)(b) (iii) (duty to give copy of approved valuation to employer's insolvency practitioner);

      (c) section 114 (binding valuations), other than subsection (3)(b) (duty to give copy of binding valuation to employer's insolvency practitioner).

    (5)   In the application of section 114 by virtue of subsection (4), subsection (2) of that section applies as if the reference to section 100(2)(a) included a reference to subsection (1) of this section.

    (6)   In this section—

"closed scheme" has the same meaning as in section [treatment of closed schemes required to wind up];"the relevant time" means the time immediately before the application mentioned in subsection (1)(a) was made, or (as the case may be) the notice mentioned in subsection (1)(b) was received, by the trustees or managers of the scheme.'.


Closed schemes: further assessment periods

   

Malcolm Wicks

NC15

To move the following Clause:—

    '(1)   This section applies where—

      (a) an application is made under subsection (1) of section [applications and notifications where closed schemes have insufficient assets] in relation to a closed scheme, or

      (b) the trustees or managers of the scheme receive a notice under subsection (4) of that section.

    (2)   An assessment period —

      (a) begins when the application is made or the notice is received by the trustees or managers of the scheme, and

      (b) ends when—

      (i) the trustees or managers receive a transfer notice under section 122, or

      (ii) the conditions in section 119(5) (closed scheme with sufficient assets to meet protected liabilities etc) are satisfied in relation to the scheme,

      whichever first occurs.

    (3)   In this section "closed scheme" has the same meaning as in section [treatment of closed schemes required to wind up].'.


Meaning of "reviewable matters"

   

Malcolm Wicks

NC16

To move the following Clause:—

    '(1)   For the purposes of this Chapter, "reviewable matter" means a matter mentioned in Schedule [Reviewable matters].

    (2)   Regulations may provide, in relation to any reference in that Schedule to a failure by the Board to do any act or make any determination, that the reference is to be construed as a reference to a failure by the Board to do the act or make the determination within a prescribed period.

    (3)   Regulations may amend that Schedule by—

      (a) adding to it any other description of determination, act or failure of, or matter determined or for determination by, the Board, or

      (b) removing from it any such determination, act, failure or matter for the time being mentioned in it.'.


Interim Pension Protection Fund

   

Mr David Willetts
Mr Nigel Waterson
Mr George Osborne
Mr Peter Atkinson
Adam Price

NC1

To move the following Clause:—

    '(1)   The Interim Pension Protection Fund shall consist of—

      (a) property and rights transferred to the Board from salary-related occupational pension schemes—

      (i) to which section 56 of the Pensions Act 1995 (c. 26) applies;

      (ii) which are being wound up prior to the coming into force of Part 2 of this Act; and

      (iii) where prima facie there is a shortfall of assets to meet all obligations to current and future pensioners thereunder, and

      (b) proceeds of the interim levy upon unclaimed assets.

    (2)   Regulations must make provision for imposing a levy ("the interim levy") to be applied to unclaimed assets.

    (3)   The regulations must prescribe—

      (a) the identification of unclaimed assets for the purposes of this Act,

      (b) the factors by reference to which the interim levy is to be assessed,

      (c) the rate of the levy, and

      (d) the time or times during the interim period when the levy becomes payable.

    (4)   The Board shall have the same powers of compensation in respect of schemes hereunder as those set out in section 124 and Schedule 7 of this Act.

    (5)   In no circumstances may any of the proceeds of the levies established pursuant to sections 136 and 137 of this Act be applied for the purposes of this section.'.


Exercise of Regulator's functions

   

Mr David Willetts
Mr Nigel Waterson
Mr George Osborne
Mr Peter Atkinson
Gregory Barker
Mr David Ruffley

NC4

To move the following Clause:—

       'In the exercise of its functions under this Act, the Regulator shall have regard to—

      (a) the need to use its resources efficiently and effectively,

      (b) the principle that any burden or restriction imposed should be proportionate to the benefits thereof, and

      (c) the need to be open and transparent at all times, and to consult those with an interest when developing policies, procedures and practices.'.


Annual increase in rate of certain personal pensions

   

Mr David Willetts
Mr Nigel Waterson
Mr George Osborne
Mr Peter Atkinson
Gregory Barker
Mr David Ruffley

NC7

To move the following Clause:—

       'Sections 162 and 163 of the Pensions Act 1995 (c26) (annual increase in rate of certain personal pensions) shall cease to have effect.'.


Restriction on employers' powers to alter schemes for future service

   

Kevin Brennan

NC8

To move the following Clause:—

    '(1)   After section 67 of the Pensions Act 1995 there shall be inserted—

          "67A   Restriction on employers' powers to alter schemes for future service

          (1)   This section applies to any measure which an employer envisages that he may take whereby a pension scheme in which the employer participates—

          (a) will be closed to admission of new members;

          (b) will be modified by any person so that the rights or interests of any member will be adversely affected for future service;

          (c) will be modified so that the contributions which members are obliged to pay as a condition of membership will be increased; or

          (d) (in the case of a pension scheme which is not a salary-related pension scheme) will be modified so that the employer's obligation to contribute to the scheme will be reduced.

          (2)   Where this section applies, the employer shall meet the notice and consultation requirements specified in subsections (3) to (9) below before any such measure has effect.

          (3)   The notice requirements are that notice of any measure envisaged shall be given by the employer, in the manner specified in sub-section (4), to—

          (a) his employees (whether or not they are members of the scheme);

          (b) the trustees and administrator of the scheme; and

          (c) any recognised union.

          (4)   Notices given under subsection (3) shall be in writing and shall—

          (a) specify the measures which are envisaged, and, if the measures will not relate to all employees, the categories or descriptions of the employees to be so affected;

          (b) in the case of measures having the effect described in sub-section (1) above shall specify the categories or descriptions of the employees or future employees to be affected;

          (c) specify the date from which it is anticipated that those measures will have effect; and

          (d) specify the name and business address of the person to whom representations may be made with respect to the matters included in the notice.

          (5)   A notice under this section shall be given—

          (a) to any employee by—

          (i) sending or delivering it to him, or

          (ii) exhibiting it conspicuously at the place of work or employment so that it may be read conveniently by him and by drawing his attention to it in writing;

          (b) to any other person, by sending or delivering it to that person.

          (6)   Unless there are special circumstances which render it not reasonably practicable, a notice under this section must specify a date of expiry which is not earlier than the date three months after the date on which the notice is given.

          (7)   The consultation requirements are that unless there are special circumstances which render it not reasonably practicable the employer shall consult any recognised trade unions with a view to seeking their agreement to the measures to be taken.

          (8)   In the course of those consultations the employer shall—

          (a) consider any representations made by the recognised trade unions; and

          (b) reply to those representations and, if he rejects any of those representations, state his reasons.

          (9)   If in any case there are special circumstances which render it not reasonably practicable for an employer to perform a duty imposed on him by any of subsections (3) to (8) he shall take all such steps towards performing that duty as are reasonably practicable in the circumstances.

          (10)   In this section—

          (a) an effect upon any right or interest shall be taken to be adverse unless the actuary certifies that it is not;

          (b) a recognised trade union is an independent trade union recognised to any extent for the purpose of collective bargaining in relation to the employees concerned.

          67B   Failure to give notice or consult

          (1)   Where an employer has failed to comply with a requirement of section 67A, a complaint may be presented to an employment tribunal on that ground—

          (a) in the case of failure relating to representatives of a trade union, by the trade union,

          (b) in any other case, by any of his employees who are affected employees.

          (2)   If on a complaint under subsection (1) above a question arises whether or not it was reasonably practicable for an employer to perform a particular duty or what steps he took towards performing it, it shall be for him to show—

          (a) that there were special circumstances which rendered it not reasonably practicable for him to perform the duty; and

          (b) that he took all such steps towards its performances as were reasonably practicable in those circumstances.

          (3)   Where the tribunal finds a complaint under paragraph (1) above well-founded it shall make a declaration to that effect and may order the employer to pay appropriate compensation to such descriptions of affected employees as may be specified in the award;

          (4)   An appeal shall lie and shall lie only to the Employment Appeal Tribunal on a question of law arising from any decision of, or arising in any proceedings before, an employment tribunal under or by virtue of those Regulations; and section 13(1) of the Tribunals and Inquiries Act 1971 (appeal from certain tribunals to the High Court) shall not apply in relation to any such proceedings.

          (5)   In this section—

          (a) 'appropriate compensation means such sum not exceeding thirteen weeks' pay for the employee in question as the tribunal considers just and equitable having regard to the seriousness of the failure of the employer to comply with his duty.

          (b) 'affected employee' means an employee who is a member of the scheme or who would be eligible to become a member if a measure within the meaning of section 67A(1)(a) had not taken effect.

          (6)   Chapter II of the Employment Rights Act 1996 shall apply for calculating the amount of a week's pay for any employee for the purposes of subsection (11) above.".'.



 
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