Pensions Bill

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Malcolm Wicks: It is important to emphasise that borrowing is a short-term measure for specific short-term problems that may or may not occur. In the long term, the board may increase the levy and not need to borrow. The difference between what will become the British practice and the United States experience is that the board will have flexibility to make its own judgment on the level and that is crucial. Over time, the fund will accumulate its own assets as it takes over assets, which may be considerable, of failing pension schemes. There will be an income stream from those assets, so we do not foresee borrowing being at the heart of the board's funding—far from it. It is reasonable for the Secretary of State to set a borrowing limit. That is normal for non-departmental public bodies and replicates the provision for the Pension Compensation Board. It is important to remember that the power to borrow is aimed at addressing short-term issues.

On security, I mentioned that the scheme will have considerable assets and there could be security in property owned by the PPF, but borrowing will be only in short-term circumstances.

Question put and agreed to.

Column Number: 397

Clause 89 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Further consideration adjourned.—[Margaret Moran.]

Column Number: 398

Adjourned accordingly at three minutes past Five o'clock till Thursday 25 March at half-past Nine o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee
Cran, Mr. James (Chairman)
Baird, Vera
Barker, Gregory
Brennan, Kevin
Cairns, David
Dean, Mrs.
Edwards, Mr.
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Keeble, Ms
Khabra, Mr.
MacDougall, Mr.
Moran, Margaret
Pond, Mr.
Robertson, John
Rosindell, Mr.
Tynan, Mr.
Waterson, Mr.
Wicks, Malcolm

Liam Laurence Smyth, Sarah Hartwell, Committee Clerks

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