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Patent Office

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Barry Gardiner): My hon. Friend Lord Sainsbury of Turville, Minister for Science and Innovation today made the following statement:

19 Apr 2006 : Column 23WS

19 Apr 2006 : Column 24WS


Occupational Pension Schemes (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2006

The Minister for Pensions Reform (Mr. Stephen Timms): In the autumn of 2005 we issued the draft Occupational Pensions Schemes (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2006 for consultation.

One of the proposals contained in the draft regulations was a new requirement that an annual benefit statement should be issued automatically to everyone in non money purchase pension schemes, including deferred members and pension credit members.

Representations were made in the consultation that there was no need for the statements to be issued automatically to deferred members and pension credit members, as the information contained therein would not change year on year.

While it is useful to remind people regularly about their pension entitlement, we have been persuaded that the burden of issuing automatic statements to deferred and pension credit members would be disproportionate.

The proposed requirement to provide automatic statements to active scheme members will remain. Additionally, the current provision, which requires that relevant information must be provided to deferred and pension credit members on request, will be carried forward into the new regulations.

Although it will not be mandatory for non money purchase pension schemes to provide deferred and pension credit members with an automatic annual statement, schemes may wish to provide this information on a voluntary basis. Many already provide this helpful facility.

A full response to the consultation will be published with the final regulations. The regulations will come into effect from October 2006, although the annual benefit statement changes are only applicable for scheme years ending on or after 6 April 2007.