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Session 2006-07
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Wednesday 18th April 2007

Consideration of Bill


Pensions Bill, As Amended


Note

The Amendments have been arranged in accordance with the Pensions Bill (Programme) (No. 2) [18th April].


New ClauseS and Amendments Relating to the Financial Assistance Scheme

Financial assistance scheme: increased levels of payments

Mr Secretary Hutton

NC38

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) Section 286 of the Pensions Act 2004 (c. 35) (financial assistance scheme for members of certain pension schemes) is amended as follows.

      (2) After subsection (1) insert—

      “(1A) The Secretary of State must, in particular, make provision for securing that (subject to any relevant restriction) the aggregate amount of—

        (a) any annual payment payable to a qualifying member of such a scheme, and

        (b) the member’s actual pension (if any),

      is not less than 80% of the member’s expected pension, irrespective of the date of his attaining normal retirement age (or the date when he would have attained that age if he dies before attaining it).

      (1B) A “relevant restriction” means any provision of the regulations which—

        (a) operates to restrict the amount of an annual payment by means of a cap on the product of the calculation of a specified fraction of the member’s expected pension, or

        (b) provides for an annual payment not to be payable where the member’s actual pension exceeds any specified amount.”

      (3) In subsection (2), before the definition of “qualifying member” insert—

      ““actual pension” and “expected pension”, in relation to a qualifying member of a qualifying pension scheme, mean the amounts which, in accordance with regulations under subsection (1), are to be taken into account as the member’s actual pension and expected pension, respectively, in determining the amount of any annual payment payable to the member;

      “annual payment” has the meaning given by regulations under subsection (1);”.”

      (4) Subsections (5) and (6) below apply where the scheme manager has determined that an initial payment may be made under the FAS regulations to or in respect of a qualifying member of a qualifying pension scheme, and they so apply whether the determination—

        (a) has been made, or

        (b) relates to a period beginning,

      before or after the passing of this Act.

      (5) Subject to any relevant restriction, the amount of any such initial payment payable to the member is to be—

        (a) the amount of the member’s expected pension multiplied by 0.8, less

        (b) the amount of the member’s interim pension (if any),

      irrespective of the date of the member attaining normal retirement age (or the date when he would have attained that age if he dies before attaining it).

      (6) The amount of any such initial payment payable to the survivor of the member is to be—

        (a) whichever is the smaller of—

          (i) one-half of the product of the calculation in subsection (5)(a), or

          (ii) one-half of the product of that calculation as reduced by virtue of any relevant restriction,

        less

        (b) the amount of the interim pension payable to the survivor (if any),

      irrespective of the date of the member attaining normal retirement age (or the date when he would have attained that age if he dies before attaining it).

      (7) In subsections (5) and (6) “relevant restriction” means any provision of the FAS regulations which—

        (a) operates to restrict the amount of an initial payment by means of a cap on the product of the calculation of a specified fraction of the member’s expected pension, or

        (b) provides for an initial payment not to be payable where the member’s interim pension exceeds any specified amount;

      but for the purposes of those subsections any such specified fraction is to be taken to be 0.8.

      (8) Any provision of the FAS regulations which is inconsistent with subsection (5) or (6) is of no effect to the extent of the inconsistency.

      (9) The Secretary of State may by regulations—

        (a) amend subsection (5) so as to substitute for the fraction for the time being specified there such fraction as is specified in the regulations, and

        (b) make a corresponding amendment in subsection (7).

      (10) No regulations may be made under subsection (9) unless a draft of the regulations has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

      (11) In this section—

      “expected pension” and “interim pension”, in relation to a qualifying member of a qualifying pension scheme, mean the amounts which, in accordance with the FAS regulations, are to be taken into account as the member’s expected pension and interim pension, respectively, in determining the amount of any initial payment payable to, or in respect of, the member;

      “the FAS regulations” means regulations under section 286(1) of the Pensions Act 2004 (c. 35);

      “initial payment” has the meaning given by the FAS regulations;

      “interim pension”, in relation to the survivor of a qualifying member of a qualifying pension scheme, means the amount which, in accordance with the FAS regulations, is to be taken into account as the interim pension payable to the survivor in determining the amount of any initial payment payable to the survivor;

      “qualifying member”, “qualifying pension scheme” and “scheme manager” have the same meaning as in section 286 of the Pensions Act 2004 (c. 35);

      “survivor” has the meaning given by the FAS regulations.’.

       As an Amendment to Mr Secretary Hutton’s proposed New Clause (Financial assistance scheme: increased levels of payments) (NC38):—

Julie Morgan
Sandra Osborne
Derek Wyatt
Dr Hywel Francis
Kelvin Hopkins
Dr Tony Wright
Total signatories: 8

         Mr Gordon Prentice    Alan Simpson

(A)

Line 9, leave out from ‘than’ to end of line 11 and insert ‘the amount that would be paid in the same circumstances in payments made in accordance with the pension compensation provisions set out in Schedule 7, save that references to “the Board” shall be read as references to the Scheme Manager defined in subsection (3).’.


Financial Assistance Scheme

Mr Nigel Waterson
Andrew Selous
Mr Mark Lancaster
John Penrose
Mark Pritchard

NC11

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) The Secretary of State shall commission an independent review of the Financial Assistance Scheme having regard (among other things) to—

        (a) the efficiency and cost effectiveness of its administration;

        (b) whether it could be more effective if administered by the staff of the Pension Protection Fund;

        (c) whether it is adequately financed;

        (d) what other sources of finance could be made available, including but not limited to unclaimed assets;

        (e) whether it should be engaged in the purchase of bulk annuities.

      (2) The Secretary of State shall publish the findings of such review within six months of this Act coming into force.’.


Parliamentary Ombudsmans Report and occupational pensions compensation

Mr David Laws
Lorely Burt
Danny Alexander
Lynne Jones

NC21

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘The Secretary of State shall, no later than 1st April 2008, publish a single report setting out—

        (a) the Government’s response to—

          (i) the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s 6th Report of Session 2005-06, “Trusting in the pensions promise: government bodies and the security of final salary occupational pensions” (HC984);

          (ii) the Sixth Report from the Select Committee on Public Administration, Session 2005-06 “The Ombudsman in Question: the Ombudsman’s report on pensions and its constitutional implications” (HC 1081);

          (iii) the ruling of the European Court of Justice in the case C-278/05, Carol Marilyn Robins and Others versus the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions;

          (iv) the judicial review of the Government’s response to the Ombudsman’s Report referred to in sub-paragraph (i);

        (b) estimates of the cost of extending the provisions of the Pension Protection Fund benefits to all potential Financial Assistance Scheme members including those excluded for reasons of age, taking account of the net costs after the impact of tax revenues and means tested benefits; and

        (c) plans to pay fair compensation to those who have lost their occupational pensions.’.


Compliance with recommendations of the Parliamentary Ombudsman

Mr Nigel Waterson
Andrew Selous
Mr Mark Lancaster
John Penrose
Mark Pritchard

NC22

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘The Secretary of State shall, within three months of this Act coming into force, report to both Houses of Parliament on how he proposes to comply fully with the recommendations contained in the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s 6th Report of Session 2005-06, “Trusting in the pensions promise: government bodies and the security of final salary occupational pensions” (HC984).’.


Financial Assistance Scheme (No. 2)

Julie Morgan
Sandra Osborne
Derek Wyatt
Dr Hywel Francis
Mr Gordon Prentice
Dr Desmond Turner
Total signatories: 54

John Austin Jenny Willott Mr David Laws
Dr Ian Gibson Paul Flynn Joan Ruddock
Mr Brian H. Donohoe Mr David Amess Lynne Jones
Mr Quentin Davies Ms Madeline Moon Adam Price
Mr Elfyn Llwyd Hywel Williams Mr Peter Kilfoyle
Mr Brian Jenkins Mr Elliot Morley Ms Gisela Stuart
Mr Clive Betts Frank Cook Colin Burgon
Roger Berry John McDonnell Mike Wood
Jon Cruddas Mr Michael Meacher Mr Frank Field
David Heyes Chris Huhne Mr Gordon Marsden
Ian Lucas Mr John Denham John McDonnell

NC24

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) The Pensions Act 2004 (c. 35) is amended as follows.

      (2) In section 286 (financial assistance for members etc.) insert after subsection (3)—

      “(3A) Regulations under subsection (1) must provide that the payments to be made to or in respect of qualifying members shall be of the same amount, and shall be paid in the same circumstances, as payments made in accordance with the pension compensation provisions set out in Schedule 7, save that references to “the Board” shall be read as references to the scheme manager defined in subsection (3).”.’.


Financial Assistance Scheme: eligibility where employers remain solvent

Dr Tony Wright
Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger
Jenny Willott
Julie Morgan
Kelvin Hopkins
Mr Gordon Prentice
Total signatories: 13

Mr David Burrowes Sandra Osborne Lynne Jones
John McDonnell

NC25

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) The Pensions Act 2004 (c. 35) is amended as follows.

      (2) In section 286 (financial assistance for members etc.) insert after subsection (2)—

      “(2A) Conditions prescribed under paragraph (c) in the definition of “qualifying pension scheme” in subsection (2) shall not exclude schemes which have been wound up in the absence of an insolvency event as referred to in Part 2.”.’.


Financial Assistance Scheme (No. 3)

Dr Tony Wright
Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger
Jenny Willott
Julie Morgan
Kelvin Hopkins
Mr Gordon Prentice
Total signatories: 13

Mr David Burrowes Sandra Osborne Lynne Jones
John McDonnell

NC26

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) Section 286 (financial assistance for members etc.) of the Pensions Act 2004 (c. 35) is amended as follows.

      (2) After subsection (1) insert—

      “(1A) The regulations must provide, save for any necessary changes, that each person who would have had an entitlement to payment as compensation under Schedule 7 (Pension Protection Provisions), if each qualifying pension scheme had been an eligible scheme for which the Board had assumed responsibility as specified in paragraph 1 of that Schedule, is given an equivalent entitlement to payment.”

      (3) Omit subsections (6) and (7).’.


Financial Assistance Scheme (No. 4)

Mr David Laws

NC27

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) Section 286 (financial assistance for members etc.) of the Pensions Act 2004 (c.35) is amended as follows.

      (2) After subsection (4) there is inserted—

      “(4A) The regulations must provide (subject to any changes which the Secretary of State may consider necessary) that each person who would have been entitled to compensation under Schedule 7 (pension compensation provisions) is given an equivalent entitlement to such compensation, whether or not each qualifying pension scheme has been an eligible scheme for which the Board had assumed responsibility as specified in paragraph 1 of that Schedule.”.’.


Amendments to Financial Assistance Scheme Regulations 2005 (No. 1)

Mr David Cameron
Sir Menzies Campbell
Mr Frank Field
Mr George Osborne
Mr Philip Hammond
Alan Simpson
Total signatories: 13

Jo Swinson

NC39

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) The Financial Assistance Scheme Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/1986) are amended as follows.

      (2) In regulation 5(1) for “Secretary of State” substitute “Board of the Pension Protection Fund (“the Board”)”.

      (3) In regulation 5(2)(a) leave out from “Secretary of State” to end of sub-paragraph and insert “the Board”.

      (4) In regulation 5, sub-paragraph 2(b) is omitted.’.


Amendment to the Financial Assistance Scheme Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/1986) (No. 2)

Mr David Cameron
Sir Menzies Campbell
Mr Frank Field
Mr George Osborne
Mr Philip Hammond
Alan Simpson
Total signatories: 13

Jo Swinson

NC40

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) The Financial Assistance Scheme Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/1986) are amended as follows.

      (2) In regulation 9, paragraph (c) is omitted.

      (3) Regulations 11 to 13 are omitted.’.


Pensions Protection Lifeboat Fund

Mr David Cameron
Sir Menzies Campbell
Mr Frank Field
Mr George Osborne
Mr Philip Hammond
Alan Simpson
Total signatories: 13

Jo Swinson

NC41

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) There shall be established as soon as reasonably practicable a Pension Protection Lifeboat Fund (“the Lifeboat Fund”) which shall be administered by the Board of the Pension Protection Fund (“the Board”).

      (2) The purpose of the Lifeboat Fund shall be to make supplementary payments to persons who are qualifying members of qualifying schemes as defined by the Financial Assistance Scheme Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2006/1986) (or who would be qualifying members if the qualifying age for the Financial Assistance Scheme were set at the level of the qualifying scheme retirement age), in addition to the sums payable in any event under those regulations.

      (3) The supplementary payments made to any person in accordance with subsection (2) shall equal the amount that, taken together with any amounts payable to that person under the Financial Assistance Scheme and amounts payable to that person as scheme benefits under the qualifying pension scheme in respect of which he is a qualifying member of the Financial Assistance Scheme (or would be a qualifying member if the qualifying age for the Financial Assistance Scheme were set at the level of the qualifying scheme retirement age), is the amount that would be payable to that person if that qualifying pension scheme was accepted into the Pension Protection Fund.

      (4) The Secretary of State shall make such loans to the Lifeboat Fund as are necessary to allow the discharge of its functions and in particular its obligation to make supplementary payments under subsection (2).

      (5) The Secretary of State shall make such loans from time to time having regard to—

        (a) requests for such loans received from the Board;

        (b) the amount of assets transferred or to be transferred to the Lifeboat Fund under the Scheme (as defined in section [Transfer of unclaimed assets] (“the Scheme”));

        (c) the level of any claims on the Lifeboat Fund in respect of assets transferred to it under the Scheme.

      (6) Loans made in accordance with this section must be repaid to the Secretary of State as soon as, in the reasonable opinion of the Board, it is prudent to do so having regard to—

        (a) the obligations of the Lifeboat Fund;

        (b) the amount of assets transferred or to be transferred to the Lifeboat Fund under the Scheme; and

        (c) the level of claims on the Lifeboat Fund in respect of assets transferred to it under the Scheme.

      (7) Loans made under this section shall be interest free.

      (8) The assets of the Lifeboat Fund shall be held separately from the assets of any other fund under the control of the Board.

      (9) The Secretary of State may by regulations make further provision in connection with the Lifeboat Fund.

      (10) A statutory instrument containing regulations under this section is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.’.


Pensions Unclaimed Assets Recovery Agency

Mr David Cameron
Sir Menzies Campbell
Mr Frank Field
Mr George Osborne
Mr Philip Hammond
Alan Simpson
Total signatories: 13

Jo Swinson

NC42

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) There shall be a body called the Pensions Unclaimed Assets Recovery Agency (“the Agency”).

      (2) The Agency must be established no later than three months after the passing of this Act.

      (3) The Agency shall consist of not fewer than six nor more than twelve members to be appointed by the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of State shall appoint one member to be the chairman, and another member to be a deputy chairman, of the Agency.

      (4) In appointing a person to be a member of the Agency, the Secretary of State shall have regard to the desirability of appointing persons who have knowledge of, or experience relating to, matters relevant to the functions of the Agency.

      (5) A member of the Agency may hold office for such a period as the Secretary of State may determine, but not exceeding—

        (a) six years, in the case of the chairman, and

        (b) four years, in the case of other members.

      (6) The Secretary of State may make payments to the members of the Agency by way of remuneration and make payments to them in respect of expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties.

      (7) The Secretary of State may also defray any other expenses of the Agency.’.


Functions of the Pensions Unclaimed Assets Recovery Agency

Mr David Cameron
Sir Menzies Campbell
Mr Frank Field
Mr George Osborne
Mr Philip Hammond
Alan Simpson
Total signatories: 13

Jo Swinson

NC43

    To move the following Clause:—

      The functions of the Agency are—

        (a) to obtain such information about such classes of unclaimed assets as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State by regulations;

        (b) to provide the Secretary of State with that information and any other related information held by the Agency which the Secretary of State may from time to time require;

        (c) to administer the scheme to be established by virtue of section [Transfer of unclaimed assets].’.


Pensions Unclaimed Assets Recovery Agency: provision of information

Mr David Cameron
Sir Menzies Campbell
Mr Frank Field
Mr George Osborne
Mr Philip Hammond
Alan Simpson
Total signatories: 13

Jo Swinson

NC44

    To move the following Clause:—

      ‘(1) Subject to subsection (2) below, the Agency may, by notice, require any person to supply it, within a specified period or at a specified time or times, such specified information as the Agency considers it needs for the purposes of carrying out its functions under section [Function of the Pensions Unclaimed Assets Recovery Agency].

      (2) This section does not authorise any requirement in relation to information to be imposed on any person unless that person carries on a business in the United Kingdom; but a requirement may be imposed under this section on a person in relation to information in the possession or control of a connected person or undertaking outside the United Kingdom.

      (3) Any person who, when required to do so under this section, fails without reasonable excuse to supply any information, shall be liable on summary conviction—

        (a) to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale; and

        (b) in the case of a continuing offence, to an additional fine not exceeding £200 for every day during which the offence continues.

      (4) Any person who knowingly or recklessly supplies any information which is false or misleading shall be liable—

        (a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to a fine, or both; and

        (b) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum.’.


 
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