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Lord Lucas: I am happy to give that assurance.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 173:

Page 103, line 9, leave out from ("omitted") to end of line 10 insert:
("at the end of paragraph (b) there is inserted "or", and paragraph (d) and the preceding "or" are omitted, and
( ) subsections (6) and (7) are omitted").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 174:

Page 103, line 13, at end insert:
(" . In section 158 (disclosure of information), after subsection (7) there is inserted—
"(7A) The Secretary of State may disclose to the Regulatory Authority any information received by him if he considers that the disclosure would enable or assist them to discharge their functions under—
(a) this Act, or
(b) the Pensions Act 1995,
or any corresponding enactment in force in Northern Ireland, and no such obligation as is mentioned in subsection (7) shall prevent him from doing so."").

The noble Lord said: The amendment inserts a new subsection into the Pension Schemes Act 1993. The new Section 158(7A) provides for the Secretary of State for Social Security, his department and its agencies to disclose information to the authority where it is considered that the disclosure would enable or assist the authority to discharge its functions.

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We need to ensure that the authority can be provided with appropriate information from all relevant sources. This is one of a number of information gateways to the authority that we have opened up in our legislation. We consider this an important one. It is right that the Secretary of State for the Department of Social Security should be able to pass relevant information on to the authority. In particular, the Contributions Agency, which will have responsibilities in relation to contracted-out schemes, may need to report problems with a scheme to the authority.

There are already appropriate provisions in Section 158 of the Pension Schemes Act to allow the Secretary of State to disclose information to the registry. This amendment inserts appropriate provisions in respect of the regulator. I beg to move.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Again, the amendment appears to be all right. However, I do not believe that the Minister would wish it to be recorded that he said "the Secretary of State for Social Security". As regards legislation, there is only one Secretary of State and he can change his departmental responsibilities and title without legislation thereby being made ineffective. I ask out of genuine puzzlement what obligations there are in subsection (7) which prevent the Secretary of State from doing so. I know that I should have looked at the legislation but it will do no harm for the answer to appear in Hansard.

Lord Lucas: I am afraid that again I am not clear as to what the answer might be. I shall write to the noble Lord.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I will gladly speak for as long as is necessary for the Minister to be handed a message from the Box. Although I accepted without hesitation his previous offer to write to me on what was, after all, a relatively trivial matter, the obligation as mentioned in subsection (7) appears in the amendment which the noble Lord has moved. It is not unreasonable of me to pick up the wording of the amendment and to ask what it means. I am sure that if the noble Lord, Lord Renton, were in his place he would do so with much greater effect. However, even in my amateur way, I believe that I am entitled to some kind of explanation. I see an answer being handed to the Minister. Under those circumstances, I am content to leave it to him to respond as best he can to my entirely innocent and well-meaning question.

Lord Lucas: I am informed that information gathered under social security provisions cannot be passed on unless legislation expressly provides for it.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Lucas moved Amendments Nos. 175 to 180:

Page 103, leave out lines 15 to 19.
Page 103, line 23, leave out from ("omitted") to end of line 25.
Page 103, line 29, at end insert ("and").
Page 103, line 31, leave out from ("160" ") to end of line 32.
Page 103, leave out lines 34 to 36 and insert ("in subsection (3)—
(a) for "97(1), 104(8) and 144(5)" there is substituted "and 97(1)",

20 Feb 1995 : Column 956

(b) the words from "or, in the case of" to "determined" are omitted, and
(c) the words following paragraph (b) are omitted").
Page 103, line 38, leave out paragraph 37.

The noble Lord said: I spoke to these amendments with Amendment No. 172. I beg to move.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 3, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 111 ["Connected" and "associated" persons]:

[Amendment No. 180A not moved.]

Clause 111 agreed to.

Clause 112 [Interpretation of Part I]:

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 181:

Page 63, line 20, at end insert:
(" "Scottish partnership" means a partnership constituted under the law of Scotland").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Haskel moved Amendment No. 181A:

Page 63, line 48, at end insert:
("( ) References in this Part to the trustees of a trust scheme shall include references to the directors of a corporate trustee in cases where a company has been appointed to act as a trustee of a trust scheme.").

The noble Lord said: Part I of the Pensions Bill does not apply to corporate trustees. However, many occupational pension schemes have a sole corporate trustee rather than individual trustees, or sometimes they have individual trustees together with one corporate trustee.

A corporate trustee is a company which has been appointed to act as trustee of a pension scheme and whose constitution allows it to act as a trustee. Often a corporate trustee is preferred to individual trustees partly because it is easier to replace directors of the company than to go through the rather more cumbersome procedure required to remove individual trustees and appoint replacement trustees.

In the case of a corporate trustee, the trustee remains the same but the directors can be changed from time to time. Also, a corporate trustee company has the special knowledge and skills readily available which may take an individual trustee some time to learn.

Since corporate trustees are appointed widely in relation to occupational pension schemes, there seems to be no logical reason why Part I should not extend to the directors of corporate trustees. The purpose of the amendment is to put directors of corporate trustees on the same footing as individual trustees. I beg to move.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: We agree with the principle of the noble Lord's amendment and we were already considering the point that he has raised.

Where a scheme is controlled by a corporate trustee, it is only right that the requirements of this part should apply to the company directors in the same way as to individual trustees. I do have some reservations about the drafting of the amendment but I would not, of course, as I have said on a number of occasions, wish to base any argument on that.

20 Feb 1995 : Column 957

In the case where, for example, the employer sets up or uses a subsidiary company as a trustee, we consider that equivalent provisions to the member-nominated trustee requirements under Clause 14 should apply to the directors of the company. However, we do not think it is practical that those requirements should apply to professional corporate trustees. Such professional independent trustees may act for a large number of pension schemes. If they were obliged to include members from all those schemes on their board of directors, it could swell to unmanageable proportions. Schemes which wish to use that type of trustee will either have to accept the corporate trustee as a single trustee who sits alongside member-nominated trustees with exactly the same functions, or opt-out of the member-nominated trustee requirements under the provisions of Clause 15.

Nevertheless, I am willing to take away the issue and look carefully at the individual provisions of Part I to see whether it might be necessary to make clear that they do apply to corporate trustees, and if so whether any modification or amendment is necessary. If it is, I will bring forward suitable amendments on Report. In the light of that, I hope that the noble Lord will withdraw the amendment.

5.45 p.m.

Lord Haskel: I thank the Minister for that undertaking. As we seem to agree that the principle is right, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 112, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 113 [Section 112: supplementary]:

Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde moved Amendment No. 182:

Page 64, line 19, after ("Part") insert (", except section 14").

The noble Baroness said: This amendment will add to Clause 113(4) the words "except section 14" which deals with member-nominated trustees.

Clause 113 as presently worded provides for regulations to change the meaning of the word "member". That is an extremely wide authority which goes right to the heart of the Bill, because the Pensions Bill is all about members of schemes. We suggest that the amendment is necessary. Clause 112 provides definitions of words in Part I. The clause defines "member" as:

    "any active, deferred or pensioner member".

We do not challenge that. We think that is correct. But Clause 113 as it stands undermines that definition. More important, it also undermines the provisions of Clause 14, which go to the heart of the Bill.

On the one hand, the Bill gives and on the other hand it takes away by extending the definition of "member". We do not understand why there is any need for that. Clause 14 as drafted is clear. The definition contained in Clause 112 is also clear. And yet the very next clause gives authority to undermine that definition.

20 Feb 1995 : Column 958

We must bear in mind that when the Bill becomes law, there will be considerable changes as regards trustees of occupational pension funds because, as we have said so many times in this Committee, only 35 per cent. of current schemes have serving, working member-trustees. A great many changes will take place. Regulations are no substitute for primary legislation. They will provide a wide remit for changing the definition of "member". Essentially, that weakens the Bill. That is why we have tabled the amendment. I am sure that the Minister will explain why regulations may be needed to change the definition of "member" and why those changes will exclude any changes with reference to Clause 14, which deals with member-nominated trustees.

If the Minister does not feel able to accept the amendment, will he explain why that definition may need to be changed? What are the situations which have existed or which factors has the Goode Committee drawn to the attention of Ministers which led to that provision in the Bill? We see no reason for it. If the Minister insists that it remains in the Bill, then this amendment is needed to prevent any weakening of Clause 14. I beg to move.

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