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Division No. 3


Acton, L.
Airedale, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Barnett, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Birk, B.
Blackstone, B.
Bledisloe, V.
Brookes, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Craigavon, V.
David, B.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Eatwell, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Ennals, L.
Ezra, L. [Teller.]
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Freyberg, L.
Gallacher, L.
Geraint, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B. [Teller.]
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Haskel, L.
Healey, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hughes, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Kennet, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lovell-Davis, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McNair, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milne, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Monson, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Nelson, E.
Nicol, B.
Perry of Walton, L.
Peston, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Richard, L.
Russell, E.
Seear, B.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Serota, B.
Stedman, B.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Turner of Camden, B.
Varley, L.
Westmorland, E.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.


Addison, V.
Ailsa, M.
Aldington, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Astor, V.
Barber of Tewkesbury, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Borthwick, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Braine of Wheatley, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Buckinghamshire, E.
Burnham, L.
Butterworth, L.
Cadman, L.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Cawley, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Chelmsford, V.
Chesham, L.
Clanwilliam, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Colnbrook, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cork and Orrery, E.
Courtown, E.
Cox, B.
Cranborne, V. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Cumberlege, B.
Davidson, V.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Elles, B.
Elton, L.
Faithfull, B.
Fanshawe of Richmond, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Gage, V.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Glenarthur, L.
Goschen, V.
Gray of Contin, L.
Greenway, L.
Gridley, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Harrowby, E.
Hayhoe, L.
Hemphill, L.
Henley, L.
Hertford, M.
Hives, L.
Holderness, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Howe, E.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Inglewood, L. [Teller.]
Jeffreys, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Killearn, L.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Long, V.
Lucas, L.
Lyell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Marlesford, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Melville, V.
Mersey, V.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Milverton, L.
Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Mottistone, L.
Mountevans, L.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Napier and Ettrick, L.
Newall, L.
Norfolk, D.
Norrie, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Orkney, E.
Oxfuird, V.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Pender, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Rankeillour, L.
Rawlings, B.
Rees, L.
Renton, L.
Renwick, L.
Rodger of Earlsferry, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Stewartby, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Sudeley, L.
Swansea, L.
Tebbit, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Trumpington, B.
Ullswater, V.
Vivian, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Whitelaw, V.
Wise, L.
Wynford, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

13 Mar 1995 : Column 611

6.10 p.m.

Baroness Seear moved Amendment No. 45:

Page 7, line 9, at end insert:
("( ) Once a scheme provides for a majority of pensioner members, the arrangements must provide for at least one trustee to be nominated by pensioner members of the scheme.").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I am hoping that the Minister will see the light even at this late hour. Indeed, perhaps I may anticipate what I know he will say—namely, that everyone who is a member of a trustee board is there as an independent person and is thinking about the interests of the scheme and not about the interests of any special group. We all know that is the case, and therefore we need not waste any time in your Lordships' House by having it repeated yet again. It is not as a representative of special interests that I am moving the proposal that there should be at least one pensioner on a trustee board where such a board represents a substantial number of pensioners.

The person who is a pensioner has a different experience and knowledge about how the scheme is working from someone who is either an employer or a working member who is anticipating a pension later on but who is not currently a pensioner. Surely it stands to reason that someone who is already a pensioner has something to contribute, not an interest to defend. He or she has knowledge, experience and a point of view to contribute to the running of the scheme. It seems to me to be quite extraordinary that schemes which are there for the benefit of pensioners should exclude from their managing body the very people for whom the whole exercise is being undertaken. Therefore, briefly, but very determinedly, I wish to move the amendment. Pensioners should be allowed a place on the trustee boards of schemes. I beg to move.

Baroness Turner of Camden: My Lords, I rise to express my support for the amendment moved by the noble Baroness. It will be recalled that we attempted to persuade the Government in Committee that it was necessary for pensioners to be represented among trustees. Unfortunately, we did not succeed. However, there are mature schemes where there is a very high proportion of scheme members who are actually

13 Mar 1995 : Column 612

pensioners. In such circumstances, it would seem quite undesirable that there should not be pensioner representation on the board of trustees.

The amendment before the House is a modest one. It simply provides that, once the scheme has a majority of pensioner members, the arrangements must provide for at least one trustee to be nominated by pensioner members of the scheme. I should have thought that was very fair and reasonable. I cannot see how the Minister can argue against it. I am sure that he will, but I do not know upon what basis. The proposal seems to me to be so fair, right and proper that I shall be amazed if the Government persist with their opposition to the notion. As I said, I support the amendment.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, in supporting the amendment, I should declare a slight interest in this part of the Bill in that I am a trustee of my own company's pension scheme. The company is a young one, only 30 years old. Most of the members still have a long way to go until they reach pension age. So I can look forward to the day when the majority of members will have retired. I cannot help feeling that the deliberations of the trustees at the time would be very much helped by those who, after all, will by then be the main beneficiaries of the scheme.

I was inspired into joining support for the amendment by the National Federation of Post Office and BT Pensioners whose members are in a different category altogether so far as concerns size. I would be most interested to hear any comments that my noble friend the Minister may have as to why the amendment should not be accepted.

Lord Dean of Harptree: My Lords, I believe that the arguments are very finely balanced on the issue. However, I am inclined to favour the amendment proposed. When my noble friend the Minister resisted similar amendments in Committee, I remember that he said that it was important to retain flexibility in the selection of trustees. I believe that noble Lords would agree with that view. My noble friend also said that it was important that trustees should recognise that they represent all members and not a particular group in a scheme.

However, I suggest to your Lordships that we must bear in mind the fact that the Bill has, to some extent, moved away from that position. It provides that members should have the right to select one-third of trustees. Therefore, we can say that there has been some move away from that rigid principle.

From my experience when I was a trustee, I found that pensioners, for the most part, made good trustees. Indeed, they have the time, the experience and by definition, because they are pensioners, they have a good knowledge of the company concerned. It may be a little out of date; but, nevertheless, they have a good knowledge in that respect. Further, they are not subjected to the pressures which sometimes apply to employee members. Their pensions cannot be withdrawn from them, whereas in the case of employees there is always the risk that some subtle pressure could be exerted upon them.

13 Mar 1995 : Column 613

One could ask why we do not leave all such matters to the good practice of occupational pensions schemes. Indeed, many such schemes already have pensioner trustees. I take the point made by my noble friend; namely, that made by the National Federation of Post Office and BT Pensioners. In their closed schemes, there are a great many more pensioner members than there are employee members. However, I am told by the federation that it has repeatedly requested that there should be at least one pensioner trustee on the board, but that that request has been turned down. I am informed that the reason for refusal of the request in that case—and, I gather, in others—is that the employee trustees are nominated by trade unions which are not prepared to have a pensioner trustee. If that is the case, I suggest to your Lordships that it is really not reasonable for trade unions to have a veto on the nomination of pensioner trustees.

It seems to me that the latter information spreads a somewhat different light on the discussions which took place in Committee. Moreover, I wonder whether there is a precedent under the Railways Act. When that legislation was being discussed during the Session before last, the point was made that there should be the possibility for BR pensioners to be represented on the board. However, I gather that that provision was not written into the legislation. But if my information is correct, the BR pension schemes do now have trustees on the board. I do not know whether that arises as a result of government pressure. Nevertheless, if that is so, I suggest to my noble friend the Minister that there is perhaps a precedent in that respect. There is at least something to be looked at if in fact it is true that trade unions do exercise a veto in some cases as regards pensioner trustees.

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