The Department for Work and Pensions has published its response to the Committee’s report on State Pension reform (as set out in the draft Pensions Bill) today, Friday 10 May.
The Committee’s report, published in April 2013, assessed the implications of the introduction of a Single-tier State Pension and made recommendations for changes to the draft Bill [Fifth Report of Session 2012-13, HC 1000].
The Government’s Response is published with associated papers, on the Government website at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions/series/pensions-bill. The Pensions Bill, setting out the finalised plans for State Pension reform, has also now been published.
The Government response is also available to download from the Committee’s website at www.parliament.uk/workpencom.
Commenting on the Government’s response, the Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, Dame Anne Begg MP, said:
“I am pleased that the Government has accepted two of the Committee’s key recommendations: that both the implementation date for introducing the Single-tier State Pension and the minimum number of qualifying years required, are set out on the face of the Bill. This will help provide the clarity and certainty so vitally needed by the public, the pensions industry and employers.”
“Central to the success of the reforms is that people understand how they will be affected by the changes. We also welcome, therefore, the Government’s recognition of how crucial it is for it to have an effective communications strategy in place at an early stage.”
“Our report made clear that we welcome the introduction of the Single-tier State Pension (STP). However, we expressed some concerns which have not been fully addressed by the Government. These include the starting rate for the STP; the differential between the level of the STP and means-tested Pension Credit; and “derived rights” to a State Pension. The last of these will particularly affect a number of women quite close to State Pension age (SPA). These women had a legitimate expectation under the old system that they would be able to rely on their husband’s National Insurance contributions to give them entitlement to a Basic State Pension. They will not have this right under the Single-tier.”
“This is not the end of the process. Parliament will now begin its scrutiny of the Pensions Bill and can propose further amendments if it believes these are necessary. The Bill Committee stage provides a further opportunity for the public to contribute to the scrutiny of this important legislation. We will provide details about the timescale for the Bill Committee’s work on our website when the Bill reaches that stage of the process later in the year.”