Merits pn1-05

IMMEDIATE

20 JANUARY 2005

LORDS COMMITTEE FLAGS UP CHANGES TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT PENSION SCHEME

A report from the House of Lords Select Committee on the Merits of Statutory Instruments, published today, draws attention to Regulations which propose significant changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme.

The changes include:

• raising the normal retirement date to 65

• increasing the ages at which members can take up certain other entitlements under the Scheme

• transitional arrangements for those who were members of the Scheme before 1 April 2005.

A report from the Committee can lead to a debate in the House of Lords which may test Parliamentary approval of the changes proposed in a statutory instrument.  

ODPM has informed the Committee of the consultation carried out on the Regulations.  This produced the following responses:

• most employers support transitional arrangements for current members

• trades unions are opposed to the changes, and are concerned that these are going ahead in advance of changes to other public sector schemes

• most members who responded submitted campaign correspondence; many are aggrieved at what they see as an attack on pension rights.  A large proportion accept the need for changes, although most that take this line feel that the changes should apply to new members only.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, Chairman of the Committee, said

"The Local Government Pension Scheme has an active membership of one and a half million.  Whatever the merits of the proposals, the changes are very significant.  As a result of our Report I hope that the House of Lords will have a full debate on the issue."

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NOTES FOR EDITORS

1.   The Committee's report is contained in HL Paper 27, Session 2004-05 (5th Report).  The Report draws the proposals to the attention of the House of Lords and, if taken up by a Member of the House, could lead to a debate in the Chamber

2.   The Local Government Pension Scheme (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004/3372) were laid before Parliament on  22 December 2004. They can be found on an ODPM website at:

http://www.xoq83.dial.pipex.com/whatsnew.htm

3.   The Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee was appointed by the House of Lords on 17 December 2003.  On 29 November 2004, the Committee published a Special report which reviewed its work in the 2003-04 Session (25th Report, HL Paper 206, Session 2003-04). The Committee's website, with copies of all its reports, can be found at:

http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/merits.cfm

4.   The Committee's membership is as follows:

Lord Addington

Lord Armstrong of Ilminster

Lord Boston of Faversham

Viscount Colville of Culross

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Chairman)

Lord Jopling

Lord McKenzie of Luton

Lord Methuen

Earl of Northesk

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

Viscount Ullswater

5.    The Committee's terms of reference are:

"To consider every instrument which is laid before each House of Parliament and upon which proceedings may be or might have been taken in either House of Parliament, in pursuance of an Act of Parliament …with a view to determining whether the special attention of the House should be drawn to it on any of the following grounds:

(a)  that it is politically or legally important or gives rise to issues of public policy likely to be of interest to the House;

(b)  that it is inappropriate in view of the changed circumstances since the passage of the parent Act;

(c)  that it inappropriately implements EU legislation;

(d)  that it imperfectly achieves its policy objectives."

FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE MERITS COMMITTEE:

 

Christine Salmon

Clerk to the Select Committee on the Merits of Statutory Instruments

House of Lords  London  SW1A 0PW

Tel: 020 7219 3233  Fax: 020 7219 2571  E-mail: [email protected]

        [ENDS]