Public Service Pensions Bill completes report stage

13 February 2013

The Public Service Pensions Bill had its report stage, a chance for further scrutiny, yesterday (Tuesday 12 February)

Lord Eatwell (Labour) opened the debate with Amendment 1 covering the pension age for Defence Fire and Rescue Service firefighters. He explained: 'In particular, while other firefighters within the UK had their retirement age fixed at the age of 60, together with other uniformed services, the Defence Fire and Rescue Service at that time had a retirement age tied to the statutory retirement age.'  

He continued: 'Amendment 1 seeks to incorporate the Defence Fire and Rescue Service firefighters within the overall category of firefighters to ensure that they are treated in exactly the same way as their fellows in local authority and other fire services.' He added: 'Amendment 2 seeks to do the same for the Ministry of Defence Police.'

Lord Newby (Liberal Democrat) defended the bill and said: 'These forces are made up of civil servants directly employed by the Ministry of Defence. Although there are some similarities with their counterparts in the Home Office police and the local authority fire and rescue services, their terms and conditions of employment are set by the Ministry of Defence and are therefore materially different in many respects. As civil servants they benefit from provisions which are not available to their non-MoD counterparts, such as the Civil Service compensation scheme, injury benefit provisions, relocation and leave allowances. The amendments being suggested would fundamentally alter the status of these individuals and that should not be carried out lightly.'

Members of the House agreed Amendment 1 voting 216 for and 193 against. Amendment 2 was also agreed.

Other topics covered included government amendments to authorities responsible for judicial pensions and scheme regulations.

The Public Service Pensions Bill is scheduled to have its third reading on 26 February.

Public Service Pensions Bill summary

The bill sets out the new arrangements for the creation of schemes for the payment of pensions and other benefits. It provides powers to ministers to create such schemes according to a common framework of requirements.

The bill provides powers to the Treasury to set specific technical details of certain requirements. It also gives powers to the Pensions Regulator to operate a system of independent oversight of the operation of these schemes.

It is intended that the powers in the bill will supersede powers in existing legislation to create schemes for the payment of pensions and other benefits.

The bill protects the benefits already earned by members of existing public service pension schemes and allows continued membership of those schemes for certain categories of person who are closest to retirement.

What is report stage?

Report stage gives all members of the Lords further opportunity to examine and make changes, known as amendments, to a bill.

Report stage usually starts 14 days after committee stage. It can be spread over several days (but usually fewer days than at committee stage).

Before report stage starts, all member's amendments are recorded and published. The day before a report stage debate the amendments are placed in order - a marshalled list.

During report stage detailed line by line examination of the bill continues. Any member of the Lords can take part and votes can take place.

After report stage the bill is reprinted to include all the agreed amendments. The bill then moves to third reading for the final chance for the Lords to debate and amend the bill.

Previous stages of the Public Service Pensions Bill

Further information

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