Public Service Pensions Bill: Lords committee stage day three

22 January 2013

Members of the Lords continued committee stage of the Public Service Pensions Bill, line by line scrutiny, in the House of Lords yesterday (Monday 21 January).

Members of the Lords began by scrutinising Clause 20, covering consultation and report. Lord Eatwell (Labour) proposed amendments to protect elements of public service pension schemes beyond the three elements listed. He said: 'There are only three protected elements in Clause 20(5): the extent to which the scheme is a career average defined benefit scheme - the main purpose of the bill - members' contribution rates and benefit accrual rates. However, this means some very important elements of a pension scheme are not protected, most notably the definition of pensionable earnings, early retirement rights and ill-health benefits.'

Lord Newby (Liberal Democrat) responded on behalf of the government saying: 'Government Amendment 118 recasts the timing of the 25-year period of protection. The amendment will ensure that all schemes made under the bill benefit from this protection until 31 March 2040. It is currently intended that the new Local Government Pension Scheme will be in place earlier than April 2015. Concern was expressed in another place - which the noble Lord, Lord Eatwell, expressed here today - that the scheme would lack the protection in this clause until 1 April 2015 had passed. The amendment seeks to deal with this concern.'

Lord Eatwell (Labour) said: 'I am particularly pleased with government Amendment 118, which achieves what we were attempting to achieve through Amendment 118ZA in a very satisfactory and comprehensive manner.'

Lords also examined the extension of schemes to workers who do not fall within the core description of public service worker and existing local government schemes and pension age.

The bill will now move to report stage, a date is yet to be announced.

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 committee stage?

Detailed line by line examination of the separate parts (clauses and schedules) of the bill takes place during committee stage. Any member of the Lords can take part.

It usually starts no later than two weeks after the second reading and can last for one to eight days or more.

The day before committee stage starts, amendments (changes) are published in a marshalled list (amendments on related subjects are grouped together).

During committee stage every clause of the bill has to be agreed to and votes on the amendments can take place. All proposed amendments can be discussed and there is no time limit, or guillotine, on discussion of amendments.

Previous stages of the Public Service Pensions Bill

Further information

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