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Lords examines Pension Schemes Bill

16 July 2020

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The Pensions Schemes Bill completed its third reading, a chance for members to make sure the eventual law is effective, workable and without loopholes, on Wednesday 15 July.

No changes to the wording of the bill were suggested ahead of third reading. Members discussed the progress of the bill through the House at its conclusion of Lords stages.

Following completion of third reading, the bill now passes to the Commons for its consideration. 

Lords report stage: Tuesday 30 June

Members discussed a range of subjects including the financial contribution of an employer to the running costs of a pension scheme and the requirement of pension schemes to make available information on the diversity of the trustee board.

There were four votes (divisions) on proposed changes (amendments) to the bill.

Members considered a change (amendment 32) to require Secretary of State notices to Collective Defined Contribution scheme trustees to include a report on its fairness.

Members voted 270 in favour and 246 against, so the change was made.

A second vote was held on a change (amendment 52) to ensure that a pensions dashboard service does not include a provision for financial transaction activities.

Members voted 281 in favour and 244 against, so the change was made.

A third vote took place on a change (amendment 62) to require the single financial guidance body (the Money and Pensions Service) to provide a pensions dashboard service to deal with information from occupational and personal pensions schemes and also include state pension information in its pensions dashboard service.

Members voted 270  in favour and 236 against, so the change was made.

A final vote was held on a change (amendment 71) which would ensure that open and active schemes which receive  receiving regular, significant cash contributions are treated differently to closed schemes.

Members voted 263 in favour and 227 against, so the change was made.

Lords committee stage day four: Wednesday 4 March

The committee stage of this bill took place in Grand Committee, away from the chamber. In Grand Committee, any member can take part and decisions on amendments (changes) can be made but no votes can take place.

Members discussed a range of subjects including:

  • compensation payments under the Pension Protection Fund
  • tax changes to the National Health Service Pension Schemes
  • automatic enrolment age and sex equality impacts
  • multiple employer pension schemes
  • climate change risk.

Lords committee stage day three: Monday 2 March

Members discussed the:

  • regulation of pension dashboard services by the Financial Conduct Authority
  • requirement of managers to ensure the accuracy of occupational pension scheme information
  • governance of pension schemes respect of climate change risk.

Lords committee stage day two: Wednesday 24 February

Members discussed a range of topics including:

  • provision of information to the Pensions Regulator
  • publicly-owned pensions dashboard service review
  • automatic enrolment contributions.

Lords committee stage day one: Monday 24 February

Members discussed subjects including:

  • intergenerational fairness among its members in connection to the amount of benefits paid
  • sanctions for avoidance of employer debt
  • a publicly-owned pensions dashboard service.

Lords second reading: Tuesday 28 January

Baroness Stedman-Scott (Conservative), Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions, opened the debate and responded on behalf of the government.

Pension Schemes Bill summary

This bill aims to:

  • establish a framework for setting up, operating and regulating collective money purchase schemes in the UK
  • confer new powers to the Pensions Regulator in order to respond earlier when employers put the viability of their pension schemes at risk
  • set up a system for pensions dashboards, a consumer-friendly digital interface to display information about an individual's pensions savings.

Further information

Image: PA