Pension Schemes Bill — Committee (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 7th January 2015.

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Photo of Lord Bradley Lord Bradley Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 4:45 pm, 7th January 2015

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for his comprehensive reply on the new clause. The whole purpose of this and of many of the amendments we are tabling in Committee is to assure the public of their protections and to ensure that they have the information and that it is communicated effectively to them so that they can make proper choices at a crucial moment, or moments, in their retirement or post-retirement period. While we have immediately—probably quite rightly—started to discuss the guidance guarantee, I did not expect to start that process within 15 minutes of the start of the Committee stage. That will be an incredibly important part of our deliberations and, while it is very useful for the Minister to start to lay out the purpose and detail of that guidance, I know that we will have many opportunities to expand on that as we progress through the Bill.

The Minister has raised a number of fears about this new clause, which I will look at and reflect on carefully in order to ensure that the issues he has raised will be comprehensively covered by the range of activities to protect the consumer in the way that we want. I am grateful for the comments of my noble friend Lord McKenzie in support of the general thrust of this amendment, which is another attempt to get belt and braces around the advice and guidance to ensure that people are making sensible decisions.

As my noble friend Lady Drake said, we will be bringing forward the issue of a second line of defence, which is relevant to this general debate, again on the basis that we want to ensure that the public have confidence in the new arrangements that are being put in place and feel that there is protection for the decisions that they make. We will come back to whether guidance is sufficient to achieve that objective, but we need to look at these elements as a comprehensive package of attempts to achieve the objectives I have set out. However, in the light of the Minister’s comments and the opportunity to reflect on those for a later stage, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 1 withdrawn.

Clause 8: Introduction and definition

Amendment 2

Moved by Lord Bradley

2: Clause 8, page 4, line 43, at end insert—

“( ) A statutory instrument containing regulations under subsection (3)(b) may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.”