Pension Schemes Bill — Committee (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 7th January 2015.

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Photo of Lord German Lord German Liberal Democrat 5:00 pm, 7th January 2015

My Lords, I have considerable sympathy with the amendment before us, not least because the chair of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee of your Lordships’ House would be very upset if we did not make sure that the report was brought before your Lordships’ House.

Pension Bills in the past—the report quotes pension Bills from the 1990s—were frequently used, with very much of the detail coming in the following regulation.

However, as we know from the debates and discussions we have already had, there are no drafts available; we have had outlines and a sense of direction, but at the moment we do not have substantial amounts of supporting legislation drafts before us, as we might have had in much further primary legislation relating to welfare. The recommendation in paragraph 6 of the report of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee is clear. It says that,

“in view of the potential for the power to be exercised in a way that could significantly alter the constituent benefits included in the definition”,

of collected benefits,

“we are unpersuaded by the DWP’s explanation … why it considers the negative procedure to be an adequate level of Parliamentary control”.

Perhaps my noble friend the Minister in his response might tell us whether the Government will accept this report, and it might also help us if they say whether they would accept the other recommendations about the negative and affirmative resolution and first exercise recommendations which are in that report. That might save us a little time in the future.