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 Bradley Lord Bradley Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 5:00 pm, 7th January 2015

I thank the Minister for his explanation, for his more wide-ranging response to the report of the Delegated Powers Committee and for explaining the Government’s intentions in regard to the range of issues discussed and the recommendations made by that committee. It may disappoint him that that does not necessarily mean that we will not debate the clauses to which these regulations apply. There are wider points around those clauses which are not only about whether the regulations should be affirmative or negative. I hope the Committee will show tolerance as we go forward on that matter.

As my noble friend Lady Drake clearly and concisely laid out, Clause 8(3)(b) goes to heart of the definitions of collective benefit schemes. We need to be absolutely sure that, through debating the regulations, we understand fully the consequences of the schemes and how they will apply to the public who might rely on them. I accept entirely the need for flexibility, but I remain to be convinced that moving towards a negative position rather than a positive position through an affirmative vote in this House is the way to achieve that. As my noble friend Lady Drake pointed out, where there is a need for quick action to apply, there are procedures within the House to enable that. We are trying to support collective benefit schemes, and we want to ensure that they are properly scrutinised on behalf of the public.

However, the Minister said that he will be bringing forward amendments on Report. We shall reflect on the comments he has made on the issue and on why the Government consider that the negative procedure is appropriate. We shall think further about whether that is an acceptable position or whether we want the opportunity for further scrutiny through the affirmative procedures of this House. In the light of the comments made and the opportunity for further debate at a later stage, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 2 withdrawn.

Clause 8 agreed.

Clause 9: Duty to set targets for collective benefits

Amendment 3

Moved by Lord Bradley

3: Clause 9, page 5, line 2, leave out “or managers”