Pension Schemes Bill — Committee (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 7th January 2015.

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Photo of Lord German Lord German Liberal Democrat 6:15 pm, 7th January 2015

Perhaps I might pose a number of questions about this amendment. My noble friend the Minister or the noble Lord, Lord Bradley, might like to reflect on them and give me an answer. First, the trend towards larger scale pension funds is growing. I understand that the number of smaller schemes is declining. I wonder if one or other of the noble Lords could tell me what the pace of that change has been and whether forcing mergers is necessarily the right thing if that pace of change is already accelerating. Secondly, when mergers are forced, the question is who that merger is with. Who will be found as a necessary partner to move in that direction? If that partner were a smaller scale operation as well, forcing those two to move together might not necessarily provide the right output. Finally, scale does have merit and is worthy, but that does not mean that small scale is always bad. I wonder whether we should always look for quality rather than scale or the force to make companies move together. Those are fundamental questions which I hope one or other of the noble Lords will be able to answer.