Pension Schemes Bill — Committee (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 7th January 2015.

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Photo of Lord Bradley Lord Bradley Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 6:30 pm, 7th January 2015

I thank the Minister for his response to the amendment and I welcome the comments made by the noble Lord, Lord German, and my noble friend Lady Drake on the issue of scale. There is no intention in the amendment to force anything. Subsection (2) of the proposed new clause is clear. It states:

“Where trustees take the view that the scheme has insufficient scale, they must consider whether merger with another scheme would be in the members’ interests”.

That is the crucial point. It is not forcing it but looking at what is in the members' interests. The relationship between the trustees and members on governance is very important. This is about a mechanism to ensure that it is considered and that it is in the best interests of the members. We are not saying that big is necessarily beautiful but that, in certain circumstances, bigger might be better—better value for money for the members of the scheme.

There is clearly some difference between the Government and the Opposition on this issue. I do not want to caricature the Minister’s response but he was basically saying that the market will decide and that mergers will happen because the market will determine that they happen.