(except clauses 4, 5, 20, 28, 57 to 77, 86, 111 and 282 to 289, and schedules 1, 3, 11, 12, 21 and 37 to 39) - Clause 269 - Transitionals and savings

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:30 am on 22nd June 2004.

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Photo of Mr Howard Flight Mr Howard Flight Shadow Chief Secretary To the Treasury, Economic Affairs, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 9:30 am, 22nd June 2004

The Financial Secretary says that she does not think that the rules are unduly complex, but she has not responded to my request to set out in understandable language the basic principles behind the transition arrangements for the two different types of people—those who belong to an uncapped pre-1989 scheme and those who belong to a capped scheme. Neither the arrangements in schedule 34 nor the notes set out any coherent pattern of broad principles. It is no good having a load of random rules; the Government must have come up with a basic principle to determine the transitional arrangements. It would be helpful to those affected if she bothered to set out those principles.

The capping arrangement introduced by the Conservative Government in 1989 quite clearly and correctly stated that those who were already members of pension schemes, because they were embarked on pensions saving, would be exempt so long as they stayed members of the scheme and in employment with its provider. They were grandfathered from the new arrangements. By definition, most of those people are probably in their 50s and moving towards retirement. The Financial Secretary is ignorant of many people's resentment at finding in their last decade of employment a grandfathered arrangement changed and new arrangements penalising them. Instead of being able to continue until retirement with whatever their contributions to that scheme were, they are grandfathered only if they have no further contributions to make to it. That is a major breach of the established grandfathering arrangements.

I would like the Financial Secretary to put on record the broad principles underlying the transitional arrangements, because they are not clear from the notes or the Bill.