Clause 215 - Exemption from statutary revaluation requirement

Part of Pensions Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:00 pm on 18th March 2004.

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Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Conservative, Eastbourne 5:00 pm, 18th March 2004

I want to raise a narrow but important point. It is not all my own work, but it is about the equalisation of GMPs. I am reliably informed that the general view of the European law requirement is that the total benefit for men and women for service from 17 May 1990 should be equal, rather than that each individual component of the benefit should be equal. The GMP legislation causes a problem by requiring schemes to treat a member's GMP differently from any additional benefits to which they may be entitled.

Again, if I had received the information in time, I would have tabled an amendment to clarify what the clause seeks to achieve. An amendment would have allowed schemes to elect to revalue the whole of a member's benefit for service from May 1990 in a consistent way. The revalued benefit would have had to be no less than the statutory GMP, which may be different for men and women. However, the anti-franking requirements would not apply as they effectively force schemes to provide different benefits for men and women.

Members of the Association of Pension Lawyers legislative and parliamentary sub-committee have told me that they cannot work out what the clause intends to achieve. That view also extends to section 84 of the Pension Schemes Act 1993. People who know a lot more than I do about such matters want clarification about the purpose of the clause. It seems to be related to anti-franking, but no one seems quite sure.